Informed consent for antidepressants – The Guardian

Dr John Read says people should be told of potential negative effects when these drugs are first offered to them
Your article (Antidepressants can cause ‘emotional blunting’, study shows, 23 January) reports that antidepressants cause inability to experience positive feelings and difficulty achieving orgasm.
This small study, involving 66 subjects, confirms my two international surveys, of 1,400 and 1,800 patients, which both found these depressing effects in more than 60% of patients.
The alarming findings may not have been expected, or desired, by the study’s funders, Lundbeck, a manufacturer of several antidepressants sold in the UK, including the drug in this study, escitalopram.
Research also tells us that if the 8.3 million people prescribed antidepressants in 2021-22 in England (one in seven of us, but even higher for women, older people and people living in deprived areas) do try to stop using these drugs, perhaps on discovering they can’t feel anything at all, or have orgasms, about 4.6 million (55%) will experience withdrawal effects.
The principle of informed consent dictates that people must be told all this when first offered these drugs.
Dr John Read
Professor of clinical psychology, University of East London


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