Resveratrol may have powerful Anti-depressant and Anti-anxiety effects

Resveratrol may have powerful Anti-depressant and Anti-anxiety effects

Resveratrol displayed neuroprotective effects against corticosterone by inhibiting the expression of PDE4. The research lays the groundwork for the use of the compound in novel antidepressants.

Xia Zhu, Wenhua Li, Yongkun Li, Wenhua Xu, Yirong Yuan, Victor Zheng, Hanting Zhang, James M. O’Donnell, Ying Xu, Xiaoxing Yin. The antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects of resveratrol: Involvement of phosphodiesterase-4D inhibition. Neuropharmacology, 2019; 153: 20 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.04.022

Resveratrol, pde4, phosphodiesterase, antidepressant, anxiolytic, anxiety, depression, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, antidepressant, Corticosterone, stress, antistress, neuroprotective, enzyme

Saffron as effective as stimulant medicines in treating ADHD

Saffron as effective as stimulant medicines in treating ADHD

Saffron as effective as stimulant medicines in treating ADHD

A new short-term pilot study in children and teens 6-17 years old with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has shown saffron to be as effective at controlling symptoms as methylphenidate, the commonly prescribed drug Ritalin.

Sara Baziar et al, Crocus sativus L. Versus Methylphenidate in Treatment of Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Randomized, Double-Blind Pilot Study, Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (2019). DOI: 10.1089/cap.2018.0146

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans Take Prescription Drugs, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center Find

Germ fighters, antidepressants, opioids top list; women, elderly likelier to have prescriptions

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CORRECTION: Corrects fourth most commonly prescribed drugs to drugs used to lower lipids rather than drugs to control blood pressure, and adds Olmsted Medical Center as study co-author.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center researchers say.. Antibiotics, antidepressants and painkilling opioids are most commonly prescribed, their study found. Twenty percent of patients are on five or more prescription medications, according to the findings, published online in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio and video of Dr. Jennifer St. Sauver talking about the study, visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

The findings offer insight into prescribing practices. The statistics from the Rochester Epidemiology Project in Olmsted County, Minn. are comparable to those elsewhere in the United States, says study author Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D., a member of the Mayo Clinic Population Health Program in the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

“Often when people talk about health conditions they’re talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes,” Dr. St. Sauver says. “However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants — that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature.”

Seventeen percent of those studied were prescribed antibiotics, 13 percent were taking antidepressants and 13 percent were on opioids. Drugs to lower lipids, such as cholesterol, came in   fourth (11 percent) and vaccines were fifth (11 percent). Drugs were prescribed to both men and women across all age groups, except high blood pressure drugs, which were seldom used before age 30.

Overall, women and older adults receive more prescriptions. Vaccines, antibiotics and anti-asthma drugs are most commonly prescribed in people younger than 19. Antidepressants and opioids are most common among young and middle-aged adults. Cardiovascular drugs are most commonly prescribed in older adults. Women receive more prescriptions than men across several drug groups, especially antidepressants: Nearly 1 in 4 women ages 50-64 are on an antidepressant.

For several drug groups, use increases with advancing age.

“As you get older you tend to get more prescriptions, and women tend to get more prescriptions than men,” Dr. St. Sauver says.

Prescription drug use has increased steadily in the U.S. for the past decade. The percentage of people who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44 percent in 1999-2000 to 48 percent in 2007-08. Spending on prescription drugs reached $250 billion in 2009 the year studied, and accounted for 12 percent of total personal health care expenditures. Drug-related spending is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, the researchers say.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.


About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit or

Journalists can become a member of the Mayo Clinic News Network for the latest health, science and research news and access to video, audio, text and graphic elements that can be downloaded or embedded.

Anti-depressant link to Clostridium difficile infection

Contact: Hilary Glover 44-020-319-22370 BioMed Central

Certain types of anti-depressants have been linked to an increase in the risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) finds a study in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Medicine. Awareness of this link should improve identification and early treatment of CDI.

CDI is one of the most common hospital acquired infections and is responsible for more than 7000 deaths annually in the USA alone. Several types of medications are thought to increase risk of CDI, including anti-depressants, and given that depression is the third most common medical condition worldwide a team from the University of Michigan investigated the exact nature of this risk.

Firstly the team studied Clostridium difficile infection in people with and without depression and found that people with major depression had a much higher chance of CDI (a 36% increase) than people without depression. This association held for a variety of depressive disorders and nervous or psychiatric problems. Age and family support also impacted risk of CDI. Older, widowed Americans were 54% more likely to catch C. difficile than their married peers. Just living alone increased risk by 25%.

