New research claims antidepressants don't increase quality of life

A new meta-analysis has shown a lack of long-term improvement in health-related quality of life when taking antidepressants.

Published Fri, Apr 22 2022 1:46 AM CDT   |   Updated Mon, May 16 2022 12:33 AM CDT

A study on antidepressant effectiveness titled "Antidepressants and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for patients with depression: Analysis of the medical expenditure panel survey from the United States" has been published in the journal PLOS One.

New research claims antidepressants don't increase quality of life 01 |

The study is a meta-analysis that examined data from the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (MEPS) spanning 2005 to 2016. MEPS is a longitudinal study that follows 17.47 million adults in the United States diagnosed with depression, of which 57.6% take antidepressants. Females made up 67.9% of the MEPS cohort, and 60.5% were on antidepressants compared to 51.5% of males.

Within the MEPS cohort, mental health saw a general improvement over time. However, there was no detectable difference between those taking antidepressants and those who didn't. The researchers concluded that antidepressants do not "continue to improve patients' HRQoL [health-related quality of life] over time" and that instead of focusing on the short-term effects of pharmacotherapy, future studies should consider longer-term impacts.

"The ultimate goal of using antidepressant medications or psychotherapy is to improve patients' important outcomes, such as HRQoL. The real-world effect of using antidepressant medications does not continue to improve patients' HRQoL over time, as the change in HRQoL was comparable to patients who did not use any antidepressant medications," the researchers wrote.

"Future studies should not focus on the use of pharmacotherapy only, it should rather investigate the long-term impact of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions, such as behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, social support sessions, education, or combined interventions, on these patients' HRQoL," the researchers concluded.

You can read more from the study here.

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