Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The ad said "Ask your doctor..."

In the Washington Post: Doctors Influenced By Mention Of Drug Ads
"Actors pretending to be patients with symptoms of stress and fatigue were five times as likely to walk out of doctors' offices with a prescription when they mentioned seeing an ad for the heavily promoted antidepressant Paxil, according an unusual study being published today.

The study employed an elaborate ruse -- sending actors with fake symptoms into 152 doctors' offices to see whether they would get prescriptions. Most who did not report symptoms of depression were not given medications, but when they asked for Paxil, 55 percent were given prescriptions, and 50 percent were diagnosed with depression.

...More than half of those without simulated depression who mentioned Paxil got a prescription, underscoring how willing doctors are to go along with patients' requests."
Paging Dr. Kevin! He'll have a lot to say about this. (Update: He says it!)

For advice about choosing a treatment for depression, consider this article from
Medication might be all that some people need to restore their brain chemistry to a more normal state. But for others, medication, although effective, doesn't alter the way they cope with the stress that might have contributed to their illness. Psychotherapy and education can help change coping behaviors and offer strategies to help understand and modify risk factors for illness.

Very often, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is most effective. And in some cases, medication is entirely ineffective and psychotherapy alone can help.
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