Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Continued Battle on Black Box Warnings

Although it has been nearly two years since antidepressants started carrying a black box warning of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, there's still a disagreement in the medical community about the wisdom behind the action.

Some practitioners think the risks associated with taking antidepressants are overblown and find the black box warnings unnecessary. This group worries that the black box warning might scare away patients may need antidepressants.

On the other hand, people in favor of the warnings believe patients have a right to know of the dangers and are dismayed that doctors continue to treat young children with these chemicals.

Recently, the FDA analyzed 24 antidepressant drug trials involved more than 4,400 children suffereing from major depression, psychiatric disturbances, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The FDA found that thoughts and behaviors turned to death in approximately four out of every 100 children who use antidepressants. The death rate of children taking antidepressants was double the death rate of children taking a placebo. The FDA deemed the doubled risk of death and disturbing behaviors sufficiently enough to order the most serious warning possible.

Antidepressants are proven to increase suicidal behavior. However, some research suggest that antidepressants are not any more effective than a placebo. In fact, antidepressants, when graded by the U.S. Surgeon General in 1999, received the lowest mark of any psychotropic drug used in pediatric patients.

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