Skip to comments.In Kids, Benefits of Antidepressants Appear to Outweigh Risks
Posted on 04/17/2007 11:30:45 PM PDT by neverdem
Parents of clinically depressed children often find themselves in a troubling quandary, forced to weigh the mood-lifting benefits of antidepressants against the small but very real risk of suicidal behavior that may occur in young people who take these drugs. The Food and Drug Administration requires a black box warning on antidepressants (including Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft) concerning the possibility of suicidal thoughts, attempts, and behaviors in anyone under 25 who takes the drugs. But a new study, published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, indicates that the drugs' benefits outweigh the risks.
Researchers examined 27 clinical trials of antidepressants in kids, involving a total of 5,300 children and teens diagnosed with depression or anxiety. Their conclusion: 61 percent of depressed children on antidepressants felt better, compared with 50 percent of the children who took a placebo; 52 percent of those with obsessive-compulsive disorder benefited from the drugs, compared with 32 percent of those on placebos. It did turn out to be true that the kids taking medication also had a higher incidence of suicidal thoughts, but the difference was very small. Three percent of depressed youngsters using the drugs had suicidal tendencies, compared with 2 percent of those on placebos; the gap for those being treated for obsessive-compulsive disorders was about 1 percent versus 0.5 percent. "We tried to put the risks in the context of the benefits, and clearly many more children received a clinical benefit than developed suicidal ideation," says study coauthor David Brent, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The findings come with some important caveats: Most of the trials analyzed excluded teens and children who were determined beforehand to be at increased risk of suicide. What's more, the study found that for children under 13, Prozac was the only drug that offered greater clinical benefits than the placebos. "The JAMA article does not change FDA's views about the suicidality risk or, indeed, about the effectiveness of these drugs in children with depression," says Thomas Laughren, FDA director of the psychiatry products division in an E-mailed statement. "At this time nothing indicates a need for change in the black box warning."
But statistics suggest otherwise. According to a February report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicides in children, which had been declining, rose by 18 percent from 2003 to 2004. The FDA held its first public hearings to warn about antidepressant risks in children in 2003 and added the black box in 2004. Since that time, prescriptions written for antidepressants in children have declined by 20 percent. "I think the warning needs to be reconsidered," says Brent, "something that's not so scary might be more appropriate."
"Investigators believe Cho at some point had been taking medication for depression. "
Is this timing just coincidence?
IMHO, they to test for slow metabolizers of these drugs.
IMHO, they need to test for slow metabolizers of these drugs.
Not this week.
It seems that every time there is a mass shooting, it’s some kid who’s on antidepressants.
That may be true, but that's not the same thing as saying antidepressants make kids shoot up schools. To me, it seems pretty likely that the kind of kids who are likely to be on antidepressants are also the kind of kids who are likely to be depressed, and feeling destructive and suicidal.
Children do not need anti-depressants.
Thanks for the URL.
Some might, but they should be closely monitored or screened for a genetic predisposition for adverse drug effects with these psychotropic drugs. With the latest SSRIs, on starting these drugs or increasing the dose, you might find serotonin syndrome. Weaning them off, you may find serotonin withdrawal syndrome.
If I was a kid, I can't imagine how much I would not like to be growing up now.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
That may be true, but that's not the same thing as saying antidepressants make kids shoot up schools. To me, it seems pretty likely that the kind of kids who are likely to be on antidepressants are also the kind of kids who are likely to be depressed, and feeling destructive and suicidal.The great thing about depression, is that no matter how bad or angry you feel you don't have the energy to kill yourself or others. However, when you start taking the SSRI you know how the energy to act. That's why people are supposed to be closely monitored when they start taking anti-depressants. They finally have the energy to do the self destructive things they've been contemplating for so long.
These drugs build up in some people, and they have a violent episode. My sisterinlaw had an episode a year ago and was hospitalized.
I have seen first hand the damage these drugs can do to kids. Natural therapies, such as fish oil and zinc, etc., should be tried first. It does not appear to me that medicine is willing to try it.
According to reports, Cho seldom spoke. Could it be he was taking too many drugs? It does seem that all these mass killers are on drugs. Agreed, that does not mean the drugs are the cause but it is suspicious. I have seen first hand the damage these drugs can do to kids. Natural therapies, such as fish oil and zinc, etc., should be tried first. It does not appear to me that medicine is willing to try it.fish oil and zinc are cheap. Prozac probably has a higher profit margin than crack.
What people seem to forget is that even with drugs, depressed people need to be in regular competent counseling!
It seems that every time there is a mass shooting, its some kid whos on antidepressants.
Article on the makers of Prozac hiding vital info on the drug....
_____________________Thanks for the link.
As much as I don’t care for him, he is right on this subject.
depressed people need to be in regular competent counseling!
They do not need to be depressed for doctors to give it to them. And they certainly not monitored.
_I have a friend who had to get off the estrogen patch and was having night sweats.............her doctor put her on effexor.
