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Antidepressants for many decades have been shown to be an effective treatment for depressive disorder.1 Approximately 80% of people with depressive disorder in the UK will have been prescribed an antidepressant within the first year following diagnosis.2 Indeed, about 71 million prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in the UK in 2018—nearly twice as many as the previous decade.3 However, there remain important questions around the tolerability of antidepressant medication. It is well recognised that the side effects of antidepressants can be extremely debilitating and that unwanted symptoms associated with these medications are one of the main reasons for patients discontinuing treatment.4
There are many different antidepressant drugs available, recommended by guidelines, and thus commonly used in real-world clinical practice in patients with depressive disorder across the world. A large number of different side effects of antidepressant medication from different patient populations have been reported in randomised controlled trails.5 While we now have evidence from randomised trials informing us which specific side effects are experienced by patients taking antidepressants, and the frequency of these specific individual side effects, we have limited evidence from real-world patients as to which …
Contributors CK and ACi drafted the editorial. AT and ACh critically revised it. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.
Funding ACi is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Cognitive Health Clinical Research Facility, by an NIHR Research Professorship (grant RP-2017-08-ST2-006) and by the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre (grant BRC-1215-20005).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
Patient consent for publication Not required.