Medical consultants and politicians have known as for the quantity of antidepressants being prescribed to individuals throughout the UK to be decreased in an open letter to the federal government.
The letter coincides with the launch of the all-party parliamentary group Past Tablets, which goals to cut back what it calls the UK healthcare system’s over-reliance on prescription treatment.
The group, co-chaired by the MP Danny Kruger and by a former chief government of NHS England, Nigel Crisp, will mix the work of the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence and the School of Medication Past Tablets Marketing campaign.
A complete of 8.6 million sufferers in England had been prescribed antidepressants in 2022-23, with the quantity having nearly doubled since 2011, in line with the NHS.
Printed within the British Medical Journal on Tuesday, the letter says: “Rising antidepressant prescribing isn’t related to an enchancment in psychological well being outcomes on the inhabitants stage, which, in line with some measures, have worsened as antidepressant prescribing has risen.”
The letter goes on to say that lowering the speed of antidepressant prescriptions could possibly be achieved by way of measures that features stopping the prescribing of antidepressants for delicate situations, and funding and delivering a nationwide 24-hour prescribed drug withdrawal helpline and web site for brand new sufferers to assist these experiencing withdrawal signs from prescription treatment.
It has been signed by well being and medical professionals together with Prof Sam Everington, the vice-president of the BMA, and Prof John Learn, the chair of the Worldwide Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal.
Commenting on the launch of the Past Tablets APPG, Crisp stated: “The excessive charge of prescribing of antidepressants over current years is a transparent instance of over-medicalisation, the place sufferers are sometimes prescribed pointless and doubtlessly dangerous medication as a substitute of tackling the foundation causes of their struggling, akin to loneliness, poverty or poor housing.
He added: “The Past Tablets APPG is being launched to lift consciousness of this public well being subject. It’ll give attention to selling confirmed options to tablets akin to social prescribing and psychological therapies, in addition to native companies to assist individuals withdraw safely from these medicines. It’ll work alongside others to alter the way in which all of us take into consideration well being, and handle these wider social determinants of poor well being.”
Dr Andrew Tresidder, of NHS Somerset, stated: “As a longtime Somerset GP and present medical lead for medicines administration in NHS Somerset, I actually welcome the Past Tablets APPG. Whereas the de-stigmatisation of psychological sickness during the last 20 years is welcome, on the identical time there was a worrying development within the medicalisation of regular misery. As prescribers, we purpose to behave properly, and safely and use an proof base as a way to keep away from the traps of overprescribing and potential dependence.”
A Division of Well being and Social Care spokesperson stated: “We’re dedicated to supporting individuals with their psychological well being and we’re going additional and sooner to remodel our nation’s psychological well being companies. As much as £2.3bn in additional funding is being invested by the federal government till 2024 to increase companies in order that 2 million extra individuals, together with 345,000 kids and younger individuals, can get the psychological well being help they want.”