NATIONAL NEWS

Study highlights difficulty of stopping antidepressants

Sep 29, 2021, 6:03 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 4:48 pm

...

A study of British patients with a long history of depression highlights how difficult it can be to stop medication, even for those who feel well enough to try.

Slightly more than half the participants who gradually discontinued their antidepressants relapsed within a year. By contrast, the relapse rate was lower — almost 40% — for those who remained on their usual medication during the study.

Both groups had been taking daily doses of common antidepressants, had recovered from their most recent bout of depression and felt healthy enough to consider stopping the drugs.

Previous research has also shown relapse is common, and an editorial published with the study Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests medication for life may be advised for some patients with several previous bouts.

Counseling and behavior therapy are other options for patients who want to stop antidepressants, and studies show those treatments combined with medication work well for many.

Few of the British patients in the government-funded study were receiving any kind of psychological treatment. Though the United Kingdom’s national health system offers it, it is difficult to access because of long waiting times for treatment, said Gemma Lewis, the study’s lead author and a researcher at University College London. Patients in the study were being treated for depression by primary care doctors, which is common in the U.K., Lewis said.

Depression is a mood disorder that can include persistent, debilitating feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loss of interest in usual activities. It affects about 5% of adults worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Reported rates are slightly lower in the U.K. and higher in the U.S. but Lewis said differing ways that depression is assessed makes comparisons between countries difficult.

The study enrolled 478 patients in four cities in England, most of them middle-aged white women. All were taking a common class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which include drugs known by the brand names Prozac and Zoloft. Half were randomly assigned to gradually discontinue the drugs, the others made no medication changes . Whether similar results would be found in other patients taking other antidepressants isn’t known.

While 56% of the patients who discontinued their medication relapsed during the study, Lewis emphasized that a sizeable portion did not, including most who remained on their antidepressants.

“There are many people who would like to stay on their antidepressants and the paper shows that for many people that is an appropriate decision,’’ Lewis said.

Editorial author Dr. Jeffrey Jackson of Milwaukee’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center, called the study results important but disappointing. But he also suggested that discontinuing antidepressants is possible for some patients.

“I encourage patients with a single bout of depression, especially episodes that are triggered by a life event, such as loss of a loved one, to consider weaning antidepressant treatment after at least 6 months of remission,’’ Jackson wrote in the editorial.

___

Follow AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner at @LindseyTanner.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

(Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)...

Associated Press

Toyota recalls 280,000 pickups and SUVs because transmissions can deliver power even when in neutral

The recall is to fix a transmission problem that can let the vehicles creep forward while in neutral.

6 hours ago

The defendants are accused of stealing software used to train Apache helicopter pilots....

Haley Britzky and Sharif Paget, CNN

2 National Guardsmen killed after military helicopter crash in Mississippi

Two National Guard members died after a helicopter crashed Friday afternoon during a training flight in northeast Mississippi.

8 hours ago

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018 photo, containers holding frozen embryos and sperm are stored ...

Associated Press

Facing backlash over IVF ruling, Alabama lawmakers look for a fix

Lawmakers began scrambling for ways to protect Alabama in vitro fertilization services after multiple providers paused services in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos could be considered children under a state law.

12 hours ago

Beguiling Joshua trees and intriguing rock formations helped draw millions of vistoris to Joshua Tr...

Forrest Brown, CNN

The most visited National Park Service sites in 2023 are …

See what Utah National Park proved to be the most popular in 2023.

13 hours ago

FILE - The residence where a former funeral home owner kept a deceased women's body in a hearse for...

Associated Press

A former funeral home owner has been arrested after a corpse lay in a hearse for 2 years

A former funeral home owner accused of hiding a woman's corpse in the back of a hearse for two years and hoarding the cremated remains of at least 30 people has been arrested, authorities said.

14 hours ago

FILE: The University of Wyoming campus sign with the Wyoming Union in the background Friday March 2...

Mead Gruver

Highway crash in Colorado kills three University of Wyoming swimmers

A single-vehicle wreck on a highway in northern Colorado killed three members of the University of Wyoming swimming and diving team.

19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Study highlights difficulty of stopping antidepressants