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Best Treatment for Depressed Teens

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Dr. Kim Mulvihill reportingAt any time of year, one in twenty American teens suffer from depression. A new study compared treatments.

Many teens and young adults are just about to start a brand new school year, many are going to high school or college for the first time.

While it's an exciting experience, big changes may trigger depression in some. The question is with young people, how should you treat it?

Researchers enrolled about 450 teens who were either moderately or severely depressed, at 13 sites around the country.

The teens received one of four treatments:

-fluoxetine which is sold under the brand name prozac


-fluoxetine and counseling

-or a placebo sugar pill

After 12 weeks of treatment, researchers found the medication plus counseling worked the best.

About 70% of kids on combination therapy responded to treatment. About 60% on medication improved but with an important difference. Those using medication were at a greater risk for self-harm.

John March, M.D./ Researcher: "If you're suicidal, it's better to get the psychotherapeutic treatment than to get medical management alone. And it's better actually to get the psychotherapeutic treatment in combination with Fluoxetine than it is to just get the psychotherapeutic treatment alone."

This is a major trial and very timely considering the recent controversies regarding treating adolescents with antidepressants.

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