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"Antidepressant helps people with heart disease, depression"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 23 Jan 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (1½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

People with heart disease and depression showed improvements in their symptoms after taking an antidepressant but counselling did not seem to show the same benefits, Canadian researchers have found.
Studies show the prevalence of depression among patients hospitalized for heart disease ranges between 17 per cent and 27 per cent.
Treating the condition may help to slow deterioration in health, some doctors believe. It's thought that stress hormones released during depression may constrict blood vessels and lead to blockage in the arteries.

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 3 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Studies on the emotional components of heart disease are important. The results of a twelve week study are of limited value, however, when heart disease develops over a lifetime. Key information has been omitted from this article as well. For example, only the results of "the most common symptoms of depression" are reported (what about the uncommon ones?), and nothing is said about the adverse events which occurred during the study. Therefore, there is insufficient evidence to support the claim in the title that "antidepressant helps people with heart disease, depression".

The report serves the reader well by indicating possible conflicts of interest, mentioning how the research was supported, including recognition that the study drug and placebo where donated by a pharmaceutical company.

The report quotes the study authors as saying: "Citalopram or sertraline, as previously shown in [a different trial], plus clinical management should be considered for the initial acute-phase treatment for major depression in patients with [coronary artery disease]." However, if one refers to the original article, the authors also report that the overall efficacy results using sertraline (in the Sertraline Antidepressant Heart Attack Trial or SADHART) were less convincing than the current study. So while this article does mention an alternative treatment, the report fails to accurately report its comparative performance.

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