Study: Antidepressant warnings work

Here are your tax dollars at work: FDA warnings about the suicide risks associated with antidepressants curtailed use among youngsters, just as they were designed to do, according to a new study. And though growth in that drug class has slowed, the warnings didn't scare patients into a mass stampede away from them as critics had feared.

Researchers studied prescription rates during the period just before the first warning, issued for Paxil only, appeared in 2003; during the next 16 months, before the "black box" warning was added to all SSRIs; and for the 15 months after the black boxes. Paxil scrips fell off by 44 percent after the 2003 warning, but use of the other antidepressants continued to rise, falling off only a bit after the wholesale warning in 2005. New patients continued to sign up for the drugs, too.

The upshot: Treatment changes were "modest" overall, and greatest among the very group targeted by the warnings, researchers said.

- read the abstract in Archives of General Psychiatry
- here's the report from the New York Times
- get more from MedPage Today

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