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Teens and Antidepressants

No doubt you've read about it, but it bears a special warning.  Young adults when they first take antidepressants seem to 

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face an increased risk of both thoughts of suicide and the actual carrying out of the process.

 

The Food and Drug Administration is urging the manufacturers of these drugs, which includes Prozac and Zoloft, to expand the warning labels to indicate this.  The labels already carry similar warnings to alert parents of children and adolescents who must take these drugs.

 

While the companies said they would include this warning, a company spokesperson for Pfizer, the maker of Zoloft said that there was no established link between the drug and the increased suicide of young adults or children.

 

The proposed changes in the labeling of these popular medications for depression would indicate those individuals older than 24.  Moreover, those people 65 or older actually have a decreased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior.

 

In effect, the warnings would stress that depression as well as other serious psychiatric disorders are really the most important causes of suicide.

 

No matter what your age, it's a good idea that once you start taking antidepressants that your health care practitioner closely observes you for any change in symptoms or behavior.

 

However, with enough time, according to Steve Hyman, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), "the aggregate risk of completed suicide is likely to be much lower with treatment than without treatment."

 

He contends that even with all the negative attention on the subject, that the "correct treatment of choice for depression in unchanged:  antidepressants or cognitive behavior therapy."  Cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment dominated by either the talking with a trained profession to help the person change thought patterns and behavior or the journaling of these problems.

 

But more than that, the issue highlights the need for more alternative therapeutic options for depression.  Recently, a large study, funded by the federal government, tested the antidepressants currently on the market in what it called "real-life" situations.  This is opposed to the "clinical trials" that the pharmaceutical companies sponsor.

 

The results of this study indicate that the antidepressants on the market today are only "moderately effective".  According to lead researcher, John Rush of the University of Texas Southwestern medical Center at Dallas, only about 30 percent of those who take these achieved any type of remission in their symptoms.  Remission, in this instance, is defined as the absence of all or most of the symptoms.  When remission was achieved, in fact, it took an average of 10 weeks.  And even with the best of care possible, many individuals still suffer significant residual symptoms.

 


Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

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Greg Cryns
The Compleat Mother Magazine
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