Patient Safety: A Letter to the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists


From Hole Ousia/Peter Scott-Gordon: “Last week a piece appeared in the Guardian, fronted by Professor Carmine Pariante, a career-long paid opinion leader, claiming that new research showed antidepressant withdrawal was not nearly as significant as previously thought – and these drugs were safe because they are ‘non-addictive’.

A number of academics, such as Professor Tony Kendrick, Professor of Primary Care at Southampton University, were critical of the withdrawal figures quoted and recalculated them to about one in three patients, close to previous estimates.

Professor Pariante’s assertion that antidepressants are luckily found to be ‘non-addictive’ is, frankly, manipulative. Antidepressants have never been conceptualised as ‘addictive’. This ‘non-addictive’ descriptor is being used to imply drug safety in a highly dangerous way; to the general public ‘non-addictive means ‘easy to quit’, which for 1/3 of patients antidepressants are not.

We have suffered life changing harm from antidepressants – some of us have been personally disabled for life, some of us have had our children or husbands killed by the adverse effects they induce.

The unvalidated Guardian piece has done nothing but intensify our distress. It has also made us fearful that others may suffer the same fate, due to disinformation. I understand that on the same day that the Guardian piece was published, as President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists you said on social media ‘this is a MUST read’ (sic). This misleading assessment will have reached your numerous followers, many of whom will be practising psychiatrists.”