DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE

Children on Antidepressants Danger

Medical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D. and Frederick Hecht, M.D.

Sept 14, 2004 -- The FDA is holding a public hearing on the occurrence of suicidal thinking and attempts in regard to antidepressant drugs in children and teens. The stories on this hearing began as follows in the Washington Post and New York Times today:

The Washington Post: "Two to 3 percent of children treated with antidepressants had suicidal thoughts or behavior as a result of the drugs, officials said yesterday (at the FDA hearing).... In a sharp departure from a decade-old position, agency officials said the increase in suicidal tendencies was not a result of the children's underlying depression but was caused by the medications themselves."

The New York Times: "Top officials of the FDA acknowledged for the first time on Monday that antidepressants appeared to lead some children and teenagers to become suicidal. Dr. Robert Temple, director of the FDA's office of medical policy, said ...that analyses of 15 clinical trials, some of which were hidden for years from the public by the drug companies that sponsored them, showed a consistent link with suicidal behavior."

Sept 15, 2004 -- Antidepressants prescribed to children should carry a clearly stated warning that they can sometimes trigger suicidal thoughts or actions. That was the unanimous recommendation yesterday by two FDA advisory panels convened to examine the risks of giving medications known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) to children.