Teen Suicide and Antidepressants

September 6, 2007

Today’s Washington Post carries a story based on an article from the journal American Journal of Psychiatry.

Warnings from federal regulators four years ago that antidepressants were increasing the risk of suicidal behavior among young people led to a precipitous drop in the use of the drugs. Now a new study has found that the drop coincides with an unprecedented increase in the number of suicides among children.

From 2003 to 2004, the suicide rate among Americans younger than 19 rose 14 percent, the most dramatic one-year change since the government started collecting suicide statistics in 1979, the study found. The rise followed a sharp decrease in the prescribing of antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil after parents and physicians were confronted by a barrage of warnings from the Food and Drug Administration and international agencies.

NCHS data on suicides among adolescents aged 10-14 and 15-19 is here.

Our data on antidepressant prescriptions is here.