World J Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Jul 2:1-16. [Epub ahead of print]
Antidepressants: Controversies about their efficacy in depression, their effect on suicidality and their place in a complex psychiatric treatment approach.
Moller HJ. Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany.
The paper will highlight and discuss some of the important issues and controversies of current depression treatment like the efficacy of antidepressants, their effect on suicidality, their place in a complex psychiatric treatment strategy including psychotherapy and other psychosocial activities. The efficacy of antidepressants is clinically significant, but often monotherapy with one drug has to be followed by others or by comedication/augmentation therapy approaches. Psychosocial therapy, predominantly focused on psychotherapeutic strategies, can also contribute in a relevant way to the therapeutic success. Generally, antidepressants reduce suicidality, but under special conditions like young age or personality disorder, they can also be harmful in this respect. However, under the conditions of good clinical practice, the risk-benefit relationship of treatment with antidepressants can be judged as favourable. In addition, the paper tries to analyse the question about how to reach individualised, evidence and value oriented decision making in the complex treatment of depressive patients. The capacity of psychiatrists to individualise treatment decisions in terms of "the right drug/treatment for the right patient" is still restricted since there are currently not enough powerful clinical or biological predictors, which help to achieve this goal. There is hope that in future pharmacogenetics will contribute significantly to a personalised treatment. The ideal that all steps of classical decision making can be based on the strict rule of evidence-based medicine is far away from reality. Individualised decision making is so complex that the rigorous expectations of evidence-based medicine can hardly be fulfilled. Finally, it should be considered that clinical decision making is not only evidence but also value oriented.
PMID: 19575335 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]