New evidence suggests that patients and practitioners can devise a personal schedule for gradually reducing antidepressant medication to limit severe withdrawal symptoms.
In 2016, after taking antidepressants for two years, patient James Moore realised that they were doing little to abate his emotional distress, so he visited his GP to ask about stopping them.
He is not alone. There is still debate around how effective antidepressants really are in daily clinical practice, despite performing better than placebos, on average, in randomised trials.
And more people are taking them: prescriptions in England alone have almost doubled over the past decade, rising to 70.9 million in 2018. These people need help to safely discontinue their treatment when it is ineffective.