Harvard Mental Health Letter

Antidepressants and suicide

The history of a controversy — and where it stands today.

An often bitter dispute about the risks of antidepressant drug use peaked at an emotional 2004 FDA hearing. It may be coming to a tentative resolution with new recommendations for prescription labeling and further analysis of surveys and clinical trials. The story provides some lessons on the difficulty of making decisions about drug regulation in a context of political controversy and the complications involved in balancing risks and benefits when prescribing psychiatric drugs.

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