Wednesday, 29 May 2019
Dear Professor Cipriani,
The SUSANA Survey:
I have now had some time to think over your considered response. Thank you again for this.
I have never been heavily involved in research and would not normally involve myself in the details of study design, but I find myself so disappointed in what is clearly a missed opportunity that I felt I had to write to you.
I do note that the introduction to the SUSANA Survey changed on the morning of the 28th May 2019. I completed the study on the 26th May 2019 at which point the original introduction was in place and 485 individuals had already participated. I have been aware over the years of other studies whose conclusions have been questioned because the information given to the survey participants was not consistent during the period of the survey.
I am sure you are aware, as I am, that Scottish Government figures show that nearly 1 in 5 of the adult population are taking an antidepressant and many on a long term basis. One potential explanation for this is that dependence on these drugs is more common than the scientific community has previously considered. The amended introduction to the SUSANA Survey, if I understand correctly, is that these important side effects are not to be ranked by the participants in the survey. Given that described withdrawal symptoms can include akathisia, impulsivity and suicidality, this decision seems paradoxical.
Having participated in the survey I feel strongly that the survey has failed to capture what for me have been the least tolerable side effects in my experience of taking antidepressants. I am sure that I will not be the only participant to feel let down by this.
There is an emerging consensus that there is a dearth of research regarding the long term effects of taking antidepressants and sadly the SUSANA Survey will not shine much light in this area.
Please note: I will be adding my letter to my blog as a follow-up to my original post