Efficacy of antidepressants: bias in randomized clinical trials and related issues.


Journal Article (Review)

Countless antidepressant randomized trials were conducted and showed statistically significant benefits of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) over placebo. Meanwhile, critics are increasing regarding the efficacy of antidepressants in the treatment of MDD because at least a proportion of clinical trials could be hampered by various biases. In contrast, number of failed trials is increasing in the recent years which have made developing psychiatric medications progressively more time-consuming and expensive. Areas covered: Biases and related issues in clinical trials for antidepressants can be identified as an important common contributing factor to the two paradoxical phenomenon. This review identifies possible biases that can occur before, during, and after clinical trials of antidepressant. Expert commentary: Recent studies not only may over-estimate efficacy of antidepressants, but also may exaggerate placebo response because of various biases. Sponsorship and publication biases have been one of the targets of the criticism and ethical debate. Thus, initiating new trend of research by re-organizing academic-industry partnership will be the most important task in the next five years.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Wang, S-M; Han, C; Lee, S-J; Jun, T-Y; Patkar, AA; Masand, PS; Pae, C-U

Published Date

  • January 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 11 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 15 - 25

PubMed ID

  • 28893095

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28893095

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1751-2441

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1751-2433

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/17512433.2017.1377070


  • eng