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Clinicians should withdraw antidepressants gradually, says NICE

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p130 (Published 17 January 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:p130
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

Doctors should gradually lower the dosage of antidepressants in adult patients with depression who want to stop taking the medication, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has advised, to reduce the likelihood and severity of withdrawal symptoms.

NICE recommended the staged withdrawal of antidepressants—known as “tapering”—in a new draft quality standard published on 17 January.1

Last June NICE published its first new guideline in 12 years for treating depression in adults.2 Today’s follow-up draft standard, drawn up by an independent advisory committee that includes experts in treating adults with depression, has been published to describe “high quality care in priority areas for improvement” to clinicians, NICE said.

The draft standard emphasises that GPs and mental health professionals should follow the recommendations in the guideline on stopping antidepressant medication, including agreeing with patients whether it is …

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