In the last couple of years antidepressants were accused of causing suicide in patients using them. More recently a subgroup of patients, adolescents were assumed to be of increased risk for suicide when using antidepressants. This is a reference to an article on The Corpus Callosum, a scienceblog.
This blog has already dedicated a number of posts about this subject. This recent post discusses: Suicide Attempts Among Patients Starting Depression Treatment With Medications or Psychotherapy and an editorial Antidepressants and Suicidal Behavior: Cause or Cure? in the latest (July 2007) issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The main finding of the article was this: the temporal pattern of suicide attempts was the same regardless of treatment modality, and it was the same regardless of the age span of patients studied. Note that the pattern was the same, although the rates were different.
The treatment modalities were antidepressants prescribed by a primary physician, antidepressants prescribed by a psychiatrist and individual psychotherapy.
The risk of suicide attempts peaks before the onset of treatment, these data show a pattern that is exactly the opposite of what one might expect if antidepressants were associated with increased suicidal risk.
This and other studies are observational studies and observational studies can never definitively demonstrate causality, prospective studies are needed for that. However, the results of both studies are consistent with a protective role of treatment against emergent suicidal behavior.