Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Antidepressant use and FDA warnings

Study findings on FDA antidepressant warnings and suicide attempts in young people: a false alarm?

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 09 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5645
  1. Catherine Barber, researcher1,
  2. Deborah Azrael, research scientist1,
  3. Matthew Miller, professor of health sciences and epidemiology2
  1. 1Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
  2. 2Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
  1. cbarber{at}

We question Lu and colleagues’ findings that the prescription of antidepressants decreased and suicide attempts in young people increased after the Food and Drug Administration released warnings about antidepressant safety for two reasons.1 Firstly, the measure they use as a proxy of suicide attempts (poisonings by psychotropics) is faulty and, secondly, more direct measures of attempts and deaths (figure) show no increase, on balance, …

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