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There is a serious debate in psychiatry. Does the use of antidepressant medications help teens, and does it help them with the condition, or do they increase a teen risk of committing suicide? Back in 2004, the Food and Drug Administration included what is known as a black box warning on a group of antidepressants called the SSRIs to alert healthcare providers to an increased risk of suicidality in children and teens. New research revealed that information from 24 overall trials in over 4,500 pediatric patients taking one of nine antidepressant medications found that only one trial, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, found a significant increase in suicidality and that was more than fourfold. However, when all 24 studies were combined, there was no increase. The conclusion? This is not a declaration of safety, but a further warning that these medications need to be used under careful supervision, if at all.

By: Brian McDonough, M.D., FAAFP