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Kids' Suicide Risk Same for All Antidepressants
Date:4/12/2010

Findings support FDA's 'black box' warning on all SSRIs, researchers say

MONDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- There appears to be no difference among antidepressants in raising a kid's risk of suicidal thoughts, a new long-term study shows.

The research supports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's decision in 2004 to mandate a "black box" warning on all antidepressants for an increased suicidality risk in children and adolescents who go on the medications. And it answers an oft-raised question about which medications carry the most risk.

"Across the most frequently prescribed antidepressant agents, there was no difference in risk of suicide attempts and completed suicides," said lead researcher Dr. Sebastian Schneeweiss, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The FDA showed a doubling in the risk of suicidal ideation among children taking antidepressants, compared with placebo, Schneeweiss noted.

But, Schneeweiss added, the FDA analysis did not specify which medications were used. so there was no way to tell whether there were differences in risk.

"Physicians need to know if there is an agent where the risk is reduced or particularly elevated," he said. "That is important for clinical practice."

The report is published in the April 12 online edition of Pediatrics.

For the study, Schneeweiss's team collected data on 20,906 children aged 10 to 18 who had been diagnosed with depression in British Columbia. They were followed for nine years.

The children and adolescents in the study were on a variety of commonly prescribed antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft).

In the first year after starting treatment with antidepressants, there were 266 suicide attempts and
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