Children and young adults who start taking antidepressants at higher than recommended doses are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide than those who begin treatment at lower doses, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
For the study, researchers examined data from 1998 through 2010 on about 163,000 people ages 10 to 64 who were treated for depression. Some people in the study were given the recommended dosage, while others were started at higher doses. It was not made clear why some individuals started at higher-than-typical doses. About 18 percent of 10- to 24-year-olds in the study were taking higher doses of antidepressants.
Researchers found that children and young adults taking higher doses of antidepressants were twice as likely to have suicidal behaviors or thoughts compared to people in the same age group taking more typical doses. The trend was not seen among people 25 years and older. Researchers say they do not know why younger people are more susceptible to negative effects of antidepressants, and that doctors should be aware of the risks of starting younger people at higher doses.
The most commonly prescribed antidepressants are in a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These include the brand name drugs Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa and Prozac. The drugs carry warnings of suicidal behavior among children and young adults.
SSRIs have also been linked to birth defects if taken by women during pregnancy. Several lawsuits have been filed by women who say they were not adequately warned of the harm SSRIs could cause developing fetuses.
Source: Fox News