While the authors of this meta-study have been quick to point out that a lack of available quality data means the findings of this research could be skewed, there is nonetheless a significant body of evidence to suggest that up to 14 commonly prescribed antidepressants might be ineffectual in children and young adults.
Published in The Lancet earlier this month, the study looked at what data was available for each drug in a collection of over one hundred published (and unpublished) trials and found that despite the rising use of antidepressants in the Western World, there is as of yet no cohesive “network of evidence” to suggest that antidepressants are effective in young patients.
The study looked at the treatment of major depression in young adults specifically, and included the following drugs: Amitriptyline, citalopram, clomipramine, desipramine, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, imipramine, mirtazapine, nefazodone, nortriptyline, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine. Among these are some of the most commonly recognised names (if you’re unfortunate enough to have ever seen a psych) – Lexapro, Prozac, Mirtazipine, Effexor and Elavil.
The study found that of all medications, good old fashioned Prozac was likely to be the most effective.
The study has underlined a significant amount of disconnection among the “entire web” of mental health and psychopharmacological research, calling for greater international and domestic cooperation everywhere to produce more accessible datasets for future research.
The findings are alarming, given that almost all psychological health strategies consider antidepressants a “go-to” treatment for young depressed Australians.