Recognition of the severity of withdrawal from antidepressants, support and action.

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Many Australian's who have been prescribed either an SSRI or SSNRI antidepressant medication (e.g. Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor) have not been fully informed of the risk of suffering discontinuation (aka withdrawal) syndrome upon stopping the medication.

Cessation protocols do not follow current scientific evidence for a long slow taper. Symptoms can be horrific and life changing, some medications such as Cymbalta the average rate for withdrawal incidences are 55% (31-69%).

A UK team recently published a review of 14 studies on antidepressant use where the authors stated that rates of symptoms from withdrawing from antidepressants (SSRI’s) ranged from 27 – 86% (Horowitz & Taylor 2019). The authors also concluded the need for safe withdrawal practices by using long tapering protocols leading to reductions using very small doses, much lower than therapeutically beneficial (Horowitz & Taylor 2019). The UK Royal College of Psychiatrist's acknowledged this earlier this year 2019, and have moved to make changes.

These small does are not manufactured. Nor is this information made known to the consumers or the health professionals prescribing the medication.

We want the following action to be taken in Australia:

1.      Update the patient information to truly reflect the withdrawal incidences

2.      Enforce the manufacture of smaller incremental dosages made available to the consumers to be able to safely taper off the medication

3.      Re-education for health professionals prescribing antidepressants regarding the risk of withdrawal

4.      Where possible, penalise those manufactures that have already mislead the public

 

Please note that this not about banning the use of antidepressants, it's about being able to make an informed choice about your own healthcare.

 

Thank you for your support.

For further information please see the following links:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/side-effects/201810/antidepressant-withdrawal-said-affect-millions

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/docs/default-source/improving-care/better-mh-policy/position-statements/ps04_19---antidepressants-and-depression.pdf?sfvrsn=ddea9473_5

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/news-and-features/latest-news/detail/2019/05/29/rcpsych-calls-on-nice-to-update-its-antidepressant-withdrawal-advice

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032705002867

https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/prescription-drugs/cymbalta-withdrawal-lawsuit/

https://news.sky.com/story/long-term-use-of-antidepressants-could-cause-permanent-damage-doctors-warn-11688430?fbclid=IwAR01C3LwTUbVWEiimUY0Db_ZjhWhSJqWzd-MllQ8yrLjeHORumnXtHij6Gw