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Question
Posted by: Suzette | 2008/05/30

Going off anti-depressants

Hi,
I have been on anti-depressants (Cipralex) for about 4 months now. I have now moved to Australia and am running out of them. I am currently taking a full one per day.
It is too expensive to go see a doctor to prescribe another lot and to buy them here (as I don't belong to Australian Medicare) is a fortune.
If I took half per day till they run out (there are about 10 full ones left) and go off them do you think it would be ok? Are there any cheaper alternatives? What about St John's Wort?
I am really worried about it.
Thank you in advance for your help.

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Our expert says:
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Doctors should always take such circumstances into consideration before writing an automatic prescription for a needlessly expensive drug, and not considering the potentially greater or at least equivalent value of a generic alternative. If you were significantly Depressed, 4 months isn't usually long enough on an AD to be able to come off it without a significant risk of the return of the Depression. If you could see a local GP even once, he could prescribe a generic alternative ( Cipralex isn't significantly better than any other alternative ) which could be substantially cheaper and enable you to remain on the drug --- generally at least 6 to 9 months in the first Depression is recommended. You suggestion for coming off them reasonably graudally is wise, if you need to stop. If you see the doc, he could suggest a plan for switching from the Cipralex tothe alternative, cheaper but equally effective generic.
St John's Wort is the only non-prescription possibility, which is chemically very like a WEAK form of Prozac / Fluoxetine, and has been shown, alone of all over-the-counter remedies, to help some people with MILD depression.

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