On withdrawing from antidepressants

While pharmaceutical corps and medical professionals are quick to put people on antidepressants, they do not know much about helping them stop.

Here is a story on the topic from NPR’s by JOANNE SILBERNER

May 24, 2010

Although millions of Americans take antidepressant drugs, little is known about if and when it’s safe to stop.

“This is an area of great importance to patients, and given the very limited data available, there is a clear need for studies to inform clinicians and patients,” says Maurizio Fava, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

What guidance does exist is decades old, says Jerrold Rosenbaum, chief of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, from “when depression was seen as an episodic disease.” Now, depression is seen as both episodic and chronic; in some people, it lasts months or years — or even a lifetime.

Several top psychiatrists say there’s just not enough data to say for sure when to try coming off an antidepressant. Drug companies generally test their new products for a few months or up to a year. They don’t spend much time looking into how to taper off their products. The dense informational inserts that come with prescription drugs have a lot of information on how to take the product, but no information on how to stop….

much more at NPR

Here is a paper by psychiatrist, author and pharma critic David Healy on withdrawing from SSRIs

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