For anyone who hasn’t heard of Jake McGill Lynch, age 14, who died following a prescription for Fluoxetine (Prozac), here’s his mom Stephanie being interviewed on RTE Radio. The journalist, Della Kiroy, also interviewed David Healy who speaks towards the end of the programme. Stephanie’s harrowing account of Jake’s life and death is a warning to all that antidepressants are far from harmless, particularly when prescribed to children. Despite the widespread antidepressant prescribing in Ireland, the European Medicine’s Agency has provided the following warning –
“..suicide-related behaviour (suicide attempt and suicidal thoughts), and hostility (predominantly aggression, oppositional behaviour and anger) were more frequently observed in clinical trials among children and adolescents treated with these antidepressants compared to those treated with placebo. The Agency’s committee is therefore recommending the inclusion of strong warnings across the whole of the European Union to doctors and parents about these risks. Doctors and parents will also be advised that these products should not be used in children and adolescents except in their approved indications.”
A recent study by Sharma et al also found similarly. The study found that in children and adolescents taking antidepressants (SSRIs and SNRIs), the risk of suicidality and aggression doubled. Being aware of all the risks and benefits is crucial before deciding whether (or not) to take a pill – any pill. Knowing what to look out for may just save a life – it may well have saved Jake’s.