A “loving, kind and thoughtful” mother-of-three most likely died because of “an interaction” between prescription drugs, an inquest heard.
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Two painkillers are to be reclassified as class C controlled substances amid concerns people are becoming addicted to them and misusing them.
The drugs – pregabalin and gabapentin – are also used for epilepsy and anxiety.
The move, announced by the Home Office, means it will now be illegal to posses the drugs without a prescription and it will be illegal to supply or sell them to others.
The government acted after experts said tighter controls were needed.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs raised concerns about the drugs – amid reports of a rising number of fatalities being linked to the drug.
The law change will still mean the drugs are available for legitimate use on prescription, but there will be stronger controls in place.
What is Gabapentin – https://thedrugclassroom.com/video/gabapentin/
These reports indicate that many doctors are unaware of the potential harms of antidepressants- Oliver Letwin MP
ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP FOR PRESCRIBED DRUG DEPENDENCE
8 October 2018
For immediate release
Many doctors may be failing to warn patients about the risks of antidepressants, new research suggests
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence today publishes two new pieces of research which indicate that many doctors and psychiatrists may be failing to warn patients about the potential risks of antidepressants, and subsequently fail to recognise withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, sources of NHS support for patients, such as NHS 111, were found to be unhelpful.
The first report, ‘Antidepressant Withdrawal: A Survey of Patients’ Experience’, was authored by researchers at the University of Roehampton on behalf of the APPG, and is based on the results of a survey of 319 UK patients affected by antidepressant withdrawal.
64% of patients surveyed claim not to have received any information from their doctors on the risks or side effects of antidepressants, while only 2.5% of patients found NHS 111 to be a helpful source of support during withdrawal. In addition, responses to the survey make clear that the impact of antidepressant withdrawal can be devastating for some individuals with severe withdrawal reactions, with 30% of respondents reporting being off work indefinitely due to the severity of their symptoms.
The second report, ‘Voice of the Patient: Petition Analysis Report’, identifies failure points in the health care system based on the testimony of 158 individuals impacted by prescribed drug withdrawal who responded to two petitions lodged with parliamentary Petitions Committees in Scotland (1) and Wales (2) in 2017. The report concludes that the failures encountered by the respondents will require systemic change. Both reports will be submitted to Public Health England as part of its review into prescribed drug dependency and withdrawal, due for publication in spring 2019.
Dr James Davies, of the University of Roehampton, commented: “The majority of the people we surveyed and who responded to the petitions indicated that they were never properly informed about the risks associated with antidepressants, including withdrawal. This undermines the principle of informed consent, which is essential if patients are to make a proper assessment of the harms and benefits. This is very concerning, particularly as the survey shows that severe antidepressant withdrawal can have a devastating effect on patients’ lives, including long-term disability. Furthermore, the research suggests that patients who suffer from withdrawal mostly find existing sources of NHS support, such as 111, unhelpful.’
Sir Oliver Letwin MP, chair of the APPG, said: ‘These reports indicate that many doctors are unaware of the potential harms of antidepressants, and fail to communicate the risks to their patients. This highlights the need for additional guidance and training in this area, and we hope that Public Health England will consider this as part of their current review into prescribed drug dependence. Furthermore, it suggests that existing NHS sources of support are inadequate, and new dedicated services, including a 24 hour national prescribed drug withdrawal helpline, are therefore urgently needed.’
NOTES TO EDITORS
The report ‘Antidepressant Withdrawal: A Survey of Patients’ Experience’ can be found at this link: http://prescribeddrug.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/APPG-PDD-Survey-of-antidepressant-withdrawal-experiences.pdf
The report ‘Voice of the Patient: Petition Analysis Report’ can be found at this link: http://prescribeddrug.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Voice-of-the-Patient-Petition-Analysis-Report.pdf
For further information please contact Luke Montagu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence can be found at prescribeddrug.org
Stevie Lewis went to see her GP for help with insomnia after struggling with the pressures of starting up a business consultancy. The 41-year-old from Bristol hoped she’d be given something to help her sleep.
‘But to my surprise the doctor announced that I was on the edge of clinical depression — what my mother’s generation would have called a nervous breakdown,’ she recalls.
And instead of sleeping tablets, she was given a prescription for paroxetine, a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), thought to work by increasing the level of a mood-enhancing brain chemical, serotonin.
‘I was completely shocked, not least when he told me I had a chemical imbalance in my brain,’ says Stevie, who now lives in Rogiet, South Wales. ‘I thought very carefully about whether I should take this drug, but in the end I did, because I believed him — he was my doctor.’
However, her shock at being prescribed an antidepressant was nothing compared with the horror that awaited her when she tried to wean herself off paroxetine.
Stevie did not know this was the start of a 20-year battle to extricate herself from the grip of a drug she never needed, during which she would struggle with appalling side-effects that doctors refused to acknowledge were caused by withdrawal, dismissing them as a return of her original symptoms.