Antidepressant prescriptions for young people drop

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 23, 2007

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The number of children and teens prescribed antidepressant medications dropped following warnings about the increased risk for suicide and suicide attempts among young people who take the drugs, according to a report in the April Archives of General Psychiatry.

The report also found that antidepressants are now more often prescribed to this age group by psychiatrists rather than by primary care physicians.

In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration warned of the risk of increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors associated with antidepressant use in young people and in 2004, the agency instructed manufacturers to place black-box warnings on product labels recommending that physicians closely monitor patients, adults as well as children, who were taking the drugs.

Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta analyzed prescribing data for about 3,400 physicians across 29 specialties during 2000 to 2005. They found that while prescriptions for patients younger than 18 increased by 0.79% a month from April 2002 to February 2004, the rate dropped by 4.23% per month from February 2004 to July 2004 and stabilized from July 2004 to March 2005.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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