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Newer Antidepressants Do Not Increase Suicide Risk

Risk is 314 per 100,000 treatment episodes in children and teens, 78 in adults

TUESDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Newer antidepressants do not significantly increase the risk of suicide or serious suicide attempts after treatment starts, researchers report in the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, found the risk of suicide death was not significantly higher during the month after treatment started compared with later months.

Gregory E. Simon, M.D., of the non-profit Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, and colleagues used computerized health plan records to identify 65,103 patients who underwent 82,285 episodes of antidepressant treatments from January 1992 through June 2003.

During the six months after starting antidepressant treatment, there were 31 suicide deaths and 76 serious suicide attempts. The risk of attempted suicide was 314 per 100,000 treatment episodes in children and adolescents, versus 78 per 100,000 in adults. The risk of suicide attempts was highest in the month before starting antidepressant treatment.

"The risk of suicide during acute-phase antidepressant treatment is approximately one in 3,000 treatment episodes, and risk of serious suicide attempt is approximately one in 1,000," the authors write. "Available data do not indicate a significant increase in risk of suicide or serious suicide attempt after starting treatment with newer antidepressant drugs."

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