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April 28, 2010

Depression Severity and Effect of Antidepressant Medications

JAMA. 2010;303(16):1596-1599. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.509

To the Editor: The observation by Mr Fournier and colleagues1 that the benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo increases with the severity of depressive symptoms is consistent with other literature. However, the authors also stated, “[E]fforts should be made to clarify to clinicians and prospective patients that whereas [antidepressant medication] can have a substantial effect with more severe depressions, there is little evidence to suggest . . . specific pharmacological benefit for the majority of patients with less severe acute depressions.” This conclusion exceeds the data they presented.