Researchers have come to the conclusion from their study that patients taking antidepressants carry the same suicidal risk irrespective of the kinds of pills prescribed to them.
One of the study's authors, Dr Sebastian Scneeweiss of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston said that there is no difference between these agents.
Dr Sebastian explained that this means that psychiatrists prescribing the antidepressants are by choice to what works best for their patients rather than what is safest for them. The increase of suicide risk is still there.
In 2004, US FDA issued a warning that children and adults taking antidepressants might have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
In 2006, it extended the warning to include young adults up to age 25. All antidepressant labels must now carry a black box warning stating that they can increase a person's likelihood of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
In their study, Dr Sebastian and his team found no difference in risk between different classes of medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs for short, which include Prozac, Zoloft and other widely used medications) or older antidepressants called tricyclic antidepressants. Risks also were similar for individual SSRIs.
In April, Dr Sebastian and his colleagues published a similar study in the journal Pediatrics of 20,000 10- to 18-year-olds that found no difference in suicide risk among antidepressants.
Dr Sebastian and his colleagues conclude that there is no answer as to why antidepressants carry suicidal risks and this is a message to all psychiatrists to be wary of their patients after initiating therapy with any antidepressant agent.