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Americans prefer drugs for depression: survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans prefer drugs to talk therapy for depression, with nearly 80 percent taking a pill for the condition, Consumer Reports said on Tuesday.

The most popular class of drugs remain the so-called SSRIs such as Prozac, the group found. People found newer, pricier antidepressants less desirable because of side-effects.

Patients benefited just as much from therapy -- almost any kind of therapy, the consumer group found in its survey of 1,500 readers.

Those surveyed said they improved just as much after seven or more sessions of talk therapy as if they took drugs and it did not matter if the therapist was a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker.

Nearly 80 percent of people who had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety were prescribed antidepressants.

Patients were happiest with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, a class that includes Eli Lilly and Co's Prozac or its generic equivalent fluoxetine;, Pfizer Inc's Zoloft or sertraline, and Celexa or citalopram and Lexapro o escitalopram from Forest Laboratories Inc.

People complained of more side-effects from serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or SNRIs, a newer, often more expensive class of antidepressants, the survey found.

These include venlafaxine, made by Pfizer-owned Wyeth under the Effexor brand name and Lilly's duloxetine, sold as Cymbalta.

The survey found a range of side-effects, but the most common one -- loss of sexual interest or ability -- was less common than in past surveys, the consumer group said.

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