Antidepressants and suicide in adolescents.

Manuela Silva, Daniel Sampaio

Abstract


In recent years, drug regulation agencies from the US and the UK have issued warnings concerning the emergence of suicidal behavior in children and adolescents treated with antidepressants. As suicidal behavior is the most feared of the core symptoms of depression, these warnings were naturally met with great concern by mental health care technicians and afflicted patients and families. In this article we have conducted a review of the literature discussing the controversy that originated in 2003 with the reanalysis of data from clinical trials with selective serotonine reuptake inhibitors. Following our review of meta-analyses, observational studies and ecological studies, we found that SSRIs show some efficacy and are generally safe in the treatment of adolescent depressive disease, provided that the clinical decision to prescribe them is properly weighed and discussed. We make some clinical recommendations, underscoring that adolescents who are medicated with antidepressants must be carefully monitored with regard to suicidal behavior and eventual adverse effects.

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