Antidepressant Warning Preceded Youth Suicide Surge

Unintended effect unfolded as use fell
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2007 12:25 PM CDT
Antidepressant Warning Preceded Youth Suicide Surge
Pedestrians walk past Pfizer world headquarters in New York, in this Dec. 4, 2006 file photo. Drugmaker Pfizer Inc. said Wednesday, July 18, 2007 its second-quarter profit fell 48 percent year-over-year, hurt by the loss of patent exclusivity for its Zoloft and Norvasc drugs and by sluggish sales of...   (Associated Press)

Four years after the FDA and other agencies sparked a drop in antidepressant use by labeling the meds a suicide risk for young people, a new study shows the results were exactly the opposite of what regulators intended. From 2003 to 2004, the suicide rate among people under 19 rose 14%, an unprecedented spike, the Washington Post reports.

“If the drugs were doing more harm than good, then the reduction in prescription rates should mean the risk of suicide should go way down,” said a top health official—but it rose. Prescriptions for drugs including Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft fell off for people under 60, but  the only group in which suicide rates fell was people over 60. (Read more antidepressant stories.)

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