By Yajuliia. CC0 Creative Commons.

On Feb. 21, scientists reviewed published and un-published data on 21 common antidepressants to analyze their efficacy and acceptability in adults with major depressive disorder. The paper analyzed 21 common antidepressants studied in one or several of 522 trials comprising 116,477 participants and measured their efficacy (the patient’s response rate) and acceptability (treatment discontinuation by patients).

While the medicines differed in both efficacy and acceptability between one another, all antidepressants studied reported higher efficacy in comparison to a placebo. On the other hand, only agomelatine and fluoxetine reported higher acceptability than placebo. When compared against one another amitriptyline came on top in terms of efficacy, while reboxetine on the bottom. However, these results are only meant to serve as guidelines for doctors, who must also take into account an individual patient’s health profile, concurrent sicknesses, potential side effects and other medications they are taking.

Depression affects over 300 million people worldwide and about 10 million in Mexico. The disease places a significant emotional burden on patients, who find their quality of life diminished and are at higher risk of suicide, besides having to face a large economic toll. Research states that for every US$1 spent on treating depression, US$4.70 are spent on direct and indirect illnesses and US$1.90 is lost due to lower workplace productivity and suicide.

One of the most common treatments for depression is the prescription of antidepressants. While doctors and researchers agree that they work, there is still debate over their individual and overall efficacy. This report represents the most comprehensive analysis of treatments for major depressive disorder in adults and its writers hope that it becomes a tool for informed decision making between patients and their doctors.

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