Antidepressants vs. suicide

Warned by federal regulators that antidepressants might increase suicide risks for young people, doctors wrote fewer prescriptions starting in 2003. Youth suicide rates increased sharply, according to a new study.

From 2003 to 2004, the suicide rate among Americans younger than 19 rose 14 percent, the most dramatic one-year change since the government started collecting suicide statistics in 1979, the study found. The rise followed a sharp decrease in the prescribing of antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil after parents and physicians were confronted by a barrage of warnings from the Food and Drug Administration and international agencies.

Prescription rates for antidepressants rose for only one group — those older than 60 — “and this was the only group in which suicides dropped between 2003 and 2004, his study found.”

In the Netherlands, antidepressant use by children decreased 22 percent between 2003 and 2005. The child suicide rate increased by 49 percent in that period.

Antidepressants may increase suicide risks for a small minority of young people while decreasing risks for a large majority, researchers speculate.

I wonder if the lawsuits against drug companies that make antidepressants will go away.

About Joanne


  1. More casualties of our out of control tort system and foolishness of bureaucrats.

    If a drug has a very small chance of an adverse side effect, shouldn’t the patient and his/her doctor make the determination of whether to take it?

    As far as I can tell, there are no drugs without any side effects. As long as they are disclosed, drug manufacturers should not be paying out large judgements and settlements.

    According to lawyers, everyone must be perfect except them, I guess…

  2. No good deed goes unpunished. Sure, the drug companies are not motivated by altruism, but so what? I believe I am alive today because of antidepressant medication I started taking more than two decades ago. My depression was atypical and resistant to SSRI’s. So I did my own research in bookstores and libraries and asked my doctor to put me on Nardil, an MAO inhibitor with possibly severe side-effects if you eat certain foods. The doc was hesitant to prescribe it, but he did. After a week the clouds blew away and I could live again. There were unpleasant side-effects, but the trade-off was definitely worth it.

    Trial lawyers notwithstanding, the drug companies in the US have still been able to turn a profit and reinvest in R&D. When Hillarycare [or something like it] becomes the law of the land, and it’s definitely coming, look for drug R&D to come to a screeching halt.

  3. Few people who are extremely depressed commit suicide at the nadir of their depression because they don’t have the energy. When they start feeling better and start getting more energy they are at the most risk of committing suicide. So in a way, anti-depressants do lead to people commiting suicide but that is because it makes them feel better.

    If you have never been in the grips of severe chronic depression it is hard to understand how it fundamentally alters your thought processes. Bada Bing’s phrase of “the clouds blew away” pretty much nails how it was for me as well. I did not even realize how depressed I was or how impaired my reasoning was until I started taking medicine to get better. I would not want to sentence anyone to living life as mentally impaired as I was but that is what effectively happens when the use of the drugs is curtailed. Some things are worse that death.