Young adults not at risk of suicidal behavior from antidepressants

July 05, 2007

Antidepressants lower the risk of suicide attempt in adults with depression, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. The researchers also found that the lower risk held true for young adults ages 18 to 25.

"The risk of suicide attempt among depressed patients treated with SSRI drugs was about one-third that of patients who were not treated with an SSRI," said the lead author Robert Gibbons, director of the Center for Health Statistics and professor of biostatistics and psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "We would not expect a lower risk in this patient population because patients treated with SSRIs are generally more severely depressed and would have a higher risk of suicide attempt."

The researchers analyzed medical data of 226,866 patients newly diagnosed with depression in 2003 or 2004 at the Veterans Administration healthcare system. They compared risk of suicide in four age groups (ages 18 to 25; 26 to 45; 46 to 65; and older than 65) before and after treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications, also known as SSRI drugs.

All age groups of depressed patients who received selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -- the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medication -- showed a significantly lower risk of suicide attempt when compared to those who did not receive antidepressant treatment.

Among 82,828 patients, there were 183 suicide attempts before treatment with SSRI drugs and 102 suicide attempts after treatment with SSRI drugs (a rate that fell from 221 to 123 per 100,000 after treatment).

In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration issued a black box warning suggesting that SSRI drugs increase the risk of suicidal behavior in children and adolescents. An FDA advisory committee recently recommended extending this black box warning to young adults.

Gibbons cautions that extending this warning to young adults may further decrease antidepressant treatment of depression and contribute to higher rates of suicide.

In previous research, Gibbons reported an inverse relationship between antidepressant prescriptions and the rates of suicide in children and adolescents.
-end-
Co-authors of the study include Kwan Hur and Dulal Bhaumik, UIC Center for Health Statistics; C. Hendricks Brown, University of South Florida; Sue Marcus, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and J. John Mann, Columbia University.

Funding for the study was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health.

UIC ranks among the nation's top 50 universities in federal research funding and is Chicago's largest university with 25,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

For more information about UIC, visit www.uic.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.