Secondly they looked to see if there was an association between antidepressant medication and hospital acquired CDI. They found that use of most types of antidepressants did not affect CDI risk – out of the twelve drugs tested only mirtazapine and fluoxetine increased risk of CDI, in each case the risk was doubled.

People who have been prescribed these types of anti-depressants need to keep taking them unless otherwise advised by their physician. The researchers stress that it is not yet known whether the increase in CDI is due to microbial changes in the gut during depression or to the medications associated with depression.

Dr. Mary Rogers who led this study explained, “Depression is common worldwide. We have long known that depression is associated with changes in the gastrointestinal system.  The interaction between the brain and the gut, called the “brain-gut axis” is fascinating and deserves more study.  Our finding of a link between depression and Clostridium difficile should help us better identify those at risk of infection and perhaps, encourage exploration of the underlying brain-gut mechanisms involved.”


Media Contact

Dr Hilary Glover Scientific Press Officer, BioMed Central Mob: +44 (0) 778 698 1967

Notes to Editors

1. Depression, antidepressant medications, and risk of Clostridium difficile infection Mary A Rogers, M Todd Greene, Vincent B Young, Sanjay Saint, Kenneth M Langa, John Y Kao and David M Aronoff BMC Medicine (in press)

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central’s open access policy.

2. BMC Medicine is the flagship medical journal of the BMC series, publishing original research, commentaries and reviews that are either of significant interest to all areas of medicine and clinical practice, or provide key translational or clinical advances in a specific field. @BMCMedicine

3. BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector. @BioMedCentral

Are antidepressants overused? : 75% of those who write these definitions have links to drug companies.

Contact: Emma Dickinson 44-020-738-36529 BMJ-British Medical Journal

Head to head: Are antidepressants overprescribed?

Antidepressant prescriptions in the UK have increased by 9.6% in 2011, to 46 million prescriptions. Does this reflect overmedicalisation or appropriate treatment? Two experts debate the issue on today.

Glasgow GP, Dr Des Spence, thinks that “we use antidepressants too easily, for too long, and that they are effective for few people (if at all)”

He acknowledges that depression is an important illness, but argues that the current definition of clinical depression (two weeks of low mood – even after bereavement) “is too loose and is causing widespread medicalisation.” He also points out that 75% of those who write these definitions have links to drug companies.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines do not support the use of antidepressant medication in mild depression, nor necessarily as first line treatment of moderate depression. Instead, they promote talking therapies.

“But even if we accept that antidepressants are effective, a Cochrane review suggests that only one in seven people actually benefits. Thus millions of people are enduring at least six months of ineffective treatment,” he writes.

He is unconvinced by research showing that depression is undertreated and that antidepressants are being used appropriately, saying “the only explanation is that we are prescribing more antidepressants to ever more people.”     He also questions the view that depression is a mere chemical imbalance and concludes: “Improving society’s wellbeing is not in the gift of medicine nor mere medication, and overprescribing of antidepressants serves as a distraction from a wider debate about why we are so unhappy as a society. We are doing harm.”

But Ian Reid, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Aberdeen, says the claim that antidepressants are overprescribed “needs careful consideration.”

He argues that the rise in prescriptions is due to small but appropriate increases in the duration of treatment, rather than more patients being treated, and that increased use of antidepressants in other conditions “has compounded misunderstanding.”

He refutes the idea that GPs are handing out antidepressants “like sweeties” and points to a survey showing “cautious and conservative prescribing” among GPs in Grampian. He also points to “methodological flaws and selective reporting” of data showing that antidepressants are no better than placebo except in severe depression. Instead, he says, practice is supported by evidence.

Finally, he dismisses reports that limited availability of psychological therapy leads to inappropriate antidepressant prescription, saying there is no consistent relation between the availability of psychological therapies and antidepressant use.

“Antidepressants are but one element available in the treatment of depression, not a panacea,” he writes. “Like ‘talking treatments’ (with which antidepressants are entirely compatible), they can have harmful side effects, and they certainly don’t help everyone with the disorder. But they are not overprescribed. Careless reportage has demonised them in the public eye, adding to the stigmatisation of mental illness, and erecting unnecessary barriers to effective care.”

