Again: If they help you, fine. Not a moral question but a medical one: Are anti-depressants perpetuating the very thing they’re supposed to help? Yet another reason I think Big Pharma should be nationalized:
This study “confirms that the full degree of harm of antidepressants is not reported,” says Joanna Moncrieff, a psychiatrist and researcher at University College London who was not involved in the study. “[These harms] are not reported in the published literature—we know that—and it appears that they are not properly reported in clinical study reports that go to the regulators and form the basis of decisions about licensing.”
The researchers struggled for many years to get access to the clinical trial reports, which are often withheld under the guise of commercial confidentiality. “All this secrecy actually costs human lives,” says Peter Gøtzsche, a clinician researcher at Cochrane and a co-author of the recent study. Eventually the EMA provided access after being publicly accused of mismanagement, but in the U.S. these documents remain inaccessible. “It’s deeply unethical when patients volunteer to benefit science, and then we let drug companies decide that we cannot get access to the raw data,” Gøtzsche says. “The testing of drugs should be a public enterprise.”
The fact that antidepressants may cause suicidal ideation has been shown before, and in 2004 the FDA gave these drugs a black box warning—a label reserved for the most serious hazards. The EMA has issued similar alerts. There are no labels about risks for aggression, however. Although hints about hostile behavior existed in case studies, the BMJ study was the first large-scale work to demonstrate an increase in aggressive behavior in children and adolescents. “This is obviously important in the debate about school shootings in the [U.S.] and in other places where the perpetrators are frequently taking antidepressants,” Moncrieff says.
Taken together with other research—including studies that suggest antidepressants are only marginally better than placebos—some experts say it is time to reevaluate the widespread use of these drugs. “My view is that we really don’t have good enough evidence that antidepressants are effective, and we have increasing evidence that they can be harmful,” Moncrieff says. “So we need to stop this increasing trend of prescribing them.”