Medical News and Perspectives
May 5, 2004

Suicide Caution Stamped on Antidepressants

JAMA. 2004;291(17):2060-2061. doi:10.1001/jama.291.17.2060

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now asking pharmaceutical manufacturers to add label warnings that some antidepressants may pose a risk for suicidal behavior, the most serious potential symptom of the condition the drugs are meant to treat.

The agency urges physicians, families, and caregivers to be particularly vigilant for signs of suicidal behavior in patients when antidepressant therapy is initiated or the dose is changed. The drugs of concern are all newer-generation antidepressants: fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), venlafaxine (Effexor), citalopram (Celexa), mirtazapine (Remeron), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluvoxamine (Luvox), nefazodone (Serzone), and bupropion (Wellbutrin). Most are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which affect the brain chemical serotonin.

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