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890 Do Antidepressants Really Work? 1/26/2013

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There is a simmering controversy surrounding the treatment of depression: just how well do antidepressant drugs like Prozac or Effexor really work? Studies that show they are no better than placebo are much less likely to be published, so doctors and patients both may have an exaggerated impression of their effectiveness.

No one is suggesting that depression should go untreated, but not everyone responds well to these medications. What other options are available to alleviate this serious condition?

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890 Do Antidepressants Really Work?  1/26/2013

890 Do Antidepressants Really Work? 1/26/2013

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For more than two decades, antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil or Effexor have become household names. They are widely used to treat the most common mental illness. But do they really work as well as most of us think? This question is being briskly debated by medical professionals, as the point-counterpoint in BMJ (Jan. 22, 2013) demonstrates.

Research studies show that these SSRI drugs don’t always work better than the inert sugar pills they are tested against. But that doesn’t mean there is no hope for people with depression. Several non-drug approaches are at least as effective as antidepressants. Knowing how to evaluate the benefits and risks of SSRI medications can help patients make good decisions in partnership with their physicians.

Guests: Irving Kirsch, PhD, is Associate Director of the Program in Placebo Studies at the Harvard Medical School, lecturer in medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Professor of Psychology at the University of Plymouth (UK), and Professor Emeritus at the University of Hull and the University of Connecticut. His book is The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth.

Erick Turner, MD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Department of Pharmacology, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Portland OR

Stephen Ilardi, PhD, is associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas and author of The Depression Cure.

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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Air Date Jan 26, 2013

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