RCGP Scotland comment on antidepressant prescriptions

Commenting on the prescription of antidepressants by GPs, RCGP Scotland Joint Chair Dr Chris Williams said:

“Depressive illness affects many adults and causes a huge burden of disease worldwide.

“When prescribed appropriately, evidence shows that antidepressants can be an effective treatment for many patients suffering from mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. As with any medication, GPs carefully consider the benefits and risks when prescribing antidepressants, the various factors relevant to the individual patient, alongside new clinical guidance as it is published.

“Shared decision-making is an evidence-based health communication framework that is commonly used in general practice. A person with mild to moderate depression may have more than one treatment option, including where medication might be used on its own or in combination.

“GPs are highly trained to have frank and sensitive conversations with our patients, and this includes any potential side effects which may occur from taking antidepressants. Once a prescription has been made, follow-up appointments and ongoing medication reviews can assist GPs to assess whether a patient’s symptoms have improved, any side effects they may have experienced as well as if additional support is needed.

“Improved access to alternatives to anti-depressant medication, such as talking therapies and CBT, may be beneficial, but resourcing and access issues persist for these treatments. Improved access to these treatment pathways through further resourcing may be beneficial for patients."

Further information

Media requests to Angus Gould, Policy and Public Relations Officer RCGP Scotland
Tel: 07808 795493

Notes to editor

RCGP Scotland represents a network of around 5,000 doctors in Scotland aiming to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standard of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on resources, education, training, research and clinical standards.