CNS Drugs

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 278–292

Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome

Recognition, Prevention and Management


  • Michel Lejoyeux
    • Department of PsychiatryBichat-Claude Bernard Hospital
  • Jean Adès
    • Department of PsychiatryLouis Mourier Hospital
  • Sabelle Mourad
    • Department of PsychiatryLouis Mourier Hospital
  • Jacquelyn Solomon
    • Department of PsychiatryBichat-Claude Bernard Hospital
  • Steven Dilsaver
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Harris County Psychiatric CenterThe University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston
Drug Therapy

DOI: 10.2165/00023210-199605040-00006

Cite this article as:
Lejoyeux, M., Adès, J., Mourad, S. et al. CNS Drugs (1996) 5: 278. doi:10.2165/00023210-199605040-00006



Withdrawal from tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and selective serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can produce somatic and psychological distress. Influenza-like syndromes, gastrointestinal adverse effects, arrhythmias, anxiety, sleep disturbances, movement disorders, mania or hypomania, panic attacks and delirium may follow antidepressant withdrawal. At present, the aetiology of withdrawal symptoms is not fully known.

Withdrawal phenomena are usually prevented by gradually reducing the total daily dosage of the drug in question rather than abruptly discontinuing it. Antimuscarinic agents can be prescribed in order to alleviate the symptoms produced by the withdrawal of TCAs and MAOIs. To date, no drugs have been shown to be useful in the treatment of SSRI-associated withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal syndrome associated with MAOIs may constitute a medical emergency.

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© Adis International Limited 1996