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Can GPs in Singapore prescribe anti-depressants as necessary?

Mental Health Sexual Health

Hi Drs, Can GPs/GP clinics that provide mental health services also prescribe anti-depressants? Also, can taking anti-depressants result in loss of sexual interest? Thanks in advance.

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (2)

The GPs in Singapore are certainly empowered to treat common psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression. Yes, they can prescribe antidepressants. Psychiatry is an important part of the medical education and all of them have been trained to treat common psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression.

You can look at the credentials of the GPs in your neighbourhood. Many of them would mention that they have a diploma or certificate in psychiatry or mental health issues. For those who mention this in their clinic sign board, they are comfortable with prescribing antidepressants. You can also ask the counter staff at the clinic if the clinic has any particular antidepressant. Most GPs are familiar with antidepressants like Fluoxetine and Escitalopram.

If you are already seeking treatment from a psychiatrist, you can also ask your psychiatrist to recommend a GP for you. The advantage of seeking help from the GP is that many of them do run clinics in the evening and that is indeed very convenient for patients to seek help.

Cheers!

497 views 4 Nov 2018
Dr Paul Ang
"Family Physician with special interest in Mental Health"
(1 Reviews)

Thank you for asking the question. 

Anti-depressants are controlled under "schedule 3 poisons act", meaning, there is no restriction for any licensed doctor to prescribe these medicines. 

There are however GPs who are more comfortable prescribing certain drugs compared to others. There are also some GPs who are better trained at recognising and treating mental health conditions. 

There is unfortunately no way for the public to know at the moment, because only the government has a full listing of these clinics. I can tell you off hand that I am one of them. We are partnered with the government to provide subsidised psychiatric medications. Another one is Dr Alvin Lum and Dr Laurel Yip.

Certainly anti-depressants can cause loss in sexual interest in some patients. Keep in mind however then the condition that requires these medications also cause a loss in sexual interest. Your doctor would have considered the pros and cons properly before giving you the medication. If you have any issues with the medications, you should discuss with your doctor soon.

Take care.

937 views 6 May 2018
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