Information for GP Participants

Long-term antidepressant use

There is considerable concern about increasing antidepressant use, with Australians among the highest users in the world (around one in seven adults are using antidepressants). Antidepressants can help when people are experiencing depression, but guidelines recommend using them for up to one year. Yet, in Australia the average duration of treatment is much longer and it is estimated that between 30-50% of people on long-term antidepressants could try stopping.

Unnecessary long-term use is a concern because of side effects such as weight gain, decreased sex drive, emotional numbing, lack of motivation, sleep disturbance, and an increased risk of falls and fractures in older people. 

Further information:

Article: Long-term antidepressant treatment: time for a review?

Article: Antidepressant withdrawal – the tide is finally turning

Video: Dr. Joanna Moncrieff: What do psychiatric drugs really do and how can we use them rationally?

The RELEASE resources for GPs:

Online interactive training module 

Education outreach visit

Personalised Antidepressant Discontinuation Plan Proforma

A selection of psychosocial and behavioural support recommendations for patients

Drug-specific tapering protocols: