The largest-ever meta-analysis of antidepressant trials appeared yesterday in the British Medical Journal. Researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration reviewed 70 trials (involving 18,526 subjects), to find that – counter to the initially-reported findings – antidepressants doubled the risk of suicide and aggression in subjects under 18. This risk had been misrepresented in the original study reports, the authors say, and suggest that the risks to adults may be similarly under-reported.
“Antidepressants don’t work in children, that is pretty clear,” said lead author Peter Gøtzsche. “In the randomised trials children say that they don’t work for them, but they increase their risk of suicide … What I get out of this colossal underreporting of suicides is that SSRIs likely increase suicides in all ages.”
The review by the Cochrane Collaboration (“the best single resource for methodologic research and for developing the science of meta-epidemiology“) was analysed by University College London and endorsed today in an editorial in the BMJ, written by Joanna Moncrieff.
Sharma, T., Guski, L., Freund, N., Gøtzsche, P; Suicidality and aggression during antidepressant treatment: systematic review and meta-analyses based on clinical study reports. British Medical Journal. January 27, 2016;352:i65.
Moncrieff, J; New evidence from clinical study reports reveals misclassification, misrepresentation, and under-reporting of serious harm. British Medical Journal. January 28, 2016;352:i217.
Knapton, S; Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, biggest ever review finds. The Telegraph. January 28, 2016
Common antidepressant ‘could put children at greater risk of suicide’. The Guardian. January 28, 2016
Children at ‘double the risk of aggression, suicide’ with antidepressant use. Medical News Today