Acceptability and optimisation of resources to support antidepressant cessation: A qualitative think-aloud study with patients

This study by Suzanne McDonald, Katharine Ann Wallis, Mark Horowitz, Esther Mann, Vilany Le and Maria Donald has been published in the British Journal of General Practice. The abstract says:

“Background: Stopping long-term (>12 months) antidepressants can be difficult for patients because of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Many people do not recognise withdrawal symptoms or do not know how to minimise them to safely stop antidepressants. We developed the RELEASE resources to address these gaps: a medicines information brochure, a decision aid, and drug-specific hyperbolic tapering protocols.

Aim: To explore patients’ acceptability of the resources to optimise their use and impact. Design and setting: A think-aloud interview study with adults with lived experience of long-term antidepressant use conducted in south-east Queensland. Interviews were undertaken with participants face-to-face or via videoconferencing.

Methods: Fourteen participants purposively sampled from general practices were interviewed. Participants verbalised their thoughts, impressions and feelings whilst engaging with each resource. Interviews were analysed using a deductive coding framework including codes related to acceptability and optimisation. Interviews were analysed in a series of four tranches, with iterative modifications made to resources after each tranche.

Results: Participants reported the resources were relevant, informative, motivational, and usable. Participants’ comments informed modifications including changes to wording, content order, and layout. Several participants expressed frustration that they had not had these resources earlier, with one reporting the information could have been life changing. Many participants commented on the need for these resources to be widely available to both patients and doctors.

Conclusions: The RELEASE resources are acceptable, useful, and potentially life changing. The effectiveness of these consumer-informed resources in supporting safe cessation of long-term antidepressants is currently being tested in general practice …”

You can find out more from here.

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