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Bias found in mental health drug research presented at major psychiatric meeting
Date:5/22/2012

rmal review.

"This analysis suggests that the APA meeting might be being used as an opportunity to make drugs seem more effective than they are," he says.

Meanwhile, research on "talk therapy" treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy which doesn't have industry backing gets less attention, even though there is growing evidence that such non-drug therapies can have as much effect as medicines in illnesses such as depression.

Since the APA meeting is a major source of continuing medical education credit for psychiatrists, and a hub for psychiatry residents just starting out in the field, the bias has the potential to affect their clinical care when they return home.

Sen notes that the research journals and funding agencies have tried to confront research bias in journal articles by requiring pharmaceutical companies to register the clinical trials they are conducting and include the registration number when publishing the study. This allows interested individuals to see which trials are being reported in the medical literature, and whether the trial results are interpreted according to the original study design.

For instance, if a drug trial is designed to test long-term results from a particular treatment, but a paper is published showing positive results over a much shorter term, that could be an indication of bias. Research meetings could require a similar practice, Sen says. And, APA could be more selective in accepting poster presentation submissions.

If nothing else, Sen says, attendees at the APA's meeting and perhaps other large gatherings of psychiatrists should be aware of the positive bias of the research they will hear about at the meeting.

And, non-industry funding for research especially research to compare older "off patent" drugs that aren't being marketed by industry is also important, he says. The federal government has funded large comparison studies in depression, sch
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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