Popular antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and adolescents. But going untreated for severe depression can also raise the risk of those sorts of behaviors. A new analysis adds more data to this knotty problem.
After falling for a decade, the rate of suicides among those aged 10-19 shot up between 2003 and 2004. An analysis in this week’s JAMA finds that the rate fell slightly in 2005 — from 4.74 to 4.49 per 100,000 — but remains significantly higher than it was in 2003.
In October 2004, the FDA pushed drugmakers to place “black box” warnings on antidepressants, linking them to suicidal thoughts and behavior in young people. The warnings — the strongest type issued by the FDA — and concerns the agency aired about antidepressants in 2003 and early 2004, contributed to a drop in use of the drugs by children and adolescents that coincided with the suicide-rate increase.