Depression and Youth


Anchor lead: An FDA warning may have contributed to depression-related death among the nation’s youth, Elizabeth Tracey reports

The FDA warned in 2003 that taking antidepressant medicines might contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviors among children and adolescents, and required what’s called a ‘black box’ warning to clinicians who prescribe them about the possibility. Since then an excess of suicides has occurred. Karen Swartz, an expert in adolescent depression at Johns Hopkins, says the risk is not in taking an antidepressant.

Swartz: What’s more of a risk is that without careful close monitoring you might start an antidepressant but not continue it, or you might get just better enough that you’re actually at higher risk, because when you first get better you might be having thoughts but now you have enough energy to act on the thought. The way to handle this is to absolutely not not treat the depression, because many many more children will die because of depression that from any complications of antidepressants. The key is to make sure that when you’re starting an antidepressant that the young people have adequate follow up and close monitoring.  :34

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.