The Australian health authorities have decided against issuing a warning about the risks of antidepressants like Prozac to children was made despite mounting evidence of adverse reactions. They had initially considered putting up the warning in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme last year.
It has been reported that children below 10 years old are being prescribed antidepressants, and these drugs have been linked to at least two suicides and another case of death due to heart failure. And warnings of their side effects have been brushed aside. The antidepressants, commonly known as selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have never been approved for treating depression in anyone under 19-years-old.
It has been reported in the papers that almost 220,000 prescriptions have been issued for use on patients under the age of 19, and that 15,000 of those were for children under 10-years-old, with disturbing effects. It was also reported that documents that were available from the Therapeutic Drug Administration (TGA) showed that there were 827 adverse reaction reports, which also involved nearly about 380 separate cases, of antidepressant usage among children who were less than ten-years-old.
The adverse reactions linked to antidepressant use by children under 10 since the medications were made available in the early 1990s included cases of convulsion, self-harm, muscle spasms, tremors, hallucinations, deafness, paralysis and Tourette syndrome. The papers also stated that 833 adverse health responses, involving 385 separate cases in children aged 10 - 19, which included the deaths of 3 children, have been linked to the use of the medications.