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.