End of Holiday Open Thread

Here is an eye-opener to start your Monday.

In 2002, four intrepid researchers filed a Freedom of Information Act. But they weren't looking for information on Guantanamo or revelations from Cheney's lair. All they wanted was the FDA's drug analysis data. Taxpayer funded research. They got it. The studies examined were conducted between 1987 and 1999 andcovered Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Serzone, and Effexor. They found, on average, that placebos were 80 percent as effective as the drugs.

Should we add that placebos have no side effects? What are you on this morning?


I'm about to buy my drug of choice....

off to the coffee shop downstairs.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I'm with you, Robert. Coffee is my favorite drug.

One the other drugs- 80% is not good enough. If someone I loved needed an anti-depressant, I certainly wouldn't want them on a placebo.

But, it points out that drugs alone aren't enough.

If "positive thinking", seriously a placebo is just "positive thinking", is enough to help 80% of people then there are other things we should be doing. I'm also not sure what the 80% means, like an 80% improvement overall or 80% of people got just as much out of placebo as they did drug.

I'm not getting all Scientology/Tom Cruise we don't need pharmaceuticals, I'm just saying we should use everything that works, not just fall back on pills. There are times when medication is the only answer. My mother has been in horrible pain for a long time. She's in a clinical trial now and has manageable pain for the first time in forever. It isn't placebo as other pills, shots, and treatments didn't work.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Keep in mind,

each of those anti-depressants is different, and are effective within a niche group of sufferers. Unfortunately you can't do a blood test and say, "Aah! Effexor should be just the ticket."

Also, if you begin a regimen with one of them that isn't right for you, there won't simply be "no change", things will get worse. The reason I mention that is that placebos can only have psychological effects. As one of the commenters to the article mentions, just asking how someone feels is enough to make them feel better--unless a real drug is actually making them feel worse.

So the 80% placebo success ratio is flawed from a few different directions. But that doesn't change my opinion that many children are placed on anti-depressants unnecessarily, and the legacy of that mistake can follow them for the rest of their lives.


have tended to point to a combination of meds and counseling as the most effective treatment regimen. (Sorry, all my dissertation research articles are packed away somewhere, so I can't give any references for that "studies" comment at the moment.) Each treatment alone works okay; both together provide the best results. Naturally it depends on a bunch of things—the severity of the depression, family history, other meds they may be on, the kind of counseling provided, etc.

Gene Conti to head NC DOT

I THINK that may be a reasonably good thing. If I recall correctly, he has transit experience at the federal level. And as he points out, at the very least he's a professional and not a political fundraiser/hack.

Here's the first link:

Dan Besse