Initial Treatment With Placebo Not Harmful to Teens

From Medscape:

Initial Treatment With Placebo Not Harmful to Teens Participating in Antidepressant Trials, Study Suggests

January 30, 2009 — Initial treatment with placebo in teens participating in antidepressant trials is not harmful, and in fact, adolescents who receive placebo prior to active treatment fare as well as those who receive immediate active treatment, a new study suggests.

Data from the 36-week Treatment for Adolescents With Depression Study (TADS) reveal that teens randomized to 12 weeks of placebo followed by active treatment had adverse events and end-of-study treatment response similar to those who received active treatment for the entire study duration.

“Our findings suggest that patients treated with placebo acutely are not harmed and that placebo is an acceptable intervention in randomized controlled trials with adolescents who have moderate or severe depression,” lead author Betsy D. Kennard, PsyD, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, told Medscape Psychiatry.

This is the case dear friends, because the truth is that antidepressants virtually never out-perform placebo by any sigficant margin in any case. The reporting of this news and then still pretending there is any advantage to using antidepressants, is again, criminal in my opinion.  These kids who are doing fine on placebo are promptly put on active drug as soon as possible they say. Can’t let them go untreated!! Why can’t people see what is right in front of their faces?? It’s so hard for me to fathom. And sometimes when I think about all the damage caused it just sickens me so profoundly I don’t know what to do.

But I guess, I’m here doing what I need to do. For now.

Have a nice weekend.

2 thoughts on “Initial Treatment With Placebo Not Harmful to Teens

  1. so true, the funny thing is that the drug companies have spent billions of dollars advertising anti-depressants.

    i’d love to get my hands on their marketing campaigns’ research. as i see it, the most effective message has been that depression is entirely biological, therefore only a biological solution can help… take our drugs…

    and then they throw in the whole guilt issue, like if you tell someone that they can actually take active steps to combat depression you are blaming the victim, or some such nonsense.

    the fact is, the most effective thing for severe depression is walking at least 2 miles a day. omg, who would have thunk it.

    as a person who has had long standing bouts of severe depression, the most destructive thing for me to believe was that i could do nothing about it. as soon as i believed that, the worse my depression got. i catastrophized my depression by believing it would never go away. the result was my inability to work or go to school. i allowed depression to disable me.

    to me, the most interesting fact about depression and anti-depressants is that since their introduction in the early 1980’s, the disability rate due to depression has doubled across the population. given the information that anti-depressants are no more effective than placebo, i have little doubt that the mass marketing campaign to convince people that nothing can be done about depression has in fact influenced the increased disability rate.

    think about that, the drugs companies spend billions to solidify their market, what a major success if the campaign itself teaches helplessness and actually makes people more depressed and thus more dependent on drugs that don’t work.


    1. Ryan,
      that’s a very astute analysis of exactly what is going on in my opinion.
      and it’s not just with depression that it happens but across the whole spectrum of psychiatric diagnosis.
      the key point in your piece I believe is the marketing of helplessness….absolutely.
      thanks for your contribution.


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