Study: Antidepressants over-hyped for treating anxiety

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A new peer-reviewed study is casting doubts on the efficacy of second-generation antidepressants for treating anxiety, placing much of the blame on various publishing bias of other works.

The study, published in the March 25 online edition of JAMA Psychiatry, asserts that despite their possible valid role in treating some anxiety disorders, “studies supporting the value of these medications for that purpose have been distorted by publication bias, outcome reporting bias and ‘spin',” according to Oregon State University researchers. Oregon Health & Science University and the University of Groningen in The Netherlands also participated in the study, which found that many antidepressants being used for anxiety were “not significantly more useful than a placebo.”

“The level of bias we found did not change the fact that some antidepressants can have value in treating anxiety disorders,” added Craig Williams, a professor in the Oregon State University/Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy, and co-author of the study.