Infographic: Inappropriate prescribing of antidepressants in children and adolescents

Prescribing of antidepressants in children and adolescents has increased in recent years despite being linked to an increased risk of suicide-related behaviours, a new study reveals.

The study assessed antidepressant prescribing trends in children and young people in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.
The study assessed antidepressant prescribing trends in children and young people in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

Government warnings in 2004 saw reductions in antidepressant use among children in several countries over concerns some drugs could lead to suicidal ideation. This trend was short lived, however, with a new study showing that antidepressant use among children and adolescents has recently increased substantially in five Western countries.

The study reveals that there was a 54% increase between 2005 and 2012 in the number of young people prescribed antidepressants in the UK.

NICE issued guidance on the management of depression in children and young people in 2005. According to NICE's recommendations, antidepressant medication should not be used for the initial treatment of children and young people with mild depression. The updated 2015 version of the guideline states that antidepressants should not be offered to a child or young person with moderate to severe depression except in combination with a concurrent psychological therapy. 

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