Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Antidepressants are supposed to make you less depressed right? Well they do, they are widely used and highly successful. But like all drugs there are risks and adverse reactions. Well recent research showed that as much as 2 to 3 % of children and young adults using antidepressants had an increase in suicidal thoughts. Now that is indeed significant. But without looking at potential repercussions and against the advice of pharmacists, the FDA mandated a black box warming on antidepressants. A portion of the warning is reproduced below.

“Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of [Insert established name] or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need.”

With such a severe warning there was a drastic reduction in the number of prescriptions written and filled for antidepressants since the warning was mandated in 2004. There was a 20% decrease in antidepressant use in teenagers. The problem is there was an 8% increase in suicide for the same time period. The numbers are particularly striking in children and teens. There was a 75.9 percent increase in the suicide rate among 10- to 14-year-old girls, a 32.3 percent increase among 15- to 19-year-old girls, and a 9 percent increase among 15- to 19-year-old boys. It is to say there is a direct correlation, but the likely explanation in an increase in untreated depression resulted in increased suicide. Experts are now looking more carefully at the subject and analyzing if removing or altering the label will help.



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