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Drugs ineffective in treating depression in teens

Of late the link between teenage suicide and the antidepressant drug usage has been debatable. The drugs were found to be ineffective in curing depression in kids and teens in most of the clinical trials studied at an FDA meeting analyzing this topic. //

In a recent study published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Dr. Richard Malone, from the Department of Psychiatry at Drexel University College of Medicine and Philadelphia Health & Education Corporation, and colleagues suggest that the short duration of depressive symptoms in this age group makes it difficult to distinguish drug efficacy from placebo.

Using a naturalistic study design, the researchers advise using multiple assessments to establish a continuous baseline before randomizing patients to treatment, which would remove those who spontaneously recover in a very short period of time. In addition to having an impact on the accuracy of future clinical trials, this approach may help decrease the number of children who are exposed to unnecessary long-term drug therapy and possible side effects, since those who spontaneously recover quickly would not be started on drug therapy.

The article "Impersistence of Depression in Youth: Implications for Drug Study Design" can be accessed at no-charge for a limited time at The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology's web site at www.jclinpharm.org/cgi/reprint/46/9/1044.

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