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Antidepressants For Children: Coverup Exposed

I've written very recently about a scientist at the FDA who had been barred from publicly presenting his finding that several leading antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal behaviors among children. Guess who's talking now?

That top government scientist who concluded last year that most antidepressants are too dangerous for children because of a suicide risk wrote in a memo this week a new study confirms his findings. The official, Dr. Andrew D. Mosholder, a senior epidemiologist at the FDA who assesses the safety of medicines, found last year 22 studies showed that children given antidepressants were nearly twice as likely to become suicidal as those given placebos. Unfortunately, for the public, his bosses strongly disagreed with his findings, kept his recommendations secret and initiated a new analysis.

In his memo, Mosholder reported the results of the new analysis, undertaken in part at Columbia University, matched his own. Though the two studies used different methods and different numbers, they came to similar conclusions, according to the memo.

In the new analysis, Paxil (GlaxoSmithKline) and Effexor (made by Wyeth) have been found to be even more likely to lead children to become suicidal than Dr. Mosholder's original analysis found, his memo says. The findings add to the debate over whether the government should ban prescribing the pills to children.

There are still some who have studied the effects of antidepressants in depressed children, including one scientist whose research was paid for by both drug makers and the National Institutes of Health who said he still thinks the benefits of the medicines outweigh any risks, and that limiting choices isn't a good thing.

Fortunately, there are great alternatives to antidepressants for depression in kids:

  • Watching less TV
  • Exercising regularly
  • Taking optimal levels of cod liver oil

Spartanburg Herald Journal August 20, 2004

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