loading...

New research reveals some psychiatric drugs are overprescribed twelvefold

According to research by Dr James Davies and Dr Todd Rae from Roehampton's Department of Life Sciences, over a quarter of a million people in the UK have been using Benzodiazepines, which treat a range of conditions including anxiety, insomnia and panic disorders, for at least twelve times longer than the recommended period of two to four weeks.

Posted: 18 January 2017

image for news story New research reveals some psychiatric drugs are overprescribed twelvefold

While the British National Formulary (BNF) indicates these drugs should be used for two to four weeks only, over a quarter of a million people in the UK have been prescribed these drugs for twelve months or longer. Over 76% have been taking these drugs for more than six years.

Taking Benzodiazepines for longer than their intended four-week maximum use, can lead to dependence and produce adverse effects which make it harder to recover. Long-term usage is associated with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as well as problems such as irritability, tinnitus and sleeplessness. Withdrawal symptoms can last years as a result of using these drugs for an extended period.

Dr Davies comments, "Over 15% of the UK adult population are taking psychiatric drugs at any given time, and there were around 61 million prescriptions for antidepressants in England alone last year. We seem to be in the midst of a prescribing epidemic.

"Side effects and withdrawals from Benzodiazepines can be very severe, lasting for months – sometimes years – often leading to disability and sometimes suicide, but there are no NHS services to help people withdraw from these or other psychotropic medications, which is something that needs to be considered."

The research was undertaken in conjunction with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence and has featured in a number of news outlets including the BBC, Daily Mail and New Scientist.

The University's Department of Life Sciences offers outstanding undergraduate courses in a range of subjects including Anthropology and Biomedical Science.

more stories »

Latest news

Roehampton builds on research to address the barriers to success

The University of Roehampton is leading a new project to address the barriers to student success and close the attainment gap for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students, after securing over £250,000 through Higher Education Funding Council for England's (HEFCE) Catalyst Fund.

Vice-Chancellor in discussions on the new HE Bill

On 28th February Professor Paul O'Prey CBE represented the university sector at a meeting with Peers in the House of Lords to discuss concerns about the new Higher Education and Research Bill currently going through Parliament.

£225,000 invested into student careers development

The University of Roehampton has renewed its partnership with Santander Universities UK until 2020 which will see the bank donate a further £225,000 for career development initiatives, scholarships and study abroad bursaries.