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New clinical guidelines on anti-depressant drugs welcomed

7 December, 2004

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Cllr John O'Dowd MLA has welcomed new guidelines issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in relation to the prescription of anti-depressant drugs, particularly Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI's).

Cllr O'Dowd said:

"These new guidelines, issued by NICE, governing the use and prescription of anti-depressant drugs are to be welcomed. There is widespread concern about the increased use of SSRI's and in particular the widespread of practice of issuing repeat prescriptions. The addictive nature of these drugs is demonstrated by the immense difficulties experienced by many people trying to stop using the drugs.

"However, new clinical guidelines on their own will be of little use unless the government demonstrates a willingness to increase the levels of funding for the provision of additional mental health practitioners and counselling services to assist those people suffering from clinical depression.

"The need for this additional funding is extremely urgent given that a number of health boards and trusts across the North are already under pressure to review their service planning due to the inadequate levels of funding being made available for new service development under the proposed the governments proposed Priorities and Budget 2005-2008." ENDS

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