Goodfellow Gems



The Goodfellow Foundation's support for the Goodfellow Unit stems from a relationship formed between the Goodfellow family and the University of Auckland in 1978. More


What is a GEM?

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice. ©The Goodfellow Unit.
Here is one example.

Most antidepressant benefit seen in primary care is due to placebo. Talk first prescribe later.

An update to a Cochrane review on antidepressants in primary care found that the most of the benefit was due to the placebo.1

For tricylics, 63% of patients improved on the active medication and 51% for the placebo. For SSRIs, it was 55% and 40%. For TCAs, the actual benefit is therefore 12% (i.e. 63%- 51%) compared with the placebo 51%. Thus most improvements are likely to be a placebo rather than an actual drug response.

Another review found that the actual drug benefit for mild-moderate (i.e. PHQ 9 score 10 to 15) depression was about 8% of patients2 and most patients in primary care are in the mild to moderate range.

The NICE guidelines suggest antidepressants should not be used in the first instance for most patients with newly diagnosed mild to moderate depression.3 They recommend non-drug therapies such as sleep hygiene, physical activity, problem solving and behavioural activation, CBT or computerised CB. 
[references online]


2016 Gems