Posted by Dana Hinders on January 6, 2012
Drugs are created by scientists working in laboratories, but they’re made successful through the work of advertisers and marketing representatives. Drug manufacturers spend billions of dollars each year to convince us that their products are superior to their competitors. In the case of anti-depressants, however, a recent study conducted at the Danube University in Austria indicates that all of the major medications are pretty much equally effective at treating depression. The study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), and other types of medicines that target neurotransmitters in the brain.
If all of the drugs are equally effective at treating depression, how do women know which anti-depressant is the right choice? Essentially, it’s a matter of trial and error. Different medications cause different side effects, but it’s impossible to know how a patient will respond to a particular drug without trying it first. Some anti-depressants may cause a woman to gain weight, while other anti-depressants may cause a decrease in sexual desire. Restlessness and nausea are also common anti-depressant side effects that can be bothersome for many patients.
Another difference in medications lies in the possible risk of birth defects. Citalopram, sold under the brand name Celexa, has been linked to birth defects of the brain and skull, a birth defect of the abdominal organs (omphalocele), septal heart defects, a condition that affects sutures on the head (craniosynostosis), and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). Sertraline, sold under the brand name Zoloft, has been associated with septal heart defects, PPHN, and omphalocele.
If you’re not wild about the idea of experimenting with powerful prescription medications in order to find something that treats your depression without bothersome side effects, remember that meditation, aromatherapy, yoga, acupuncture, and other alternative therapies can be very effective at treating mild to moderate depression. These treatments are also much less risky if you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant.