Shocking Rise in Children and Adolescents Taking Antidepressants

Researchers on paediatric medication report on benefits and risks of treating children's behavioural problems with antidepressants in The International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine.

Despite disagreements about the data driving use of these medicines, in practice antidepressants may now be the most commonly used drugs by adolescent girls, and children’s mental health services are attracting increasing attention. This article Paediatric antidepressants: Benefits and risks by David Healy et al. published in The International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine (IJRSM) reports on the benefits and harms of prescribing antidepressants to children. It reviews the difficulties surrounding the data and outlines a case for benefits (as well as risks) that would require physicians to exert a greater degree of professional autonomy than service managers might wish.

The article will be featured in the BBC documentary series “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs” with Dr. Chris van Tulleken and broadcast on BBC One on the 30th of May 2018.

Update [31 May 2018]: The lead author on the study Dr David Healy has today shared a blog post on this topic, urging people to read the journal article and supporting data about the claims raised: the full blog post can be viewed here