Common depression drug may reduce anxiety more than depressive symptoms

In a new study, researchers found one of the most common antidepressants, sertraline, leads to an early reduction in anxiety symptoms.

The reduction in anxiety is several weeks before any improvement in depressive symptoms.

The research was led by a team from University College London.

The large majority of people with depression also experience anxiety symptoms, and antidepressants are the standard pharmaceutical treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.

The study was conducted in GP surgeries and included 653 people in England, aged 18 to 74, with depressive symptoms of any severity or duration in the past two years.

Half of the participants were given sertraline for 12 weeks, while the other half were randomly assigned to the control group and given placebo pills for 12 weeks.

Sertraline is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), the most common class of antidepressants.

The team found sertraline did not appear to improve depressive symptoms, which include low mood, loss of pleasure and poor concentration, within six weeks.

However, there was weak evidence that sertraline reduced depressive symptoms by 12 weeks.

Participants who took sertraline were twice as likely as those who took a placebo to say their mental health had improved overall.

This is because sertraline reduced generalized anxiety symptoms, with continued improvement from six weeks to 12 weeks, and led to better mental health-related quality of life.

This is an important measure of improvement, from the patient’s perspective, and can be used to gauge clinically meaningful treatment effects.

The researchers say their findings support the continued prescription of sertraline and other similar antidepressants for people experiencing depressive symptoms.

They hope that we have cast new light on how antidepressants work, as they may be primarily affecting anxiety symptoms such as nervousness, worry and tension, and taking longer to affect depressive symptoms.

The lead author of the study is Dr. Gemma Lewis.

The study is published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

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