Direct-to-consumer drug ads, prescriptions, and depression

This “article”: over at Science Blog details the effect of drug advertisement on prescribing medications, and the results are rather scary. It turns out that in a study where actors were trained to ask for medications, doctors were more likely to prescribe a popular antidepressant even in situations where the patient didn’t need it if the patient asked for it by name.

So again, this brings up a serious problem. How do we get good information to people who need it (because doctors are not the perfect source of information here — patients are the experts on their own bodies) without overprescribing and overmedicating?

In related news, there is a lively discussion about depression over at “Bitch, Ph.D.”:

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