New York: People with mild depression may benefit from taking antidepressants, suggests a new analysis of past studies that compared symptoms in people on the drugs to those given drug-free placebo pills.Some earlier reports had suggested that antidepressants generally only improve mood in people with severe depression.But that might be because those studies weren`t precise enough to pick up on smaller changes in symptoms that can still make a difference for people with milder forms of the disease, researchers said."I think there`s a valid concern... that if someone has not-that-severe depression that hasn`t lasted that long, maybe it will get better itself or with therapy," said Dr. David Hellerstein, from the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, who worked on the study.Still, he said the question of whether or not to prescribe medication shouldn`t necessarily come down to how severe the depression is, but how long symptoms have lasted.People with "transient depression" that will improve with diet or exercise or after a few weeks of therapy "shouldn`t be taking the risk of being on meds," he told Reuters Health."But people who have more persistent depression should be evaluated for treatment and medicine should be one of the options," even when the depression is more modest.Hellerstein and his colleagues collected data from six studies done at the state`s psychiatric institute between 1985 and 2000. Those included 825 people with non-severe, long-lasting depression enrolled in trials that compared symptoms with antidepressant treatment versus a placebo.In three of the six studies, patients taking an antidepressant improved more on a widely-used scale of depression symptoms and severity than those taking a placebo, and in four studies, a higher percentage of patients taking antidepressants went into remission, meaning they were no longer considered to have clinically-significant depression.
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