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June 6, 2019 by Michael P. Hengartner | Acta Neuropsychiatrica

Scientific debate instead of beef; challenging misleading arguments about the efficacy of antidepressants

(Acta Neuropsychiatrica) – In a recent commentary with the polemic title ‘Antidepressnats; what’s the beef?’, Goodwin and Nutt argued that the benefit-risk ratio of antidepressants had been questioned inappropriately (Goodwin & Nutt, 2019). Personally I think it is a great achievement that our medical system can offer pharmacological treatments to people who suffer from serious clinical depression, and like Goodwin and Nutt I accept that antidepressants may be useful in some patients (Hengartner & Ploderl, 2018). Nevertheless, and this is where my position deviates from Goodwin and Nutt, I am also concerned about the overestimation of efficacy and the minimisation of harm (Hengartner, 2017). There are many misrepresentations in the commentary by Goodwin & Nutt, all of which systematically inflate the apparent benefits of antidepressants, and in this letter, I will discuss five of them.

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