Adults suffering severe depression are two-and-a-half times more likely to attempt suicide if they are taking antidepressants compared with a placebo drug.

That's according to new research published in international medical journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

This comes as the number of New Zealanders being prescribed antidepressants has increased dramatically in the past three years - despite little evidence the drugs are helping curb the country's alarming suicide rates.

An expert says these findings only confirm what we already know - that antidepressants are not a "silver bullet" and should only be given as a second line of treatment after therapy

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"It took me away from who I am and I was miserable," Ferguson said.

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