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Nearly Half of Antidepressants Used for Non- Depression-Related Conditions

Kaitlynn Martin6 months ago

New research from Canadais reveals just how widespread off-label prescriptions has become. It was found that nearly half of antidepressants prescriptions reviewed were not for depression-related conditions, but actually for disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks.

Overview of the Antidepressant Study

Accordign to Tech Times, the off-label prescribing is not illegal, yet it is not promoted by the FDA either. McGill University experts went out to investigate just how often these antidepressants are being prescribed.

Jenna Wong, lead professor for the study, and the researchers looked at about 10 years of medical records. These records included 102,000 antidepressant prescriptions, the drugs prescribed, and the reason for presction.

It was found that only 55 percent of these antidepressants were actually used to treat depression in patients. The rest were used to treat other conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and panic disorders. 30 percent of the prescriptions fit the criteria for off-label use. Wong states she was surprised by the extent of the indications.

More Information on Off-Labeling

  • According to Robyn Tamblyn, senior author the study, the concern boils down to whether off-label drugs used to treat other conditions are actually effective. She claims these doctors are prescribing in the dark.
  • Psychiatrist Dr. Peter Kramer specializes in depression, however. He states that antidepressants have a wide range of potential uses, outside of the label. These drugs are more active in the nervous system. 
  • Tamblyn believes that more research and trials need to be conducted on this off-label use in order to fully prove or rule out the effectiveness of this drug.
  • The United States antidepressant use has actually gone up almost 400 percent from 1988-1994, and 2005-2008. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states 11 percent of teens and adults use antidepressants.

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