WISE USE Study
Why we need your help
We are seeking for funding in order to be able to conduct a survey to establish how common, severe and long-lasting are the withdrawal symptoms people experience when stopping antidepressants. We will be distributing this survey in a group of patients enrolled in a therapy service (the Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)) in the North East London Foundation NHS Trust. About half of the patients in this service are currently on antidepressant medication.
One of the major barriers for patients who want to come off antidepressants is the withdrawal symptoms they experience. There is increasing recognition that these withdrawal symptoms can be severe and long-lasting, including by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, NICE and other professional bodies. However, there continues to be uncertainty as to how common and severe these withdrawal symptoms are.
Recently, it has been estimated that about half of patients will have such problems and for half of those they will be severe, and, for some, symptoms will last for months or years (Davies and Read, 2018). However, this study has been criticised for including surveys of self-selected groups (who may have had withdrawal symptoms that were more severe and long-lasting than the average antidepressant user). Other research has been conducted in controlled populations who have only been on antidepressants for several weeks, which is very different to average users in the UK (about half of whom have been on antidepressants for more than two years).
This project will address some of the limitations of previous studies by surveying a population who are not self-selected for problems with withdrawal symptoms, and who are likely to have been on antidepressants for longer periods, more consistent with the pattern of use in the UK. This will help to give us a more representative measurement of how common, severe and long-lasting withdrawal symptoms are. This will help doctors to provide accurate information to patients in the process of informed consent and may also inform the health system about the scale of the problem with coming off antidepressants, adding to existing evidence.
The survey will also seek to understand how people have gone about reducing their dose of antidepressant (tapering), what sources of information they have found helpful and their experience of this process. It will also ask participants about their use of antidepressants, including experience of side effects, positive effects, their understanding of their condition and the role of medication in their lives, which will help to gain a rounded view of why people choose to keep taking, or decide to stop taking antidepressants. We have sought and will seek input from service users at every stage of the project.
The initial stage of this project will cost approximately £5,500 and any funding raised above this will go towards ongoing research about using and stopping psychotropic medications within the WISE USE research group at NELFT.
If you would like any further information about this study please feel free to contact
Dr Mark Horowitz (Clinical research fellow, NELFT and UCL)
raised so far
May 26, 2021
Mar 16, 2021
Nov 13, 2020
Oct 13, 2020
Oct 01, 2020
Sep 30, 2020
Sep 24, 2020
Sep 22, 2020
Sep 20, 2020
Sep 19, 2020
Total raised so far
Total plus Gift Aid £5,791.00
Raised offline £0.00