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Antidepressant risks for children unveiled

Thursday January 28th, 2016

Children treated with antidepressants face an increased risk of becoming aggressive and suicidal, according to a ground-breaking analysis published today.

The Danish researchers combined findings of published research with pharmaceutical company study reports.

This found that suicides and suicidal thoughts were often not properly reported – and instead were placed under headings such as “worsening of depression” and “emotional liability.”

Experts said the findings highlighted the need for proper clinical trials of treatments given to paediatric patients.

The study in The BMJ was led by Tarang Sharma, of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, Copenhagen.

The researchers examined the clinical study reports of 70 trials involving some 18,526 patients of all ages.

This showed that paediatric users of antidepressants faced a doubled risk of becoming aggressive or suicidal. No such links were found for adults.

Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “This paper highlights several pressing issues that continue to compromise efforts to improve the wellbeing of children and young people.

“Children and young people, but not adults, were found to be at increased risk of suicidal behaviour and aggression during treatment with two widely-used types of antidepressants, highlighting yet again that studies in the latter must not be extrapolated to the former, a problem that has continued for far too long.”

Suicidality and aggression on antidepressant drugs: systematic review and meta-analyses based on clinical study reports BMJ 28 January 2016 [abstract]

Tags: Child Health | Europe | Mental Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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