A recent study in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that in the past decade the number of Americans taking antidepressants has doubled. Psychiatrists are not prescribing most of these antidepressants because the majority of Americans taking antidepressants are not being treated for depression. The drugs are not being used to treat a mental health problem so it’s unnecessary to call in the mental health specialists. Using antidepressants to treat conditions other than depression might sound wrong, but some drugs have more than one use. The FDA must initially approve a new drug for a specific condition, for example, treating depression. If a new use for a drug is discovered, doctors are free to prescribe it for that use as long as they find it justifiable. After many studies and trials, the FDA might approve the drug for a new purpose beyond what it was originally invented for. So how is this relevant to podiatry? According to Dr. Vimal Reddy, a variety of diseases—including diabetes—result in painful tingling sensations in the feet, peripheral neuropathy. It has been discovered that certain drugs used to treat depression also have the benefit of reducing these painful sensations. Under the care of a physician, these drugs are generally safe and can provide relief for those suffering from peripheral neuropathy. With the diabetic population growing, even in Jacksonville FL, more people will suffer from peripheral neuropathy and seek the relief these antidepressants may provide.
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