Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Prescription of antidepressants

The “pharmaceuticalisation” of life

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 08 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1972
  1. Alain Braillon, senior consultant1,
  2. Joel Lexchin, professor emeritus2,
  3. Aubrey Blumsohn, previously senior lecturer in medicine3 ,
  4. Michael P Hengartner, senior lecturer4
  1. 1University Hospital, 80000 Amiens, France
  2. 2School of Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Health, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  4. 4Department of Applied Psychology, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. braillon.alain{at}

Commenting on “the record number of antidepressants prescribed last year,” Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said that “research has shown [antidepressants] can be very effective when used appropriately.”1 This opinion about whether the number of prescriptions is appropriate is one sided.

Firstly, evidence shows that only one in nine people benefit from antidepressants: the remaining eight are unnecessarily put at risk of adverse drug effects.2

Secondly, the effect size for …

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