Many Depression Drug Side Effects Missed

PROVIDENCE, R.I., April 21 (UPI) — Patients with depression have many more drug side effects than recorded in their medical records, U.S. researchers said.

Study leader Dr. Mark Zimmerman of Rhode Island Hospital found the mean number of side effects reported by the patients on a self-administered version of the Toronto Side Effects Scale — listing 31 side effects — was 20 times higher than the number recorded on their chart by their psychiatrist.


When the self-reported side effects were limited to “frequently occurring” or “very bothersome” the rate was still two to three times higher than the number recorded.

The study, published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, suggested using self-administered patient questionnaires to improve the recognition of side effects that are often the reason patients discontinue medication.

Zimmerman and colleagues asked 300 patients in ongoing treatment for depression to complete the side-effects questionnaire and also examined the patients’ charts.

“Our research found that the only specific side effect that was regularly inquired about by clinicians was on sexual dysfunction, presumably because of concerns that some patients may be too embarrassed to spontaneously report that without prompting,” Zimmerman said in a statement.

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