Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Anti-Depressants, Suicidality and Youth....,

Antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of [Drug Name] or any other antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. [Drug Name] is not approved for use in pediatric patients except for patients with [Any approved pediatric claims here]. (See warnings and Precautions: Pediatric Use)

Attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of a teen sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing his grandparents when he was 12, arguing that the sentence is cruel. Christopher Pittman used a shotgun to shoot his grandparents Joe and Joy Pittman, and then set fire to their home in 2001. During his trial four years later, Pittman's attorneys unsuccessfully argued the slayings were influenced by the antidepressant Zoloft — a charge the maker of the drug vigorously denied.

Zoloft is the most widely prescribed antidepressant in the United States, with 32.7 million prescriptions written in 2003. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration ordered Zoloft and other antidepressants to carry "black box" warnings — the government's strongest warning short of a ban — about an increased risk of suicidal behavior in children.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required the makers of all antidepressant medications to update the existing black box warning on their products' labeling to include warnings about increased risks of suicidal thinking and behavior, known as suicidality, in young adults ages 18 to 24 during initial treatment (generally the first one to two months).

Historical Information on Antidepressant Use in Children, Adolescents, and Adults is available here. Sure begs a lot of questions concerning how this information, long in the public domain, is not more widely known, covered, and sounded from the rooftops every.single.time there's another adolescent mass murderer and the underlying psycho-pharmacology of the perpetrating adolescent is known?