Antidepressants Do Not Help Improve Quality of Life in the Long Run

According to a study, long-term antidepressant use is not linked to a significant improvement in health-related quality of life in comparison to individuals having depression who don’t use antidepressants.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265928

It’s commonly known that depression significantly impacts the health-related quality of life of sufferers. Although research has found antidepressant medications to be effective for treating depression, the effects of these medications on overall health-related quality of life and well-being are still debatable.

For this study, data was used from the US  Medical Expenditures Panel Survey, a longitudinal study tracking health services that Americans make use of. Any individual having a depression disorder diagnosis was identified in the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey files.

There were an average of 17.47 million adult individuals diagnosed with depression every year throughout the study with 2 years of follow-up, and 57.6% of these individuals received antidepressant medication treatment.

Antidepressant use was linked to some mental component improvement in the survey that tracks the health-related quality of life known as SF-12. When comparing this positive change to the change in depressive disorder diagnosed individuals who were not taking antidepressants, there was however no antidepressant association with either the mental or physical component of SF-12 that was statistically significant.

This means that there was no significant difference in the quality of life change observed in individuals using antidepressants over 2 years to that observed in individuals not taking the antidepressants. Any depression subtypes or variations in the severity of depression were not able to be separately analyzed.

The researchers say that although patients with depression still need to continue taking their antidepressants, long-term studies assessing the actual non-pharmacological interventions and pharmacological impact on the quality of life of these patients are needed. The role of behavioral and cognitive interventions in long-term depression management needs to be further looked at to improve the primary goal of care for these individuals which is improving the overall quality of life.

Major Classes Of Antidepressants Infographic

Image Source – compoundchem

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