Psychiatric Drugs and Common Factors: An Evaluation of Risks and Benefits for Clinical Practice

Written by Jacqueline A. Sparks, Barry L. Duncan, MIA Blogger David Cohen, and David O. Antonuccio, this article looks at the risks and benefits of psychiatric drugs, broken down by class.

From the abstract: “According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the number of people using psychiatric drugs in the United States increased from 21 million in 1997 to 32.6 million in 2004, and spending climbed from $7.9 billion to $20 billion during the same period. Are the skyrocketing rates of prescription justified by clinical trial evidence? This chapter addresses this fundamental question via a risk-benefit analysis of the major drug classes for all age groups and provides a template for clinicians to both evaluate the drug literature and facilitate medication decisions with their clients. This chapter also places medication treatment, like other interventions, within a common factors context, asserting that like psychotherapy, pantheoretical elements are unacknowledged linchpins behind improvement. As a basis for this position, we first review the evidence for efficacy and safety of major drug classes for all age groups. Next, we illustrate a critical flaws analysis for evaluating conclusions made in the trial literature and popular press. We conclude by discussing the implications of a critical common factors perspective of psychiatric medication in everyday practice.”

You can read the original PDF through the Portland Hearing Voices website here.

Psychiatric drugs and common factors: An evaluation of risks and benefits for clinical practice.
Sparks, Jacqueline A.; Duncan, Barry L.; Cohen, David; Antonuccio, David O.
Duncan, Barry L. (Ed); Miller, Scott D. (Ed); Wampold, Bruce E. (Ed); Hubble, Mark A. (Ed), (2010). The heart and soul of change: Delivering what works in therapy (2nd ed.). , (pp. 199-235). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, xxix, 455 pp.