Antidepressants for Kids Expected to Get Stronger Warnings

The September 8, 2004 edition of the USA Today contained a feature reporting that scientific advisers to the Food and Drug Administration are expected to recommend tougher warning labels or other restrictions on antidepressants linked to suicidal behavior in children. The story notes that presently more than 1 million U.S. children take this type of medication.

The article reported that an analysis of previous studies, confirmed that those children on antidepressants may be nearly twice as likely to become suicidal as kids given sugar pills. Dr. Graham Emslie, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical centre in Dallas, stated, “They’re going to have to do something. The horror stories have been just too horrible, and their advisory committee is going to be influenced.”

At a US Food and Drug Administration hearing held in February of 2004 dozens of parents testified that antidepressants had caused their children to kill themselves. The USA Today article notes that some psychiatrists say in real-life medical practice, kids with minor adjustment problems are all too often put on antidepressants. Many doctors say the drugs occasionally trigger a frenzied, impulsive agitation that can lead to suicide.