Antidepressant Drug Use In Children : Suicide risks exaggerated?

BOSTON - New research is shedding light on the ongoing controversy over whether antidepressant medications help depressed children and adolescents - and how the benefits compare to the risk of suicidal impulses and attempts, reports the June issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

Researchers examined data from placebo-controlled clinical trials involving 11 different drugs. Of more than 4,500 patients in 24 trials, none committed suicide. When all the studies were combined, patients taking the drugs showed slightly more suicidal tendencies.

Information is still coming in from pharmaceutical companies. For example, the maker of the antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil) recently reported that it found a link between this drug and suicidal behavior in adults. But clinicians and patients probably should respond cautiously to this news.

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