May 11, 2015 – Antidepressants in Kids

May 8, 2015

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Anchor lead: A new discovery could help more kids who are depressed, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Using medications known as SSRIs to treat depression in the young declined markedly when the FDA issued what’s called a black box warning some time ago, leaving many kids untreated.  Now a discovery by Adam Kaplin, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, may change that.  They’ve found a receptor that is activated by these drugs and causes levels of serotonin, a brain signaling chemical known to be important in mood, to fall.

Kaplin: As a result, this low serotonin level is what has been shown time and again to be associated with injurious, impulsive behavior.  That was the critical understanding, this is a product of this particular receptor, which is the brake of the system, getting overactivated, shutting down the system, so something that’s supposed to be increasing serotonin acutely decreases it and decreased it really significantly.   :26

Kaplin says knowing this can help physicians use the medications more appropriately. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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