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Suicide Risk With Antidepressants Falls With Age
Date:8/11/2009

Study reiterates that young are most vulnerable

TUESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is doing its part to make sure that doctors and patients alike are aware of the latest data on the link between antidepressant use and suicide, which indicate that the risk declines steadily with age.

A review of 372 trials involving nearly 100,000 people who took antidepressants showed that the drugs increase the risk for suicide in people younger than 25, have no effect in those 25 to 64 and reduce risk in those 65 and older. A report on the findings is published online Aug. 12 in BMJ.

Information on the suicide risk linked to antidepressant use was posted on the FDA Web site some time ago, but "we thought it needed to be in a peer-reviewed publication, which would make it more useful to professionals," said Dr. Marc Stone, a senior medical reviewer in the agency's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and lead author of the BMJ report.

The risk of suicide among younger users of antidepressant drugs became prominent in 2003, when the FDA cited studies showing such an increased risk of suicide attempts or suicide-related behavior among children and adolescents taking the widely used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Zoloft, Celexa and Prozac.

A year later, the agency had the companies that market those drugs revise labeling to include a black-box warning so that health-care providers would be alert to any indication of suicide-related behavior in young users.

In 2006, analysis of the studies described in the new journal report led to a labeling change that expanded the warning to young adults.

The studies show "a bigger picture, where we see a declining rate in older patients that is essentially zero in middle-age adults, and suggest a beneficial effect which lowers the risk of suicidal thoughts in older people," Stone said.<
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