Thursday, March 23, 2006

Is the glass half empty or half full? Drugs cure/don't cure depression in half of all patients

I guess it really does come down to whether you're an optimist or a pessimist.

Antidepressants fail to cure the symptoms of major depression in half of all patients with the disease even if they receive the best possible care, according to a definitive government study released yesterday.

Significant numbers of patients continue to experience symptoms such as sadness, low energy and hopelessness after intensive treatment, even as about an equal number report an end to such problems -- a result that quickly lent itself to interpretations that the glass was either half empty or half full.

The $35 million taxpayer-funded study was the largest trial of its kind ever conducted. It provided what industry-sponsored trials have rarely captured: Rather than merely ask whether patients are getting better, the study asked what patients most care about -- whether depression can be made to disappear altogether.

This is really the Fetching Mrs. Wookie's area of expertise, and she suggested I note that different meds get different results. So just because you may not be getting the result you want out of your current anti-depressant, there are other to chose from that operate by a different mechanism of action that may work for you instead.

On a separate note, why was this funded by the government? I mean, I know researches get grants from the government, but they can get them from the pharmaceutical companies too.

As far as the glass half full vs half empty... for full accuracy I'd want to know what's the glass filled with? If it's water then it's half full. But if it's beer then it's definitely half empty and you'd better hurry the hell up and buy me another round.