Friday March 05, 2004
  Home
  NZ News
  Headlines
  Dialogue
  News Cartoon
  World News
  Business
  Money
  Technology
  Sports
  Entertainment
  Travel
  Features
  Weather
  Marine
  Classifieds
  Employment
  Property
  Motoring



News Feeds
FYI email alerts
News on your PDA
Site map
FAQ/Help
Advertising
Feedback
Contacts

Print subscriptions
Back issues
Photo sales
Letters to the Editor
Advertising
Contacts

Summer Escape
Competition Winners
Dining with Crown
Schools Programme
College Herald

Wises Maps of NZ
UBD
Listener
The Aucklander
MyTown
APN News & Media
Herald Foundation







 
 Search      Advanced Search / Help  
 
 
NZ News
 

Anti-depressants linked to suicide

04.03.2004

The Government's drug safety agency Medsafe is investigating a possible link between anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac and teen and child suicide.

Young people in New Zealand use about 24,500 prescriptions of anti-depressants each year but international research suggests the drugs can spark suicidal thoughts.

Next week Medsafe's Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee is expected to make a recommendation on use of the drugs in New Zealand.

Since 1998, the number of New Zealand children using Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, such as Prozac and Aropax, has increased by almost two thirds - despite warnings from health authorities about possible side-effects.

The drugs are not registered for use by children, but the Ministry of Health says it is aware some doctors choose to prescribe them.

Anti-depressants are used mainly to treat depression, but can be prescribed for other conditions, including anxiety disorders, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

In children under 6, anti-depressants are used to stop bed-wetting or treat obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

Health Information Service figures showed the number of anti-depressants given to 6-year-olds to 18-year-olds climbed from 14,963 "items dispensed" in 1998, to 24,597 in 2002. An "item" is generally a one-month supply.

Adult use of the drugs increased by 56 per cent to 1,869,254 items, but use by children under 6 almost halved to 435 items dispensed.

Medsafe principal adviser Stewart Jessamine said patients should not suddenly stop taking their drugs and urged patients or parents to discuss concerns with their doctors.

Anti-depressants

Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors available in New Zealand are:

* Citalopram (brand names: Cipramil, Celapram)

* Escitalopram (brand name: Lexapro)

* Fluoxetine (brand names: Fluox, Prozac)

* Fluvoxamine (brand name: Luvox)

* Paroxetine (brand name: Aropax)

* Sertraline (brand name: Zoloft)

* Venlafaxine (brand name: Efexor)

Herald Feature: Health

Related information and links

- ADVERTISEMENT -


 

    New Zealand News



 
 Latest NZ News







ęCopyright 2004, New Zealand Herald       
About Us | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Awards