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Study: 25 percent of antidepressants prescribed for no legitimate reason

Wednesday, February 09, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: antidepressants, medical fraud, health news

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(NaturalNews) Researchers from the University of Manitoba (UM) in Canada recently found that more than a quarter of people who take antidepressant drugs like Prozac and Zoloft do not even have any of the conditions for which the drugs were approved. Data shows that doctors routinely prescribe antidepressants to patients for off-label purposes that the drugs have never been shown to legitimately treat, and patients end up needlessly bearing the brunt of serious side effects in the process.

"We cannot be sure that the risks and side effects of antidepressants are worth the benefit of taking them for people who do not meet criteria for major depression," said Jina Pagura, a psychologist and medical student at UM who contributed to the study. Her sentiment is precisely that of many others who fear that the careless prescribing of antidepressants to people who do not need them is leading to widespread health problems.

Gathering information from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiologic Surveys, which includes over 20,000 U.S. adults, researchers found that ten percent of interviewed patients had taken antidepressants withing the previous year. However, 25 percent of those had never even been diagnosed with any sort of condition for which such drugs would normally be prescribed.

"Reviews of claims records, which are diagnoses actually given by health care professionals, suggest that only about 50 percent of patients who are prescribed antidepressants receive a psychiatric diagnosis," said Dr. Mark Olfson, a psychiatrist at Columbia University in New York. "These findings raise questions about the clinical appropriateness of antidepressant treatment selection for many primary care patients."

A 2010 study published by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (UP) found that antidepressants do not even work for people with mild to moderate depression, which is the majority of depression cases (http://www.naturalnews.com/028498_antidepres...). Only in isolated cases of "very severe" depression do antidepressants exhibit any perceived benefits at all, and even then they come with so many serious side effects that they are hardly worth the risk.

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