Background: Samuel Hahnemann noticed that palliative treatments for the symptoms of chronic diseases, after an initial improvement, provoked symptoms similar but stronger symptoms to those initially suppressed. He regarded this as a consequence of the vital reaction of the organism: an automatic and instinctive capacity to return to the initial health condition altered by medicines. Using this homeostatic conception of the organism as a treatment rationale, Hahnemann proposed the therapy of similarity, administering to the patients medicines capable of causing, in healthy individuals, similar symptoms to the natural disease. Based on experimental observations, he proposed that the primary action of the drug was followed by the secondary and opposite action of the organism, inaugurating homeopathic pharmacology, and alerting to the harmful consequences of palliative medicines in susceptible individuals. Such iatrogenic events can be observed in contemporary medicine, after the withdrawal of modern enantiopathic medicines, according to the study of the rebound effect or paradoxical reaction of the organism.
Method: This study reviews the recent studies which describe suicidality after the suspension or discontinuation of second generation antidepressants according to the hypothesis of the paradoxical reaction of the organism.
Conclusions: Rebound and withdrawal effects, including suicidality occur with antidepressant drugs. They are relatively rare but more intense than the primary action of the drug. The probability of such effects is influenced by patient factors including age and diagnosis, and drug factors including half-life.