Common antidepressant drugs linked to lactation difficulties in moms

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Aaron Lohr 240-482-1380 The Endocrine Society

According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), women taking commonly used forms of antidepressant drugs may experience delayed lactation after giving birth and may need additional support to achieve their breastfeeding goals.

Breastfeeding benefits both infants and mothers in many ways as breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. The World Health Organization recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. This new study shows that certain common antidepressant drugs may be linked to a common difficulty experienced by new mothers known as delayed secretory activation, defined as a delay in the initiation of full milk secretion.

“The breasts are serotonin-regulated glands, meaning the breasts’ ability to secrete milk at the right time is closely related to the body’s production and regulation of the hormone serotonin,” said Nelson Horseman, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati and co-author of the study. “Common antidepressant drugs like fluoxetine, sertraline and paroxetine are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs and while they can affect mood, emotion and sleep they may also impact serotonin regulation in the breast, placing new mothers at greater risk of a delay in the establishment of a full milk supply.”

In this study, researchers examined the effects of SSRI drugs on lactation using laboratory studies of human and animal cell lines and genetically modified mice. Furthermore, an observational study evaluated the impact of SSRI drugs on the onset of milk production in postpartum women. In this study of 431 postpartum women, median onset of lactation was 85.8 hours postpartum for the SSRI-treated mothers and 69.1 hours for mothers not treated with SSRI drugs. Researchers commonly define delayed secretory activation as occurring later than 72 hours postpartum.

“SSRI drugs are very helpful medications for many moms, so understanding and ameliorating difficulties moms experience can help them achieve their goals for breastfeeding their babies,” said Horseman. “More human research is needed before we can make specific recommendations regarding SSRI use during breastfeeding.”


Other researchers working on the study include: Aaron Marshall, Laura Hernandez and Karen Gregerson of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio; Laurie Nommsen-Rivers of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio; Kathryn Dewey of the University of California at Davis; and Caroline Chantry of the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

The article, “Serotonin transport and metabolism in the mammary gland modulates secretory activation and involution,” will appear in the February 2010 issue of JCEM.

Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society’s membership consists of over 14,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied, and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at

68th Health Research Report 27 OCT 2009 – Reconstruction


Editors Top Five:

1. Pesticides exposure linked to suicidal thoughts

2. Why antidepressants don’t work for so many

3. Popular antidepressant associated with a dramatic increase in suicidal thoughts amongst men

4. Music makes you smarter

5. Neurologists Investigate Possible New Underlying Cause of MS (43 FOLD Increase)

In This Issue:

1. Don’t block folic acid in early pregnancy

2. Comfort food: Chocolate, water reduce pain response to heat

3. Popular antidepressant associated with a dramatic increase in suicidal thoughts amongst men

4. Promising novel treatment for human cancer — Chrysanthemum indicum extract

5. Mangosteen juice could protect health in the obese

6. Herbal tonic for radiotherapy

7. Drinking coffee slows progression of liver disease in chronic hepatitis C sufferers

8. GAO: FDA fails to follow up on unproven drugs

9. Amphetamine use in adolescence may impair adult working memory (Ritalin ?)

10. Pesticides exposure linked to suicidal thoughts

11. Long-term treatment with proton pump inhibitor (Antacids) can increase weight

12. Why antidepressants don’t work for so many

13. Neurologists Investigate Possible New Underlying Cause of MS (43 FOLD Increase)

14. Latest analysis confirms suboptimal vitamin D levels in millions of US children

15. Weekly and biweekly vitamin D2 prevents vitamin D deficiency

16. Music makes you smarter

17. Medical food reduces medical costs and use of anti-convulsant medication

18.Vegetables can protect unborn child against diabetes

Health Research Report

68th  Issue Date 27 OCT 2009

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano



Antidepressants linked to risk of brain bleeds: antidepressant users were about 40 to 50 percent more likely to suffer bleeding in or around the brain

Thu, 18 Oct 2012 00:18 GMT


Oct 18 (Reuters) – People using a common class of antidepressants may have slightly increased odds of suffering bleeding in the brain – though the risk is still very small, according to a Canadian study looking at more than 500,000 people.

The antidepressants are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and include widely used drugs like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa) and paroxetine (Paxil.)

The SSRIs have been linked to a risk of stomach bleeding, but studies have come to conflicting findings on whether SSRI users have any higher risk of hemorrhagic strokes, which happen when there is bleeding in or around the brain.

For the study, which appeared in the journal Neurology, researchers pooled the findings from 16 past studies involving more than 500,000 people who were on SSRIs or not.

