FDA Warnings For Antidepressant Medications
“Black Box” FDA Warnings for Antidepressant Medications
Despite perceived safety and popularity of SSRIs and other antidepressants, studies suggest usage can bring dangerous and understated side effects, especially for adolescents and young adults. In 2004, after a thorough review of data, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adopted a “black box” warning label on all antidepressant medications to alert the public for potential risks of increased suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents taking antidepressants.
In 2007, the agency extended the warning to include young adults up to age 25. A “black box” warning is the most serious type of warning on prescription drug labeling. The warning emphasizes that children, adolescents and young adults taking antidepressants should be closely monitored, especially during the initial weeks of treatment, for any worsening depression, suicidal thoughts, behaviors, or any unusual changes in behavior such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from normal social situations. These FDA approved medications have never been tested on children or adolescents.
The FDA concludes these medications were not originally “designed” for adolescent use. Still, pharmaceutical companies were happy to give the impression these medications to be safe for children and young adults, especially for anxiety disorders, ADD, OCD, stress, social anxiety, sleep disorders, and many other conditions
Quite often prescription medications whose patents are about to expire, are reassigned or relabeled to address other illnesses or symptoms, which may be completely unrelated to the original disorders or symptoms they were tested and approved for. This means, more often than not, the relabeling of these powerful medications is a marketing ploy, to ensure highly profitable patents do not become lost revenue streams. That is good for the profits of pharmaceutical companies, but has little to do with health care or the well being of individuals.
In 2007 half a million children and teenagers were given at least one prescription for an antipsychotic medication. Over 20,000 of these children were under the age of 6. American children are on average are medicated with antidepressants and stimulants three times more than children elsewhere in the world. This epidemic is driven by ignorance, greed and profit, not because Americans are more mentally unfit.
Medications That May Contribute to Pediatric Suicide
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