Monday, April 26, 2004

From Reuters (UK):
Drug Firms Withheld Negative Data -Study
Drug companies withheld information showing antidepressants were ineffective and could be harmful to children and should have issued warnings on their products, researchers said on Friday.

Health authorities in Britain and the United States have voiced concern or advised doctors not to prescribe the drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to children under 18 because of a potential suicide risk.

Scientists who conducted a review of six published and six unpublished trials about their use in children say companies had been aware of problems but did not reveal them.

From Wired News:
Damaging Drug Study? Bury It
The risks for children taking some antidepressants could outweigh the benefits, according to an analysis of data that pharmaceutical companies did not make widely available to the public or to researchers.

Researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed 22 randomized controlled trials that compared the effects of antidepressants and placebos in children from 5 to 18 years old. Data on four out of the five antidepressants examined showed the drugs had the potential to do more harm than good in depressed kids, according to research published in the April issue of the British medical journal The Lancet.

From the Fort Wayne (IN) Journal Gazette:
Anti-depressant safety challenged
Four popular anti-depressants being used to treat thousands of depressed American children are unsafe, ineffective or both, according to the first careful scientific review to include all available studies, including negative data that has long been withheld from public scrutiny by the pharmaceutical industry.

It is especially dangerous to prescribe Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and Celexa for children who are suicidal, said British researchers who conducted the analysis published Thursday in the journal The Lancet, because the data show a clear increase in the risk of suicidal behavior among children taking the drugs - and no benefit.

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