The innovative, science-backed health solution combines a user-friendly interface with specially trained care teams to create a safe and effective path for stopping antidepressants
TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Outro, the first-of-its-kind platform harnessing technology and specialized care to help people reduce or stop the use of antidepressants, announces its launch in Canada ahead of World Tapering Day on November 5. Outro’s user-friendly platform provides science-based, personalized tapering plans to slowly reduce medication dosage. It also provides proactive symptom monitoring, one-on-one chats and video appointments with practitioners trained specifically in safely stopping antidepressants, and a patient-first approach that minimizes risk of relapse and maximizes the chance of successful tapering.
Outro is slated for a United States launch in 2023.
“We are incredibly excited to bring this platform to many in need across Canada,” said Brandon Goode, co-founder and chief executive officer of Outro. “While many people have been helped by going on antidepressants, there is a lack of accessible, well-researched solutions for coming off of them. Due to withdrawal symptoms, which can mimic relapse, many people feel stuck on medications that were meant to be temporary. Outro is poised to help many in Canada and eventually more around the world.”
Antidepressants have become the norm for millions of Canadians (which ranks third in use among industrial nations1) and one in seven Americans (over 45 million people2). In the U.S., even before COVID-19, two-thirds of patients had taken antidepressants for more than two years and one-quarter for more than 10 years.3 Other western countries show comparable increases in long-term use,4 which are likely similar to Canada and are far longer than the typical length of recommended use, both in the U.S. and in Canada.5
Some of the most commonly used antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like escitalopram, citalopram, sertraline, paroxetine and fluoxetine, as well as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like duloxetine and venlafaxine.
Evidenced by the rise of online support communities and accounts of individual struggles, stopping antidepressants can be exceedingly difficult.6 Existing methods of stopping often lead to withdrawal symptoms like difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depressed mood, headaches, and dizziness, which can be mistaken for relapse of an underlying condition due to limited awareness or understanding of withdrawal.7 Patients’ search for community guidance speaks to the need for a more comprehensive and effective approach to stopping antidepressant use.
“After spending much of my last six years trying to navigate the severe but often poorly recognized side-effects and subsequent withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants, I look forward to providing our members with the transformative knowledge I’ve been so fortunate to gain from our brilliant team while bringing Outro to life,” said Tyler Dyck, co-founder of Outro.
In the absence of an effective digital health solution to meet this growing demand, Goode and Dyck, who bring years of experience working across the pharmaceutical and mental health sectors, sought the expertise of world-leading researcher in psychiatric medicine deprescribing (the opposite of prescribing), Dr. Mark Horowitz, and esteemed patient advocate, Adele Framer.
“In my own journey to stop antidepressants, I was shocked to find that online peer-support forums and not the experts in my field were the most helpful resource,” said Dr. Mark Horowitz, co-founder of Outro and the co-author of a recent paper that achieved viral status for invalidating long-held paradigms that depression is caused by low serotonin levels. “Outro was born out of the belief that people should have access to the support and knowledgeable professionals that I did not have. We are providing a science-based and holistic way to help people safely stop antidepressants while minimizing withdrawal symptoms and risk of relapsing.”
Outro’s core offering is a personalized, clinician-guided taper plan, where trained professionals work step-by-step with members to reduce their medication doses while monitoring withdrawal symptoms via a user-friendly mobile or web application. Throughout the tapering process, Outro’s care team can prescribe custom medication doses and offer a psychotherapy add-on for members who may need additional support before, during, or after their journey.
For more information and for those interested in tapering off antidepressants with Outro, visit https://www.outro.com/ to book a complimentary evaluation with one of Outro’s clinicians–now available for residents of British Columbia and Ontario. Those outside of these regions can join Outro’s mailing list and temporary waitlist here. For further updates and information follow Outro on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/outrohealth/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/outrohealth/).
Outro is the world’s first comprehensive, personalized, and science-based platform to help people safely reduce or stop antidepressants that are no longer needed. Outro combines a user-friendly digital app with a specialized care team to deliver a safe and convenient path off antidepressants. With an Outro membership, members are equipped with the guidance, support, and tools needed to confidently reduce their reliance on medication and transition to their next chapter of mental well-being. Visit https://www.outro.com/ for more information.
1 Consumption of antidepressant use in selected countries as of 2020
2 Antidepressant Use Among Adults: United States, 2015-2018
3 Antidepressant Use Among Persons Aged 12 and Over: United States, 2011–2014
4 What factors influence long-term antidepressant use in primary care? Findings from the Australian diamond cohort study; Reviewing long-term antidepressants can reduce drug burden: a prospective observational cohort study
5 How hard is it to stop antidepressants?; Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) 2016 Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Adults with Major Depressive Disorder
6 The role of Facebook groups in the management and raising of awareness of antidepressant withdrawal: is social media filling the void left by health services? Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology
7 Distinguishing relapse from antidepressant withdrawal: clinical practice and antidepressant discontinuation studies
Jack Taylor PR