Antidepressants help with treatment of depression, study finds

Antidepressants do help in combating the mental health condition, a new study has found.

Researchers from the University of Oxford led the study in order to clarify the questions still hanging over the medicine effectiveness when it comes to treating adults with acute depression.

Nearly 120,000 people were examined, including people taking 21 commonly prescribed antidepressants, allowing researchers to reach the conclusion that the drugs were more effective than a placebo.

Some suggest that over a million more people per year should be treated for depression in the UK, through drugs or therapy.

Andrea Cipriani, from the university's Department of Psychiatry, said: "Under-treated depression is a huge problem and we need to be aware of that. We tend to focus on over-treatment but we need to focus on this."

Among the drugs with a higher level of efficacy were amitriptyline, mirtazapine and sertraline, while fluoxetine - more widely known as Prozac - was considered one of the least effective.

"These results should serve evidence-based practice and inform patients, physicians, guideline developers, and policy makers on the relative merits of the different antidepressants," the paper says.

Professor Carmine Pariante, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "This meta-analysis finally puts to bed the controversy on antidepressants, clearly showing that these drugs do work in lifting mood and helping most people with depression."

Last year, NHS Digital statistics revealed the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants went up from 59.5 million to nearly 63.6 million between October 2015 and September 2016.

The research, which took place between 2012 and 2017, is published in The Lancet.