Antidepressants-Suicide Link

PDM Healthcare, The Communiqué, Volume 14, Issue 6 – July/August 2004

After analysis of clinical trial data, the FDA has found a possible link between antidepressants and suicide in adolescents.

The FDA examined 25 studies of nine drugs and found that children and teenagers taking the drugs were twice as likely to exhibit suicidal behavior or thoughts compared to placebos.

The true question is whether antidepressants cause the suicidal tendencies or whether a disease is responsible.  An FDA advisory committee will meet to review a final version of the analysis, which is expected on September 13 and 14.

Effexor and Prozac are two of the drugs under review.  According to Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, there are “troubling questions of whether FDA supervisors inappropriately suppressed significant information that would have been of consequence to their own advisory committee, not to mention the public.”

Additionally, some question why the FDA is taking longer to act than British authorities, which have advised doctors not to prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to patients under age 18.

Pre-school children’s use of antidepressants nearly doubled between 1998 and 2002; this is the fastest increase of antidepressant use among any age group.
Source:, August 5, 2004.