Overall, antidepressant users were about 40 to 50 percent more likely to suffer bleeding in or around the brain.

But while those numbers might sound big, the risks to any one person would be “extremely low,” said lead researcher Daniel Hackam, an associate professor of medicine at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.

Based on these figures, he said, there would be one brain hemorrhage for every 10,000 people using an SSRI over one year.

What’s more, the findings do not prove that the antidepressants directly cause brain bleeds. It’s possible, Hackham said, that SSRI users are “sicker” than non-users or have habits that put them at greater stroke risk.

The researchers tried to account for those factors in their calculations, but some of the studies they analyzed lacked key information, such as peoples’s smoking and drinking habits, and whether they had diabetes.

“We can’t infer cause and effect from this,” Hackam said.

On the other hand, there are reasons to believe it’s the medications themselves. For one, the hemorrhage risk seemed greatest in the first months after people started using an SSRI.

There’s also a biological argument. SSRIs seem to make it harder for blood cells called platelets to clump together and form clots – and there can be a big drop in a person’s platelet functions in the first weeks after starting an SSRI, he said.

Still, he stressed that people on the antidepressants should not be alarmed.

“I think that overall, these medications are quite safe,” he added.

But people who are already at increased risk of a brain hemorrhage may need to be careful. That includes people who have had a brain bleed in the past, or are on medications that reduce blood clotting. SOURCE:  (Reporting from New York by Amy Norton at Reuters Health; editing by Elaine Lies)

Why Antidepressants Don’t Live Up to the Hype

2009 report posted for filing

By John Cloud Wednesday, May 06, 2009


In the ’90s, Americans grew fond of the idea that you can fix depression simply by taking a pill – most famously fluoxetine (better known as Prozac), though fluoxetine is just one of at least seven selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that have been prescribed to treat hundreds of millions of people around the world.



But in the past few years, researchers have challenged the effectiveness of Prozac and other SSRIs in several studies. For instance, a review published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in February attributed 68% of the benefit from antidepressants to the placebo effect. Likewise, a paper published in PLoS Medicine a year earlier suggested that widely used SSRIs, including Prozac, Effexor and Paxil, offer no clinically significant benefit over placebos for patients with moderate or severe depression. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies maintain that their research shows that SSRIs are powerful weapons against depression. (Here’s a helpful blog post that summarizes the debate.)



Now a major new study suggests that both critics and proponents might be right about SSRIs: the drugs can work, but they appear to work best for only a subset of depressed patients – those with a limited range of psychological problems. People whose depression is compounded with, say, substance abuse or a personality disorder may not get much help from SSRIs – which is unfortunate for the 45% to 60% of patients in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with a common mental disorder like depression and also meet the criteria for at least one other disorder, like substance abuse. (Multiple diagnoses are known in medical parlance as comorbidities.)



The new study, published online in April by the American Journal of Psychiatry, was conducted using data from a large, government-funded trial called Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression, which usually goes by the moniker STAR*D. The STAR*D project, which collected data from 2001 to 2004 at 41 U.S. psychiatric facilities, was one of the most ambitious efforts ever to understand how best to treat people with major depression. STAR*D participants comprise a powerful research sample because they are highly representative of all depressed Americans. Very few depressed people were excluded from STAR*D; only women who were pregnant, those with seizure disorders and a few others with acute conditions were kept out. All other psychiatric and medical comorbidities were allowed.



The authors of the new paper, a team of 11 researchers led by University of Pittsburgh professor of epidemiology Stephen Wisniewski, were curious how the STAR*D group would compare with a typical group of patients selected for a run-of-the-mill drug-company trial for a new antidepressant – the very trials on which the Food and Drug Administration bases its decisions regarding new drug approval. Drawing on their own experiences in helping to conduct such trials, which have far more stringent inclusion criteria than the STAR*D group, Wisniewski and his team divided the STAR*D patients into two groups – an “efficacy” sample of patients who would normally be included in a typical Phase III clinical trial for a new antidepressant and a “nonefficacy” sample of patients who would normally be rejected.



Depressed STAR*D patients who were classified for inclusion had no more than one general medical condition (like, say, heart disease) and no more than one additional primary psychiatric disorder besides depression. All patients with multiple comorbidities – along with anyone whose depression had lasted more than two years – were excluded. Once the authors crunched all the numbers, they found that only 22% of STAR*D patients met entry criteria for a conventional antidepressant trial.



