Dr James Davies, Prof John Read and Luke Montagu (members of CEP as well as the Expert Advisory Group for Public Health England’s review into prescribed drug dependence) would like to respond to criticisms of the PHE review raised by some campaigners.
In our involvement with the PHE review to date we have encountered no evidence for what has been recently claimed: namely that the outcome of the review is predetermined and may even be an attempt to prescribe more drugs.
It has also been implied that PHE are restricting their review of research to works published within the last 10 years, in order to exclude earlier evidence of harms.
We do not agree the review has been designed to ignore the vital research that came before (including Prof Heather Ashton’s work). Our understanding is that the review will incorporate previous research because of its appearance in later research as well as its impact on published guidelines.
We have additionally raised this issue with PHE, and have been assured that a time limit is necessary due to the volume of articles identified (over 30,000 for the last ten years).
We also share concerns about the representation of the patient voice in this review. These concerns have been raised with PHE and are matters of public record as part of the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence’s engagement with the review. However we accept that this is an evidence review, not a public inquiry, and for this reason individual testimonies would not be appropriate.
We have responded to this by publishing three compelling pieces of research which capture the patient voice and experience (see http://cepuk.org/2018/10/02/millions-risk-antidepressant-withdrawal-new-review-concludes/ and http://cepuk.org/2018/10/08/research-cep-members-reveals-many-doctors-may-failing-warn-patients-risks-antidepressants/). We are also assured by PHE that the patient voice will be given significant prominence through other methods, for example analysis of annual reports of various withdrawal charities.
We want the community of individuals harmed by withdrawal to know that so far we have been impressed by PHE’s commitment and engagement with this issue, which we firmly believe is being done in good faith with the expectation that meaningful recommendations will be made and action will be taken.
Until the publication of its report, we feel strongly that the PHE review should be allowed to proceed with its work without further attack and criticism, in particular of individuals. We believe that this approach has been harmful, and risks alienating the very people who can help to solve this problem.
If PHE’s report falls short when it is published next year, then this will be the time to engage. But we have no good reason to believe that this will happen as it would contradict the evidence base, which makes very clear the scale and harms of prescribed drug dependence.
Another excellent, measured, community-engaged and sensitive statement by CEPUK folks. This speaks to issues many – including me – likely aren’t aware of, yet the spirit and purpose are clear. Transparency, honesty, workability and doing their utmost to help patients and practitioners with one of the major public health issues of our times. Keep up the good work, and the clear communications! With thanks, Dr Rob Purssey, psychiatrist and ACT therapist
My great hope is that the review will recognise the need for proper withdrawal centres for presciption dependants so those suffering from a too fast withdrawal like my husband can be helped properly . Phil has now been housebound for over 3 years and there has been no expert help here in Birmingham just a district nurse and an occasionaal visit from our GP who appears to be mysified most of the time . Help and reassurance for us has come from 3 charities BAT , BRISTOL tRANQUILLISER PROJECT AND BARRYHASLAM EX CHAIR OLDHAMtRANX. i AM pHIL`S f/t carer ,sorry about the caps . My day begins at 5.30 am and ends after 9pm and sometimes there is a call in the night.What is disturbing is that at present Phil has sharp abdominal pains as from a few days ago and as with all the other symptoms you have to be careful that you don`t ascribe everything to withdrawal -Phil is now 75 and is med free after being on psychoactive stuff off and on for over 29 years when his breakdown was linked mistakenly to depression and not to traumatic experiences eg a serious attack on our eldest son and 4 other knocks .Phil was given a mixture of benzos and anti depressants . Now he is very down and negative understandably dut not depressed . He feels he was stupid to trust the psychiatrists so much without questioning . They do act like gods . What we need is more psychoogists .and of course now the stable door is open after the horse has bolted re benzo harm proper help for those like Phil whose bodies are their own torture chambers
thank you for been the light that appears at the end of the tunnel! A tunnel too dark and too long for patients, humans that have being neglected and abused by ignoring facts and distorting evidence and in many cases families sufering a covered persecution if any intent if putting things right. The moment will come when many named “psychiatrist” will sit in a bench where jurys, among them harmed patients and families, will decide their fate. When the population awakes this may end up been a “French Revolution of the 21st Century”,where basic human rights where proclamed. Many named psychiatrist have fail to comply with, and they are loosing respect by communities and professionals. Their lesson should be to try their own methods and drugs on themselves and justice will be done. Thank you for your integrity, your professionalism and your courage. G-d bless you all.