Study Finds SSRI Antidepressants May Do More Harm Than Good
3 May 2012No Comments
New research has raised significant concerns about the widespread use of a class of drugs called SSRI antidepressants, which includes popular medications like Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft. In light of new information, researchers have concluded that the risks associated with these antidepressant drugs may outweigh the benefits, indicating that the medications may actually do patients more harm than good. SSRI antidepressant drugs represent some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States, used by millions of Americans to relieve depression and treat symptoms of certain mood disorders. If you believe you have been adversely affected by an SSRI antidepressant, contact an experienced SSRI antidepressant attorney today for legal help.
Risks Of SSRI Antidepressants May Outweigh Benefits
In a new study recently published online in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Psychology, U.S. and Canadian researchers reported that, when the entire body of research is taken into consideration, the class of antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are neither safe nor effective. Researchers examined data from a number of published and unpublished studies and found a long list of potential side effects associated with SSRI antidepressants. Among these risks are seizures, respiratory arrest, cardiovascular disease, stroke, birth defects, cognitive impairment, dementia, bone fractures, gastrointestinal illness, bleeding problems, suicidal behavior, death, and other problems.
In addition to this alarming list of risks, researchers also noted that the benefits of SSRI antidepressants may be overstated because of an imbalance between studies that are published and those they are not published. The study looked at several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted to the FDA, and found that when only published studies are considered, 95% of the studies indicate that SSRIs have a net positive benefit. However, when unpublished studies are also taken into account, the number of studies suggesting an overall benefit with SSRI antidepressant use drops to only 51%.
SSRI Risks May Lead To Antidepressant Side Effect Lawsuits
This new study challenges the entire premise of SSRI antidepressant treatment, suggesting that previous notions that depression comes from a brain malfunction may be misguided. “An alternate view is that current diagnostic criteria do not accurately distinguish between true instances of disorder and normal, evolved emotional responses to stressors,” the researchers wrote. This view suggests that treating depression patients with SSRI antidepressants may actually inhibit their ability to cope with stressors in their life. With this in mind, researchers involved in the study determined that the possible benefits of SSRIs are not worth the risks.
“It is widely believed that antidepressant medications are both safe and effective; however, this belief was formed in the absence of adequate scientific verification,” the researchers noted. “The weight of current evidence suggests that, in general, antidepressants are neither safe nor effective; they appear to do more harm than good.” Although SSRI antidepressants are some of the most widely used medications in the U.S. and have been found to cause fewer side effects than older antidepressant drugs, previous studies have found an increased risk of suicides in SSRI patients and use during pregnancy has been linked to serious birth defects in babies. A growing number of Zoloft lawsuits have been filed by families across the country on behalf of children born with devastating birth defects allegedly linked to the SSRI drug. The complaints allege that drug maker Pfizer failed to adequately warn about the possible risks of Zoloft birth defects in unborn children exposed to the medication in pregnancy.