All the STAR*D patients were taking citalopram, an SSRI marketed in North America as Celexa. Not surprisingly, those who met standard inclusion criteria for a clinical trial had significantly better outcomes on the drug. In the efficacy group, 52% responded to Celexa vs. 40% of the nonefficacy group. Patients in the latter group also took longer to respond and had to be readmitted to psychiatric settings more often. “Thus,” the authors conclude, “current efficacy trials suggest a more optimistic outcome than is likely in practice, and the duration of adequate treatment suggested by data from efficacy trials may be too short.”



To bolster their findings, the authors cite a smaller 2002 study that arrived at similar results: in that paper, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Dr. Mark Zimmerman of Brown University and his colleagues found that of 315 patients with major depressive disorder who sought care, only 29, or 9.2%, met typical criteria for an efficacy trial. Similarly, psychologist Ronald Kessler of Harvard co-authored a 2003 paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association that concluded that most “real world” patients with major depression would be excluded from clinical trials because of comorbidities.



Such findings help explain why antidepressants haven’t quite lived up to their promise. But the University of Pittsburgh’s Wisniewski, the lead author of the new study, cautions against interpreting the results as an indictment against greedy drug companies eager to exclude difficult patients in order to show better results. “If the population in a [clinical] trial were more representative, that would come at a cost,” he says. Researchers expect a certain number of bad reactions during clinical trials; some of these reactions can cause serious medical problems. If patients enter a trial with multiple complications – if they are, say, not only depressed, but also cocaine-addicted, hypertensive and diabetic – you dramatically increase the chances of adverse side effects. “That’s why trials to determine efficacy are done on a relatively homogeneous population,” Wisniewski says.



That’s understandable, but the new study does shed light on the limitations of antidepressants. Conducting clinical trials with representative samples would undoubtedly be more complex – and expensive – since patients with multiple risk factors would have to be monitored more carefully. But for a future generation of antidepressants to be truly effective for most patients, more-inclusive trials may be the best answer.,8599,1895672,00.html

St. John’s wort relieves symptoms of major depression: 29 trials 5,489 patients

2008 study posted for filing

Contact: Jennifer Beal

New research provides support for the use of St. John’s wort extracts in treating major depression. A Cochrane Systematic Review backs up previous research that showed the plant extract is effective in treating mild to moderate depressive disorders.

“Overall, we found that the St. John’s wort extracts tested in the trials were superior to placebos and as effective as standard antidepressants, with fewer side effects,” says lead researcher, Klaus Linde of the Centre for Complementary Medicine in Munich, Germany.

Extracts of the plant Hypericum perforatum, commonly known as St. John’s wort, have long been used in folk medicine to treat depression and sleep disorders. The plant produces a number of different substances that may have anti-depressive properties, but the whole extract is considered to be more effective.

Cochrane Researchers reviewed 29 trials which together included 5,489 patients with symptoms of major depression. All trials employed the commonly used Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression to assess the severity of depression. In trials comparing St. John’s wort to other remedies, not only were the plant extracts considered to be equally effective, but fewer patients dropped out of trials due to adverse effects. The overall picture is complicated, however, by the fact that the results were more favourable in trials conducted in German speaking countries, where St. John’s extracts have a long tradition and are often prescribed by doctors.

Despite the favourable findings for St. John’s wort, researchers are anxious not to make generalisations about the plant’s use as an anti-depressant and recommend consulting a doctor in the first instance, especially as the extracts can sometimes affect the actions of other beneficial drugs.

“Using a St. Johns wort extract might be justified, but products on the market vary considerably, so these results only apply to the preparations tested,” says Linde

Taking Prozac? Don’t drive: Pills raise risk of you having an accident by 70%

By Sophie Borland

PUBLISHED:19:15 EST, 12  September 2012| UPDATED:19:15 EST, 12 September 2012


Taking common antidepressants heightens the risk of accidents greatly 

Taking common antidepressants heightens the risk of  accidents greatly

Taking happy pills before driving makes you  more prone to accidents, researchers claim.

They have found that taking common  antidepressants such as Prozac and Seroxat heightens the risk by 70 per  cent.

Even patients who have only been on the pills  for a few hours are far more likely to have a crash if they get behind the  wheel.

Although some manufacturers put warning  notices on boxes telling patients their judgment may be impaired, they don’t  specifically tell them not to drive.

But it is now thought that the same chemical  changes that improve mood among those who take the pills also slows down  reaction times.

Researchers say the study shows that doctors  should be banning patients from getting behind the wheel as soon as they put  them on a course of drugs.

