Antidepressant prescribing: still much to learn

The above meta-analysis was published in the Lancet today and I woke up to read headlines like this:

The lead author, Andrea Cipriani, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, was quoted :

From my perspective this meta-analysis confirms that antidepressants, used over 8 weeks can improve mood in those diagnosed as experiencing severe depression. However, this study cannot say much beyond this, such as the balance between benefits and harms or the appropriate length of treatment. As such, the authors (as reported here) cannot justify statements about under-treatment.

As spokesperson for the Royal College of psychiatrists, Professor Carmine Pariante, stated:

I do not agree with Professor Pariante that the this meta-analysis "finally puts to bed the controversy on antidepressants" as we are now aware that the majority of those taking antidepressants (estimated in Scotland to be 1 in 7) take them indefinitely and there is a dearth of research into this. 

The experience of those taking antidepressants in the long term needs to be considered fully and researched properly before experts can state that we understand all the effects of these drugs. Some of this experience has been collected here.

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