Teen suicide rates have tripled since 1970, and statistics indicate that for every suicide, there are 50 to 100 attempted suicides. The impact of this increase is felt in our own community. Just last week, I attended the funeral for one of those teens. What needs to be done to control the increase in teenage suicide? Is prescribing antidepressants the answer?
Astralian researchers have found that antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil offer only a modest benefit over placebos in depressed patient under age 18. But they also carry significant risks. And a researcher, appointed by the FDA, concluded that children given antidepressants were nearly twice as likely to become suicidal as those given a placebo.
At a recent hearing held by the FDA, parents related stories of teenagers committing suicide with no warning signs and with in days or weeks of beginning treatment with antidepressants. These stories prompted the FDA to issue a warning about a possible link between antidepressants and suicidal behabior in teens. But despite the warning, many doctors are still prescribing Paxil to teens. Although Paxil has never been approved by the FDA for use in children under 18, there are over 11 million children in the United States on antidepressants.
With the uncertainty of how these drugs affect the risk of suicide, is prescribing these drugs, as stated by one Washington, D. C. doctor, preferable to doing nothing? http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Living/ap20040914_66.html