Antidepressants Do Not Work On Dementia Symptons: Study

Attempting to use antidepressants to treat depression brought on by dementia may needlessly expose patients to harmful side effects. 

According to a new study published this month in The Lancet medical journal, the antidepressants Zoloft and Remeron had no effect on decreasing depression in dementia patients.

Researchers conducted a randomized trial of more than 300 dementia patients suffering from depression. They found that Zoloft and Remeron reduced depression at the same rate as a placebo, confirming earlier studies that suggested antidepressants were useless in the treatment of dementia depression.

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Zoloft belongs to a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs); a relatively new class of antidepressants which help reduce symptoms of depression by preventing certain nerve cells in the brain from re-absorbing the chemical serotonin.

SSRI antidepressants are commonly used by millions of Americans with depression. Although the drugs have been found to cause fewer side effects than older anti-depressants, research has shown that users of the drugs could also face an increased risk of suicides, and use during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of heart problems and birth defects.

Scientists did not detect an increase in mortality among users of antidepressants. The same number of patients died in the placebo group as died in the group given antidepressants over the same period of time.

In May another dementia study by U.S. researchers found that 75 percent of people on an SSRI antidepressant still suffered from symptoms of depression that the drugs should have alleviated, including sadness, insomnia and a decreased ability to concentrate.

3 Comments

  • ZobaSeptember 1, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Hey.I'm a 100% non synthetically-medicated pshtyocic kid. Diagnosed schizophrenic and have very serious positive symptoms and equally horrible negative symptoms. Here is what I do to keep on top of the depression that is one of my negative symptoms.1) Omega 3 Fish Oil. You may have to buy a brand manufactured for kids because adult brands don't tend to be filtered for mercury and you DEFINITELY wa[Show More]Hey.I'm a 100% non synthetically-medicated pshtyocic kid. Diagnosed schizophrenic and have very serious positive symptoms and equally horrible negative symptoms. Here is what I do to keep on top of the depression that is one of my negative symptoms.1) Omega 3 Fish Oil. You may have to buy a brand manufactured for kids because adult brands don't tend to be filtered for mercury and you DEFINITELY want a mercury-free product. 2) Multi-vitamins. Take something with a very high iron, vitamin D and magnesium.3) Exercise. If you're overweight, a healthier bodyweight will help you out. If you're not, exercise will still release endorphins. Personally when I'm at my worst I do yoga from flashcards, (this is when I cannot leave the house) boxing, and jumping jacks while a music channel (usually rock but I figure anything with a good beat that you like listening to when you're happy will work) is on. I also go running, when I'm not as bad, usually in a forest on warm days or at a beach on cold days, somewhere where I'll be alone with nature and my ipod. 4) Music. I mentioned the music channel & ipod above, but I also blare Queen, Bowling for Soup, Blink-182 and the All-American Rejects (aka nobody who sings about death, depression, suicide, sadness, or has a downbeat - less than 4/4 - track) and I HATE IT. It makes me MAD and MAD is better than depressed. It is more productive. ;]5) I force myself to do things I enjoy when I'm happy. I take a shower with the nice smelling soap and warm my towels on the radiator, I watch the funny episodes of Firefly and my favourite films and read magazines and This Book Will Save Your Life (A.M Homes - it's my favourite book). And if that sucks, I do the laundry and hoover. For me what works is just keeping moving. Then even if my whole day sucks and I can't bear it, the next day I can wake up to something good I've done and maybe feel better for it - or I have fond memories of my favourite movie etc.6) My favourite one - I read a book I've written. It's a big old book that I bought ages ago and when I'm happy, I write things I like in the book. Stupid stuff like, Xander from Buffy, and the sound from line arrays, and Diamond 4's, and sherbert lemons, and Harry Potter 1, and Gandhi quotes, things that have no consequence. If I'm only mildly down, it can get me back up.7) Meditation. Just sit quietly and concentrate on not concentrating on anything. If that makes sense. Don't allow yourself to have thoughts. Let your only thought be the thought that stops you thinking about anything. It sounds complex but you probably get my meaning. I like to meditate either in the dark in my room but the sunlight is good for depression so I force myself to sit in the middle of the living room with all the shades open in the sunlight. Therapy. Not from a councillor - from a psychologist, in particular a psychologist who is a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist - these people are like GOLDDUST. They will teach you how to get through your worst moments and help you tailor your recovery techniques to your own personality. Plus, they're also usually really cool not-up-themselves people. Interview a few different psych's if you can, and if they're in an office and wearing a suit, don't bother. Find someone who wears jeans and listens to the music you like and likes the TV shows you like, so you geniunely like their company and that way, you'll get a lot more out of your time with them - it'll be more friendly and less clinical. And that in itself will lift your mood.Please bear in mind that the most important thing to have to get over depression without meds is psychological resilience. You need to be the type of depressed person who says, this sucks, but I WILL GET THROUGH THIS. I WILL NOT GIVE UP.. I WILL FORCE MYSELF THROUGH THIS. If you're prone to giving up (I am not saying this is something to be ashamed of, it's just something to be honest about - I understand fully that being a can't-be-f*cking-bothered/don't-want-to-can't-make-me depressive is horrific and not something the depressive can help) you may have to come to terms with the fact that you may need a low dosage of meds (Citalopram is good in low doses) to get you through, and you may have to rely more heavily on therapy. Either way, get a CBT and remember you are not alone, and you should never give up on yourself.'When all you've got to keep is strong, move along. And even when your hope is gone, move along.'Good luck. Was this answer helpful?

  • ZoyaAugust 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I have panic attacks. Before I knew what they were, I would find my self in the ER with a nurse giivng me a shot of something that made me feel sooooooooo good. But doped up. I know what you mean about the drugs. ugh.Any way, now, when I feel a panic attack sneaking up on me, I address it at once! I take control before it does.I stop what I am doing and I try to think what triggered the panic atta[Show More]I have panic attacks. Before I knew what they were, I would find my self in the ER with a nurse giivng me a shot of something that made me feel sooooooooo good. But doped up. I know what you mean about the drugs. ugh.Any way, now, when I feel a panic attack sneaking up on me, I address it at once! I take control before it does.I stop what I am doing and I try to think what triggered the panic attack to start with.It could be something so small that one would not even think that it was any thing at all, like knowing that I was going to be home by my self the next day.When I pin pointed the cause of the attack I will sit down and close my eyes and breath in deep and let the air out slowly and then after I have a breathing exercise I will sing a song that I know, Peace, peace, wonderful peace coming down from above. I slowly sing this over and over and over and believe it with all my being that peace is entering in and the panic is going out. It works for me.We MUST let our mind know that we are in control!

  • StephenJuly 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I had dementia that was cured by Prozac. I don't know what would have happened to me if it wasn't for Prozac. I would probably be living under a bridge now. My dementia was caused by a job that required world-wide travel and constantly changing time zones.

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