DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVEMedical Author: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Medical Editor: Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Earlier this year, the British government warned that the anti-depression drug Effexor should not be taken by children. Now the UK is advising against the prescription of all antidepressant drugs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs) for children, with the exception of Prozac, because these drugs increase the risk of suicide. The following is the statement by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency):
MHRA Statement: Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) - only fluoxetine (Prozac) shown to have a favourable balance of risks and benefits for the treatment of MDD in the under 18s. On the basis of a review of the safety and efficacy of the SSRI class in the treatment of paediatric major depressive disorder undertaken by the Expert Working Group of the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM), the CSM has advised that the balance of risks and benefits for the treatment of major depressive disorder in under 18s is judged to be unfavourable for sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa) and escitalopram (Lexapro) and unassessable for fluvoxamine (Luvox). Only fluoxetine (Prozac) has been shown in clinical trials to have a favourable balance of risks and benefits for the treatment of MDD in the under 18s.
Caution: It is essential that patients taking SSRIs do not suddenly discontinue use of the drug. Any changes must take place under medical supervision.
Question: What is the FDA going to do about SSRIs for children in the US?