Primary care doctors prescribe SSRI-antidepressants to millions of adults, adolescents and children, certainly not only for treatment of depression anymore. SSRIs are prescribed for school phobias, bed wetting, eating disorders, sleep disturbances (insomnia), nail biting, hair pulling, headache, gambling addiction, alcohol addiction, back pain, stomach upset, premenstrual syndrome, etc., and even to feel better then well. SSRIs have become all purpose feel good pills, nowadays, Unfortunately many doctors are unaware of the major consequences and some of them dont even seem to care. They argue that the positive effects of SSRIs far outweigh their negative effects. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Almost 3.5 billion was made on effexor alone last year and other anti-depressants following closely.
Clinical studies of these drugs are alarming.
What can be done about these greed lobbying drug comapnies?
Sad for our nation.
The withdrawal is very important.
Bluebird Singing wrote yesterday:
A friend of ours went berserk going cold turkey off Effexor. You just cant do that with chemicals. Threatened to kill his wife (he had a concealed weapon permit and a gun) so she ran out of the house and called police from a neighbors house. He had a standoff with the police from the afternoon and thru the night, firing shots out the windows. He ended up killing himself. This was soooo out of character.
We had a family member commit suicide and were all just shocked until we found an empty bottle of effexor that she just stopped taking. After studying the effects of the withdrawals we had a better understanding of what happened.
If this killer had suddenly stopped taking his Prozac, his thoughts would be worse than when he was on them.
Have followed.. http://%firstname.lastname@example.org/babble/wdrawl/
and found a lot of answers there on how people feel on these withdrawals and it is very scary.
That's not necessarily so. In that case, it would be those folks who metabolize Prozac, aka fluoxetine, more quickly, as opposed to the slow metabolizers, who would seem to be the ones most likely to suffer serotonin withdrawal syndrome. Of all the SSRIs, Prozac has the longest half life. Published fluoxetine withdrawal reports are scarce, possibly due to the long half-life of fluoxetine and the active metabolite norfluoxetine.
Fluoxetine is the SSRI of choice to wean a patient off of SSRI treatment with a gradual tapering of the dose. It's the only SSRI that's formulated as a liquid so it permits a prolonged tapering. A tapering regimen is not provided in manufacturers' package inserts. The optimum tapering regimen for each agent has yet to be determined by comparative clinical trials. From a review of the case reports, we suggest the tapering schedules presented in Table 2..
IIRC, serotonin withdrawal syndrome is also known as serotonin discontinuation syndrome and SSRI discontinuation syndrome. These drugs aren't necessarily bad, but docs need to become much more aware of their pharmacology. There was a recent story in the NY Times that said 85 % of docs didn't know about serotonin syndrome. I wonder how many are aware of the serotonin withdrawal syndrome.
Thanks for the link! ;)
If this killer had suddenly stopped taking his Prozac, his thoughts would be worse than when he was on them.
I guesss I should have said could instead of would.
Thanks for the info.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it would be much better for anyone to use marijuana than to take such garbage. The desired result would be met, and pot don’t make you crazy the way these “anti-depressants” do. What is concerning to me is how quickly doctors will just throw such drugs at people. You could show up at the doctors office while so little as having a bad day and you would likely walk out with a prescription for Prozac. I got put on Zoloft once, and it really messes with your head. It seemed to help a little for about a month, but after three months I began to have some pretty self destructive thoughts that quickly stopped after discontinuing use of the drug. Those medicines can be very bad news!
I can't believe you'd make a blanket generalization like that. You've obviously never worked with kids who need them; I do. I have never been on prescription meds, and I think these are over-prescribed. But to say "children do not need anti-depressants" is, frankly, very silly.
Children do not need dangerous psychoactive medication. I’m not saying every kid can be a jolly carefree kid. But there are many, many other methods that will help children. Turning them into drug taking patients for life is so not the answer. Of course, society is in the handbasket, heading quickly south. So the things that will really help them probably aren’t going to happen.
I was in many ways a sad, anxious and lonely child. What I needed was not in the PDR. If I had been drugged as a child I can’t imagine how my life would have turned out. Much worse, nou doubt. The inner pain I experienced spurred me to look deeper into the purpose of life. Which I am eternally grateful for.
The topic is worthy of much in depth discussion which unfortuantely I don’t have time for. Mental and emotional pain can be ameliorated in many ways. Taking drugs doesn’t cure anything, it’s just mental novocain.
I’ve read that kids as young as TWO YEARS OLD are being drugged. The parents just don’t want to deal with them. Children need a home with a mother and father. Single parent “families” are churning out dysfucntional children. The solution is not to drug them. One important part of the solution is to KILL AFDC, and to resurrect the standard of marriage before children. Women SHOULD be ashamed of having a child out of wedlock. Men SHOULD be ashamed of fathering illegitimate children.
That would be a good start. Drugging kids is like giving someone with a broken foot aspirin. Sure, that might help dull the pain, but there’s a REASON for the pain. The broken foot needs to be fixed.