A colleague sent me this news item about research that shows SSRIs DON’T actually work – and they also ruin your sleep (bear with me – this is a good one).
BARCELONA, Spain — September 1, 2008. A Scottish study — Long-Term Antidepressant Treatment Without Active Management Hardly Induces Remission: presented at ECNP By Judith Moser, MD — identified a group of patients in primary care who are on long-term and stable treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). A substantial proportion of patients displayed prevailing residual depressive and anxiety symptoms as well as sleep problems in spite of their treatment.
Alan Wade, MD, CPS Clinical Research Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, presented the study at a poster session on September 1 here at the 21st European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress.
Patients who were prescribed standard doses of antidepressants by their general practitioners without active management due to repeat prescriptions were identified from prescribing records in the West of Scotland.
Patients were invited to complete a questionnaire; 316 out of 893 questionnaires were completed and returned (35%). Each patient completed a Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Simple Laekert questionnaires enquired about specific sleep symptoms; furthermore, the response to individual questions was analysed.
If patients are to have a good quality of life, it is important that the antidepressant treatment leads to remission with a minimal number of residual symptoms. Nevertheless, as the HADS results showed, most of the patients still displayed significant residual symptoms, despite the long-term treatment. Seventeen percent of patients still showed severe depression and 29% severe anxiety. No significant association was reported between the duration of SSRI treatment and the mean anxiety and depression scores.
Anxiety and sleep symptoms were prominent in over half of the population and interfered with the patients’ daily lives as reported by them. Only a minority of patients were satisfied with their sleep, and 29% perceived their sleep problem as a significant stressor.
The majority of patients (61.19%) had not reported their sleep problems to the general practitioner. Of those who had, 50.59% received a hypnotic medication. Treatment of insomnia often turned out to be helpful but led to long-term use in half of the patients. “The patients adjusted their lifestyles to this chronic illness,” Dr. Wade concluded. “They are just not actively treated well enough to get really well, so there are several questions to be asked in the future.”
Funding for this study was provided by Servier.
If only there was a new anti depressant that didn’t ruin your sleep… oh hold on… what’s this I wrote about in May this year when Depression Alliance found themsleves helping in the marketing effort for Valdoxan:
Interestingly, French company Servier, makes Valdoxan (agomelatine) which is an antidepressant, but with added qualities. Says Servier
“the drug’s unique profile could make it an exciting and innovative
product, but it will face stiff competition from top-selling
antidepressants already established in the market… As well as treating
the main symptoms of depression, the drug also helps to
improve daytime alertness by normalising the timing and continuity of
sleep, a problem that Servier says is common in patients.
That’s handy. So Valdoxan could be just the thing patients need – as
the new survey from Depression Alliance has discovered that sleep
disturbance is a real problem. But hold on, The development of this survey and the report into its findings were undertaken in partnership with and funded by Servier Laboratories Limited.
That’s a bit of a coincidence isn’t it?
And here’s another coincidence – Servier Laboratories this week [02 March 2006] confirmed the UK agency support behind its new anti-depressant, Valdoxan. Athena Medical PR
secured the contract to steer the brand to market. The drug is the
French firm’s first foray into the UK mental health arena, with
Valdoxan poised to enter the controversial and crowded market ‘during
Valdoxan combines antidepressant efficacy with ‘favourable’ side effects – it has the additional benefit of sleep regulation in depressive patients, according to data unveiled last year.
Well that’s two pieces of ‘research’ (that Servier has funded) that will useful in its sales pitch for Valdoxan. I bet boxes and boxes of reprints of both pieces of ‘research’ have been mailed to GPs and handed over by Servier drug reps as they pass out the free samples of the new wonder antidepressant, Valdoxan.