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SSRIs in children: NICE guidelines may have increased their use

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 07 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5063
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on antidepressant treatments in children and adolescents may have encouraged doctors to prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) despite warnings from drug regulators, a study has found.1

Researchers from five UK universities assessed the impact that the Committee on Safety of Medicines’ (CSM) 2003 warning and the 2005 NICE guidance had had on antidepressant prescription rates in children and adolescents in UK primary care.

They found that an increasing trend in SSRI prescriptions had reversed after the CSM warning. But the publication of NICE guidance two years later led to newly increased SSRI prescribing of the three drugs studied: fluoxetine, citalopram, and sertraline.

During the late 1990s …

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