Antidepressants Increase Death Rate: Non-Pharma Funded Research
Huge numbers of older men are dying from the use of antidepressants. A PLoS ONE study documents the extent of the carnage.
by Heidi Stevenson
18 May 2011
A shocking study that should have received serious attention from the press and doctors seems to have been ignored. It documents that the death rate of depressed people who take antidepressants is, on average, 1.6 times greater than those who don't take them.
The respected journal, PLoS ONE, published the study in June 2010. It will come as no surprise that there was no pharmaceutical money funding the study. Performed in Australia, the study followed 5,276 men aged 68-88. The claim that depression is a deadly disease is true. The death rate of those diagnosed as depressed is significantly greater than others, and that mortality increases with increasing severity. Those points were the authors' focus. However, the study also shows that the men who are depressed and take trycyclic, SSRI, or any other antidepressants die at a significantly greater rate than those who don't.
The Figures for Increased Death with Antidepressants
One of the saddest things about the study is that the authors didn't dare tell the entire truth in their conclusion. Rather than point out that the death rate is 1.6 times higher for depressed men taking antidepressants, they simply stated:
The use of antidepressants does not reduce the mortality rates of older men with persistent symptoms of depression.
Technically, that's true—but it is, in effect, a lie. The reality is that antidepressants are clearly causing deaths in older men. Here is the graph they produced that documents the increased risk of death for each type of antidepressant compared with the death rate of undrugged patients:
(I have added legends to make it easy to see the results at a glance.)
he graph is based on hazard ratios, which are the increased rates of death. For example, a hazard ratio of 2 would refer to a doubled risk of death. Each of the bars shows the increased rate of death for the men taking a particular type of antidepressant. Here is a table of the results shown above:
You'll notice that the morbiditiy risk ratio figures for the types of antidepressants is specified as approximate. That's because the authors didn't present figures for those, so I estimated them from the graph.
Though the authors did present the specific risk ratios for causes of death, they avoided presenting the figures for increased morbidity for each type of antidepressant. While the reasons for death are certainly interesting, it should be obvious that the most important issue is simply whether and how much a drug increases the risk.
One of the primary reasons used to push antidepressants is that depression is a deadly disease. It sounds good, and this study shows that it's true. However, the implication that taking drugs saves lives is nothing short of a lie. And this particular lie is obviously killing people—yet not a single one of them is counted among the numbers who die from pharmaceutical drugs, nor are they counted as iatrogenic injuries.
Causes of Death
Now, let's take a look at how older men die. The tale becomes even murkier. The study revealed that the rate of suicides and accidents goes up in only one group: men with no depression who are given antidepressants. While the increase is small, it's certainly interesting.
The most significant causes of increased morbidity with antidepressants were cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Each of these nearly doubled with antidepressant use in depressed men over those who were depressed but did not take antidepressants. In men who were not depressed, there was little change. Deaths from infections nearly doubled, too.
This study is not definitive, with the most important factor being that it focused only on men over age 68. Nonetheless, the following conclusions should have been made:
•Men over age 68 should never take antidepressants.
•The claim that one should take antidepressants because depression is a deadly disease is obviously based on nothing.
•People of any age should question taking antidepressants. If they result in hugely increased death rates in older men, why should anyone assume that the story is different in women or younger people?
As documented in Gaia Health, antidepressants have been shown to cause increases in miscarriages, deformities in the babies of women who take them during pregnancy, and violence.
This study, along with others for men and women of all ages—not to mention children!—should have been done years ago. The reason they haven't been done is inadvertently demonstrated by the fact that the authors assiduously avoided expressing the most startling results of their study: that antidepressants are clearly causing the deaths of thousands, possibly millions, of people.
Even when there was no Big Pharma money funding the study, the authors apparently feared to tell the truth about their findings. Instead, they hid the results behind dissembling words, words designed to give a false impression. Their data clearly shows that antidepressants are killing older men, and doing so at incredibly high numbers. Yet, they didn't utter a word of that in their conclusion. That demonstrates the fear that even honest researchers must be facing when their results show something that Big Pharma and Big Medicine would prefer not be revealed.