Doctors who prescribe some popular antidepressants should monitor their patients closely for warning signs of suicide, especially when they first start the pills or change a dose, the government warned Monday.
The Food and Drug Administration asked makers of 10 drugs to add or strengthen suicide-related warnings on their labels.
The agency insists it’s not yet clear whether the drugs actually spur suicide on occasion – or whether the underlying mental illness is to blame. But FDA bowed to pressure from anguished families who, at an emotional meeting last month, blamed the pills for their loved ones’ suicides and pleaded for better warnings.
It’s a difficult issue to sort out because depression itself can lead to suicide, and studies clearly show that antidepressants have helped many people recover from depression.
I have long pondered this issue. I’ve never taken an antidepressant, so I can’t relate from a user point of view – and I don’t even know if my perspective can even be taken into account here….however….
Take a person suffering from depression and put them on a med that has the following side effects:
- Weight gain
- Decreased libido
- Sexual side-effects: delayed or non-existent ejaculation
- Vivid nightmares
You’re depressed and go on meds that cause you to gain weight, don’t want to have sex, make you agitated and irritable and you can’t sleep. Wouldn’t that increase the potential suicide risk?
I’ve seen these meds have a really beneficial effect on patients – – and I’ve, equally, seen them have a negative effect because of all the different side effects.
This push for suicide warnings, even though the FDA has no direct link between the meds and suicide, makes me think that the link isn’t so much with the meds, as it is with the depression.