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Call for SSRI u-turn

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The benefits of antidepressants for children and teenagers outweigh the risk of increased suicidal thoughts, claim US researchers.

The benefits of antidepressants for children and teenagers outweigh the risk of increased suicidal thoughts, claim US researchers.

They questioned the current ban on all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), except fluoxetine, in the treatment of under 18s.

After reviewing 27 trials, they calculated the number of patients needed to be treated for one to be harmed by an SSRI was 112 for major depressive disorder, 200 for obsessive-compulsive disorder and 143 for anxiety.

The authors said: 'Some may argue that any risk of suicidal ideation/suicide attempt cannot possibly justify treatment. Instead, we believe that the strength of evidence presented here supports the cautious and well-monitored use of antidepressant medications.'

Journal of the American Medical Association (2007) 297: 1683-1696

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