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Drug watchdog snubbed generalist skills in SSRI review

An opportunity to develop psychological services has been lost because millions of pounds have instead been spent on the spiralling costs

of antidepressants, researchers conclude.

An analysis of Department of Health data found 1.5 million people could have received CBT over a decade had a more 'appropriate balance' been struck.

There was a three-fold increase in the number of prescriptions of antidepressants per head between 1991 and 2002, according to the study, published online in the BMJ this week.

After adjusting for inflation, researchers calculated that this amounted to an increase in prescribing costs of £310


Had this money been diverted to CBT, it could have paid for the treatment of more than a third of all patients with depression or mixed anxiety depression, the study found.

The researchers, based at the University of Bristol, concluded: 'Increases in the pharmacological treatment of depression have not been mat- ched by the development of psychological services of prov-ed effectiveness.'

They called for further research to establish 'the most appropriate balance' between drugs and alternative treatments for depression.

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