PSYCHIATRIC GROUPS PUSH FDA TO MONITOR EFFECTS OF ANTIDEPRSSANT WARNING
The FDA's warnings last fall about links between antidepressant use and adolescent suicidal behavior may have spurred a "swift and steep" decline in the number of pediatric prescriptions for the treatments, according to psychiatric groups.
In a recent letter to the FDA, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) urged the agency to monitor the potential adverse consequences of its regulatory action last October.
Prescribing of antidepressants to patients under age 18 has dropped nearly 20 percent, said the groups, citing a study in the current issue of Psychiatric News.
This is not the first time the drop in prescriptions has been recognized. An analysis of the issue by Medco Health Solutions in early 2005 revealed the proportion of patients under age 18 taking antidepressants declined by roughly 16 percent during the fourth quarter of 2004, compared to the same period of 2003. That analysis also attributed the drop to the FDA's warning.
APA and AACAP have warned the public health consequences of the action are still unknown. The groups, along with the American Medical Association, have urged the FDA to establish a system to track the black box warning's impact on prescribing patterns, as well as track any increase in actions by patients to harm themselves as a result of reduced access to medically necessary treatment with antidepressants.