Summary:

First two paragraphs read:  "DOCTORS are prescribing more than one antidepressant drug at a time to their patients, leading to the risk of serious complications such as epileptic seizures, confusion and mood swings."

"A survey of more than 1000 psychiatrists, trainees and medical officers found 76 per cent had prescribed a combination of antidepressants for their patients."

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/risk-lies-in-untested-drug-duos/2007/05/13/1178995000306.html

Risk lies in untested drug duos

Bellinda Kontominas Medical Reporter
May 14, 2007
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DOCTORS are prescribing more than one antidepressant drug at a time to their patients, leading to the risk of serious complications such as epileptic seizures, confusion and mood swings.

A survey of more than 1000 psychiatrists, trainees and medical officers found 76 per cent had prescribed a combination of antidepressants for their patients.

The study by three Melbourne psychiatrists, Dr David Horgan, Dr Seetal Dodd and Professor Michael Berk, was published in Australasian Psychiatry and found 17 per cent of psychiatrists had seen serious complications from the combination of antidepressants.

"Doctors working in psychiatry in Australia, like their colleagues in other countries, are prepared to use treatments in some patients without a firm evidence base," the authors wrote.

The use of combination drug therapy has ignited debate among medical professionals about the risks of experimenting with combinations that have not been properly researched.

The head of psychological medicine at Adelaide Women's and Children's Hospital, Dr Jon Jureidini, said there was little evidence to suggest using antidepressants in combination would be beneficial. "It's like adding a dash of salt or spice to a soup to see if it adds taste or changes the flavour," he said. "It's not actually very scientific."

Dr David Kitching, the chairman of the Psychiatrics Treatment Advisory Committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, said he was not surprised at the number of psychiatrists prescribing combination therapy as they tended to see the most acute cases of depression, where it had become a last resort.

Dr Nicholas Keks, professor of psychiatry at Monash University, said he prescribed combination drugs to only 2 per cent of his patients as it was "not something you would be gung-ho about".