JMIR Res Protoc. 2022 Dec 29;11(12):e42526. doi: 10.2196/42526.
BACKGROUND: Research suggests that the rapid increase in worldwide antidepressant use is mainly due to a rise in long-term and potentially inappropriate use. It has been suggested that 1 in 3 antidepressant users among general practice patients are no longer experiencing clinical benefits from their medication and should commence deprescribing. However there are many barriers to antidepressant deprescribing for both patients and clinicians, which adds to the complex nature of reducing or ceasing the medication. As such, antidepressant deprescribing does not routinely occur in clinical practice. Evidence-based supports and interventions for safe and successful antidepressant deprescribing are needed to assist patients and their doctors. Interventions should also include an understanding of how an intervention works, why it works, and whom it is for.
OBJECTIVE: This study aims to evaluate how the WiserAD approach to antidepressant deprescribing works, whom it is for, and the underlying circumstances by (1) examining the experiences and perceptions of WiserAD among antidepressant users, (2) identifying the underlying mechanisms of the WiserAD approach to antidepressant deprescribing, and (3) describing in what contexts and to what extent the underlying mechanisms of WiserAD are suited for antidepressant users.
METHODS: A mixed methods case study with realist evaluation will be conducted among participants in the WiserAD randomized controlled trial for antidepressant deprescribing. Quantitative data will be obtained from up to 12 participants from the intervention and control arms at baseline and 3-month follow-up. Baseline data will be used to characterize the sample using descriptive statistics. Paired samples t tests will also be performed to compare responses between baseline and 3-month follow-up for participant self-management, skills, confidence and knowledge, beliefs about medicines, current emotional health, and well-being symptoms. Qualitative data from the same participants will be collected via narrative interview at 3-month follow-up. Quantitative and qualitative data will be converged to form a “case,” and analysis will be conducted within each case with comparisons made across multiple cases.
RESULTS: Recruitment of participants commenced in October 2022 and will be completed by March 2023. Analysis will be completed by June 2023.
CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this will be the first realist evaluation of an antidepressant deprescribing intervention in general practice. Findings from this evaluation may assist in the implementation of the WiserAD approach to antidepressant deprescribing in routine clinical practice.
INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): PRR1-10.2196/42526.