A number of antidepressants of the so-called second generation are used today for drug-based treatment of depression. A scientific investigation of all published studies concerning the various products was performed as part of a large systematic review of the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality under Prof. Dr. Gerald Gartlehner MPH of Danube University Krems. The results show that the effectiveness of the various antidepressants is very similar despite large differences in price, and their benefits are also similar although they differ to some extent in terms of side effects.
The current data are based on an analysis of 234 studies with scientific conclusions concerning the 13 most commonly used antidepressants of the second generation. "In the USA alone the pharmaceutical industry spends about 400 million US dollars per year on marketing antidepressants. The present investigation shows that there is no scientifically corroborated reason to give preference to a specific drug on grounds of better efficacy," explains Gartlehner. Nevertheless, antidepressants are not identical, the medical specialist adds. Differences in the period of time until the onset of response and differences in side effects might influence the selection of a specific drug for the individual patient.
The report was published in the renowned journal Annals of Internal Medicine and was produced in cooperation with the RTI University of North Carolina (UNC) Evidence-based Practice Center.
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