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Eli Lilly & Co. antidepressant Cymbalta is arranged for display at C O Bigelow Pharmacy in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008.
Eli Lilly & Co. antidepressant Cymbalta is arranged for display at C O Bigelow Pharmacy in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008. Bloomberg/Getty Images

Higher Doses of Antidepressants Linked to Suicidal Behavior in Young Patients

Apr 29, 2014
TIME Health
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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.

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