Yesterday The Independent reported on the legal actions against doctors for prescribing benzodiazepines without adequate warning about the potential for very serious adverse problems, especially in withdrawal. Today they report on the same happening with SSRI antidepressants.
Again, in the US, these issues are still widely swept under the rug and denied. I looked into whether anyone (pharmaceutical companies or MDs) could be sued several years ago now. I was told I didn’t have a case. No case even though I’ve been gravely ill for many years now, two of those years I was bedridden. What does it take to wake people up in this country?
I personally no longer have any interest in suing anybody. It’s an exhausting and painful process. I want to move on, but the fact is if we ever want safer prescribing that involves fully informed consent we need to educate the public in as many ways as possible. Legal action, if nothing else, will make ignorant and arrogant doctors think twice about continuing on as usual. Right now, people who are gravely and seriously harmed are routinely told they don’t have cases. This is because except in some rare cases our plights are simply not taken seriously and it’s not acknowledged that neurotoxicity is real. Somehow this is all in our minds. We’re psychiatric patients after all. Never mind that these drugs are used rather frequently for issues other than psychiatric these days and people with no psychiatric history whatsoever find themselves equally crippled and ill.
Antidepressant prescriptions in England have increased by 94 per cent in 10 years to 43 million in 2010. The steepest increase has been in the newest type known as SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors), propelled on to the market in the late 1980s with Prozac. SSRI prescriptions more than doubled to 23.1 million in 2010 as doctors became convinced they were safer and more effective.
However, several medico-legal experts have told The Independentthat the failure to warn patients about potentially distressing withdrawal symptoms will result in clinical negligence claims against doctors in the UK. read more
All classes of psychiatric drugs, not just benzodiazepines and antidepressants can potentially cause serious and debilitating withdrawal issues. The issues with benzos and ADs have been most widely documented and reported, but mood stabilizers and neuroleptics are also extremely problematic.
A list of potential withdrawal symptoms of SSRIs and benzodiazepines.
For information on safer withdrawal from psychiatric drugs see here: Withdrawal 101
For emotional and peer oriented support in withdrawal see here: Online support in withdrawal