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Friday, June 20, 2014

FDA Warning About Suicidal Thoughts Leads To More Suicides

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Depression is one of the hardest forms of mental illness to treat despite the slew of medications available. While the medications available today may work great for some people, for others they can be potentially dangerous and even lead to patients taking their own life.

A number of health officials issued a warning that antidepressants could lead to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts among young people and, as a result, many doctors stopped prescribing to that age group. However, a new study has found that doctors avoiding prescribing antidepressants actually increased the rate of youth suicide attempts, according to Reuters.

The findings indicate that many young people suffering from depression were left untreated due to the warnings issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to the report in BMJ.

“This study is a one of the first to directly measure a health outcome driven by the interaction of public policy and mass media,” lead author Christine Lu of Harvard Medical School said in a news release. “The FDA, the media and physicians need to find better ways to work together to ensure that patients get the medication that they need, while still being protected from potential risks.”

Researchers reviewed data from healthcare organizations that treat 10 million people. The data showed that after the FDA issued the warning, use of antidepressants fell 31 percent among teens, 24 percent among young adults and 15 percent among adults. There was a 22 percent increase in the number of teens and young adults who overdosed on psychiatric medications over the same time period.

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