Are Antidepressants Safe for Children?
Can They Cause Suicide?
by Kevin Caruso
Conflicting opinions continue to be voiced on the safety of antidepressant use with children.
One panel of experts that was convened by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACN)
concluded that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective in people under 18 years of age, and do not raise their risk of suicidal behavior.
The ACN panel analyzed numerous studies on SSRIs, which involved over 2,000 young people, and came to the conclusion that not only did the antidepressants reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, but also caused no increase in suicidal thoughts or actions.
"The drugs have been used extensively in children -- and I mean extensively -- and they are not known for causing [any type of] problem," said Dr. Jorge Armenteros "It's not as if you have situations where suicidality is occurring on a regular basis. In my experience, I have yet to see that."
However in late 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended against the use of one SSRI (Paxil), in people under 18. This occurred because of research that was released in 2003 that indicated a possible link between SSRIs and suicide.
And there is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence indicating that SSRIs can lead to suicide in children and teenagers.
And all antidepressants except Prozac have been banned for use in childrena and teenagers in Great Britain.
So, because of conflicting studies and reports on the use of antidepressants in children, extreme caution is recommended when considering using SSRIs for people under 18.
You need to do as much research as possible, and ask as many questions as possible.
And if you choose to allow your child to take SSRIs, you need to monitor him or her very closely.
If it appears that the depression is not improving, or is getting worse, you need to call the doctor and therapist immediately.
Also, any type of behavior that seems problematic should also be discussed with the doctor and therapist.
You also need to consider how risky it would be to not use an SSRI if the child is
depressed and/or suicidal.
Ultimately, the decision about whether or not your child will take antidepressants will be up to you and the child.
If you or someone you know is suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website for immediate help.
I love you.