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Prescribed medications dependency review in the UK


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Hi All,

This study is ongoing. There was an objection raised against one of the members of the group involved due to his apparent conflict of interest.




I don't know what the outcome was. Nevertheless, it doesn't fill me with confidence the study will be impartial.


Full details can be found here:




"The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to review the evidence for dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines. The review was launched in January 2018 and is due to report in spring 2019.

The review will bring together the best available evidence on:

  • prevalence and prescribing patterns
  • the nature and likely causes of dependence and the short term discontinuation or longer term withdrawal symptoms associated with prescribed medicines among some people who take these medicines
  • effective prevention and treatment of dependence, withdrawal and discontinuation syndrome for each drug category

Included within the scope of the review are:

  • adults (age 18 and over)
  • dependence, withdrawal and discontinuation syndrome
  • benzodiazepines, Z-drugs, GABA-ergic medicines, opioid pain medications, antidepressants
  • community prescribing

The review will exclude or will not cover:

  • cancer and terminal pain
  • over-the-counter medicines
  • prescribing in hospitals and prisons
  • other medicines, such as anti-psychotics, stimulants, ‘smart drugs’, anti-obesity drugs

Methods for the review will include:

  • mapping of medicine categories, conditions and guidance
  • analysis of prescription and GP patient data
  • an expert group to advise on methods and content of final report broader stakeholder engagement
  • a call for papers and evidence, including published research and reports in the grey literature (these are reports published by organisations outside of commercial or academic channels) including those that collate personal experiences
  • a literature review to summarise the evidence on causes, harms and effective prevention and treatment
  • a report of the evidence review which will be independently peer reviewed"



2011 - started Venlafaxine (again) at 75mg Raised to 150 mg at some point - unsure of dates. Reduced back down to 75 mg. Doctor advised this would be a lifetime, maintenance dose

2017 - Side effects now intolerable. Started taper from June 15th - 5% dose reduction steps (two 12 hourly doses).

2017 - October 20th - took last dose of Venlafaxine - 4 mg. Debilitating symptoms followed.

2017/18 - diazepam - 8mg/day for 1 month - 7 week taper Feb 2018

2017/18 - duloxetine - max 90mg - now stopped

2018 - Feb 25mg quetiapine, increased to 50mg.

2018 - March/April - increased venlafaxine slowly (10mg steps) to 75 mg/day. Recovery from withdrawal followed.

2018 - July 13 - stopped quetiapine after 2 month taper. Late July - had to reinstate quetiapine due to intolerable withdrawal. Now tapering from 25mg

2019 - June - stopped quetiapine after 10 month taper. Mild insomnia only symptom.

2021 - June - venlafaxine approx 6.0 mg see Taper history details

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