BMJ – Antidepressants double suicidality and aggression in children and adolescents.

Woman studying and relaxing

I’ve been neglecting my blog recently and must say, I’ve missed it. I find blogging very therapeutic but have had to forego the rantings in order to study for a masters. Whose bright idea was that? While some people find it relaxing to visit the spa, go jogging (requires too much effort) or veg on the couch with the latest ‘Top Gear’ and a Tesco’s bag stuffed with chocolate and jellys (the poor unfortunate husband) – I like nothing more than having a few hours hunched over the computer (blissfully oblivious to the lads running amok in the background), ranting about what occasionally interests or annoys me. The thing about becoming a mature(ish) student is that there are always essays to be submitted. Timely and well-researched masterpieces take time and effort, I’ll have you know! Having finished my first assignment and mastered (kind-of) the intricacies of Endnote (no mean feat), my time is my own for a few days. I’m still not quite over the shock that this quare one from Sallynoggin was accepted into The Royal College of Surgeons. I kept telling the husband that Sallynoggin people are superior beings but he never believed me, although, I keep expecting the professor to barge through the door and say so sorry Ms Fennell, we got the rejected pile of applicants mixed up with the deserving scholars and you’ll just have to go. Anyway, he hasn’t as yet and I have to say, it’s an awesome place.

So considering I’ve left the triathlons to my much fitter sisters and there’s only so many re-runs of Jeremy Clarkson that a person can watch without wanting to harm the Hammond guy – what did I find of interest today? Well now, seen as you asked, this morning a study was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) entitled ‘Suicidality and aggression during antidepressant treatment: systematic review and meta-analyses based on clinical study reports’ (Sharma et al., 2016). The objective of the study was to study serious harms associated with selective serotonin and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs and SNRIs). Now, as I can feel your eyes glazing over (just as mine did), there’s an article in the Telegraph that provides a simplified account of the study findings – an article which incidentally gives a well-deserved mention to my lovely friend Mr AntiDepAware.

Excerpt from the Telegraph article ..

Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, the biggest ever review has found, as pharmaceutical companies were accused of failing to report side-effects and even deaths linked to the drugs. An analysis of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants – involving more than 18,000 people – found they doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behaviour in under 18s. Although a similarly stark link was not seen in adults, the authors said misreporting of trial data could have led to a serious under-estimation of the harms.”

While the study found no increased risk in adults, the Telegraph provides a quote from Professor Peter Gøtzsche, lead author of the study, who said “What I get out of this colossal underreporting of suicides is that SSRIs likely increase suicides in all ages”.

In a related BMJ editorial today, psychiatrist and author Joanna Moncrieff expressed concerns that many adverse events are being misrepresented – Several deaths were misclassified, and more than half the instances of suicide attempts and suicidal ideation were coded as ‘emotional lability’ or ‘worsening of depression’.

There are two hugely important findings in this study.

  1. the safety of Fluoxetine (Prozac), psychiatry’s main drug of choice for children suffering with mental trauma, was widely misrepresented by Lilly.
  2. antidepressants double the risk of suicidality and aggression in children and adolescents.

The study authors recommend – minimal use of antidepressants in children, adolescents, and young adults, as the serious harms seem to be greater, and as their effect seems to be below what is clinically relevant.

Considering Lilly’s consistent hiding of the harms of Fluoxetine and the recent inquests in the Dublin Coroner’s Court where this drug was implicated, access to the data is crucial in order to stop further unnecessary deaths. A mammoth task but not an impossible one, as shown recently by Le Noury et al (with Paroxetine and Study 329). My brain is frying at the thought of it; although a PharmaHealyGotzsche triathlon actually sounds quite fun.

.

Telegraph Article.

SHARMA, T., GUSKI, L. S., FREUND, N. & GØTZSCHE, P. C. 2016. Suicidality and aggression during antidepressant treatment: systematic review and meta-analyses based on clinical study reports. BMJ, 352.

LE NOURY, J., NARDO, J. M., HEALY, D., JUREIDINI, J., RAVEN, M., TUFANARU, C. & ABI-JAOUDE, E. 2015. Restoring Study 329: efficacy and harms of paroxetine and imipramine in treatment of major depression in adolescence. BMJ, 351.

2 thoughts on “BMJ – Antidepressants double suicidality and aggression in children and adolescents.

  1. Your regular look at health issues of the day was greatly missed. Welcome back Leonie. The conclusion that “antidepressants double the risk of suicidality and aggression in children and adolescents.” by Sharma et al cannot be overlooked.There now appears to be more studies indicating a damaging effect from antidepressants than originally promoted their effectiveness. What now? Retractions? Criminal charges?
    I found this in my inbox today:
    http://www.webmd.com/depression/ss/slideshow-depression-myths?ecd=wnl_emw_012716&ctr=wnl-emw-012716_nsl-ld-stry_title&mb=Nbg7SmTncSaG1188
    Not a lot has changed it seems.

    Like

  2. Thanks Sarah, no, it’s an uphill battle that’s for sure. Surely, at the very least, caution should be advised when prescribing.. not sure why this isn’t so! The consequences can be catastrophic as we both know..

    Like

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