More than a year ago, I posted news of a warning label added to antidepressants — as mandated by the FDA — cautioning physicians to pay close attention to patients taking these drugs for the first time (over the first few weeks) or changing their dosages for suicidal tendencies. The FDA issued its second warning for antidepressants in some 16 months — and a much stronger one at that — last Friday, again urging the monitoring of adults who use these potentially toxic drugs for warning signs of suicide.

The new warning — applicable to adults and children — was a response to recent studies that linked suicidal behavior in adults to their use of antidepressants. The FDA also announced a review of antidepressant drugs — unfortunately based on data provided by manufacturers — to determine the extent of the risk of suicide that should take more than a year to complete.

The drugs affected by the new labeling:

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron)
  • Nefazodone (Serzone)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

In an interesting aside as to how the FDA may be leaning, the agency also updated its Web site about a far higher-than-expected number of suicide attempts in studies analyzing the effectiveness of Cymbalta for incontinence, a non-label use of the drug (another study I posted last year measured Cymbalta’s effectiveness with “curing” fibromyalgia).

All the more reason you should be running as fast as you can from anyone recommending antidepressants, as they are never a safe or appropriate treatment. Some helpful ways you can treat your depression effectively and safely:

Healthcentral July 1, 2005

CNN July 1, 2005