KHN Morning Briefing

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Lawsuit Renews Concerns Over Link Between Antidepressants And Suicide In Adults

It is known that antidepressants increase the risk of suicide in young people, but new data revealed after a lawsuit may demonstrate dangers for older patients as well.

The New York Times: Lawsuit Over A Suicide Points To A Risk Of Antidepressants
The last dinner Wendy Dolin had with her husband, Stewart, he was so agitated that he was jiggling his leg under the table and could barely sit still. He had recently started a new antidepressant but still felt very anxious. “I don’t get it, Wen,” he said. The next day, Mr. Dolin, a 57-year-old Chicago lawyer, paced up and down a train platform for several minutes and then threw himself in front of an oncoming train. (Rabin, 9/11)

The New York Times: Suicide Data Incorrectly Reported In Drug Trials, Suit Claimed
For many years GlaxoSmithKline and its predecessor, SmithKline Beecham, marketed Paxil as an antidepressant that would reduce the risk of suicide in depressed patients. The results of the company’s clinical trials, presented to the Food and Drug Administration in 1989, suggested Paxil was far safer than a placebo. Back then, the company reported that among nearly 3,000 patients treated with Paxil in the worldwide clinical trials, five committed suicide — a rate of about one in 600. By contrast, there were two suicides in a much smaller group of 554 patients randomly assigned to take a placebo pill — a rate of about one in 275, more than double that of the Paxil group. (Rabin, 9/11)

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