Harvard study: High doses of antidepressants appear to increase risk of self-harm in children and young adults

29 Apr

People of all ages may have feelings of profound sadness, loss, and depression. There is no one on earth, despite what the ads attempt to portray, who lives a perfect life. Every life has flaws and blemishes, it is just that some cope better than others. For every person who lives to a ripe old age, during the course of that life they may encounter all types of loss from loss of a loved one through death, divorce or desertion, loss of job, financial reverses, illness, dealing with A-holes and twits, plagues, pestilence, and whatever curse can be thrown at a person. The key is that they lived THROUGH whatever challenges they faced AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME. Woody Allen said something like “90% of life is simply showing up.” Let moi add a corollary, one of the prime elements of a happy life is to realize that whatever moment you are now in, it will not last forever and that includes moments of great challenge. A person does not have to be religious to appreciate the story of Job. The end of the story is that Job is restored. He had to endure much before the final victory, though.

Medical Press reported in the article, High doses of antidepressants appear to increase risk of self-harm in children young adult:

Children and young adults who start antidepressant therapy at high doses, rather than the “modal” [average or typical] prescribed doses, appear to be at greater risk for suicidal behavior during the first 90 days of treatment.
A previous meta-analysis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of antidepressant trials suggested that children who received antidepressants had twice the rate of suicidal ideation and behavior than children who were given a placebo. The authors of the current study sought to examine suicidal behavior and antidepressant dose, and whether risk depended on a patient’s age.
The study used data from 162,625 people (between the ages of 10 to 64 years) with depression who started antidepressant treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor at modal (the most prescribed doses on average) or at higher than modal doses from 1998 through 2010.
The rate of suicidal behavior (deliberate self-harm or DSH) among children and adults (24 years or younger) who started antidepressant therapy at high doses was about twice as high compared with a matched group of patients who received generally prescribed doses. The authors suggest this corresponds to about one additional event of DSH for every 150 patients treated with high-dose therapy. For adults 25 to 64 years old, the difference in risk for suicidal behavior was null. The study does not address why higher doses might lead to higher suicide risk….
“Their findings suggest that higher than modal initial dosing leads to an increased risk for DSH and adds further support to current clinical recommendations to begin treatment with lower antidepressant doses. While initiation at higher than modal doses of antidepressants may be deleterious, this study does not address the effect of dose escalation,” they continue.
“Moreover, while definitive studies on the impact of dose escalation in the face of nonresponse remain to be done, there are promising studies that suggest in certain subgroups, dose escalation can be of benefit. Finally it should be noted that in this study, there was no pre-exposure to post-exposure increase in suicidal behavior after the initiation of antidepressants in youth treated at the modal dosage,” they conclude. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-04-high-doses-antidepressants-self-harm-children.html

Citation:

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Original Investigation|April 28, 2014
Antidepressant Dose, Age, and the Risk of Deliberate Self-harm
ONLINE FIRST
Matthew Miller, MD, ScD1; Sonja A. Swanson, ScM2; Deborah Azrael, PhD1; Virginia Pate, PhD, PhD3; Til Stürmer, MD, ScD3
[+] Author Affiliations
JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 28, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.1053
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ABSTRACT
ABSTRACT | METHODS | RESULTS | DISCUSSION | CONCLUSIONS | ARTICLE INFORMATION | REFERENCES
Importance A comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized trial data suggests that suicidal behavior is twice as likely when children and young adults are randomized to antidepressants compared with when they are randomized to placebo. Drug-related risk was not elevated for adults older than 24 years. To our knowledge, no study to date has examined whether the risk of suicidal behavior is related to antidepressant dose, and if so, whether risk depends on a patient’s age.
Objective To assess the risk of deliberate self-harm by antidepressant dose, by age group.
Design, Setting, and Participants This was a propensity score–matched cohort study using population-based health care utilization data from 162 625 US residents with depression ages 10 to 64 years who initiated antidepressant therapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors at modal or at higher than modal doses from January 1, 1998, through December 31, 2010.
Main Outcomes and Measures International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) external cause of injury codes E950.x-E958.x (deliberate self-harm).
Results The rate of deliberate self-harm among children and adults 24 years of age or younger who initiated high-dose therapy was approximately twice as high as among matched patients initiating modal-dose therapy (hazard ratio [HR], 2.2 [95% CI, 1.6-3.0]), corresponding to approximately 1 additional event for every 150 such patients treated with high-dose (instead of modal-dose) therapy. For adults 25 to 64 years of age, the absolute risk of suicidal behavior was far lower and the effective risk difference null (HR, 1.2 [95% CI, 0.8-1.9]).
Conclusions and Relevance Children and young adults initiating therapy with antidepressants at high-therapeutic (rather than modal-therapeutic) doses seem to be at heightened risk of deliberate self-harm. Considered in light of recent meta-analyses concluding that the efficacy of antidepressant therapy for youth seems to be modest, and separate evidence that antidepressant dose is generally unrelated to therapeutic efficacy, our findings offer clinicians an additional incentive to avoid initiating pharmacotherapy at high-therapeutic doses and to closely monitor patients starting antidepressants, especially youth, for several months.

Here is the press release from Harvard:

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
28-Apr-2014

Contact: Marge Dwyer
mhdwyer@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-8416
The JAMA Network Journals
High doses of antidepressants appear to increase risk of self-harm in children young adult
Bottom Line:
Children and young adults who start antidepressant therapy at high doses, rather than the “modal” [average or typical] prescribed doses, appear to be at greater risk for suicidal behavior during the first 90 days of treatment.
Author:
Matthew Miller, M.D., Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and colleagues.
Background:
A previous meta-analysis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of antidepressant trials suggested that children who received antidepressants had twice the rate of suicidal ideation and behavior than children who were given a placebo. The authors of the current study sought to examine suicidal behavior and antidepressant dose, and whether risk depended on a patient’s age.
How the Study Was Conducted:
The study used data from 162,625 people (between the ages of 10 to 64 years) with depression who started antidepressant treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor at modal (the most prescribed doses on average) or at higher than modal doses from 1998 through 2010.
Results: The rate of suicidal behavior (deliberate self-harm or DSH) among children and adults (24 years or younger) who started antidepressant therapy at high doses was about twice as high compared with a matched group of patients who received generally prescribed doses. The authors suggest this corresponds to about one additional event of DSH for every 150 patients treated with high-dose therapy. For adults 25 to 64 years old, the difference in risk for suicidal behavior was null. The study does not address why higher doses might lead to higher suicide risk.
Discussion: “Considered in light of recent meta-analyses concluding that the efficacy of antidepressant therapy for youth seems to be modest, and separate evidence that dose is generally unrelated to the therapeutic efficacy of antidepressants, our findings offer clinicians an additional incentive to avoid initiating pharmacotherapy at high-therapeutic doses and to monitor all patients starting antidepressants, especially youth, for several months and regardless of history of DSH.”
(JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 28, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.1053. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)
Editor’s Note: Authors made a conflict of interest and funding disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
Commentary: Initial Dose of Antidepressants, Suicidal Behavior in Youth
In a related commentary, David A. Brent, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and Robert Gibbons, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, write: “In summary Miller et al are to be commended on a thoughtful and careful analysis of the effects of initiating antidepressants at higher than modal doses.”
“Their findings suggest that higher than modal initial dosing leads to an increased risk for DSH and adds further support to current clinical recommendations to begin treatment with lower antidepressant doses. While initiation at higher than modal doses of antidepressants may be deleterious, this study does not address the effect of dose escalation,” they continue.
“Moreover, while definitive studies on the impact of dose escalation in the face of nonresponse remain to be done, there are promising studies that suggest in certain subgroups, dose escalation can be of benefit. Finally it should be noted that in this study, there was no pre-exposure to post-exposure increase in suicidal behavior after the initiation of antidepressants in youth treated at the modal dosage,” they conclude.
(JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 28, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.14016. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)
Editor’s Note: Authors made conflict of interest and funding disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
###
Media Advisory:
To contact author Matthew Miller, M.D., Sc.D., call Marge Dwyer at 617-432-8416 or email mhdwyer@hsph.harvard.edu. To contact commentary author David A. Brent, M.D., call Gloria Kreps at 412-586-9764 or email krepsga@upmc.edu.

What Should You Do if You Know Someone Who Thinking About Suicide?

If you are thinking of suicide or you know someone who is thinking about suicide, GET HELP, NOW!!!! The Suicide Prevention Resource Center http://www.sprc.org/basics/roles-suicide-prevention has some excellent advice about suicide prevention http://www.sprc.org/basics/roles-suicide-prevention

Resources:

Teen’s Health’s Suicide http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/feeling_sad/suicide.html

American Academy of Adolescent Psychiatry http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Teen_Suicide_10.aspx
Suicide Prevention Resource Center http://www.sprc.org/basics/roles-suicide-prevention

Teen Depression http://helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen.htm

Jared Story.Com http://www.jaredstory.com/teen_epidemic.html
CNN Report about suicide http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/10/20/lia.latina.suicides/index.html
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
http://www.afsp.org This group is dedicated to advancing the knowledge of suicide and the ability to prevent it.

SA\VE – Suicide Awareness\Voices of Education
http://www.save.org SA\VE offers information on suicide prevention. Call (800) SUICIDE

Youth Suicide Prevention
About.Com’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression
http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=106034

Family Doctor’s What Is Depression? http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/depression.html

WebMD’s Depression In Children http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children

Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed? http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:
University of California, San Francisco study identifies most common reasons for children’s mental health hospitalizations https://drwilda.com/tag/depression/

GAO report: Children’s mental health services are lacking https://drwilda.com/2013/01/12/gao-report-childrens-mental-health-services-are-lacking/

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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