A woman's decision about taking an antidepressant "depends on how severe and how debilitating her condition is," Wassertheil-Smoller said. "You have to weigh the risk and the benefit. But that applies to any drug, even aspirin."
It would take a major controlled trial to establish the risk-benefit ratio for antidepressants, and such a trial is highly unlikely, she said. "It would have to be a long-term trial, and you couldn't ethically assign people not to take antidepressants if they need antidepressants," she explained.
To learn more about antidepressants, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Jordan W. Smoller,M.D., associate professor, psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, vice chairman psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D, professor, epidemiology and public health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Dec. 14, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine