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U.S. Youth Antidepressant Use Drops in 2004

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Antidepressant use among children declined 10 percent in 2004, after U.S. regulators warned the drugs may be linked with increased suicide risk, pharmacy benefits firm Medco Health Solutions said on Tuesday.

Use of drugs including Eli Lilly and Co.’s Prozac and GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Paxil fell 16 percent in the final quarter of the year, a time when use of the medications typically peaks, according to Medco. The drop began when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2003 cited reports of suicidal attempts among kids on certain anti-depressants. A year later, after intense public debate and high-profile government meetings, regulators ordered makers of all the drugs to slap tough warnings in bold letters, so-called black box warnings, on the drugs as a precaution. Medco acts as a middleman between health plans and employers trying to curb prescription drug costs, and pharmaceutical companies. It processes prescriptions for 60 million people in the United States. The overall 10 percent drop last year contrasts to a 9 percent rise in 2003, which reversed several years of upward use of the drugs in children. After the FDA’s initial decision on the new warnings, Medco did a big public campaign to patients, doctors and pharmacists. (Source: Reuters Health: February 2005.)

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Posted On: 3 February, 2005
Modified On: 16 January, 2014


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