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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December 2004, 12:41 GMT
'I'm on a drug I don't need'
Sarah Venn
'The drugs were horribly addictive'
Doctors are to be given new guidance on when to prescribe antidepressants amid concerns too many people are taking the drugs.

Sarah Venn, says she was wrongly prescribed one of the family of drugs, Seroxat, and withdrawal symptoms have prevented her coming off them, despite three attempts over the last eight years.

Sarah was prescribed the drug after being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder while at university.

She said she suffered side effects straight away.

There is no doubt that these drugs do have benefits for some people
"I had no energy at all. I was lethargic.

"I started to get what felt like electric shocks, which made me jolt.

"It got to the point that I couldn't study."

Flu-like symptoms

Sarah said she read the patient information leaflet which said there could be initial side effects which would soon abate.

She decided to keep taking the drug.

"I wanted to do something to sort out the problem which I was already having."

She continued taking the drug, but tried to come off it in May 2000 when she was in her final year at university.

"I didn't know anything about Seroxat. I tried to come off it quickly, in a week or two.

"Before I knew it I was stuck in bed. I couldn't see. I felt like I had flu constantly."

Her doctor put her straight back on to Seroxat.

"I did try to come off it much more gradually, using the liquid form, but that didn't work either.

"It was about that time I got involved with the Seroxat Users' Group."

'Last resort'

She added: "Unfortunately my experience, like thousands of people, is that I was wrongly given antidepressants."

"I was left on it, not monitored, and I found them horribly addictive.

"Now, eight years on, I have been prescribed physiotherapy, which is what I needed.

"But I am still taking a drug I do not need.

"I have had three attempts to come off them. I couldn't do it. And there are lots of other people out there like me.

"I can't see a time when I won't be taking them."

She said: "There is no doubt that these drugs do have benefits for some people, but as a last resort.

"What we're finding is that these drugs are a quick fix which it is easier for the doctor to prescribe, rather than looking at other options."

Anti-depressant safety reviewed
08 Jan 03 |  Health
Glaxo denies Seroxat problems
13 Oct 02 |  Panorama

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