Parliamentary Questions by Jim Dobbin, MP (26 June 2012)

26 Jun 2012 : Column 222

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other antidepressants are not included as part of his Department’s review of policy on addiction to prescribed medication. [113780]

Anne Milton: The generic actions agreed by the expert roundtable which I convened to advise on the prevention and treatment of dependence on medicine are relevant whichever medicine is giving rise to dependence.

The scope for people to experience withdrawal symptoms when they abruptly stop taking Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) or Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors is well documented. There are warnings about this risk in the product information for prescribers and in the Patient Information Leaflets. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance recommends that all patients prescribed antidepressants should be informed about the risk of withdrawal reactions and the importance of gradual withdrawal over several weeks. There is no clinical consensus that the symptoms which some people experience when they stop taking SSRIs constitute dependence.

Royal College of General Practitioners

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether a drug policy official from his Department attended the Royal College of General Practitioners’ 17th National Conference. [113782]

Anne Milton: On 11 May 2012, two officials from the Department gave presentations on the misuse of prescribed medications and on payment by results for drug and alcohol recovery at the conference on managing drug and alcohol problems in primary care which was organised by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Tranquillisers: Misuse

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if his Department will make an assessment of the survey of services provided for involuntary tranquilliser addiction by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction. [113781]

26 Jun 2012 : Column 235W

Anne Milton: We welcome the initiative of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction in working with local areas to collect information on the provision of services for people who are addicted to benzodiazepines and z drugs. The responses provided from primary care trusts illustrate both the way that in some areas general practitioners are working with other agencies to give people the vital support that they need, and highlights the need for further improvement.

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