A new study showing antidepressants work no better than a placebo in treating depression could be "very disturbing", a charity claims.
Experts from the Department of Psychology at the University of Hull looked at published and unpublished clinical trials from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and found the drugs, which include Prozac, Efexor, and Seroxat, have limited benefits.
Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said: "If these results were upheld in further studies, they would be very disturbing.
"The newer antidepressants were the great hope for the future, allowing people to take medication without the crippling effects of the old tri-cyclic drugs which could be fatal in even small overdose.
"If validated, this research would mean that psychological therapies would be the only available treatments for the majority of people, but these do not work for everyone, particularly those with severe clinical depression.
"These findings could remove what has been seen as a vital choice for thousands in treating what can be a life threatening condition.
She added: "These results are focused on clinical effectiveness rather than health risks.
"It is important that people should not stop taking the antidepressants immediately, as doing so could lead to severe rebound depression."