Are antidepressants appropriate and effective for children?

antidepressantsExcept for fluoxetine, antidepressants are ineffective in children and adolescents, according to findings from a systematic review involving four Australian mental health research centres.

Fluoxetine is the only one of 14 antidepressants that performed better than placebo in reducing depressive symptoms, the review and network meta-analysis shows as reported by the Medical Observer.

The study, involving 5260 patients aged from nine to 18 years in 34 randomised trials, was conducted by an international research group led by the University of Oxford.

The researchers, including psychiatrists and psychologists from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, ranked the antidepressants according to their safety, tolerability and efficacy.

Imipramine, venlafaxine and duloxetine had the worst profile for tolerability, leading to more discontinuations compared with placebo.

Nortriptyline was ranked as the least effective drug for reducing depressive symptoms, performing worse than antidepressants such as clomipramine and amitriptyline.

Venlafaxine was linked to a significantly increased risk of suicidality for young people compared with placebo and other antidepressants.

Child psychiatrist Professor Jon Jureidini from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide, says the study emphasises that antidepressants should be prescribed to children or adolescents “only if the discounted benefit outweighs the boosted harm”.

The 17th International Mental Health Conference will be held at the brand new Sea World Resort Conference Centre on the Gold Coast, QLD from the 11 -12 August 2016.

You are invited to join us as we address the conference theme “Guiding the Change” across the broad spectrum of mental disorders. To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

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