Child, Teen Prescriptions of Antidepressants Decline
Antidepressant use among children and adolescents has decreased in recent years, according to two new analyses, after warnings from FDA last year linked antidepressants to increased suicide risk for some children, USA Today reports.
According to Paul Seligman, FDA's chief of post-marketing drug surveillance, Verispan in an analysis conducted for the agency found that antidepressant prescriptions for children fell 20% from January 2002 to July 2005.
Prescriptions dropped 32% for children under age 12 and 18% for adolescents between ages 12 and 18, likely because there is more research on antidepressant use among adolescents. Prescriptions increased for Prozac, the only drug approved to treat childhood depression, suggesting that "fewer doctors are prescribing medicines not certified for kids," USA Today reports.
A separate analysis by Medco Health Solutions conducted for USA Today found a 25% decline in prescriptions since January 2003. Medco's data "cover privately insured families and are skewed to the middle class," USA Today reports.
California behavioral pediatrician Lawrence Diller said, "The black boxes definitely added to parents' fears, and many doctors didn't appreciate the risks before" (Elias, USA Today, 10/25).