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Research Article

Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration

  • Irving Kirsch mail,

    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: i.kirsch@hull.ac.uk

    Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom

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  • Brett J Deacon,

    Affiliation: University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, United States of America

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  • Tania B Huedo-Medina,

    Affiliation: Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, United States of America

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  • Alan Scoboria,

    Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

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  • Thomas J Moore,

    Affiliation: Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, United States of America

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  • Blair T Johnson

    Affiliation: Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, United States of America

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  • Published: February 26, 2008
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045

Reader Comments (48)

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Patient's Perpective

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:20 GMT

Author: Brad Roberts
Position: Facilities Technician
E-mail: whitemageber@shaw.ca
Additional Authors: none
Submitted Date: February 26, 2008
Published Date: February 27, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

I find this article quite interesting, however it does not provide enough information on the drug’s effects, documented side effects or how they are supposed to work. More than three years ago I was diagnosed with very severe depression triggered by a traumatic event. Previously, mild depression was a long time struggle and I was genetically predisposed to a family history of depression and manic depression. When I finally got treated, I was given an older generation anti-depressant and it took at least three months to take a noticeable effect. It worked but the side effects of hyperhydrosis and dry mouth were unbearable. A change was made to Effexor. Although the hyperhydrosis is still a problem the side effects are less obvious. But here is the catch; the drug has extremely volatile effects when it is not taken for even one day, causing an inability to sleep restfully, violent and disturbing nightmares and severe headaches.
Other anti-depressants such as Paxil, when prescribed to some patients, end up doing the exact opposite of their intended purpose and make the depression worse, often leading to suicide. This is the same effect (and grave concern for medical practitioners) for the patient coming off of these drugs.
The other problem while on the drug is that it leaves you in a zombied state, where you are not able to cry or feel any normal emotional response, good or bad. For me the treatment worked. However, taking it for too long may have made it redundant and I am not entirely convinced that the side effects and possible dangers as well as any negative physiological damages, are really worth it. This is an area of medicine that needs significantly more study and perhaps the prescription of these drugs should be limited to qualified specialists in psychology.

No competing interests declared.