As a defective drug lawyer, I keep a close watch on news related to prescription antidepressants because so many have had safety issues. That’s why I was very interested in Jan. 5 articles from Dow Jones Newswires and Reuters about a new study examining the effectiveness of antidepressants. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed the results of six studies comparing prescription antidepressants to placebos. It found that antidepressants make a substantial difference for the most severely depressed. But for mildly to moderately depressed people, the study found, antidepressants had little or no effect compared to a placebo.
A total of 718 patients were in the analysis, conducted by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania. The studied compared both Paxil (paroxetine) and the 1950s-era drug imipramine to placebos over a six-week period. Patients’ depression was measured by a Hamilton score, with the most severely depressed scoring at 24 or higher and the mildly depressed scoring at 18 or below. Among the most severely depressed, those taking genuine antidepressants saw their Hamilton scores drop by 13 points, while patients on placebos saw a drop of 9 points. By contrast, people with Hamilton scores of 23 or below saw an 8-point drop for patients on antidepressants and a 7-point drop for those on placebos. In other words, it concluded that antidepressants work best for the most depressed patients, but aren’t much better than non-pharmaceutical treatment for the mildly depressed.
This is important for two reasons. Robert DeRubeis, a study author and Penn psychologist, told Reuters that most drug approval studies focus on the most severely depressed, even though most depressed Americans have only mild to moderate depression. This suggests that drug approval studies may not serve the majority of the patients. DeRubeis also noted that studies have shown that talk therapy, exercise and even self-help books have shown some effectiveness in fighting depression, without the negative side effects drugs can cause. As a pharmaceutical liability attorney familiar with the dangerous effects of Paxil, I couldn’t agree more. Paxil already carries a black box warning about the risk of suicidal thoughts, and is believed to cause birth defects as well as several other dangerous risks. If it turns out that pharmaceutical companies have exaggerated its effect for most patients, they would have exposed patients to these severe risks in exchange for next to no benefit.


Based in St. Louis and Belleville, Illinois, the Lowe Law Firm is proud to represent clients around the U.S. who suffered severe injuries or illness from taking a drug they thought they could trust. Even if the drug’s manufacturer didn’t know about the problem, the law still makes that manufacturer responsible for any defects in its products. Our dangerous medication attorneys help patients enforce that law through lawsuits that hold the manufacturers responsible for the injuries, illnesses and deaths their products cause. In a lawsuit, patients can claim compensation for their life-altering injuries and losses; all medical bills related to the injury; and any costs, such as a loss of income for patients who can no longer work.
If you or a loved one was hurt by an antidepressant or other prescription drug that was supposed to help, don’t hesitate to call the Lowe Law Firm to learn more. We offer free, confidential case evaluations to all potential clients. To set one up, please call 1-877-678-3400 toll-free or contact us through the Internet.