The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Study shows difficulty of stopping antidepres­sants


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 percent — 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.

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