A new study shows that antidepressants are safe for children and teenagers, after all. The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, recently warned that antidepressants increase suicide risk among teens, but this study of about five-thousand children and teens shows that antidepressants are safe and effective1. Dr. David Brent, a psychiatrist at the
The result of the study published in the
The study shows that antidepressants most benefited kids who had anxiety disorders and helped those with obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), and to a lesser degree but still significantly, those with major depressive disorder. As Dr Brent also noted, “The effects were more modest for depression but the benefits were still much better than if you had done nothing… because there’s also a risk of doing nothing because depression is a potentially fatal illness if untreated.”
Commenting on the study, Dr Pamela Murray, a pediatrician at the Children's
Dr Murray also noted, “We also see lots of young people who have symptoms of depression, chronic headaches, chronic stomachaches, fatigue, sort of problems that could benefit from antidepressant use.” Despite that, the study shows that the benefits of antidepressants in kids far outweigh the risks and that the medications are safe and effective she emphasized, as also did the lead author, Dr Brent, the need to monitor them carefully, as indeed, we should with all medications, to be certain that they are working how they should.
1. Bridge JA, Iyengar S, Salary CB, Barbe RP, Birmaher B, Pincus HA, Ren L, Brent DA. Clinical Response and Risk for Reported Suicidal Ideation and Suicide Attempts in Pediatric Antidepressant Treatment: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. JAMA. 2007; 297: 1683-1696