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Study says Americans over-prescribed for depression

May 13th, 2013

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have released a study concluding that depression is over-diagnosed and over-treated in American patients. The most popular form of medication for depression is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI antidepressants), such as Zoloft, Lexapro and Celexa.

In the study, most of the participants were identified in clinical settings as having depression and given SSRIs as medication. But researchers said only 38.4% of the patients actually met the 12-month criteria for depression.

Some doctors argue that the over-prescription of antidepressants could be harmful due to the drugs posing an increased risk of side effects, including severe birth defects among women who use SSRIs during pregnancy. SSRI antidepressant birth defects could include persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), brain defects, heart defects and other congenital birth defects.

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