Psychiatric drugs as effective as other medicines

Contrary to what could be called popular belief, it appears that psychiatric drugs are as effective, in general, as those used in other specialties, according to a new review of meta-analyses [1], also discussed in the BMJ here [2]. This is an interesting study, despite its limitations, because it tries to compare different outcomes in different diseases, and therefore provides a qualitative perspective only. Nonetheless, although some general medicines drugs did have very high ‘effect sizes’, for example proton pump inhibitors for the treatment of reflux oesophagitis, many had much smaller ones and, overall, psychiatric drugs were in the same range as the general medicine ones.

[1] Leucht S et al. Putting the efficacy of psychiatric and general medicine medication into perspective: review of meta-analyses. Br J Psychiatry 2012; 200: 97-106.

[2] News. Psychiatric drugs are not inferior to other drugs, review concludes. BMJ 2012; 344:e856.