By BENEDICT CAREY
A new study may help quiet fears that the suicide warning labels on antidepressants are scaring countless patients away from medications that could help relieve their suffering.
The warnings, which were mandated in 2004 by the Food and Drug Administration, say the drugs can increase the risk of suicidal thinking or behavior in some young patients. They stirred a fierce debate among psychiatrists, health officials and patient advocates, with critics saying that the ruling (and the headlines that accompanied it) went too far.
But the study, which appears Tuesday in The Archives of General Psychiatry, finds that while the warnings appear to have alerted patients and doctors to a possible risk, they have not caused a sharp decline in treatment rates.
The report is not likely to be the last word on the antidepressant debate, experts said. But they added that it provided one of the clearest pictures to date of how patients and doctors behaved in the wake of a controversial decision by drug regulators.
The researchers analyzed prescription rates from three time periods: May 2002 to June 2003, just before the debate over antidepressant side effects flared; June 2003 to October 2004, the period after the first public alert, that the drug Paxil by GlaxoSmithKline was associated with an increase in suicidal thinking in minors; and October 2004 to December 2005, the year after the F.D.A. called for prominent warnings on the labels of all antidepressants.
They found that the rate of Paxil prescriptions for children and adolescents decreased by 44 percent after the 2003 warning on that drug. But the rate for similar drugs, including Prozac by Eli Lilly, continued to increase in that age group through 2003 and fell off only slightly after the labeling change, in 2005. The rate of prescriptions to new patients — a particular concern for psychiatrists critical of the warnings — did not change significantly during the warnings or after. Prescription rates to adults increased in the years studied.
In sum, the drug agency’s warnings seemed to prompt caution rather than panic. “The concern that the warnings would have a chilling effect on the treatment of depression in young people was not born out by the data,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia. His co-authors were Steven C. Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Benjamin G. Druss of Emory University.
IN THE WORKPLACE
Research on Depression in the Workplace.
For more information please click here
Mental Health Matters Journal for Psychiatrists & GP's
Click here for more info
If you are a journalist writing a story contact Kayla on 011 234 4837 email@example.com
It’s the small things that make a BIG difference. Sign up for the “My School | My Village | My Planet” Card and start making a difference to Mental Health in South Africa today.
Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted. That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way healthcare information is delivered to low literacy communities.
The customizable 16-page book, read by local celebrity audio recordings, ensures that vital health and social messages can be seen, heard, read and understood by everyone across the world.
We started with books on Teen Suicide prevention , HIV, AIDS and Depression, Understanding Mental Health and have developed over 100+ titles, such as TB, Malaria, Polio, Vaccines for over 45 countries.
- Click here to see speaking books in action
- Click here for sample book on clinical trials
- Click here to connect to international site
- Speaking books for Health Care YouTube
By BENEDICT CAREY
Dr Reddy's Help Line
0800 21 22 23
Cipla 24hr Mental Health Helpline
0800 456 789
Pharmadynamics Police &Trauma Line
0800 20 50 26
Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline
0800 70 80 90
0800 55 44 33
Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Line 24hr helpline
0800 12 13 14
Suicide Crisis Line
0800 567 567
SADAG Mental Health Line
011 234 4837
Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit 24 Hour
0861 435 787
Cipla Whatsapp Chat Line
(9am-4pm, 7 days a week)
076 882 2775
24 hour Healthcare Workers Care Network Helpline
0800 21 21 21
0800 515 515
EMERGENCY Contact Numbers for Students in South Africa - Click here
MENTAL HEALTH CALENDAR 2021
Teen Suicide Prevention Week
14 - 21 February
World Bipolar Day
SA Bipolar Awareness Day
Substance Abuse Awareness Day
Mental Health Awareness Month
1 – 31 July
Panic Awareness Day
World Suicide Prevention Day
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Awareness Month
1 - 31 October
View our list of informative Infographics.
SADAG KZN Branch
SADAG has an office in Durban with the support of Psychiatrist Dr Suvira Ramlall and Clinical Psychologist, Suntosh Pillay. Administrated by Lynn Norton
The KZN Branch is deeply committed to:
- Launching new Support Groups
- Workshops on Mental Health
- School Talks on Suicide Prevention
- Corporate Wellness For KZN companies
Want to become a volunteer counsellor? Contact Senzi 011 234 4837
Click here for more information.
If you are interested in starting a Support Group, please contact Krystle on 0800 21 22 23.
To find a Support Group in your area, please phone SADAG on 0800 21 22 23.
Click here for more information
Mental Health & Depression Book
A book called Surfacing, in which Marion Scher has sat down with a number of South Africans to share their stories of their personal struggles with mental health issues.
Want to know more? Click Here