Using antidepressants regularly may not make you happier compared to people with depression who do not take the drugs, finds a study.
While studies have shown the efficacy of antidepressant medications for treatment of depression disorder, these medications' effect on patients' overall well-being and health-related quality of life remains controversial.
Now, researchers from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia found that antidepressants are not associated with significantly better health-related quality of life.
Their findings, published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, showed that use of antidepressants was associated with some improvement on the mental component of SF-12 -- the survey tracking health-related quality of life.
However, when this positive change was compared to the change in the group of people who were diagnosed with depressive disorder but did not take antidepressants, there was no statistically significant association of antidepressants with either the physical or mental component of SF-12.
In other words, the change in quality of life seen among those on antidepressants over two years was not significantly different from that seen among those not taking the drugs.
"Although we still need our patients with depression to continue using their antidepressant medications, long-term studies evaluating the actual impact for pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions on these patients' quality of life is needed," said the researchers led by Omar Almohammed from the varsity.
"With that being said, the role of cognitive and behavioural interventions on the long term-management of depression needs to be further evaluated in an effort to improve the ultimate goal of care for these patients; improving their overall quality of life," he added.
Over the duration of the study, on average there were 17.47 million adult patients diagnosed with depression each year with two years of follow-up, and 57.6 per cent of these received treatment with antidepressant medications.
The study was not able to separately analyse any subtypes or varying severities of depression. The team said that future studies should investigate the use of non-pharmacological depression interventions used in combination with antidepressants.