Recently the number prescriptions for  antidepressants have soared and last year nearly 50 million were handed out, a  rise of a quarter in four years.

Campaigners have blamed the economic woes but  also say GPs have become better at diagnosing the illness so are more likely to  hand out the pills.

Researchers from the University of Taiwan  looked at data on 36,000 and compared the likelihood of them having an accident  to whether they were on antidepressants.

They also looked at other drugs including  sleeping pills and antipsychotics which are taken for mental illnesses as well  as dementia.

Collectively all of these drugs are known as  psychotropic medication which means they affect mental activity or  behaviour.

Those taking a common group of  antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which  include Prozac and Seroxat were 72 per cent more at risk.

Careful: It is now thought that the same chemical changes that improve moods also slow down reaction times 

Careful: It is now thought that the same chemical  changes that improve moods also slow down reaction times

Even patients who had only started the course  of drugs that day were 74 per cent more likely to have an accident within 24  hours than those not on medication.

Those on a type of sleeping pills called  benzodiazepines were 56 per cent more at risk of accidents while antipsychotics  increased the likelihood by just 9 per cent.

Lead researcher Hui-Ju Tsai, who is based at  the National Health Research Institutes in Zhunan, Taiwan, said: ‘ Our findings  underscore that people taking these psychotropic drugs should pay increased  attention to their driving performance in order to prevent motor vehicle  accidents.

‘Doctors and pharmacists should choose safer  treatments, provide their patients with accurate information and consider  advising them not to drive while taking certain psychotropic  medications

Read more:

GPs hand out record 47m Antidepressant prescriptions… a rise of 9% in a year


By Sophie Borland

PUBLISHED:19:01 EST, 31 July  2012 | UPDATED:19:43  EST, 31 July 2012

Record numbers of adults are relying on Prozac  and other so-called happy pills, according to NHS figures

Almost 50million prescriptions were handed  out by doctors last year – a rise of nine per cent compared with the previous 12  months.

Experts said increasing numbers of patients  are turning to GPs for help as depression loses its stigma.

At the same time, doctors are more inclined  to give people a proper diagnosis and prescribe medication, rather than simply  sending them away.

The figures, from the NHS Information Centre,  show the health service spent £270million handing out such drugs in 2011, a rise  of more than a fifth compared with 2010.

Last year, just under 47million prescriptions  were handed out, a nine per cent increase compared with the previous year.

But campaigners say doctors are sometimes too  eager to prescribe antidepressants when there are other treatments available,  such as counselling.

There is evidence that one-to-one therapy or  group sessions are just as effective as drugs – but far less expensive. They  also help address the cause of the illness – such as grief or lack of confidence – and, unlike drugs, do not have unpleasant side effects such as insomnia or  sickness.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental  health charity SANE, said: ‘The rise in antidepressant prescriptions does not  necessarily mean that GPs are diagnosing more people with depression, but that  people are being treated for longer periods on repeat prescriptions.

‘The longer-term rise may also in part  reflect a greater willingness of people to seek help when concerned about their  mental health.

‘Antidepressants are also being used for a  wider range of mental health problems, such as anxiety.’

Campaigners say doctors are sometimes too eager to prescribe antidepressants when there are other treatments available, such as counselling (posed by model)Campaigners say doctors are sometimes too eager to  prescribe antidepressants when there are other treatments available, such as  counselling (posed by model)

The most commonly-used antidepressants are  Prozac and Seroxat, which work by changing the levels of certain chemicals in  the brain.

But they may not be as effective as  previously thought, with some research finding they only benefit half of all  patients.

There is growing evidence Britain is becoming  a nation of pill poppers, with millions spent on an array of treatments. Earlier  this year, figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests showed the  NHS was spending £50million a year on sleeping pills.

This is a rise of a sixth in only three  years.

Referring to the figures for antidepressants,  a spokesman for the Department of Health said: ‘The rise in prescriptions of  antidepressants does not necessarily mean a rise in patients.

‘For example, shorter but more frequent  prescriptions allow medication to be reviewed and can cut down  wastage.

‘People are becoming more aware of depression  as a treatable condition and doctors are also more alert to its signs and  symptoms.

‘The most suitable care for patients is a  clinical decision. Talking therapies are increasingly available alongside or as  an alternative to medication.

‘Funding for talking therapies will be  boosted by £400million over the next four years and this will directly benefit  3.2million people

Read more:–rise-9-year.html#ixzz22csXVoKy