Research by CEP members reveals many doctors may be failing to warn patients about the risks of antidepressants

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence today publishes two new pieces of research, authored by members of CEP, which indicate that many doctors and psychiatrists may be failing to warn patients about the potential risks of antidepressants, and subsequently fail to recognise withdrawal symptoms.  Furthermore, sources of NHS support for patients, such as NHS 111, were found to be unhelpful.

The first report, Antidepressant Withdrawal: A Survey of Patients’ Experience, was authored by researchers at the University of Roehampton (including members of CEP) on behalf of the APPG, and is based on the results of a survey of 319 UK patients affected by antidepressant withdrawal.

64% of patients surveyed claim not to have received any information from their doctors on the risks or side effects of antidepressants, while only 2.5% of patients found NHS 111 to be a helpful source of support during withdrawal.  In addition, responses to the survey make clear that the impact of antidepressant withdrawal can be devastating for some individuals with severe withdrawal reactions, with 30% of respondents reporting being off work indefinitely due to the severity of their symptoms.

The second report, Voice of the Patient: Petition Analysis Report, identifies failure points in the health care system based on the testimony of 158 individuals impacted by prescribed drug withdrawal who responded to two petitions lodged with parliamentary Petitions Committees in Scotland (1) and Wales (2) in 2017.  The report concludes that the failures encountered by the respondents will require systemic change. Both reports will be submitted to Public Health England as part of its review into prescribed drug dependency and withdrawal, due for publication in spring 2019.

Dr James Davies, of the University of Roehampton, commented: “The majority of the people we surveyed and who responded to the petitions indicated that they were never properly informed about the risks associated with antidepressants, including withdrawal. This undermines the principle of informed consent, which is essential if patients are to make a proper assessment of the harms and benefits. This is very concerning, particularly as the survey shows that severe antidepressant withdrawal can have a devastating effect on patients’ lives, including long-term disability.  Furthermore, the research suggests that patients who suffer from withdrawal mostly find existing sources of NHS support, such as 111, unhelpful.’

Sir Oliver Letwin MP, chair of the APPG, said: ‘These reports indicate that many doctors are unaware of the potential harms of antidepressants, and fail to communicate the risks to their patients.  This highlights the need for additional guidance and training in this area, and we hope that Public Health England will consider this as part of their current review into prescribed drug dependence.  Furthermore, it suggests that existing NHS sources of support are inadequate, and new dedicated services, including a 24 hour national prescribed drug withdrawal helpline, are therefore urgently needed.’

The report ‘Antidepressant Withdrawal: A Survey of Patients’ Experience’ can be found at this link:

The report ‘Voice of the Patient: Petition Analysis Report’ can be found at this link:


7 Responses to Research by CEP members reveals many doctors may be failing to warn patients about the risks of antidepressants

  1. kiwi 08/10/2018 at 9:34 am #

    Well done to CEP once again for this.

    “Research by CEP members reveals many doctors may be failing to warn patients about the risks of antidepressants”

    I have no doubt whatsoever its not a “may be failing to warn” but rather ‘ are totally failing to warn but also are promoting false claims and benefits….simply parroting off the posions pharma propaganda on the wrappers….. without any mention whatsoever of the harms’.

    Withdrawal and tapering clinics need to be set up immediately all over the country to help the millions harmed by their doctors. Drug addicts by stealth.

  2. kiwi 08/10/2018 at 9:52 am #

    It reminds me of a particular time in history in which millions where told ‘you’re just going to take a shower’ ….oblivious to the fate that awaited them.

    However the millions now hoodwinked are many multiples more.
    ‘Its just a little something to help you at this time dont worry not addictive and no side effects.’ The perpetrators of this crime are actually “worse than … ” unlike those back in history doctors and their collaborators have promised to do no harm.

  3. Allan Howard 08/10/2018 at 11:09 am #

    Completely agree with you kiwi, and in the US of course (and NZ I believe) BigPharma indoctrinates the masses through their ads that all will be well with the world if you take this particular drug, or that particular drug.

  4. Physician. 08/10/2018 at 2:03 pm #

    GMC Duties Of A Doctor.

    “You MUST tell patients if an investigation or treatment might result in a serious adverse outcome”.

    Antidepressants: SSRIs?SNRIs commonly cause clinically significant AKATHISIA.

    This is a life-threatening Adverse Drug Reaction. (ADR).

    It is a prescription drug neurotoxicity causing intense agitation, hair pulling,
    writhing-restlessness, – (emotional blunting) – and an unbearable drive to be constantly moving.

    An almost indescribable suffering for patient and family.

    It is a precursor to aggression, and harm against self of others.

    AKATHISIA is a prescription drug induced cause of changes in thinking, emotions, and behaviour.

    As a result the sufferer is at great risk of an ADR being misinterpreted as:
    “emergent mental illness”, M.H. “co-morbidity” and/or worsening of an original MH diagnosis.

    This results in increased dosing, change of SSRI/SNRI and/or addition of antipsychotic “treatment augmentation”.

    These understandable prescriber responses intensify the AKATHISIA, as well as the risk of precipitating serotonin syndrome.

    Serial and/or subsequent incorrect psychiatric diagnosis may result in detention and further enforced exposure to the drug/s which have caused the ADR.

    The patient who presented with an A.D.R then finishes up inappropriately, and irreversibly labelled-for-life as having “SMI” Severe Mental Illness.

    The physical, psychological, emotional, social, societal rejection, economic, employment, relationship and other potentially lifelong sequelae are utterly devastating.

    How many of those prescribed these drugs were advised that this risk of a
    “Serious Adverse Outcome” should be maintained at a high level of awareness by themselves, their families and carers?

    Primum Non Nocere?

  5. Physician. 08/10/2018 at 2:17 pm #


    SSRIs/SNRIs commonly cause clinically significant AKATHISIA – – –

    It is a precursor to aggression, and harm towards self and/or others.

  6. Rosemary Knowles 08/10/2018 at 5:19 pm #

    Well, about blooming time that it is acknowledged that patients do not give informed consent to prescribed dangerous drugs with all their side-effects, adverse reactions, dependence and potentially life-destroying withdrawal effects, as GPs and psychiatrists are mostly ignorant, or have vested interests in these drugs, and hide behind confidentiality barriers when loved-ones draw attention to the harm being done to the patient. And better late than never that the NHS is waking up to fill the yawning gap in support for these injured patients, harmed by those who they expected to help them, not harm them. It is a scandal of epidemic proportions and must end now. Should MHRA be taken to task – or even to court? Someone should compensate ….

  7. Frank Carey 09/10/2018 at 4:21 pm #

    I would like to give my thanks to everybody involved in these three research papers, they are a accurate reflection of the past twelve years of my life which, in the midst of this turmoil, it is next to impossible to illustrate or communicate the world in which we reside. Anger and isolation are the most influential drivers in our world, you have collated, and for me tempered these forces eloquently.
    We expect our doctors to be confident and decisive as it is a profession reliant in trust. Doctors trust their evidence based knowledge, the question is, does any Dr believe in sugar free coke or wrinkle reducing creames ?. Company’s exsit to make money, we live in a consumer society, we are all culpable, now is the time to admit our mistakes and change the present application of psychopharmacology as the dominant course of reaction to complex human emotions.
    I sincerely hope this is the beginning of something.

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