Recent meta-analyses of the efficacy of second-generation antidepressants for youth have concluded that they possess anadvantage over placebo in terms of clinician-rated depressive symptoms, but no meta-analysis has included measures of quality of life, global mental health, self-esteem, or autonomy. Prior meta-analyses also did not include self-reports of depressive symptoms.
A recent article published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics reviewed the literature to understand the effects of antidepressant drugs on well-being in children and adolescents.
Results showed a non-significant difference between second-generation antidepressants and placebo in terms of self-reported depressive symptoms. Further, pooled across measures of quality of life, global mental health, self-esteem, and autonomy, antidepressants yielded no significant advantage over placebo.
Even though limited by a small number of trials, this analysis suggests that antidepressants offer little to no benefit in improving overall well-being among depressed children and adolescents.
The studies were selected through searching Medline, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Central Register for Controlled Trials databases as well as GlaxoSmithKline's online trial registry, including self-reports of depressive symptoms and pooled measures of quality of life, global mental health, self-esteem, and autonomous functioning as a proxy for overall well-being.
Citation: Spielmans GI, Gerwig K. The Efficacy of Antidepressants on Overall Well-Being and Self-Reported Depression Symptom Severity in Youth: A Meta-Analysis. Psychother Psychosom 2014;83:158-164 (DOI:10.1159/000356191
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