19 September 2019
A new study published by Professor Glyn Lewis at UCL has found that the commonly used antidepressant sertraline has little or no effect on depressive symptoms after six weeks, but does have positive effects on anxiety and wellbeing.
Prof Wendy Burn, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "This trial is an interesting and important addition to the evidence base underpinning the use of antidepressants for patients suffering from depression and anxiety.
"Sertraline had beneficial effects on anxiety and wellbeing measures greater than placebo at six weeks, although this was not so for depression. There was some reduction of depressive symptoms at 12 weeks.
"These data are important because they confirm the benefits of treatment with an antidepressant in a group of patients in NHS general practice and will be reassuring for both doctors and patients. It also shows that antidepressants are not the solution for everyone and reinforces the importance of combining them with other options such as talking therapies and social prescribing.
"As with all antidepressants, it is vital that people prescribed them are monitored closely, made aware of possible side effects and know how to seek help if they experience them."