Suicide risk not increased in two meds for kids

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There is no evidence that the risk of suicide differs with two common prescribed antidepressants for children and adolescents. This study tracked children and adolescents who recently began taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Long time suspicions about certain antidepressant drugs

It has long been a concern of doctors and families that the children who take these drugs to control depression may actually be led increased suicidal and self-destructive thoughts. In 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration issued “black box” warnings with certain antidepressants because of these concerns. But not all antidepressants have same active ingredients. Researchers were interested to find out which, if any, might be more prone to eliciting suicidal thoughts.

A need to understand different risks for different drugs

“It is important to study this group of children and adolescents because many children are treated with these medications in the US each year and we need to understand the differential risks for suicide attempts and completed suicides,” explained study author William Cooper, MD, MPH, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Pediatrics and professor of Health Policy.

Important differences in how drugs work

SSRIs, like fluoxetine, slow down the rate at which serotonin, a signaling molecule in the brain, is broken down. An SNRI, like sertraline, does the same thing for noradrenaline as well as serotonin. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common in children and adolescents who suffer from depression. It impacts development, functioning and risk for suicide. For this study, almost 48% of the patients had an MDD diagnosis. The study showed there was no difference in occurrence of suicide attempts or successful suicide among the 36,842 medical records of children reviewed.

“These findings provide important information about the relative risks of the ore recently approved antidepressant to help guide decision making by patients, their families and their providers,” Cooper stated. “But more research is needed to understand other safety aspects of medications used to treat children so that families and providers can make informed decisions.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

 
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