I can see the rationale behind the new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) guidelines trying to reduce the dispensing of antidepressants by the NHS, but I don’t agree with it. Between October and December 2020 doctors prescribed more than 20 million pills, 6 per cent more than in the same period in 2019. I’m surprised, for obvious reasons, that the increase wasn’t higher. Still, it’s a heck of a lot. More than seven million people, 17 per cent of the adult population of the UK, are on antidepressants. I am one of them — 20mg of fluoxetine every morning for the past 16 years.
The new Nice advice is that patients presenting with mild depression should not routinely be offered pills as