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19 November 2004

Global rise in antidepressant use

Children throughout the world are increasingly prescribed antidepressants and other drugs designed to calm or stimulate their brains, according to a new study.

Children throughout the world are increasingly prescribed antidepressants and other drugs designed to calm or stimulate their brains, according to a new study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

University of London researchers analysed data from nine countries, including the United States, finding that between 2000 and 2002, prescriptions of antidepressants, stimulants, tranquilisers, and antipsychotic drugs increased between 13 percent in Germany to 68 percent in the United Kingdom, the researchers said.

Almost half of the adolescents diagnosed with clinical depression had been prescribed a class of drugs known as tricyclics, despite evidence that these drugs have been found to be only moderately effective among children, the researchers said. Others were prescribed antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which have been linked recently to instances of suicidal behaviour among children and adolescents.

In September, the US Food and Drug Administration approved so-called "black-box" warnings on SSRIs, noting that doctors should carefully monitor young people on these medications when they begin the drug or change doses. – (HealthDayNews)

 
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