Skip to content

    Depression Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Newer Antidepressants Work Equally Well, Study Finds

    But Medicines Do Differ in Side Effects, How Quickly They Work

    Newer Antidepressants: Differences continued...

    There weren't enough data to draw conclusions about differences among the medications concerning some side effects, such as suicidal thoughts. The researchers say suicide is ''relatively rare" and affects one in 8,000 patients treated with the drugs. They agree with an FDA analysis that finds the risk increases in children and young adults but not in people older than age 24 who take the drugs.

    In seven studies, Wellbutrin was linked with less sexual dysfunction than Lexapro (escitalopram), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac, or Zoloft.

    Remeron (mirtazapine) was associated with greater weight gain than Celexa, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft in seven studies.

    "Mirtazapine in particular has a high risk for weight gain," Gartlehner says. However, he says, weight loss can accompany depression, so for some patients this could be an advantage.

    Remeron worked faster than Celexa Paxil, Prozac, or Zoloft in seven studies.

    Other second-generation antidepressants approved in the U.S. include Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Serzone (nefazodone), Desyrel (trazodone), and Effexor (venlafaxine).

    Choosing an antidepressant should be done after a conversation between the doctor and the patient, Gartlehner says. They should consider side effects, costs, and other factors.

    Newer Antidepressants: Perspective

    The new analysis is not surprising and echoes previous work, says Philip Muskin, MD, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and a member of the American Psychiatric Association.

    Muskin reviewed the study findings for WebMD.

    "I think the paper is very positive," he says. Of the second-generation drugs, he says, "They all work."

    However, it's important to point out that no one drug works for everyone, he says: "So if one doesn't work, go to another."

    Or if one works but causes side effects, he says it is important for the doctor and patient to talk about that and choose another.

    Among patients prescribed antidepressants, he says, sexual problems and weight gain are at the top of the list of feared side effects.

    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    contemplation
    Differences between feeling depressed and feeling blue.
    jk rowling
    Famous people who've struggled with persistent sadness.
     
    depressed man sitting on hallway floor
    Learn the truth about this serious illness.
    Sad woman looking out of the window
    Tips to stay the treatment course.
     
    unhappy teen boy
    Health Check
    jk rowling
    Slideshow
     
    Pills with smiley faces
    Article
    Teen girl huddled outside house
    Article
     
    Depressed man sitting in hospital hallway
    Article
    antidepressants slideshow
    Article
     
    pill bottle
    Article
    Winding path
    Article