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Sugar pills for depression

2002-05-09 21:47:36+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

Sugar pills better than most anti-depressants:

The new research may shed light on findings such as those from a trial last month that compared the herbal remedy St. John's wort against Zoloft. St. John's wort fully cured 24 percent of the depressed people who received it, and Zoloft cured 25 percent -- but the placebo fully cured 32 percent.

[ related topics: Health Antidepressants ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-05-09 22:21:17+00 by: Dan Lyke

Other worthwhile quote, and based on my previous experience one that every psychiatrist should have framed, on their wall:

"It speaks to the difficulty we have in classifying and identifying the disorders we deal with," said Thomas Laughren, who heads the group of scientists at the FDA that evaluates the medicines. "Psychiatric diagnosis is descriptive. We don't really understand psychiatric disorders at a biological level."

#Comment made: 2002-05-10 02:59:17+00 by: topspin

This kinda meta-analysis has been done before in other ways to show the effect of anti-depressants may be largely a placebo effect.

I see this both ways. I don't wanna keep patients uninformed about their treatment, but I fear that doubt/disbelief is introduced in patients and that will negatively impact the outcome of treatment.

I can understand the "gee whiz" aspect of articles like this, but I fear this kind of publicity discourages folks from getting treatment for depression. If patients feel they will be treated with "ineffective" drugs, then they are less likely to seek treatment..... and treatment of some type appears to help.

#Comment made: 2002-05-10 15:50:28+00 by: Dan Lyke

This is one of the reasons I don't rail against homeopathy, many in my circle get benefits from it, so if they want to believe and it works for them, that's great.

What I would like to see is stronger research in how to enhance or bypass the placebo effects. Especially in the mental health fields.

#Comment made: 2002-05-10 17:14:06+00 by: sethg

Of course, the placebo effect may be a myth ...

#Comment made: 2002-05-10 20:00:19+00 by: Larry Burton

I've wondered from time to time if sometime in the future we might discover that sugar pills are actually true miracle drugs.

#Comment made: 2002-05-10 20:40:15+00 by: TC

Your right Larry! It's a sugar deficiency thats causing all these maladies.<giggle>

Dare I mention religion in this thread? People recieve huge benefits from belief, going to church and being prayed for.

#Comment made: 2002-05-11 06:05:50+00 by: jimbo2

I have always wondered if Drugs really are a solution to peoples problems.

It appears now with this new study it has put the field of "mental health" out of the science catagory. Per the article by Vedantam 9 out of 10 people who come in for treatment get psychiatric drugs. If these people can be helped without putting a mind altering drug in there system it could save probably billions of dollars paid by the tax payers. Instead of sending them to a pshyciatrist they could be sent to the local candy store for treatment by a competent clerk who could help them choose the right jelly beans-- for pennies on the dollar compared to psychiatric treatment and drugs. And furthermore the side effects of some of these drugs that can be pretty devastating on the patient. The side effects of the jelly beans would probably be pretty minor.

What is amazing to me is how few media outlets have published this story. To me it is a crime against troubled people who are taking these medications without a clue on the sham they have undergone. And a crime against the tax payer who is forking out a lot of doe to keep millions of people on drugs that can have major effects on moods and experiencing life with a mind altering substance.


#Comment made: 2002-05-13 12:02:21+00 by: meuon

Caffiene and sugar are both effective anti-depressants. And a few more favorites: Warp and XTZ are great, and I compared the labeled contents with similiar products at GNC and thay not only taste much better (yummy) but they seem to be much more potent for a lot less money.

#Comment made: 2002-05-13 13:54:20+00 by: TheSHAD0W

The study needs to be redone, adding gelatin pills to the list of substances tested. Gelatin (protein) has less of a biochemical effect on the body than sugar, and it would help determine whether the sugar itself is doing anything, or whether it is a true placebo effect operating.

#Comment made: 2002-05-13 15:47:58+00 by: topspin

Shadow, the dose of sugar in a placebo tablet is negligible.

There would be far less than a gram, likely, of sugar in a placebo tablet. For example, a coke has about 40 grams of sugar in it. Controlling a patient's daily diet to within +/- 1 gram of sugar (given a dose of 2 or 3 tablets daily) for several weeks or months would be, to put it mildly, rather difficult.