This information sheet comes from Mad in America. It begins:
“This page is about antidepressants as a treatment for depression. It provides a review of the evidence for their short-term use, their adverse effects, and their impact on long-term outcomes. The primary purpose of this review is to detail the research that tells of their long-term effects.
In addition, there are these resources on Mad in America for researching antidepressants:
- Our archive of Science News can be searched for articles on antidepressants.
- Information about antidepressant withdrawal and tapering can be found here.
- Our MIA Reports provide in-depth journalistic articles on antipsychotics. In particular, see “Do Antidepressants Work? A People’s Review of the Evidence.
Evidence for Short-term Use
There has been a great deal of debate about the short-term efficacy of antidepressants as a treatment for depression. There are two parts to this debate. The first is that the evidence comes from industry-funded randomized clinical trials, which are understood to be biased in favor of the drug in several ways.
Bias by design: In the short-term studies, depressed patients who have volunteered for the study are abruptly withdrawn from whatever antidepressant they may have been on, and after a few days they are either randomized to the antidepressant or to placebo. Thus, the placebo group is composed of patients who may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms, which could be expected to negatively impact their outcomes.
Unrepresentative patients: The studies are conducted in a small subset of patients who could be expected to best respond to the drug. Those who are suicidal or co-morbid for other conditions are excluded from such studies.
Industry bias: The pharmaceutical companies funding the studies may spin their results, hide adverse events, and only publish studies with positive results. This leads to a bias in the literature in favor of antidepressants …”
You can read more from here.