More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Suicide Rates See Decreases, SSRI Link Takes Hit
Monday, October 02, 2006

When the FDA placed black-box warnings on labels for SSRI class antidepressants on October 15, 2004, they threw open the doors to a debate that has raged throughout the mental health field. We have weighed in with our criticism of the FDA's actions here and here. It has been two years now since these labels were instated, and we are now beginning to see hard evidence, in the form of published research.

One such study appears this month in the American Journal of Public Health in the form of a study that looks at suicide rates by age group over a time period of more than 30 years. In their study, doctors working at the University of South Carolina found that there has been a consistent decline in the suicide rates of both the young and the old, beginning in the mid-90s for the former and the 80s for the latter. The rates for Americans between 25-65 have not seen similar declines. The lower half of this middle demographic has held relatively stable, while the older portion of this group has seen some increases in rates.

The authors point to these trends, along with rising numbers of prescriptions for antidepressants as refutation of the black box warnings for suicidality. The USC team's conclusions come after earlier published work from Australia also found little credibility to the claims of increased danger with patients on SSRIs. Undoing the damage of these unnecessary warnings will take further research, but these both represent steps in a positive direction, and also provide a jumping off point for other researchers to use in exploring further.
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