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

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Flexible Approach to Treatment Required

Patients with discontinuation symptoms who remain depressed (e.g. treatment noncompliers) and those who are at high risk of relapse/recurrence should be recommenced on their antidepressant. In other cases, the severity of the discontinuation syndrome should determine treatment. Most patients will have mild reactions and need to be reassured only. Symptoms of moderate severity may require symptomatic treatment (e.g. short course benzodiazepines for insomnia). Severe or treatment-refractory symptoms may require recommencement of the antidepressant and subsequent careful tapering. Antipsychotics and hospital admission may also be required in patients who develop severe mania, confusion or psychotic symptoms.[1]

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