Going deeper into withdrawal
The British Medical Journal has announced the launch of a new survey for GPs on antidepressant withdrawal.
Last September Public Health England reported that one in six adults in the UK are prescribed antidepressants annually, and that withdrawal effects may be more common and longlasting than suggested by various guidelines. In October the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) amended its guidelines accordingly. Both bodies recommend that patients receive accurate information about withdrawal from antidepressants.
The new survey, a joint venture between the University of East London and the University of Liverpool, aims to measure GPs’ awareness of antidepressant medication withdrawal, their current practices and their training needs. Questions include:
‘When discussing possible prescribing of antidepressants, how often do you inform patients of the possibility of withdrawal effects when reducing or coming off antidepressants?’
‘How would you describe your knowledge about the withdrawal effects of antidepressants?’
‘Would you like more training or information about the withdrawal effects of antidepressants?’
One of the research team is Dr Chris Dowrick, Professor of Primary Medical Care, University of Liverpool, and a practising GP. He commented: ‘Finding out what GPs know and need seems to us to be an important step towards implementing the new best practice recommendations from NICE and Public Health England. It is essential that we GPs are able to pass on the latest, most accurate information to our patients, and that we know how to support people who want to withdraw to do so safely and effectively.’
Another researcher, Dr John Read (Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of East London) said: ‘Until now the guidance used by GPs has not given adequate attention to the potential severity and duration of withdrawal effects from antidepressants. What is needed now is effective education and training and we hope our survey, which is independent from drug company influence, can facilitate that.’
The survey can be accessed at: https://uelpsych.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_73t12ZYioWSyxpP
For more information contact Dr John Read [email protected]
Read more from Professor Read in our archive.
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