Nearly A quarter of all Americans taking antidepressants have never received any diagnosis from the specialist for just about any conditions the drugs are used to treat, according to new information in the University of Manitoba.
Researchers state that millions of people might be taking medicines that have no proven health benefits and therefore are exposed to negative effects they do not need.
“We can’t be sure that the potential risks and side effects of antidepressants count the advantage of taking them for those who do not meet criteria for major depression,” said Jina Pagura, a medical student and psychologist at the University of Manitoba in Canada, who done the research.
“These individuals are most likely approaching their physicians with concerns which may be related to depression, and may include symptoms like trouble sleeping, poor mood, difficulties in relationships, etc,” she told Reuters Health by email. “Although an antidepressant might help with these issues, the issues may also go away by themselves with time, or is much more amenable to counseling or psychotherapy.”
Pagura and colleagues used data from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiologic Surveys, which includes a perspective sample in excess of 20,000 US adults interviewed between 2001 and 2003.
About 10 percent from the sample told interviewers they were taking antidepressants in the past year. Yet nearly one fourth of these people had not been identified as having any conditions usually treated with that type of medication, such as depression and anxiety.
Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from depressive disorder, and another 40 million have some kind of panic attacks, based on the National Institute of Mental Health.
Although all types of mental illness weren’t contained in the survey, mental health experts said the brand new findings aren’t exaggerated.
“Reviews of claims records, which are diagnoses actually provided by health care professionals, claim that no more than 50% of patients who are prescribed antidepressants receive a psychiatric diagnosis,” Dr Mark Olfson, a psychiatrist at Columbia University in Ny, told Reuters Health in an email.
“These bits of information raise questions about the clinical appropriateness of antidepressant treatment choice for many primary care patients,” he added.
The sale and employ of antidepressants in the usa currently ranks fourth among all prescription medications, according to IMS Health, who said sales in 2009 reached nearly $10 billion, up three percent in the previous year.
While studies show that antidepressants may help many people with depression, they have a cost. Near the $100+ monthly cost on many antidepressants, some users may experience sexual problems or put on weight when using them.
“Nearly all medication has negative effects, so there are undoubtedly a lot of Americans who’re taking antidepressants that won’t work at treating their conditions, yet they are afflicted by the side effects,” said Jeffrey S. Harman, any adverse health services expert in the University of Florida in Gainesville, who had been not involved in the research.
“Not to mention inappropriate use of our health care dollars that comes along with inappropriate prescribing,” he added.
The findings do not really mean doctors are prescribing more antidepressants compared to what they should, however, said Harman. “So far as over-prescribing, I don’t think you are able to state that it’s occurring as a blanket statement “¦ you will find undoubtedly lots of people being prescribed antidepressants that may not work on their behalf, but there are also millions of Americans struggling with depression who are not being prescribed antidepressants or are now being prescribed them at a suboptimal dose,” he was quoted saying.
Although not commenting on the brand new research findings, Pfizer told Reuters Health it’s dedicated to ensuring “that patients and their doctors have the most up to date medical info on which to base their treatment decisions.”
The new information was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.