Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndromes: Common, Under-Recognised and Not Always Benign

In This Article

Key Clinical Features Suggest the Diagnosis

Common clinical features of antidepressant discontinuation syndromes include the following:

  • antecedent antidepressant discontinuation or (less commonly) dosage reduction

  • appropriate onset, i.e. usually within a few days of discontinuing or reducing the dose of an antidepressant

  • adequate duration of treatment. Antidepressant discontinuation symptoms are rare in patients who have been treated for less than 5 weeks

  • short duration (between 1 day and 3 weeks) if left untreated

  • rapid reversibility (within 24 hours) on recommencement of the withdrawn drug.[1]

It is important to note, however, that while most antidepressant discontinuation reactions are mild and transient, others may persist for up to 3 months and/or be associated with substantial morbidity.[1]

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