Research — 01 February 2016

A new study recently featured in the British Medical Journal blames commonly prescribed anti-depressant for heightening the risk of aggression and suicide among children and teenagers.

To date, the study is the largest medicalshy-863056_1920 review of its kind that links anti-depressants with largely under-reported multiple side-effects including aggression, suicide, and even death. The report holds pharmaceutical firms accountable for seriously underestimating the risks involved.

The study was a joint effort by the Nordic Cochrane Center and University College London (UCL) which entailed a careful analysis of 70 trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) involving more than 18, 000 patients. The review yielded a startling and disturbing conclusion that the said drugs are responsible for doubled risk of suicide for those below 18 years old.

“The analysis suggests that clinical study reports, on which decisions about market authorization are based, are likely to underestimate the extent of drug related harms,” remarked Tarang Sharma of the Denmark-based Nordic Cochrane Center as quoted saying by The Telegraph.

Furthermore, the researchers were appalled by the seemingly insensitive and inhumane under-reporting by companies that choose to play down the obvious harms for their benefit.

“Antidepressants don’t work in children, that is pretty clear, in the randomized trials children say that they don’t work for them, but they increase their risk of suicide. It is absolutely horrendous that they have such disregard for human lives,” commented senior author Prof Peter Gøtzsche as mentioned in a report by Stuff.

In another note, the UK National Health Service (NHS) limits the prescription of anti-depressants to ‘children with moderate to severe depression’ only after talking sessions proved ineffective and thorough deliberation by medical professionals with the patient and the family.

This article first appeared on ‘Counsel&Heal’ on 31 January 2016.

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