April 24, 2020

Consequences of Recurrent Depression: Is Stopping Effective Antidepressant Medications Ever Safe

Drs. Severe, Greden and Reddy recently published an article in FOCUS – APA.


Click to read the article.

Read the publication here.

What is it about?

Depression is a chronic illness, such as diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses and schizophrenia. Even with successful treatments 50% to 85% of individuals will experience at least another episode of depression in their lifetime. The decision to stop successful antidepressant treatments can be life changing and life saving. Current approaches would need to be transformed from attainment of clinical remission to attainment and maintenance of lifetime wellness. Similar to targeted long-term treatment outcomes for cancers and cardiovascular illnesses, "5-year survival” would equate "5-year wellness". For some, maintaining wellness may require indefinite continuation of treatment.

Why is it important?

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the world’s leading cause of disability. If patients do not reach and sustain clinical and functional remission, episodes tend to recur with greater severity and with lessening responsivity to conventional treatments.

"I hope this article will continue the conversation and research much needed to address this vital, potentially lifesaving question as to when is it safe to stop successful antidepressant treatments in a collaborative fashion. The authors will continue to investigate this nascent and thought-provoking question and invite you to join them on their quest. I thank Dr. John F. Greden for his expertise and guidance on this article and Dr. Priyanka Reddy for her fresh perspective on the topic." - Jennifer Severe, M.D.