The Committee noted the striking number of reports on paroxetine and “withdrawal syndrome” (see list of SSRIs in the Table in the Annex). The representative of Consumers International reported that a number of patients had experienced difficulty in withdrawing from SSRIs in general. It was agreed that withdrawal was indeed a problem in some patients, but there was a difference of opinion on the degree of dependence that was involved, given the possibility that the need for treatment of resistant or relapsing disease could make these drugs indispensable for patient care. The Committee expressed concern about the possibility of inappropriate prescribing resulting in the risk of problems of withdrawal outweighing the benefits of treatment with SSRIs.
The Committee agreed that there was a possible therapeutic problem with these drugs, but that there was no evidence of diversion of the drug for abuse because SSRIs are so widely available. The Committee recommended that SSRIs be placed on the agenda of the next Committee for consideration, not in the context of control, but to promote education and information on the appropriate use of psychoactive drugs.