asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in view of the high rate of suicide among patients taking trycilic anti-depressant drugs, he will issue guidance on the use of this drug.
These drugs are available only on prescription. It is for the prescribing doctor to advise his patient on the use of the drug and to supervise the treatment. Information for this purpose is provided in the data sheets issued by the manufacturers, some of whom already stress the need to maintain close supervision of severely depressed patients, particularly in the early stages of therapy, and to avoid allowing them access to large quantities of the drug. Steps are being taken in line with the recommendations of the Committee on the Review of Medicines to ensure that this kind of advice is made explicit in all data sheets.