Daily Health Headlines

Study Questions Use of Antidepressants for Children, Teens

👤by Steven Reinberg 0 comments 🕔Thursday, June 9th, 2016

WEDNESDAY, June 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Treating children and teens suffering from depression with antidepressants may be both ineffective and potentially dangerous, a new analysis suggests.

Of the 14 antidepressants studied, only fluoxetine (Prozac) was more effective in treating depression than an inactive placebo in children and teens, the review found.

And Effexor (venlafaxine) was linked to a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts compared to a placebo and five other antidepressants, the researchers reported.

"In the clinical care of young people with major depressive disorder, clinical guidelines recommend psychotherapy -- especially cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy -- as the first-line treatment," said study author Dr. Andrea Cipriani. He is an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Oxford, in England.

Major depression affects about 3 percent of children aged 6 to 12, and 6 percent of teens aged 13 to 18, the researchers noted.

"Prozac should be considered only for patients who do not have access to psychotherapy or have not responded to non-pharmacological interventions," Cipriani said.

Because the available studies of antidepressant use among children and adolescents are limited and of questionable quality, "we should not underestimate these potential risks," he added.

"Children and adolescents taking antidepressant drugs should be closely monitored regardless of the treatment chosen, particularly at the beginning of treatment," Cipriani advised.

In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a "black box warning" about antidepressant use among teens and children because of fears that these drugs might increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

Despite the FDA warning, the use of antidepressants in these age groups crept up between 2005 and 2012. For example, the proportion of kids and teens taking an antidepressant rose from more than 1 percent to nearly 2 percent in the United States, Cipriani said.

One expert was not surprised by the findings.

This study shows what has been known -- that these "medicines look less effective and riskier in children and adolescents than they do in adults," said Dr. Peter Kramer. He is a clinical professor emeritus of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, in Providence, R.I.

"Among them, Prozac has always stood out as relatively more effective," Kramer said.

But it isn't clear how antidepressants work in children, Kramer noted. "We just know so little about these medicines and what they do in children with developing brains," he pointed out.

In general, treatment should begin with psychotherapy, but for some patients Prozac might be an option, he suggested.

"There are a lot of desperate cases where the illness is so destructive that doing something that's highly imperfect may seem like the right move," Kramer added.

For the study, Cipriani and his colleagues reviewed 34 studies that included more than 5,200 children and teens. This kind of study, called a meta-analysis, tries to find common ground among numerous trials. Its limitations are that the conclusions rely on how well the studies that are included were done.

Moreover, most of the trials (65 percent) were financed by drug companies. And 90 percent had a risk of being biased in favor of the medication, Cipriani said.

The investigators found that only with Prozac did the benefits outweigh the risks in terms of relieving symptoms with few side effects.

The antidepressants Effexor, imipramine (Tofranil) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) had the worst side effects, causing more patients to stop taking them than those taking a placebo, the review authors found.

The review was published online June 8 in The Lancet.

"This study gives us real concern about the usefulness of antidepressants," said the author of an accompanying journal editorial, Dr. Jon Jureidini.

With a meta-analysis, the benefits of antidepressants may be overstated and the harms understated, said Jureidini. He is a research leader at the Robinson Research Institute of the University of Adelaide in Australia.

"Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the truthfulness of how the information has been processed," Jureidini said. "So we can't even be confident about using Prozac in children and adolescents."

Jureidini said that before prescribing an antidepressant, a doctor must be sure the benefits will outweigh the harms.

"We should shift our practice away from prescribing and toward other treatments, because drugs are being oversold to us," he said.

Young children should never be given antidepressants and they should be given sparingly to teens, Jureidini said. "I would almost never use them," he said.

Jureidini said that treatment starts with understanding what is troubling the child or teen, and why they have withdrawn from social activities, school and friends.

"We need to help young people get back into their lives, and their depression will get better," he said. "They need help and support to re-engage with the world."

Article Credits / Source

Steven Reinberg / HealthDay

Steven Reinberg wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Andrea Cipriani, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, department of psychiatry, University of Oxford, U.K.; Jon Jureidini, M.B., Ph.D., research leader, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, North Adelaide, Australia; June 8, 2016, The Lancet, online

View More Articles From Steven Reinberg 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Depression Articles

Sunday's Time Change Offers a Mixed Bag

Sunday's Time Change Offers a Mixed Bag0

FRIDAY, Nov. 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- When the clocks are turned back one hour on Sunday morning, many will welcome the extra sleep. But some will feel sluggish for the first few days after the time change. And, new research indicates that ...

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)0

Seasonal affective disorder facts Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a kind of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the hours of daylight grow shorter during the fall and winter months, but it may occur during the summer for some ...

Antidepressants (Depression Medications)

Antidepressants (Depression Medications)0

home / depression center / depression a-z list / antidepressants index / antidepressants (depression medications) drug monograph Pharmacy Author: Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD Omudhome Ogbru, PharmDDr. Ogbru ...

Depression Can Fuel Heart Disease in Midlife Women: Study

Depression Can Fuel Heart Disease in Midlife Women: Study0

THURSDAY, Oct. 6, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Women in midlife with a history of depression appear at markedly greater risk of suffering from heart disease, new research suggests. The finding seems to reinforce the well-known link between ...

'The Pill' May Raise Depression Risk

'The Pill' May Raise Depression Risk0

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Women who use hormonal methods for birth control, such as "the pill," may have a slightly higher risk of developing depression -- and teenagers may be most vulnerable, a large study ...

View More Depression Articles


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!