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Health Agencies Update
May 27, 2009

Teen Depression

JAMA. 2009;301(20):2085. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.713

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening adolescents aged 12 through 18 years for depression, but only when systems are in place to ensure proper diagnosis and to provide psychotherapy and follow-up care. The task force also concluded there were insufficient data to recommend such screening for children.

Since 2002, when the USPSTF had determined that there was not enough evidence to recommend for or against depression screening for adolescents or children, new evidence has emerged suggesting that adolescents with major depressive disorder may benefit from treatment. Such treatment, according to the task force, includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (only fluoxetine is approved for use in adolescents), a variety of psychotherapeutic techniques, and therapy combining such medication and behavioral therapies (http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstf/uspschdepr.htm). The group notes, however, that use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors is associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and “should only be considered if judicious clinical monitoring is possible.”

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