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Mental health conditions

New classification system to diagnose SSRI withdrawal proposed

Researchers propose new model to help doctors withdrawing SSRI therapy.

The system should help doctors more effectively find a minimum therapeutic dose when withdrawing or reducing SSRI therapy, the researchers say, while avoiding prolonged treatment and overmedication. In the image, prozac capsules

Source: Charles Bach / Science Photo Library

After long-term treatment with SSRI antidepressants, it can be difficult to distinguish between withdrawal symptoms and a relapse of the original illness

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are an important treatment for depression and other mental health conditions. However, after long-term treatment it can be difficult to distinguish between withdrawal symptoms and a relapse of the original illness.

Researchers, writing in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics[1] (2015;84:63–71), have proposed a new classification system to help physicians diagnose different types of withdrawal symptoms.

The recommendations are based primarily on a concurrently published systematic review[2] of 23 studies and 38 case reports.

The researchers highlight three categories of SSRI and serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) withdrawal symptoms — new withdrawal symptoms, rebound and persistent post-withdrawal disorder — and propose diagnostic criteria to distinguish them according to their type, onset and severity.

The system should help doctors more effectively find a minimum therapeutic dose when withdrawing or reducing SSRI therapy, the researchers say, while avoiding prolonged treatment and overmedication.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20200148

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  • The system should help doctors more effectively find a minimum therapeutic dose when withdrawing or reducing SSRI therapy, the researchers say, while avoiding prolonged treatment and overmedication. In the image, Prozac capsules

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