New research on suicide risk by drug dosage has found that doctors should avoid prescribing high quantities of antidepressants to young adults. Younger patients starting off with a higher-than-recommended dose elevated their risk of self-harm compared with those who started at lower doses, according to a study from the JAMA Internal Medicine based on 162,000 patients ages 10 to 64.
Nearly 18% of patients in the study started on doses higher than normal for drugs including Celexa, Zoloft and Prozac. Researchers checked patients' medical records to see how many had deliberately self-harmed within a year of starting their medications.
Patients younger than 24 taking higher doses harmed themselves more than twice as frequently as those taking lower amounts — 32 incidents of self-harm per 1,000 young patients on high doses, compared with only 15 incidents within the same number on the recommended dose.
"If I were a parent, I definitely wouldn't want my child to start on a higher dose of these drugs," study author Dr. Matthew Miller, associate director of Harvard School of Public Health's Injury Control Research Center in Boston, told WebMD.