BACKGROUND: Antidepressants remain controversial, partly due to allegations that disappointing results were buried and because of their modest average efficacy.<br/> AIM: To investigate bias in the antidepressant literature and the possibilities for predicting which patients with depression or anxiety do receive significant benefits from antidepressants.<br/> METHOD: We investigated bias by comparing information from the US Food and Drug Administration with the published literature. To predict response, we used patient data from randomized trials.<br/> RESULTS: Of all studies on depression or anxiety, 50% and 72% were positive, compared to 95% and 96% of all published studies. Safety outcomes were poorly reported in published articles and unpublished studies were often 'bundled' into pooled-trials publications with positive conclusions. We found an association between severity and antidepressant efficacy for some, but not all, anxiety disorders; previous research has found inconsistent evidence for this association for depression. Furthermore, patients with depression that showed early improvement were more likely to attain a good response, irrespective of which symptoms improved.<br/> CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate the severe impact of bias on the antidepressant literature. Severity and early improvement predicted a good response, but more information is needed to improve predictions. The increased accessibility of individual patient data will hopefully soon enable further progress in this area.
|Translated title of the contribution||Evidence-b(i)ased psychiatry: research into the evidence for effectiveness and safety of antidepressants in depression and anxiety disorders|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|