The unintended consequences of managing SSRI drugs can be severe, according to a new federally-funded study of suicidal behavior among children. In 2003, the feds warned that the widely used antidepressants might increase the risk of suicide among the under-19 crowd. Not surprisingly, kid-sized prescriptions for Prozac and its ilk dropped.
But then the unforeseen happened. Suicides in that age group actually escalated by 14 percent from 2003 to 2004. That's a dramatic change in just one year--the most dramatic since the government started keeping those stats in 1979. There's no proof that a fall-off in antidepressant use caused the increase in suicides, but the study authors say few other explanations present themselves. And statistics show that, among population subgroups where antidepressant use is highest, suicides are lowest.
SSRI critics have other ideas, namely the increased use of antipsychotics among children. No doubt the debate will continue.
- check out the report from the Washington Post