New uppers: no improvement

The SSRI group of antidepressants – including fluoxetine and paroxetine – are no more effective and have no fewer side effects than the older tricyclic antidepressants, according to an overview of six double-blind studies (Curr Ther Res, 1993; 54).

This latest finding adds weight to an earlier paper (BMJ, 1993; 306: 683-7) which contradicted previous claims that SSRIs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (also known as 5-HT-blockers) – had considerable benefits over old-style antidepressants, including fewer side effects. The latest finding suggests that the severity of side effects from SSRIs may be greater than with tricyclic antidepressants.

‘Premature withdrawal from treatment due to adverse events was more frequent with SSRIs than with dothiepin (15.5 per cent compared with 5.6 per cent),’ the report concluded.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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