Antidepressants Causing More Frowns Than Smiles

New Study Shows That Drugs Cause an Increased Rate of Suicide in Kids and Adults

The Psychopharmacologic Drugs and Pediatric Advisory Committeesadvised the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, to include a”black box” warning on all antidepressant drugs that have beenknown to worsen symptoms of depression or cause an emergence ofsigns of suicide in both adolescence and adults.

The strongest warning issued by the government, this black boxwarning is a black section with white writing that appears at thetop of drug inserts.  It will encourage close observation ofpatients using Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro,Wellbutrin, Effexor, Serzone, and Remeron. 

The advisory committee voted 15-8 on Sept. 14 to recommend thatan information sheet is included with every prescription, alongwith the result of the controlled pediatric trials ofdepression.

In the Kaiser Daily Policy Report released on Sept. 15, FDAofficials said that an analysis of 15 clinical trials, some ofwhich were not made public for years, has found that there is a”consistent link” between the use of any kind of antidepressant andsuicidal tendencies in children.

Drug Utilization for Selected Antidepressants Among Children& Adolescents in the U.S., a study conducted by Dr. GiannaRigoni, PharmD, MS, FDA, proved that prescriptions dispensedannually for these dangerous antidepressants have been increasingat high rates since 1988.
Rigoni’s data showed:

  • Prozac was prescribed to approximately twomillion people in 1986 and a little more than 25 million in2002;
  • Zoloft to approximately two million in 1992and 31 million in 2002; 
  • Paxil to approximately two million in 1993approximately 31 million in 2002;
  • Luvox to less than two million in 1995 with arise to two million in 2002;
  • Celexa to less than two million in 1998 andan incredible 22 million in 2002;
  • Lexapro to approximately two million in2002;
  • Wellbutrin  to below two million in 1998and 17 million in 2002;
  • Effexor to approximately two million in 1995and 17 million in 2002;
  • Serzone  to approximately two million in1995 and three million in 2002; and
  • Remeron to below two million in 1996 and witha total of seven million in 2002.

There is a variety of reasons that patientsaged one through 11 are prescribed antidepressants: 31 percent totreat anxiety disorders, 27 percent to treat mood disorders, and 17percent to treat attention deficit disorder.  In patients ages12 through 17, 59 percent of these antidepressants are prescribedfor mood disorders, 18 percent for anxiety disorders and eightpercent to treat attention deficit disorders, notes Rigoni’sreport. 

According to the study, “Suicide and RelatedProblems in Adolescence” by Columbia University’s  DavidShaffer, in 2001 depression was the most common diagnosis in teensuicide, 50 percent of suicide victims being male and 69 percentfemale.  Suicide was the third leading cause of death inAmericans ages 15 through 19 and it claimed 1,611 lives in2001.