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Quick Uptakes
May 26, 1999

SSRI Use Common in Children

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JAMA. 1999;281(20):1882. doi:10.1001/jama.281.20.1882-JQU90003-3-1

Many family physicians and pediatricians are treating children and adolescents with Prozac-type drugs, even though they do not have FDA labeling approval for use in patients under the age of 18 years.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill asked some 600 family physicians and pediatricians about their prescribing patterns for young patients with mild to moderate mental illness. Responses showed 72% had prescribed a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for a patient younger than 18 years. Yet only 8% of the physicians said they had received adequate training in the management of childhood depression, and just 16% said they felt comfortable treating children for depression. And 57% reported that they had prescribed an SSRI for a diagnosis other than depression in patients under age 18.