Stuff co.nz 29 January 2016
Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, the biggest ever review of its kind has found, as pharmaceutical companies were accused of failing to report side effects and even deaths linked to the drugs.
The review of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants, involving more than 18,000 people, found they doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behaviour in under-18s.
Although a similarly stark link was not seen in adults, the authors said misreporting of trial data could have led to a “serious underestimation of the harms”.
Families have claimed over many years that antidepressants drove loved ones to suicide, but this has been dismissed by medical companies and doctors who said a link was unproven.
The review was carried out by the Nordic Cochrane Centre and analysed by University College London (UCL), who have endorsed the findings in a British Medical Journal editorial.
After comparing clinical trial information to actual patient reports, the scientists concluded pharmaceutical companies had regularly misclassified deaths and suicidal actions or thoughts in people taking antidepressants to “favour their products”.