UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome University of British Columbia. Therapeutics Initiative


Therapeutics Letter 112 examines antidepressant withdrawal syndrome. Conclusions: Antidepressants should be added to the list of drugs associated with tolerance, dependence and a withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawal symptoms occur in at least one-third of patients who stop. Before starting an antidepressant, patients must be informed of the possibility of withdrawal symptoms. The requirements for informed consent are analogous to recommendations before initiating long-term opioid therapy. Some symptoms may improve upon stopping but this is not captured in the studies of antidepressant withdrawal. Any decision to abruptly stop or taper an antidepressant must consider the potential that recurrent depressive symptoms or increased suicidality may represent withdrawal or re-emergence of the original condition.

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