A few years back, parents, doctors and the government became concerned that common antidepressants could raise the risk of suicide for young people.
The Food and Drug Administration warned that a wide range of medicines could increase the chances of suicide in children and young adults. Now the instructions for all the drugs carry a prominent warning of the hazard.
But are some antidepressants riskier than others? No, says a study just published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Researcher combed through the records for 288,000 adults starting antidepressant treatment in British Columbia during a nine-year period.
During their first year on antidepressants, 751 people attempted suicide and 104 killed themselves. There were no significant differences in suicides and attempts associated with the medicines the people took.
The results support the broad-brush warning by the FDA, the authors say, and don't single out any drug or type of medicine as problematic.
Therefore, doctors should pick antidepressants on the basis of how effective they are for a particular patient and be on guard for trouble, especially right after treatment starts, the authors recommend. Most of the suicides and attempts seen in the study happened during the first six months.