Efficacy of antidepressants: bias in randomized clinical trials and related issues

Sheng Min Wang, Changsu Han, Soo Jung Lee, Tae Youn Jun, Ashwin A. Patkar, Prakash S. Masand, Chi Un Pae

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: Countless antidepressant randomized trials were conducted and showed statistically significant benefits of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) over placebo. Meanwhile, critics are increasing regarding the efficacy of antidepressants in the treatment of MDD because at least a proportion of clinical trials could be hampered by various biases. In contrast, number of failed trials is increasing in the recent years which have made developing psychiatric medications progressively more time-consuming and expensive. Areas covered: Biases and related issues in clinical trials for antidepressants can be identified as an important common contributing factor to the two paradoxical phenomenon. This review identifies possible biases that can occur before, during, and after clinical trials of antidepressant. Expert commentary: Recent studies not only may over-estimate efficacy of antidepressants, but also may exaggerate placebo response because of various biases. Sponsorship and publication biases have been one of the targets of the criticism and ethical debate. Thus, initiating new trend of research by re-organizing academic-industry partnership will be the most important task in the next five years.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-25
    Number of pages11
    JournalExpert Review of Clinical Pharmacology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 2


    • Antidepressant
    • bias
    • clinical trial
    • placebo response
    • review

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
    • Pharmacology (medical)


    Dive into the research topics of 'Efficacy of antidepressants: bias in randomized clinical trials and related issues'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this