The results, reported in Pediatrics showed no significant difference in suicide attempts among participants prescribed fluoxetine and those prescribed non-FDA-recommended antidepressants for adolescent depression—such as sertraline and citalopram. However, youth taking multiple antidepressants concomitantly were two times more likely to attempt suicide than those with prescriptions for a single antidepressant.
David Fassler, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont, told Psychiatric News that “in considering these findings, it's important to note that the majority of child and adolescent suicide attempts never actually come to medical attention...[however,] these results may provide some degree of assurance for physicians and parents with respect to the choice of specific antidepressant medication.” Fassler, in agreement with the study’s authors, concluded that further research is needed to identify the mechanisms associated with antidepressant use and suicidal behaviors.
To read more about issues concerning suicidal behaviors and suicide rates in youth, see the Psychiatric News article “Teens’ Psychotic Symptoms Strongly Associated With Suicidal Behavior.” To read about the challenges clinicians face in preventing and managing suicidal behavior, see the American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Suicide Assessment and Management, Second Edition.
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