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FDA Advisory Against Anti-depressants to Be Expanded to Cover Young Adults too

Anti-depressants could indeed lift one out of depression. But its potential to drive teenagers to suicide has already been recognized .

Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed that makers of all antidepressant medications update the existing black box warning on their products' labeling to include warnings about increased risks of suicidal thinking and behavior, in young adults ages 18 to 24 during initial treatment, generally the first one to two months.

Back in March 2004, the FDA had said

Health care providers should carefully monitor patients receiving antidepressants for possible worsening of depression or suicidality, especially at the beginning of therapy or when the dose either increases or decreases. Although FDA has not concluded that these drugs cause worsening depression or suicidality, health care providers should be aware that worsening of symptoms could be due to the underlying disease or might be a result of drug therapy.

They should carefully evaluate patients in whom depression persistently worsens, or emergent suicidality is severe, abrupt in onset, or was not part of the presenting symptoms, to determine what intervention, including discontinuing or modifying the current drug therapy, is indicated.

Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and non-psychiatric, it had said then.

Although FDA had not concluded that these symptoms were a precursor to either worsening of depression or the emergence of suicidal impulses, it had expressed concern that patients who experienced one or more of such symptoms might be at increased risk for worsening depression or suicidality.

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