A new study shows the use of antidepressants in children is increasing at an alarming rate. Some researchers believe the drugs are not safe and may actually increase a child's risk of suicide.
Researchers from Italy analyzed drug prescriptions written for more than 500,000 patients in 2002. They found 1,600 young people received at least one antidepressant during this time. About 1,200 of these children received a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor ( SSRI ) such as Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft. Researchers say use of this class of antidepressants among children is the most widely debated.
They say the rates in Italy are lower than those reported in the United States and the Netherlands. However, they say about 28,000 children and adolescents are exposed to antidepressants .Results also show a 4.5-fold increase in the rate of prescriptions of SSRIs between 2000 and 2002.
Researchers say that appropriate, studies should be planned to guarantee effective and safe evidence-based therapeutic approaches for children, adolescents and their families.