Increase in use of SSRIs = more medical negligence claims

Personal injury solicitors could find themselves dealing with a deluge of medical negligence claims after medical experts warned that doctors are not explaining to their patients that they can suffer withdrawal symptoms when they stop using antidepressants.

In 2010 doctors in England wrote 43 million prescriptions for antidepressants; a 94% increase since the turn of the century. By far the steepest increase was for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, increasing by more than 100% to 23.1 million. Doctors widely believed that SSRIs were safer and more effective than other antidepressants.

However, several medical experts have now said that these drugs have the potential to give the patient distressing withdrawal symptoms and doctors should be informing them of that fact. Failure to do so could result in a flood of clinical negligence claims against UK GPs.

One GP admitted that SSRIs are addictive and doctors do not want to admit it. Patients find it hard to come off the drugs and soon they will start visiting medical negligence solicitors and filing a claim for compensation.

Professor of clinical pharmacology, Heather Ashton, said doctors have overlooked the potential dependence on SSRIs and benzodiazepines, such as valium, and that has cast shame of a profession that lays claims to being scientifically based. It should be obvious that where one drug replaces another, there must be some common characteristics.

Although controversial, it has been common practice in the UK to treat psychological and social illnesses with drugs for the last six decades. Doctors are now seeing an increase in claims from patients who have become addicted to benzodiazepines and a similar scenario is likely to happen now that SSRIs are so widely prescribed.

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