The Antidepressant Tapering Platform Outro is Here to Help

By Ezra Tennen

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To mark mental health awareness month, co-founders of Outro, the antidepressant tapering platform, discussed their newly launched business with the team at Glory Professional. Getting off antidepressants is a surprisingly difficult task that many people underestimate or are completely unaware of. At Outro, the team aims to guide their customers through this path to make it as easy as possible — a sort of guided outro. The co-founders embrace a philosophy called informed consent. It’s the process of “Fully informing someone of the risks and benefits of a treatment.” And it’s at the core of Outro’s business.


The two founders interviewed are Tyler Dyck and Brandon Goode. The two friends were near professional soccer players before they turned to the world of healthcare. They got their start in the mental health startup space as early employees at Field Trip Health, a psychedelic healthcare company that focuses on Ketamine assisted therapy. After a few years as an employee, Brandon felt that his “curiosity was limited” and decided to start something of his own.


Tyler had gone through severe antidepressant withdrawal of his own, so when Brandon asked him to join the team it was a no brainer. His personal experience was a window into the mind of the customer which is especially important in a business as personal as this. The other co-founders, not included in this interview are Dr. Mark Horowitz, and Adele Framer. Mark has “helped to co-write the UK’s National Guidelines on how to safely taper antidepressants” and “Adele previously founded the website, where she has helped thousands of people taper their medication.” Together, the team is a powerhouse of knowledge of support, and they are sure to help many people across the country.


The founders discuss the importance of “being comfortable with being uncomfortable” and how to “follow your curiosity, continue to learn about yourself, and learn how to work with different people.”


You can read the full interview below.

Close up photo of Brandon Goode, co-founder of Outro, the antidepressant tapering platform. He is wearing a brown sweater with a white shirt underneath and he is smiling. There are green leaves behind him.

Tyler was the Director of Finance at Field Trip Health and HelloFresh Canada, and Brandon was an NCAA Division 1 athlete and worked at Novo Nordisk. What was the reason behind such a big career change, diving into the field of mental health and substances?


Tyler: When I first dove into this space with Field Trip Health I was going through a bit of a mental health and career crisis, and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to perhaps solve both of these at the same time. I figured if I submerged myself in the mental health and psychedelics space I could find some alternative solutions for my own depression and anxiety, and the prospect of helping to build a Company from the ground up that could truly change people’s lives really excited me for the first time in my career.

Brandon: I’ve always had an interest in the sciences and healthcare, particularly with a philosophical lens of learning what’s truly true. Soccer allowed me to see the world while also always having a toe in the sciences. When I finally stepped fully into the healthcare field, I started with a great learning opportunity in Denmark at Novo Nordisk’s headquarters. Due to my own personal experiences and personality, I got really excited at the paradigm shifts taking place in mental health and gradually found my way into starting Outro, mainly by following my curiosity.


Antidepressant are a very specific market. What is it like to be an entrepreneur there?


We’re often told that what we’re working on is “specific” or “niche”, but we don’t see it that way. It’s difficult to find recent statistics on antidepressant use, for one reason or another, but in 2016 one in six American adults were taking psychiatric medication. In 2017, 10% of all Canadians were taking an antidepressant, making us the third highest consumer of these medications among developed countries. Both of these figures have likely increased substantially. 

It’s an interesting space to be in, to say the least. Despite the growing amount of research suggesting that antidepressants have limited efficacy, long-term risks, and can cause significant withdrawal symptoms, there is still so much education required when it comes to investors and media. Up until now, there hasn’t been an evidence-based way to stop long-term antidepressant use – the cars were sold without the brakes. With Outro, we’re building the brakes.

The image shows a line graph measuring the use of antidepressants in American adults from 2000–2014. The graph is titled "Long-term Antidepressant Use", and underneath it says "Nearly 7 percent of American adults have taken prescription antidepressants for at least five years.

Tyler’s background is more on the operational expert side, and Brandon’s is on biology, philosophy, and global health – what were some challenges when you first joined this very technical and medical industry?


When it comes to navigating how to operate in the healthcare industry, our previous experiences at Field Trip Health and Novo Nordisk have been very useful. When we first started the company, we knew we had to provide a platform for people to safely and sustainably end their medication treatment, but the exact method was not clear. Fortunately, we were introduced to our third co-founder Dr. Mark Horowitz, and his long-time acquaintance Adele Framer, quite early on. Mark published our Hyperbolic Tapering approach in the Lancet Journal of Psychiatry back in 2018, and recently helped to co-write the UK’s National Guidelines on how to safely taper antidepressants. Adele previously founded the website, where she has helped thousands of people taper their medications. With these world-leading experts rounding out our founding team, we’ve felt very comfortable from a technical and medical standpoint from early on.


Are there any transferable skills you find from your previous work experiences to your road to entrepreneurship?


Tyler: For me, it’s all about being comfortable with being uncomfortable. A few years as an auditor and a couple of startups helps to develop this comfort.

Brandon: Playing soccer internationally at a high level, taught me a lot about composure under pressure and the level of commitment needed to build something excellent.


Both of you were early employees at Field Trip Health, and are now entrepreneurs.  How do these two “fresh starts” or position changes compare?


Brandon: After having spent a few years as an employee, I felt that my curiosity was limited. I wanted to do something more interesting and impactful than the roles that I could find, so I took the leap when I saw an opportunity to build something. At the end of the day, you’re trading problems, it’s just that some problems are more enjoyable than others – the freedom to experiment and build is something I love.

How did you earn customers’ trust in your products and services when you first started out?


To start, you’d be surprised how much trust can be built by simply acknowledging that antidepressant withdrawal is a very real and difficult experience. Over 85% of our clients have previously attempted to taper off their antidepressant, so they know how difficult it can be. However, for most of these clients, their difficulties are not acknowledged by their primary care provider, and are too often mistaken for relapse and leading to more medication.

Taking an education-first approach has been crucial as, in healthcare, patients are not often given well-rounded guidance on the medications they are prescribed. Fully informing someone of the risks and benefits of a treatment is called “informed consent”, and it’s something we stand by whole-heartedly. Aside from transparency, our evidence-based hyperbolic tapering approach and incredibly talented care team, who monitor our clients closely, have people feeling safe. 


We always talk about “stepping into your customers’ shoes” in business,  think of what they want and what they need. But side effects and withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants vary case by case. How do you step into their shoes, or empathize with them?


Tyler: When Brandon reached out to me to start this business, perhaps the biggest reason I said yes was because I had just gone through some pretty severe antidepressant withdrawal a couple of times over the prior 2 years we had known each other. I’ve come to learn since we started the company that my antidepressant experience, from the lack of information when I received my prescription, to the terrible side effects, and the challenging withdrawal is not only common, but pales in comparison to so many of the stories I hear every day. 

Brandon: I’ve fortunately never had to go through antidepressant withdrawal. In order to understand the people we’re serving, I make sure I continue to ask questions, try to absorb as much information as I can via 1-to-1 conversations, online forums, and academic literature – there’s so much to learn.


What are some tips you can give to people who have the passion to squeeze into the market? 


Brandon: It varies by person but, for me, it would be to follow your curiosity, continue to learn about yourself, and learn how to work with different people. I had no problem following my curiosity, but staying open to learning about my strengths and areas for improvement has been the most important thing in sustaining what I’m doing.

Photo of a young women smiling with a sunny background. She is wearing a green bandana tied around her head, and the Outro logo in green is superimposed over the image.