New research reveals that doctors need to think twice before prescribing antidepressants, and patients should think three times before taking them. Antidepressants are a far more deadly family of drugs than even their critics realise, as research from Canberra Hospital in Australia shows.
The tricyclic antidepressants, for example, killed 2598 people in England, Scotland and Wales between 1993 and 1999. The most lethal drug was desipramine. Although responsible for just nine deaths, only 45,000 prescriptions were ever written - which works out to a rate of 200 fatalities for every million prescriptions written (BMJ, 2002; 325: 1332-3).