Antidepressant 'barely improves your mood'
The most commonly prescribed antidepressant barely relieves symptoms of depression, a study has found.
The largest independent investigation ever undertaken found patients taking sertraline experienced negligible improvements.
Published in 'The Lancet Psychiatry', it comes amid mounting controversy over increased use of antidepressants.
Last night the study's authors said they were "shocked and surprised" by the results, and called for the development of new classes of medication.
But in the absence of better drugs, they did not call for current prescribing practice to be changed because the trial also showed sertraline was effective in reducing anxiety, which often accompanies depression.
The new trial is the largest held without the involvement of the pharmaceutical industry. It is also the most in-depth examination of sertraline, a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, in patients with a range of depression severities rather than just in severely depressed patients in specialist mental health units.
The study involved 654 people aged 18 to 74 who were given the antidepressant for 12 weeks, or a placebo. The results showed depressive symptoms were 5pc lower after six weeks in the sertraline group, which was not "convincing evidence" of an effect. After 12 weeks, there was a 13pc reduction, a finding experts described as "weak".
(© Daily Telegraph, London)