Using Antidepressants to Treat Depression in Young People

Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Australia, 2013

This evidence summary details the current research literature on using Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants to treat depression in young people.

‘Concerns about using Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) in young people centre on two issues. First, SSRIs might be less effective than first thought for treating adolescent depression. Second, SSRIs might be associated with worrying side-effects. The latter concern first emerged in light of evidence indicating an increase in suicidal ideas and behaviours among people aged 12-18 years who were prescribed SSRIs for the treatment of depressive illnesses.’

The evidence summary covers the following topics:

  • ‘Why is there so much debate on this issue?
  • ‘What are evidence based guideline recommendations for the use of medication?’
  • ‘Are SSRIs and newer antidepressants effective for young people? What is the evidence?’
  • ‘What kinds of patients were included in the trials that were included in the review?
  • ‘What is the evidence regarding the risks of using SSRIs?’
  • ‘What does all this mean about treating a young person with depression?’

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