Workplace Blues Got You Down? Take a Sugar Pill

Sugar pills and placebos worked just as well as some anti-depressants, doctors found.

by / May 13, 2002
A new study has found that in the majority of clinical trials conducted by drug companies in recent years, sugar pills have done as well, if not better than antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft according to the Washington Post.

Arif Khan, a Seattle based doctor, analyzed 96 trials for antidepressants conducted between 1979 and 1996 and found that in a majority of them, the results of the antidepressant could not be distinguished from that of the sugar pill or placebo.

Moreover, to approve a drug like Prozac or Paxil, the FDA requires that drug manufacturers submit two separate trials that show positive results. Prozac required five separate trails to come up with two that were positive, according to Khan. Paxil and Zoloft needed even more to come up with two that showed the positive results the FDA demands.

There has been a growing trend for doctors to prescribe antidepressants. The number of doctor visits for depression has skyrocketed from 14 million in 1987 to almost 25 million in 2000. And in nine out of ten cases, medications like were prescribed.

"We like to think we give people treatments, and they get better," Andrew Leuchter, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA, told the Washington Post. "We have this fallacy of success, but we don't know in any individual why they get better."

Job-related stress or depression, the new research seems to suggest, might be better treated with improved communication and problem solving to eliminate sources of job upsets rather than seeking to medicate away job-related blues.

Apparently there is no medical magic bullet for depression that works for most people any better than a sugar pill.
Blake Harris Editor
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