It is not always clear to patients and doctors when and how a patient can better stop taking antidepressants. Whereas, more than a million people in the Netherlands take medication to treat depression and anxiety disorders. A new outpatient clinic in Amsterdam must provide the solution.
At some point, some patients feel the need to phase out their antidepressants. The patient can now feel satisfied and hope to do without it. But also because using medication can have unpleasant side effects.
Much is clear about how medicine is structured, but this knowledge is often lost when minimizing medication. A multidisciplinary team of nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists and pharmacists work together in the first phased out clinic in the Netherlands at GGZ InGeest. After taking the drug, it is decided if the patient is allowed to phase out. Then a plan is drawn up. The reduction can be done in the clinic, but also under the supervision of your psychiatrist or general practitioner.
According to EITI psychiatrist and assistant Christian Vinkers, reducing antidepressant intake is not by definition a problem. There are patients who stop without problems, under the guidance of a general practitioner or psychiatrist. The outpatient clinic is available for patients who fear tapering off, whose previous attempt has failed or who fear a return of original complaints.
What makes getting rid of antidepressants complicated is that they are a matter of allocation. Each patient responds differently to attrition. Additionally, there are a lot of different methods of antidepressants.
The Netherlands College of General Practitioners maintains that there is still little scientific evidence about the best way to stop antidepressants. The research has already been done, and there is currently some research going on Research Instead, it’s about how people stop taking antidepressants.
No research was conducted in the Completion Clinic. However, Vinkers hope that the experience gained will contribute to knowledge about the phase-out. “It would be great if we were able to close the clinic in a few years, and there was no longer a need for us and that everyone could go to their doctor or psychiatrist.”