People should stop taking antidepressants and drugs for dementia and ADHD as their benefits are exaggerated and they would be healthier in the long-term without them, a professor has suggested.
Peter Gotzsche said psychiatric drugs are responsible for the deaths of more than half a million people aged 65 and older each year in the West. Writing in the British Medical Journal he said: “Their benefits would need to be colossal to justify this, but they are minimal.”
Prof Gotzsche said drug trials do not accurately evaluate the effects of many types of medication, as patients are usually taking others at the same time.
He also hit out at an under-reporting of deaths in such trials, highlighting a study in the US which he estimated there to have been 15 times more suicides among people taking antidepressants than claimed.
He also said his analysis of a trial of dementia patients, which he studied as they would be less likely to be on other drugs, found the death rate to be 1% higher than those who took a placebo.
Prof Gotzsche calculated three classes of drugs — antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and similar drugs, and antidepressants — were responsible for 3,693 deaths every year in Denmark. He said this was equal to 539,000 deaths in the US and EU.
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