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No One Antidepressant Raises Suicide Risk More Than Others

Study doesn't find any particular class of these medications more safe

TUESDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds no particular antidepressant is more likely to boost the risk that adults starting on such medication will kill themselves or try to commit suicide.

In the past, there have been reports that antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and Paxil, raise the risk of suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts, especially in children and teens.

In October 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a health advisory saying there was a potentially increased risk in suicidal thoughts and behaviors among children and adolescents taking antidepressants, but later analyses found no such increased risk in adults using antidepressants, according to a news release on the latest study.

"In the current study, we sought to address whether the risk of suicide is equal across antidepressant classes and agents after adjustment for selection factors -- or whether there are particular regimens with safety advantages that should be prescribed preferentially in adult populations," wrote the study authors, led by Dr. Sebastian Schneeweiss, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The researchers analyzed statistics regarding 287,543 adults in the Canadian province of British Columbia who began antidepressant treatment between 1997 and 2005.

The researchers found that, of the 846 adults in the study who either attempted suicide (751) or succeeded in killing themselves (104), no particular type or class of drug was more likely to be involved.

The study appears in the May issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on antidepressants.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Medical Association, press release, May 3, 2010

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