Federal regulators for the first time have conceded
that children who take antidepressants like Prozac,
Paxil and Zoloft are at greater risk of suicide, the
Washington Post reports.
Although Prozac is the only so-called SSRI (selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitor) to be approved for use in
children, it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe
other medications in this class of drugs to people under
age 18. It's done hundreds of thousands of times every
year, the newspaper reports.
FDA regulators said Monday during the opening of
agency hearings on the matter that results of their
analysis were nearly identical to those of a British
study, which caused a stir last year when it found a
link between suicide risk and use of SSRIs in
Monday's revelation appears to contrast sharply with
the views of the psychiatric industry. Just last week,
the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
announced that SSRIs are both safe and effective for
children and teens.
Last fall, following release of the British study
results, the FDA recommended that physicians not
prescribe Paxil to children under 18. And the maker of
another SSRI, Effexor by Wyeth, has suggested that
doctors not prescribe the drug to children, the
While many who spoke at Monday's hearings accused the
FDA of turning a blind eye to the problem, others gave
moving testimony that their children had been helped by
Compounding the matter is that most clinical trials
on the medications were performed on adults, and weren't
designed to address issues affecting children, the
The full FDA isn't expected to rule on the matter
until the summer.