'Warnings' about antidepressants increased teen suicide rates, study says

'Warnings' about antidepressants increased teen suicide rates, study says

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SALT LAKE CITY — After the Food & Drug Administration warned about the dangers of teens using antidepressants, the teen suicide rate has increased, researchers said.

A study published in the journal BMJ showed a correlation between the warnings about antidepressants for teens and suicide rates. There was a sharp drop in antidepressant use among teens and a significant increase in suicide attempts after the FDA issued warnings of teens using antidepressants, according to NPR.

Starting in 2003, the FDA warned that popular antidepressants might increase the risk that kids would think about killing themselves or actively attempt committing suicide, NPR reported.

Researchers reported that from 2000 to 2010, antidepressant use fell 31 percent among adolescents and 24 percent among young adults across the U.S. Suicide attempts increased by almost 22 percent among adolescents and 33 percent among young adults.

The study concluded that, "Safety warnings about antidepressants and widespread media coverage decreased antidepressant use, and there were simultaneous increases in suicide attempts among young people. It is essential to monitor and reduce possible unintended consequences of FDA warnings and media reporting."

The FDA emailed NPR a statement saying they simply wanted to warn of the risk associated with antidepressants and that the agency was not discouraging the use of antidepressants.

"The FDA saw an important risk signal with antidepressants and we put that information in the drug labels," the email read.

The agency noted that depression is a serious illness that needs to be treated.

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Faith Heaton Jolley


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