Newer generation antidepressants for depressive disorders in children and adolescents

Added January 7, 2020

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There was no evidence that one particular type of newer generation antidepressant had a larger effect than the others when compared to placebo.

Newer generation antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often used to treat depressive disorders in young people. This review contained 19 trials (with a total of 3353 participants) that evaluated the efficacy and adverse outcomes, including definitive suicidal behavior and suicidal ideation, of newer generation antidepressants compared with placebo in the treatment of depressive disorders in children and adolescents. Based on 14 of the trials (2490 participants in total), there was evidence that those treated with an antidepressant had lower depression severity scores than those on placebo, however, the size of this difference was small. Based on 17 trials (3229 participants in total), there was evidence of an increased risk (64%) of suicide‐related outcomes for those on antidepressants compared with those given placebo. Where rates of adverse events were reported, this was higher for those prescribed an antidepressant. There was often insufficient information to judge the quality of the trials accurately. Limitations made it difficult to answer questions about the effectiveness and safety of antidepressants for treating depression in children and adolescents.