Authors of a new comprehensive analysis of antidepressants for children and teenagers say the benefits of treatment trump the small risk of increasing some patients' chances of having suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
The risk they found is lower than the one the Food and Drug Administration identified in 2004, the year the agency warned the public about the drugs' risks in children. After the warning, U.S. youth suicides increased and some mental health experts said reluctance to try antidepressants might be to blame.
The new analysis includes data from seven studies that were not part of the previous FDA analysis, including information from two large pediatric depression trials that was unavailable three years ago.
Researchers analyzed data on 5,310 children and teenagers from 27 studies. They found that for every 100 kids treated with antidepressants, about one additional child experienced worsening suicidal feelings above what would have happened without drug treatment. In contrast, the FDA analysis found an added risk affecting about two in 100 patients.