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Antidepressant Use Down, Suicide Attempts Up After FDA Warnings — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 20, 2014

Antidepressant Use Down, Suicide Attempts Up After FDA Warnings

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

Antidepressant use among young people dropped sharply after the FDA warned about their use and the potential for suicidality in 2003, a BMJ study finds. The drop was accompanied by a small but significant increase in suicide attempts.

Using a large HMO database, researchers examined rates of antidepressant use and psychotropic drug poisonings (a proxy for suicide attempts) before and after the FDA warnings. Roughly 2.5 million adolescents and young adults were included.

In the second year after the warnings, antidepressant use dropped among adolescents by an estimated 31% (absolute change, -0.70 percentage points) and psychotropic drug poisonings rose by 22% (absolute change, +0.002 percentage points). Among young adults, antidepressant use fell by 24% and drug poisonings rose by 34%. Rates of completed suicide did not increase after the warnings.

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