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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Drugs help mild depression

5th May 2009

Researchers have said that antidepressant medication should be used to treat people who have "mild to moderate" depression and not only given to people with severe symptoms.


The results of the NHS-funded study of 200 patients contrasts with current guidelines, which advise GPs not to prescribe medication - known as SSRIs - for patients with mild depression.

The study's head Professor Tony Kendrick, a GP and researcher at the University of Southampton, said that although National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines told GPs not to prescribe medication in milder cases, doctors often did issue prescriptions.

"Just because someone has mild depression does not mean it is a mild illness, because it can cause them to be off work for months," he said.

"And often you don't have psychological treatments to offer because they're not available so you end up prescribing quite frequently."

The study examined patient cases at 115 practices across England who had been depressed for two months and had not been given any medication or received counselling.

50% of the patients were given the standard treatment of four "follow-up" appointments with their GP over a three month period to find out how they were faring, while the remaining half had the same appointment schedule plus antidepressants.

One in seven patients who were given medication demonstrated "significant improvement" by the end of the three month period.

Professor Andrew Tylee, an expert in primary care mental health at King's College London, who was involved in the study, said the research proved SSRIs could be helpful in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.

"The team do hope that NICE will take this finding into account in their current revision of their depression guideline,"  he said.


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Rebekah Beddoe

Wednesday 6th May 2009 @ 9:03

Your report appears very one-sided and I would, as I imagine would others, be interested to know why you have conspicuously omitted this information (below) regarding why NICE guidelines are unlikely to be changed as reported, a day earlier than your article, by the BBC:
. . . Dr Tim Kendall, joint director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, threw doubt on whether the guidelines would alter.
"I think using drugs for mild to moderate depression doesn't make much sense because you're risking a lot of side effects," he said.
"Self-help approaches improve people's self-reliance."
He said the evidence base suggested psychological therapies were best in mild to moderate cases of depression and the latest research may have picked up a placebo effect.

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