Thursday, May 03, 2007

Antidepressants benefit children and teens

Dueling articles, what a difference a few weeks can make.

First from an article on today:
The Food and Drug Administration ordered drug makers yesterday to add warnings to antidepressant medications, saying the drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking or behavior in some young adults.

Then an article on 2 weeks ago (or a non-"walled" USAToday link):
The authors of a comprehensive new analysis say the benefits of antidepressants in children and teenagers trump a small risk that they will experience increased suicidal thoughts and behavior.

The latter is based on the “more powerful” data, i.e. a meta-analysis of more studies than the data used by the FDA, with a greater number of subjects, so I would have to support it on that basis alone. In addition, the latter information resonates more with my experience.

I certainly hope that there aren’t any children or teens that are prevented from getting needed antidepressants because of the black-box warnings or news of the black-box warnings placed by the FDA. Lack of access to needed medication and its attendant treatment causes needless suffering, self-medication with licit and illicit drugs, and death by suicide. Let’s not gamble with the minds, psyches and lives of these kids (there were no deaths by suicide in the meta-analysis study). As one of the doctors quoted in the latter article says “you can’t say, take these and call me in six weeks”, but the meds are an important part of the therapy that must be available to all in need of it.

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