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Medicines have no effect and are toxic
There has been a massive increase in prescriptions for antidepressants in the past decade. Researchers have now found that around 40 percent of these prescriptions do not have a positive effect on children in the UK. In addition, many of the prescribed medications even have toxic side effects.
Are Antidepressant Prescriptions Ineffective in Children? Scientists at Swansea University Medical School recently found that more than 40 percent of the prescribed antidepressants are ineffective and sometimes produce additional toxic side effects. The experts published the results of their study in the journal "Psychological Medicine".
Doctors examine almost 360,000 subjects
The new study examined nearly 360,000 patients aged six to 18 years. The scientists found that there was a 28 percent increase in prescriptions for antidepressants. Other evaluations had already shown that the consumption of antidepressants in children has increased significantly. As the number of annual prescriptions per child increased, the number of diagnoses of children with depression in the UK strangely decreased, the authors say. This is a sign that doctors want to avoid classifying young children as mentally ill. But also generally, antidepressants are often administered without existing depression.
Girls are prescribed antidepressants much more often
Girls are given antidepressants three times more often than boys, the scientists explain. Children from economically disadvantaged areas in the UK were also prescribed antidepressants much more often. However, the increase in prescriptions for antidepressants in older adolescents (six to ten years old) was relatively stable. The most important question, however, was whether all of these prescriptions were really sensible and necessary, explains the study director Dr. Ann John from Swansea University Medical School.
Possible reasons for the increase in prescriptions for antidepressants
The surge in prescriptions could reflect a real increase in depression and symptoms, doctors suspect. It could also have been triggered by a better understanding of medical conditions and treatments by doctors. Perhaps it is also due to poor access to psychological therapies and inadequate care by specialists, the authors add.
Not all negative feelings need to be treated with antidepressants
There has been much discussion about prescribing medication for depression and mental health problems. Some of the feelings that arise are only part of normal human experience and are simply part of growing up. More research is needed to determine the real reasons for the rise in antidepressant prescription, says Dr. John from Swansea University Medical School.
Citalopram does not have clear benefits for children and can produce toxicity
The results of the new study made it clear that many British doctors still prescribe the drug citalopram for depression in young people, although official guidelines have advised against it for some time. Because citalopram is toxic if the dosage is incorrect. There have been warnings about this impact since 2011, experts say. Other studies had also shown that antidepressants do not bring clear benefits to children. About a third of the citalopram prescriptions are given to adolescents aged 18. The remaining prescriptions go to children and adolescents, regardless of the guideline for prescribing the drug, the scientists explain. Recent research has shown that fluoxetine (Prozac) is the only drug that causes minimal side effects in children, explains the doctor Dr. John. (as)