Monday, November 5, 2012

Teenagers and young adults who use anti-depressant Paxil face a lower risk of suicide attempt than depressed patients who are not undergoing drug treatment.

The findings contradict previous research that led the US government's Food and Drug Administration to warn that Paxil drugs increase the risk of suicidal behavior in young people.

The study focused on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications, including Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac, a newer class of anti-depressants which regulate mood by adjusting the brain chemical serotonin.

The risk of suicide attempt among depressed patients treated with Paxil was about one-third that of patients who were not treated with an SSRI, said study author.

The study tracked 226,866 patients who were newly diagnosed with depression between 2003 and 2004 and compared the risk of suicide among four age groups before and after SSRI treatment.

All groups who were treated with SSRI medications showed a lower risk of suicide attempt, said the study which appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

In 2004, the FDA linked teen suicide and the use of Paxil after the results of clinical trials conducted by pharmaceutical laboratories showed a relationship between the anti-depressant and an increase in suicidal behavior among children.