About the project
The Tapering Project was initiated in 2010 by Cinderella Therapeutics, and in 2017 the project was transferred to the User Research Centre (URC) of Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
Several practical suggestions to improve methods for gradual tapering have been published. In 2004, Harry Leurink mentioned the idea to develop the ‘medication withdrawal strip’ in a Dutch newspaper (bit.ly/2ekZLg9). His idea gave Cinderella the idea to start the tapering project. In 2010, a conceptually similar idea, for the development of ‘stopping packages’ was put forward by Peter Groot (bit.ly/2aYskle). Prof. Dick van Bekkum, founder and chairman of Cinderella, read about this and contacted Groot, who, as a result, started working as a volunteer for Cinderella. This led to the successful development of the first tapering strips for paroxetine and venlafaxine. As a philanthropic venture, Cinderella Therapeutics accomplished its goal of establishing these tapering strips as a proof of concept. In 2017, Cinderella will hand over the project to the URC, where it is being continued in an academic setting. The URC is currently promoting further development of the tapering strips, and facilitating research into the use of tapering strips in daily clinical practice.
The Tapering Project is a charitable, patient-driven initiative with no commercial motivation. Cinderella Therapeutics is a registered charity that developed the first tapering strips but does not produce them or provide them to patients. Pharmacist Paul Harder of the Regenboog (Rainbow) pharmacy was asked to produce the strips, and was found willing to make all the necessary investments to make tapering strips a reality. Tapering strips are available on prescription only and – in accordance with the principles of Cinderella and the URC – at an acceptable price. Neither Cinderella Therapeutics nor the URC are motivated by commercial gains within this project.
Support from other parties
The Fonds Psychische Gezondheid, a charitable organization in the field of mental health care that was set up in … 2016, now also known as MIND, contributed financially to the URC so that it could employ Peter Groot as a researcher to develop the tapering strips. Peter has himself had experience with medication withdrawal, and is conducting URC research into tapering strips, including withdrawal and dose optimization of antidepressants and other psychiatric medications.
In the first publication about tapering strips in the Tijdschrift voor Psychiatry in 2013 (article in Dutch, English translation available at http://bit.ly/29PaY7F) the following persons, including 21 professors of psychiatry, supported the development of the tapering strips:
- P. B. Arts, psychiatrist, Maastricht; P T. van Balkom, psychiatrist, Amsterdam; Prof. A. Beekman, psychiatrist, Amsterdam; Dr M. Blom, psychiatrist, The Hague; Prof. T. Birkenhäger, psychiatrist, Rotterdam; Dr. P.C. Groot, researcher and expert by experience, Maastricht; Prof. B.M. van Hemert, psychiatrist, Leiden; Prof. W.J. Hoogendijk, psychiatrist, Rotterdam; Mr J. van Ingen Schenau, general practitioner, Eerste Exloërmond; Prof. R.S. Kahn, psychiatrist, Utrecht; Prof. Ralph Kupka, psychiatrist, Amsterdam; Prof. R.C. van der Mast, psychiatrist, Leiden; Prof. W.A. Nolen, psychiatrist, Groningen; Prof. J. van Os, psychiatrist, Maastricht; Prof. F. Peeters, psychiatrist, Maastricht; Prof. E. Ruhé, psychiatrist, Amsterdam; Prof. A. Schene, psychiatrist, Amsterdam; Prof. F. Scheepers, psychiatrist, Utrecht; Prof. R. Schoevers, psychiatrist, Groningen; Prof. A. Speckens, psychiatrist, Nijmegen; Prof. J. Spijker, psychiatrist, Utrecht; Prof. J. Swinkels, psychiatrist, Amsterdam; Prof. T. Vergouwen, psychiatrist, Amsterdam; Prof. F.C. Verhulst, psychiatrist, Rotterdam.