SSRI antidepressants are the standard when it comes to pharmaceutical depression care, but these medications do have some risks and child safety concerns when used for kids and adolescents. Careful prescription practices and medical monitoring and oversight are crucial. These drugs may increase the risk of suicide in children and adolescents, especially in the early stages of treatment. Researchers at John Hopkins University have developed a few new strategies that can be used to mitigate the suicide risks associated with SSRI antidepressants. A multidisciplinary research team was involved in the study. A black box warning for this class of drugs was added by the FDA in 2014. This is the most serious warning the FDA can add. The FDA took this step because the summary examination of studies showed that these drugs can actually raise the suicidal thoughts and actions in some people.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine senior investigator and assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology Adam Kaplin, M.D., Ph.D., explained “These medications have to be dosed in a careful way. One of the hardest parts of our jobs is to get people through that delayed period of time when we all wish our medicines worked faster. Now that we have uncovered this effect and worked out this mechanism we are in the process of communicating with pharmaceutical companies to see which of them might have tested a drug similar to WAY-100635 that didn’t do anything by itself and therefore was abandoned.” Hopefully the new standards developed will make depression treatment more effective and less risky for children and adolescents.