Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Depression in Children and Adolescents

Panorama, an investigative television show from the BBC aired a programme this week claiming that a leading drug company distorted the results of clinical studies and covered up links between its antidepressant drug paroxetine and suicides in teenagers.

This programme was a follow up of a similar shows aired in October 2002 and May 2003.

In June 2003, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a warning advising that paroxetine "should not be used in children and adolescents under the age of 18 years to treat depressive illness.".

More recently, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence(NICE) has issued a clinical guideline for Depression in Children and Young People that states paroxetine and venlafaxine should not be used in children.

Action: Media coverage may raise concerns among patients and parents about the use of paroxetine (and venlafaxine) in children. Clinicians should ensure that they are prescribing within the recommendations provided by the MHRA and NICE.

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