(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- As suicide warnings are placed on antidepressant labels, there's new proof the drugs can prevent people from taking their own life.
A new study from Group Health Center for Health Studies looked at 100,000 patients getting treated for depression. It found suicide attempts declined during the first month of treatment whether participants had medication, psychotherapy, or both. Results show similar patterns for both patients younger than age 24 and those older.
Currently antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) carry warnings that people younger than age 25 who use the drugs may have suicidal behavior soon after they take them. The labels are due to trials showing that starting SSRIs can make thoughts of suicide common among some teens and young adults.
The new research found suicide attempts were about twice as common among patients up to age 24 as among older adults. But no matter which type of treatment they had both groups had similar results -- suicide attempts were most likely the month before they started treatment, fell by at least 50 percent in the month after treatment began, then steadily declined.
"Our study indicates that there's nothing specific to antidepressant medications that would either make large populations of people with depression start trying to kill themselves -- or protect them from suicidal thoughts," lead author Greg Simon, M.D., M.P.H., Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies was quoted as saying. "Instead, we think that, on average, starting any type of treatment -- medication, psychotherapy, or both --helps most people of any age have fewer symptoms of depression, including thinking about suicide and attempting it."
Dr. Simon believes some people may be vulnerable to becoming more agitated or suicidal after taking antidepressants. He says patients who feel that way should seek medical attention immediately.