Anti-depressants do help lift people’s mood, although their effects vary, according to a recent study published in the London-based medical journal The Lancet.
The study, which analysed data from 522 trials involving 21 common anti-depressants, found that all tested drugs were effective in treating depression.
Drugs were deemed effective if symptoms were reduced in at least half of patients over two months.
Lead author Dr. Andrea Cipriani said he was “very excited” about the findings, which he said provided a “final answer” to the controversy over the effectiveness of the drugs.
The study also gives a comparison of the 21 types of anti-depressants.
It says that agomelatine, amitriptyline, escitalopram, mirtazapine and paroxetine were the most effective anti-depressants among the ones that were tested.
Meanwhile, the well-known brand Prozac, or fluoxetine, was one of the least effective ones.
Led by Oxford University, the study hopes to settle doubts and debates over anti-depressants, which has been described by some people as conspiracies of big firms or no more effective than placebos.
WHO says depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected.
The world health body said depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life.
WHO also said close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29-year-olds.
The UN organisation also warned that the burden of depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise globally.
A World Health Assembly resolution passed in May 2013 has called for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at country level.(Xinhua/NAN)