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Review: Antidepressants may increase risk of self-harm or suicidal behaviour in children and adolescents

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Q Do antidepressants increase the risk of self-harm or suicidal behaviour in children and adolescents?


Embedded ImageDesign:

Systematic review with meta-analysis.

Embedded ImageData sources:

UK Committee for Safety of Medicines (CSM) review up to January 2004; Medline and PsycINFO from January 2004 to August 2005; the Cochrane Database; the GlaxoSmithKline website for paroxetine, and contact with researchers in the field.

Embedded ImageStudy selection and analysis:

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in children and adolescents with a major depressive disorder comparing antidepressants versus placebo for 8–12 weeks.

Embedded ImageOutcomes:

Suicide-related events (attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts or self-harm from CSM data; or worsening suicide ideation or suicide attempt or both from Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study).


Sixteen RCTs met inclusion criteria (n = 2741; …

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  • For correspondence: Dr Bernadka Dubicka, University Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Pendlebury, Manchester M27 4HA, UK; Bernadka.Dubicka{at}

  • Sources of funding: Not stated.


  • Competing interests: None declared.