Antidepressant drugs are widely used in the treatment of many psychiatric disorders. The decision to discontinue medication after a successful course of treatment, as well as accidental or planned interruptions to treatment, may, in susceptible patients, result in troublesome symptoms which are generally termed "discontinuation". Discontinuation symptoms are now known to be associated with most classes of antidepressants if medication is discontinued without appropriate down-tapering of dose and/or dose frequency. Symptoms of discontinuation may be mistaken for physical illness, relapse into psychiatric disorder or "addictive" potential of antidepressants. Patients' and their families' psychoeducation is still considered a key factor in the management of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Prior to initiating treatment or early in its course, clinicians should educate patients about possibility and nature of discontinuation symptoms, the importance of taking medication consistenly.
PMID: 18421917 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]