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Home > Research Articles > FDA Warns of Possible Drug-Suicide Link

Associated Press

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Associated Press - October 27, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) - Some anti-depressant drugs undergoing trials in children may be associated with suicides, the Food and Drug Administration said Monday.

The agency said reports in the press and medical journals describe suicide attempts and suicides in children receiving antidepressants. Many such reports also have been submitted to the FDA.

While the data do not clearly establish an association between the use of the drugs on trials and increased suicidal thoughts or actions by pediatric patients, FDA said it also is impossible to rule out an association.

Determining if the drug was at fault is a problem, as suicide attempts also occur in patients with depression who are untreated.

Nevertheless, the FDA said it is issuing a public health advisory to alert physicians to reports of suicidal thinking and suicide attempts in clinical studies of various anti-depressant drugs in pediatric patients.

Currently only Prozac is approved for use in major depressive disorder among children, but physicians sometimes use other drugs approved for adults.

The FDA said it has completed a preliminary review of reports for eight anti-depressant drugs - citalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, mirtazapine, nefazodone, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine - in tests in children.

In addition to the advisory, the agency scheduled a meeting next February of its Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee and the Pediatric Subcommittee of the Anti-Infective Drugs Advisory Committee to discuss the question.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.