Psychiatric drugs do more harm than good and the use of most antidepressants and dementia drugs could be virtually stopped without causing harm, an expert on clinical trials argues in a leading medical journal.
The views expressed in a British Medical Journal debate by Peter Gøtzsche, professor and director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Denmark, are strongly opposed by many experts in mental health. However, others say the debate around the use of psychiatric drugs is important and acknowledge that there has been overuse of antipsychotics to quieten aggressive patients with dementia.
Gøtzsche says more than half a million people over the age of 65 die as a result of the use of psychiatric drugs every year in the western world. “Their benefits would need to be colossal to justify this, but they are minimal,” he writes. Continue reading »
Professor Peter C Gotzsche graduated as a Master of Science in biology and chemistry in 1974 and as a physician in 1984. He is a specialist in internal medicine; he worked with clinical trials and regulatory affairs in the drug industry 1975-83, and at hospitals in Copenhagen 1984-95. He co- founded The Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 and established The Nordic Cochrane Centre the same year. He became professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis in 2010 at the University of Copenhagen. Peter Gotzsche has published more than 50 papers in ‘the big fi ve’ (BMJ, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine and New England Journal of Medicine) and his scientifi c works have been cited over 10 000 times. Peter Gotzsche has an interest in statistics and research methodology. He is a member of several groups publishing guidelines for good reporting of research and has co- authored CONSORT for randomised trials (www.consort- statement. org), STROBE for observational studies (www.strobe- statement.org), PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta- analyses (www.prisma- statement.org), and SPIRIT for trial protocols (www.spirit- statement.org). Peter Gotzsche is an editor in the Cochrane Methodology Review Group.