College welcomes continued research into widely used anti-depressants

Publication date: 19 September 2019

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the findings of a University College London-led clinical trial into anti-depressants.

She said: "It is well-established that it often takes a while for patients to feel the full benefits of modern antidepressants and that they work best when taken for significant periods of time, which is one reason why doctors will often review patients after several weeks of use and then prescribe a fairly long course of the drugs, if they appear to be beneficial.

"This study gives an interesting insight into how a medication primarily used to treat depression may be improving a patients' health in other ways in the shorter term, by reducing symptoms of anxiety, which is often associated with depression.

"It is always encouraging to see continued research into widely-used medications, and it is important that it is taken into account in the development of clinical guidelines so that GPs and other prescribers can continue to provide the best possible care for patients, based on the most up to date evidence.

"GPs will always aim to prescribe medication in the best interests of patients, in line with clinical guidelines, after assessing the needs of the individual, and taking into account any physical, psychological and social factors that might be affecting their health – including discussing any possible side effects and expected timescales.

"Patients should not be concerned about taking antidepressants as a result of this research, but if they are, they should continue to take them as prescribed and plan to discuss this with their doctor at their next routine appointment."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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