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BridgeTheGap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-29-08 11:52 AM
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Miracle Drug, Poison or Placebo?
Do antidepressants work? Effectiveness may vary from person to person
By Maia Szalavitz for MSN Health & Fitness

Modern antidepressants have been blamed for deadly shooting rampages and violent suicides. At the same time, theyve been hailed as miracle drugs that transform baleful Eeyore-types into bouncing Tiggers.

Now the latest review of the research claims that the effects of the drugs are only marginally different from those of placebos or sugar pills.

It seems impossible that the same substances in the same dosage ranges could simultaneously be poison, miracle drug and placebo. But the diversity of responses is remarkableand it points to the possibilities and pitfalls of personalized medicine.

For example, Stacy*, a 48-year-old woman who works in public relations in Ohio, describes her experience with Zoloft like this: It felt like water after being in the desert. It wasn't an experience of elation or anything bi-polar I'm far happier, more confident, far more relaxed.

But JoAnne*, a 35 year-old educator and dancer living in the Washington, D.C. area, reported that both Zoloft and Prozac produced muscle weakness and excessive sweatingand no benefits.

And Bernice*, a 53-year-old science journalist in California, described her experience with a Prozac-like antidepressant this way: It made me feel disconnected from myself and my family, so that I no longer felt any empathy and did not really care what happened to them or to me. It was a terrifying sensation of flatness and I definitely felt depressed and hostile in a way that I had never felt before.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-29-08 11:57 AM
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1. The problem is not the drugs alone, but the drugs & lack of good monitoring
And the drugs being over prescribed by practitioners who may not really have the expertise to monitor well.

The right Rx can be a blessing. The wrong Rx, gone unnoticed, can spell disaster. Sometimes it take time and experiment to get the right drug for a patient. Again, that takes close monitoring. Dispense and forget is not treatment.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-29-08 12:01 PM
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2. Cannabis works for me.
It could work for others too if it's medical benefits weren't constantly suppressed by the Federal Government and big pharma. I've only taken one prescription anti-depressant in my life (the old stop smoking drug), and it turned me into a raving lunatic within 3 days.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-29-08 12:09 PM
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3. The introduction of the new families of anti-depressants resulted in
the realization that the same outward symptoms may come from different problems within the brain. In other words, symptom set A may be caused by B or C and will therefore respond to drug B1 or Drug C1, but the only way to find out what you're dealing with is to try drug B1 and if need be Drug C1. It's a weird backward diagnosis that can be determined only by getting a successful response to treatment.
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MannyGoldstein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-29-08 12:29 PM
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4. It Also Depends On Which Antidepressant
My guess is that studies reviewing specific antidepressants might find a range of efficacy.

For example, Bupropion (aka Wellbutrin and Zyban) is very effective, has almost no bad side effects, and several generally good side effects (e.g., weight loss). By contrast, the SSRIs (Prozac et al) have significant side effects that could cause depression - weight gain, tiredness, sexual dysfunction, etc.

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