Position Statement: “a top priority on our research agenda”

In an Expert Statement for the Science Media Centre, Professor John Geddes, University of Oxford offered this consideration in relation to the Royal College of Psychiatrists Position Statement on antidepressants and depression:

“This initiative by the Royal College of Psychiatrists is timely because there currently a great deal of discussion and uncertainty across social media, conventional media and in the scientific literature about withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants. As clinicians, it’s important that we make sure patients are aware of the evidence we have on antidepressant withdrawal. And it’s important that NICE conduct a robust and thorough assessment of all the available evidence to understand the incidence and clinical implications of the distressing and sometimes devastating adverse effects that some patients report when coming off antidepressants. This is a top priority in our own research agenda and we are in the process of collecting data not only from studies conducted by the pharmaceutical industry, but also from population registries and survey with people with lived experience of depression and antidepressants.”

Professor Geddes states that this area –“the devastating adverse effects that some patients report when coming off antidepressants” – is a “top priority in [Oxford’s] research agenda”. The hyperlink given to support this is to the SUSANA Survey. Yet this survey does not include considerations of dependence on, or withdrawal from, antidepressants. I shared my concerns about this with one of the Study Coordinators, Professor Andrea Cipriani of the University of Oxford on the 29th May 2019.

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