Antidepressants And Children Not A Good Mix

The April 10th issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) contains a clinical review that shows that antidepressants should not be prescribed as a medication for depression in people under 18 years of age. According to the BMJ, Australian researchers analyzed existing results from six randomized controlled trials of newer antidepressants and their use in children. The review team found what they called "disturbing shortcomings", in the study results published on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Effexor, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft.

As a result of the study, the researchers stated "Antidepressant drugs cannot confidently be recommended as a treatment option for childhood depression." The BMJ report itself stated, "Two small studies found no statistically significant advantage for antidepressants over placebo on any of the outcome measures reported. Of the remaining four papers, two did and two did not show statistically significant advantages for antidepressants over placebo on primary outcome measures."

In addition to not seeing any benefits, the report also noted that there may be a conflict of interest as the pharmaceutical companies paid for the trials and otherwise remunerated the authors of at least three of the four larger studies.

The BMJ study concluded: "We are concerned that biased reporting and overconfident recommendations in treatment guidelines may mislead doctors, patients, and families. Many will undervalue non-drug treatments that are probably both safer and more effective.