Antidepressant Pros and Cons

At least $12 billion worth of drugs to treat depression and anxiety were sold last year.

That's almost 75 percent more than just 4 years ago. A recent consumer reports survey found drug therapy has both pros and cons.

Call for action reporter Betty Sexton took a look at both sides.

Consumer Reports, in one of the largest surveys of its kind, asked about six of the top selling antidepressants. Dr. Marvin Lipman says the results show adverse side effects are much higher than medication package inserts note.

Lipman says, "We found that many of the people actually stopped taking their medications because of intolerable side effects."

And Consumer Reports' survey also showed side effects were common.

Forty percent of respondents suffered from decreased sexual interest or performance.

Other side effects include drowsiness and weight gain. Respondents found one drug, Wellbutrin, did have a lower level of side effects, but survey results also showed it was less effective at relieving symptoms.

On the plus side, Consumer Reports findings show drug therapy relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety faster than talk therapy.

And often, medication was very effective. The majority of people who described their therapy as mostly medication had good outcomes.

And the consumer reports' survey confirms what this pharmacist has seen firsthand, that it often takes trial and error to find the right drug

Consumer Reports says the survey also found growing concern about teens being given antidepressants and a possible link to suicide.

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