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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2012 Oct;13(15):2119-30. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2012.726613.

An update on antidepressant use and suicidality in pediatric depression.

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University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.



In 2003, public health advisories in North America and Europe regarding suicidality associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) led to the addition of black box warnings to antidepressant package inserts in 2004. Subsequently, a series of events appeared to result from these regulatory actions.


This review provides an overview of the temporal associations of regulatory agencies' actions in North America and Europe with rates of depression diagnoses, pediatric antidepressant prescription rates, follow-up visits to physicians prescribing antidepressants, and rates of completed suicide and suicidal ideation in children and adolescents. In addition, evidence-based predictors of suicidal behavior and suicide risk, as provided by large, multisite studies of depressed children and adolescents, are outlined. Finally, this review considers key advancements in the study of young patients at risk for suicide and describes innovations in current research methodology, to more accurately identify suicidality and the relationship to antidepressant use within this vulnerable patient population.


Evaluating the role of antidepressants in those youths who do not respond to evidence-based psychotherapeutic interventions may be a useful future research direction. Until more data are available, however, closely monitored antidepressant treatment in combination with CBT may provide the most benefit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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