31 May 2019

Psychiatrists call for warnings over antidepressant withdrawal

Patients suffering severe symptoms when they come off antidepressants too quickly need more help and support, the Royal College of Psychiatrists says.

Current guidance suggests that most people should be able to withdraw from the drugs over four weeks.

But psychiatrists say some patients taking the pills long-term can experience serious side effects that can last much longer.

National clinical guidelines are currently being updated.

Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said she wanted to see the guidelines “more in keeping with what we’re hearing from some patients – and GPs – about the range of experiences of coming off antidepressants”.

The number of prescriptions for antidepressants in the UK nearly doubled between 2007 and 2017, from around 40 million to more than 82 million, a report by the College shows.

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