Adverse Psychiatric Reactions Information Link
Promoting awareness of medicines that can harm mental health

Antidepressants- Elderly people

Elderly people who may already be prescribed many drugs, need to be accessed by a pharmacist or an Old Age Consultant - a Geriatrician. A therapeutic audit, as recommended by the late very respected clinical pharmacologist, Dr Andrew Herxheimer, will often result in a reduction of prescribed drugs.

Liver and kidney function as we grow older, is less efficient and we need lower doses.

The prescribing of drugs that blur our minds, such as statins and antidepressants, would seem to be contraindicated for the elderly. However polypharmacy prevails and we meet more and more people prescribed antidepressants with little evidence of any benefit.

It is important for patients on these drugs to be checked for

Drug-induced electrolyte abnormalities.  click to read Abstract

Drugs can interfere with the normal intake, elimination, regulation and total body distribution of electrolytes. These drug-induced abnormalities may be dramatic and life threatening, posing diagnostic and management problems to the physician who is not familiar with them

A hlep for those wishing to reduce or gradually withdraw from SSRI or SNRI kinds of antidepressants, is not easy. the UK has finally woken up to the need to help people find good information. Here on the Royal College of Psychiatrists web site is section for patients.

For antidepressant withdrawal and safe, slow reduction in dosage, a huge breakthrough is the Royal College of Psychiatrists have included, on their web site, detailed information about titrating the dosage, the use of liquid medication and other advice. They also warn about possibe withdrawal effects. This is a vital contribution towards patient safety, we have been begging for during the past 20 years.


Journal of American Geriatric Societ published a paper in which was stated, about prescribing antidepressants to people with dementia :"Improved methods to measure outcomes, and a greater focus on risks as well as benefits of treatment should be the focus of future clinical trials in this field"

click here to read the abstract:   Antidepressants for use in elderly people with dementia


Reporting Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs)
If you have suffered psychiatric adverse reactions please report them. There may be side effects not mentioned on the data sheets. You can request a list of drugs used pre surgery and during surgery. You should be given patient information for all drugs prescribed as you are discharged from hospital.


Please report Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) to:

UK Yellow Card Reporting for Patient and Health Professional reports of Adverse Drug Reactions

USA and worldwide to the Food and Drug Administration for Patients and Healthcare Professionals

Universal free, independent drug safety website - Rxisk

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