According to a new study, there is no significant difference between three commonly prescribed drugs for depression. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are now very widely used in the treatment of depression. They raise levels of a brain chemical called serotonin that plays an important role in mood. But there is no evidence on how individual SSRIs compare with one another. However, a new study by researchers at Cleavland University reveals that there is little difference between three SSRIs - paroxetine, fluoxetine and sertraline.
The study covered nearly 300 patients who took one of the three drugs. More than two thirds of the participants recovered from their depression during nine months of treatment - but it made little difference which drug they were on. This is good news - because individual patients may not respond to one of these SSRIs or find they have side effects. The doctor can now switch them to one of the others, knowing there is a good chance the alternative will produce the desired improvement.