Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Experts Question Study on Youth Suicide Rates

Goodness me, I am slow on the uptake! The story that I have for you, today, my most excellent friends, (Stop it. Ed.), has been doing the rounds for some time, now, but I have neglected to contribute my "hit" in any relevant Google search.

This has been covered in some detail by many others, blogs and mainstream press, alike, so I'll keep my synopsis as brief as possible, and link you to a bunch of other sources, at the bottom of the post. It seems that a team of academics scrutinized data on suicides in children and adolescents in the US, and found that there was a significant rise in 2004. On 15 October, 2004, the FDA installed a black box warning on SSRIs.

The "inevitable" conclusion was that the warning had led to a decrease in prescriptions for these drugs, which had led to the increase in suicides. These "findings" were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, and also featured in the BMJ. However, the more numerate amongst you will have noted that only a month and a half of 2004 remained when the warning was announced. Indeed, a New York Times article, which ran a couple of weeks ago, pointed out that prescriptions didn't change much in 2004: that came in 2005, when preliminary figures suggest a fall in suicides.

However, despite the apparent quality of the conclusions reached [sorry, at this point I have to insert a favourite quotation from my Legal History professor, Dr Anton Schutz, who once observed that one of his students' reasoning amounted to "an athletic intellectual bound"] the AJP and BMJ have yet to respond with any kind of modification to the plangent whailings of the authors, Gibbons, Mann, et al:

SSRI prescriptions for children and adolescents decreased after U.S. and European regulatory agencies issued warnings about a possible suicide risk with antidepressant use in pediatric patients, and these decreases were associated with increases in suicide rates in children and adolescents

Ooh, yes, nearly forgot, the lead authors have lots of links with quite a few of our friends in the Worshipful Company.

See also:

No comments: