Provide all of the facts

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Being fully informed, and thus having the opportunity to give informed consent, is a fundamental issue and a basic right when considering taking any kind of prescribed drug.

That said, it is questionable whether those being prescribed antidepressants are being fully informed.

Considering the long list of effects associated with this class of drugs, it would appear that those taking the drugs are not making an informed choice.

They may be agreeing to take the drugs, but they are making uninformed decisions.

If they knew all of the effects of antidepressants, it is unlikely they would take them.

Here’s the problem.

Recently published figures revealed that antidepressant prescribing has doubled in the last decade.

But how many of those consumers were informed about the effects of antidepressants?

Worldwide, there have been 99 drug regulatory agency warnings regarding antidepressants.

Of those warnings, 35 concerned suicide, suicide risk, and suicide attempts.

There have also been 119 studies in 12 countries on antidepressant-induced side effects.

Of those studies, 23 of them concerned antidepressants causing suicide, suicide risks and suicide attempts.

How many of the consumers know this?

While we might hope for an altruistic purpose in the manufacture of these drugs, there is an inescapable factor that gives pharmaceutical companies an extra production impetus.

That factor is profit.

Since 2000, £4.7billion was spent on antidepressants in England alone.

This represents commercial success for the shareholders, but, in my opinion, a nightmare for those who have to pick up the pieces and exercise damage control when things go wrong.

Psychiatrists and drug companies commonly say benefits outweigh the risks.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that when it comes to psychiatric drugs, profits outweigh the risks.

At the end of the day, a person must be allowed to make a fully informed choice about the consequences of taking antidepressants.

If that happened, it could have a knock-on effect and save the NHS billions in unnecessary spending.

Brian Daniels,

National Spokesperson,

Citizens Commission on Human Rights,

East Grinstead.