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Fluoxetine found safe for treating depressed kids


Back in 2004 the FDA issued a rare “black box warning” for some antidepressant drugs prompted by concerns about them increasing suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young people. New research refutes those findings. Clinical trial data has shown that treatment with the antidepressant fluoxetine did not increase or decrease rates of suicide in children.

The analysis that reviewed 41 trials and more than 9000 patients also found that two antidepressants actually reduced suicidal behavior and depressive symptoms in adult and geriatric patients.

The failure to replicate the suicide-antidepressant relationship should reassure doctors about prescribing fluoxetine to depressed patients, especially young patients who made need the drug to help combat depression. “The key finding here, when we re-analyze all the patient-level longitudinal records in these studies, is that antidepressants neither increase nor decrease suicidal thoughts or behavior in children,” said Robert Gibbons, PhD, professor medicine, health studies, and psychiatry at the University of Chicago Medicine.

For this new analysis, Gibbons and his team obtained individual-level, longitudinal clinical trial data (some of it unpublished) from pharmaceutical producers and a large National Institute of Mental Health collaborative study of fluoxetine and venlafaxine. The data included weekly screenings of the participants for depression and suicidal thoughts. This allowed the researchers to compare the effect of the drug or placebo over time.

Both fluoxetine and venlafaxine were found effective in reducing suicide risk and symptoms of depression for older adults. The drugs reduced suicidal tendencies by alleviating depression.

“I think that this paper supports the general idea that the effects of antidepressants in kids and adults are not really the same, since we don’t see anything but beneficial effects of antidepressants in adults and geriatrics,” said Gibbons.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Archives of General Psychiatry

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