Would they give me a placebo?

Discussion in 'Therapy and Medication' started by Flight, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Flight

    Flight Well-Known Member

    During my most brutal battle with depression, I sought out anti-depressants to help me find the strength to live. I knew very little about medication at the time.

    My family doctor prescribed effexor to me. First it was at 75 mg, but since it was not helping I was eventually raised to a 375 mg prescription of effexor.

    I always felt just as much longing to die, and just as much depression as ever. I earnestly attempted to take my own life twice while on this prescription. I felt very little in the way of side effects. Every time the dosage went up I felt a little detatched and dizzy. My mouth would be dry. Those feelings would pass in a week or so. However, my sex drive was not diminished (unfortunately, since that would have helped a lot if it was) and my depression never curbed.

    Thinking about it in retrospect, I am wondering if maybe the pill they gave me was just a placebo. How often would doctors prescribe placebos instead of actual medication? Wouldn't that be kind of playing God with my life if I actually needed help? Especially after 2 years of being on that dose, and still needing help as much as ever.

    Does this happen? Or maybe effexor just didn't work for me, and my psychiatrist and doctor were too dense to try any alternatives. If it was a placebo - I gotta admit I'd feel pretty violated.
  2. nagisa

    nagisa Staff Alumni

    They wouldn't give you a placebo. Effexor probably just doesn't work for you. Sometimes it takes several tries before you find the right kind for you. If I were you I'd talk to the doctor about it. Maybe try a different anti-depressant?
  3. Flight

    Flight Well-Known Member

    I'm not on any anti-depressants any more - and I don't know if I trust them enough anyway...

    maybe it ended up for the best that effexor didn't work - I'm still flyin' at least.

    Thanks for giving me that peace of mind, though.
  4. nedflanders

    nedflanders Well-Known Member

    Placebos are only used during clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of new drugs in an unbiased manner. A doctor would never prescribe a placebo--it'd be unethical.

    That said, SSRIs (like Effexor) are not terribly effective drugs. Only slightly better than placebos. So not seeing any benefit isn't terribly unusual.

    You increase your chances of getting some benefit by trying several different antidepressants, though you generally need 6-8 weeks on each to see if it's going to do anything for you. And adding talk therapy while you're on an antidepressant also increases the chances of seeing some improvement.

    But a lot of people's (perhaps 25% of patients) depression is resistant to treatment.