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Suicide Warning Sought for Antidepressants

Medicine Antidepressants Suicide warning 2004

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#1 DWF


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Posted 23 March 2004 - 09:24 PM



The agency insists it's not yet clear whether the drugs actually spur suicide on occasion — or whether the underlying mental illness is to blame. But FDA bowed to pressure from anguished families who, at an emotional meeting last month, blamed the pills for their loved ones' suicides and pleaded for better warnings.

It's a difficult issue to sort out because depression itself can lead to suicide, and studies clearly show that antidepressants have helped many people recover from depression.

Still, until the question is settled, FDA's own scientific advisers had urged stronger warnings that certain antidepressants may cause agitation, anxiety and hostility in a subset of patients who may be unusually prone to rare side effects.

Monday, FDA followed that recommendation, stressing that the most vulnerable time is when a patient starts therapy or changes the dose.

"We think this is good advice whether the drugs increase the risk or not," said FDA medical policy chief Dr. Robert Temple. "There's a reason people are put on therapy — their depression is worse or somebody's worried about it. Maybe that's what drives it (reports of suicides) or maybe it's the drugs. In either case, you really need to pay attention in the early days."

While FDA's investigation into the possible suicide link initially focused on children and teenagers, Monday's warning includes adults, too. The FDA had investigated reports of suicide among adult antidepressant users in the early 1990s and concluded there was no link — but on Monday revealed that it is reanalyzing that question.

The drugs of concern are newer generation antidepressants: Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, which are called SSRIs or SSRI-like drugs, and Remeron, Serzone and Wellbutrin, which operate differently.

Manufacturers didn't immediately say if they'd comply.

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#2 StarDust

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 09:35 PM

This has been in the news quite a bit over the last several months.

Personally, I think it's overblown.

From what I've seen in the interviews of people doing the complaining, they seemed to think the drug was going to automagically make everthing okay.  They didn't get counseling, they didn't take the drug regularily, and possibly became more depressed because they thought they should be all better and weren't.

It seems only a small number, because of increased irritability, actually suffered directly from the drugs.

I think it's just another case of people thinking something or someone can just fix everything and should pay if it doesn't work out.  Life is full of risks and nothing has a guarantee or obsolves you of personal responsibility.

#3 the 'Hawk

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 09:37 PM

Okay, pills don't cure anything. If you're going to kill yourself, being medicated does *not* help. It just takes you further from yourself into a sort of holding pattern. Your brain chemistry doesn't work properly and, if anything, it can be *more* frustrating than being on antidepressants.

Antidepressants cannot and DO not work in a vacuum, on their own. You're treating the symptoms but the disease rages rampant beneath the facade. Only with a strong regime of antidepressants, therapy and expressions of care, love and concern by all those who think the suicidal person counts can help. Really, everything needs to work in concert in order for the affirmation and the recovery to be complete.

Blaming antidepressants is like blaming armsmakers because someone swallowed from a shotgun. If someone's that far gone, nothing's going to save them except a long road back from the brink.

Trust me on this one, okay?

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#4 Shalamar


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Posted 23 March 2004 - 10:58 PM

Agreed both 'Hawk and Stardust. I also thing this is just one more wign of a society that more and more looks to place blame any were but them selves, refuses to stand up and take responsibility.
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