Happy pills can double suicide risk
Antidepressants can increase the risk of suicide, according to findings from the biggest-ever review of its kind, as pharmaceutical companies come under fire for failing to report side-effects and even deaths linked to the drugs.
The review of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants, involving more than 18000 people, found that they doubled the risk of suicide and aggression in under-18s. Although a similarly stark link was not found to adults, the authors said misreporting of trial data could have led to a "serious under-estimation of the dangers".
The Nordic Cochrane Centre review was analysed by University College London, which yesterday endorsed the findings in a British Medical Journal editorial.
After comparing clinical trial information to actual patient reports, scientists concluded that pharmaceutical companies had regularly misclassified deaths and suicidal actions, and the thoughts of people on antidepressants, to "favour their products".
Lead author Prof Peter Gøtzsche, of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, said: "What I take from this colossal under-reporting is that [antidepressants] are likely to increase suicides in all ages. It is horrendous that they have such disregard for human lives."