Antidepressant drugs do not improve well-being in children and adolescents

July 7, 2014, Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

In an article published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics the effects of antidepressant drugs on well-being in children and adolescents are analyze.

Recent meta-analyses of the efficacy of second-generation for youth have concluded that such drugs possess a statistically significant advantage over placebo in terms of clinician-rated . However, no meta-analysis has included measures of quality of life, global mental health, , or autonomy.

Further, prior meta-analyses have not included self-reports of depressive symptoms. Studies were selected through searching Medline, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Central Register for Controlled Trials databases as well as GlaxoSmithKline's online trial registry, including self-reports of depressive symptoms and pooled measures of quality of life, global mental health, self-esteem, and autonomous functioning as a proxy for overall well-being.

Result showed a nonsignificant difference between second-generation antidepressants and placebo in terms of self-reported depressive symptoms. Further, pooled across measures of quality of life, global mental health, self-esteem, and autonomy, antidepressants yielded no significant advantage over placebo.

Even though limited by a small number of trials, this analysis suggests that antidepressants offer little to no benefit in improving overall well-being among depressed children and adolescents.

Explore further: Researchers conduct comprehensive review of treatments for depression in cancer patients

More information: Spielmans GI, Gerwig K. The Efficacy of Antidepressants on Overall Well-Being and Self-Reported Depression Symptom Severity in Youth: A Meta-Analysis. Psychother Psychosom 2014;83:158-164 . DOI: 10.1159/000356191

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