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Study: FDA Warnings About Antidepressant Side Effects May Have Caused Spike In Suicide Attempts

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(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Turns out putting warnings about the increased risk of suicide on the labels of antidepressants didn’t do much good. In fact, it may have actually done some harm.

That’s the takeaway from new research published in the British Medical Journal, which questions the benefits of the 2004 FDA mandate.

Researchers reportedly studied 2.5 million teens and young adults between 2000 and 2010. During that time period, the adolescent use of antidepressants decreased by 31%; however, suicide attempts also increased by 22% in teens and 34% in young adults. “Complete suicides” remained rare, at one in ten.

“Our study provides the first evidence that suicide attempts increased rather than decreased after the warnings,” the researchers say. “FDA advisories and boxed warnings can be crude and inadequate ways to communicate new and sometimes frightening scientific information to the public.”

While the scientists admit their study only included suicide attempts that required medical attention, they conclude that “it is disturbing that after the health advisories, warnings, and media reports about the relation between antidepressant use and suicidality in young people, we found substantial reductions in antidepressant treatment and simultaneous, small but meaningful increases in suicide attempts.”

To read the full study, click here.

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