A new study has found that using antidepressants is not associated with significantly better health-related quality of life than those with depression who do not take the drugs, according to Science Daily.
The study, published recently in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, was conducted by Omar Almohammed of King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, and his colleagues.
It is clear that depression has a significant impact on a person’s health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Studies have shown that antidepressants are effective at treating depression, but the effect of these medications on patients’ overall well-being and HRQoL remains controversial.
The researchers used data from the 2005-2015 United States Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (MEPS). People with a diagnosis of depression were identified in the MEPS files.
During the study period, there were more than 17 million adult patients diagnosed with depression each year with two years of follow-up. Of those, just over 57% received treatment with antidepressants.
The study found that using antidepressants was associated with some improvement in the mental component, but when this positive change was compared to those who were diagnosed with depression but did not take antidepressants, there was no statistically significant association of antidepressants with either the physical or mental component.
The researchers explained that the change in the quality of life seen among people on antidepressants over two years was not significantly different from those who were not taking the drugs.
The authors said further research should investigate the use of non-pharmacological depression interventions used along with antidepressant drugs.
“Although we still need our patients with depression to continue using their antidepressant medications, long-term studies evaluating the actual impact of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions on these patients’ quality of life is needed,” the researchers said.
“With that being said, the role of cognitive and behavioral interventions on the long term-management of depression needs to be further evaluated in an effort to improve the ultimate goal of care for these patients; improving their overall quality of life,” they added.