Antidepressants; Billions of Dollars for a 2.7% Improvement

There are some treatment approaches that sound good at the onset; find a neurotransmitter that helps to elevate mood and just synthetically increase the level of the neurotransmitter with a drug.

Conduct a few biased trials with the deck stacked in favor of a benefit and start marketing the heck out of the drug.  Prosac was launched in 1988.  There was a 600% increase in the use of SSRIs during the 90’s and the cost to the US in now well into the billions of dollars per year.

But, once we take out the biased research, what are we left with?

How ’bout a 2.7% sustained improvement according to this particular article?

Do you think PCPs are looking their patients in the eyes as they hand them the script with a smile and saying “you’re going to feel almost 3% better as soon as you start taking this!!”  At least until you get bone loss, become obese or develop diabetes.  Then you’re more upset than before you started.  Compare this improvement to use of fish oils, St John’s wort, 5-HTP.  Throw in some exercise and we’re not even in the same ballpark.

I truly think that if the public knew the sordid details about how little benefit we derive from most drugs, the entire industry would fall like a house of cards.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.