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Children, teen antidepressant use down

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FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Sep 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Medco Health Solutions said Tuesday there's been a sharp drop in the number of U.S. patients under age 18 on an antidepressant.

The Medco data shows that since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued advisories beginning in October 2003 about the potential suicidal tendencies in teens associated with antidepressants 18 percent of patients under age 18 stopped taking an antidepressant in the first quarter of 2004.

Medco also said there was an additional drop of 5 percent in the second quarter of 2004.

"The data appear to support that information and education is a powerful tool to improve our health care delivery system," Dr. Robert Epstein, Medco's chief medical officer, said in a statement.

"Studies show that greater caution is needed when treating pediatric and teen depression with medication, and it's clear that physicians are heeding these warnings."

Medco Health Solutions, Inc., is a pharmacy benefit manager and is one of the largest mail order pharmacy operations.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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