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GPs reassured over their role in IT programme

NICE and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency last week issued parallel guidance to GPs on the use of antidepressants, in an all-too-rare example of joined-up thinking. But the guidelines, which cautioned against the use of antidepressants first-line in mild depression, have quickly become just another stick with which to beat GPs.

Accusations of reckless prescribing are particularly galling, because just a few years ago GPs were being told to increase their use of antidepressants.

Limiting their use may be sensible enough, but given the desperate shortage of alternatives, GPs often have little option but to prescribe drugs.

The new guidance is welcome, but long overdue, and should have been accompanied by an overhaul of the UK's depression services.

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