New generation anti-depressants have little clinical benefit for most patients, research suggests. A University of Hull team concluded the drugs actively help only a small group of the most severely depressed. Marjorie Wallace, head of the mental health charity Sane, said that if these results were confirmed they could be "very disturbing".Naturally the makers of these drugs dispute the findings. Antidepressants were successful in combating mild depressive symptoms, but the effect wasn't significantly different from those that received a placebo pill.
But the makers of Prozac and Seroxat, two of the commonest anti-depressants, said they disagreed with the findings. A spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Seroxat, said the study only looked at a "small subset of the total data available".
Dr Andrew McCulloch, of the Mental Health Foundation, said: "We have become vastly over-reliant on antidepressants when there is a range of alternatives. Talking therapies, exercise referral and other treatments are effective for depression. It is a problem that needs a variety of approaches matched to the individual patient."