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Thursday, May 07, 2009 Concerned mom, Community Member, asks

Q: Teens and Prozac

What does the latest research say about teens taking Prozac? So much out there says it is more likely to cause teens to have suicidal tendancies - but maybe this is old news? My 17 yr old daughter has tried Wellbutrin for 6 months, but it no longer seems to be working.  One doc thinks Celexa should be next; another thinks Prozac.  Help!

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Answers (1)
Merely Me, Health Guide
5/ 7/09 8:34pm

Hi there

 

I know...it is confusing isn't it?  I was faced with a similar decision for my son who is now 13.  He is currently taking Prozac and for him it has been a really good thing.  Now, his situation may be a little different as he has autism, but he would wake up crying and his mood would greatly interfere with virtually everything he did.  I was never one to be gangbusters about kids or teens taking meds but I have changed my mind on this.  Sometimes they are a life saver. 

 

Now about the risk of suicide...I am going to cut and paste an answer I had given to someone else here asking a similar question.

 

"I suppose it depends upon who you talk to.  This is a controversial topic in the mental health realm with some folk staunchly opposed to the use of antidepressants to treat depression in teens and children and some people say that medication can be beneficial.

 

I did write on the general topic of teen depression just recently and you may find my article here.

 

Some years ago the U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted precautions about teens taking antidepressants and specifically the increased danger of suicide.  The FDAstates that:  "Antidepressants may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children and teens."

 

Later, there were studies done to determine how much of a risk this really was for teens taking antidepressants. 

 

In one New York Times article entitled, "Antidepressants seen as effective for adolescents" one study's results were: 

 

"Using one measurement scale, the researchers found that after 12 weeks, 71 percent of the subjects who received Prozac and talk therapy responded well to treatment, compared with 61 percent of those who received Prozac alone, 43 percent of who received talk therapy alone and 35 percent of those who received a placebo treatment. By another measure, talk therapy alone fared no better than treatment with placebos."

 

So in conclusion, it seems that antidepressants used in conjunction with therapy was the most effective at treating teen depression.

 

Further studies addressed the risk of suicide with teens taking antidepressants.

 

In a 2007 report it was found that:  "The analysis found that for every 100 youths treated with the antidepressants Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, Serzone or Remeron, about one more child experienced worsening suicidal feelings above what would have happened without the drugs. The FDA analysis put the risk at about two in 100."

 

On a personal note, I have a teen who is taking an antidepressant.  My youngest son has autism and had also experienced extreme mood swings.  He was truly suffering so we tried him on a small dose of Prozac and it has worked wonders for him.  I am not one to go the medication route but we had exhausted all the other ways to help him and nothing was working.  Now he is so much happier.  But my son's experience is but one of many.  If you talk to some other parents or teens some will say that they had a bad experience with the medications.

 

As with any decision, it is best to research all the pros and cons.

 

I hope this helps some.  Thank you for your question.

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alice platis, Community Member
7/ 8/11 9:36pm

Hi , your article is the first one I read luckily.  My son is 14 and also has Autism, he was fine happy outgoing, no moods until this past year puberty hit him with all new symptoms, mood swings, aggression, anxiety, he is on respidone and now we are trying prozac tomorrow morning, a very small dose.  I am glad your son is doing well and is happy thats what we want for our children.  I hope my son does well also, thank you for posting and sharing.  Alice

 

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By Concerned mom, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/06/14, First Published: 05/07/09