CNS Drugs

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 278–292

Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome

Recognition, Prevention and Management
  • Michel Lejoyeux
  • Jean Adès
  • Sabelle Mourad
  • Jacquelyn Solomon
  • Steven Dilsaver
Drug Therapy

Abstract

Summary

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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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michel Lejoyeux
    • 1
  • Jean Adès
    • 2
  • Sabelle Mourad
    • 2
  • Jacquelyn Solomon
    • 1
  • Steven Dilsaver
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryBichat-Claude Bernard HospitalParisFrance
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryLouis Mourier HospitalColombesFrance
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Harris County Psychiatric CenterThe University of Texas, Health Science Center at HoustonHoustonUSA

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