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New study – Long term antidepressant use, discontinuation and relapse

A new study has looked at the impact of coming off antidepressants in those who have been taking them long term. They conducted a randomised, double-blind trial in adults who had been taking long term antidepressants and felt they were well enough to consider stopping. Participants were randomised either to continue taking or discontinue (after tapering down the dose) their antidepressant. Followed up for a year, researchers monitored the rates of relapse of depression in these two groups and assessed depressive and anxiety symptoms, withdrawal symptoms, and quality of life ratings. 

The findings have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Three of the study authors went through the findings and answered journalists’ questions.


Speakers included:

Dr Gemma Lewis, Senior Research Fellow in Psychiatric Epidemiology, University College London (UCL)

Professor Glyn Lewis, Professor of Epidemiological Psychiatry, University College London (UCL)

Professor Tony Kendrick, Professor of Primary Care, University of Southampton


This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.

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