Research
Print page Print page
Switch language
Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
Published

Should antidepressants be used for major depressive disorder?

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

  1. Methylphenidate for ADHD rejected from the WHO Essential Medicines List due to uncertainties in benefit-harm profile

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  2. Assessment of assumptions of statistical analysis methods in randomised clinical trials: the what and how

    Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

  3. Blinding in randomised clinical trials of psychological interventions: a retrospective study of published trial reports

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  4. Considerations on the strengths and limitations of using disease-related mortality as an outcome in clinical research

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateResearchpeer-review

  1. Early specialised palliative care: interventions, symptoms, problems

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  2. Low-dose hydrocortisone in patients with COVID-19 and severe hypoxia: the COVID STEROID randomised, placebo-controlled trial

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  3. Ongoing and future COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials: challenges and opportunities

    Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

View graph of relations

BACKGROUND: Major depressive disorder is estimated by the WHO to affect more than 300 million people globally, making depression the leading cause of disability worldwide. Antidepressants are commonly used to treat depression.

OBJECTIVE: The study aimed to provide an update on the evidence on the effects of antidepressants compared with placebo. Should antidepressants be used for adults with major depressive disorder?

STUDY SELECTION: We searched the Cochrane Library, BMJ Best Practice and PubMed up to June 2019 with the search terms 'depression' and 'antidepressants' targeting reviews published in English since 1990.

FINDINGS: Several reviews have assessed the effects of antidepressants compared with placebo for depression. Generally, all the previous reviews show that antidepressants seem to have statistically significant effects on depressive symptoms, but the size of the effect has questionable importance to most patients. Antidepressants seem to have minimal beneficial effects on depressive symptoms and increase the risk of both serious and non-serious adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS: The benefits of antidepressants seem to be minimal and possibly without any importance to the average patient with major depressive disorder. Antidepressants should not be used for adults with major depressive disorder before valid evidence has shown that the potential beneficial effects outweigh the harmful effects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Evidence-Based Medicine
Volume25
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)130-136
Number of pages7
ISSN1356-5524
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

ID: 58062044