A recent study led by Professor Irving Kirsch of Hull University in Northern England revealed that there may be more questions than answers when it comes to the usefulness of antidepressant medication in treating depression. The study examined the results of 47 clinical trials, and included results previously not made available by drug companies but obtained through freedom of information laws.
Results of this study showed that with the exception of severely depressed patients, the antidepressants Prozac, Seroxat, Effexor, and Serzone provided only a small increase in improvement over placebo. The results of the study have some questioning the prescription of antidepressant medication for all but the most severe cases. What does all this mean when it comes to the treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD)? Can drug companies be trusted?
Although this study raises some serious questions about the motivations of drug companies in general, I hope that we don't end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Medication can have its place in treating depression and anxiety, but perhaps that place is a lot smaller than was once thought. It is up to the medical community to evaluate profit-driven research with an objective eye, and perhaps to place more weight on studies that aren't backed by drug companies. And it is the responsibility of the medical community to translate this information to the public so that you and I can make informed decisions about the treatment that we receive.