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Depression in children.

Regarding "Coping with depression among children" (NCR, Sept. 17):

I think we will never know if drugs bring on suicidal thoughts or give a depressed person the energy to carry out suicidal plans they already have.

I think we should point out that childhood bipolar disease is on the rise and no one knows the reason for this. Added to this is the fact that it is often misdiagnosed as the ubiquitous attention deficit disorder, or ADD. The treatment of bipolar disorder as ADD. can result in psychosis and/or suicide. Ritalin turned my 10-year-old grandson who has childhood bipolar disorder into a monster, and further drugs treating his condition as ADD made him psychotic, requiring hospitalization.

Another facet is that many children who go to street drugs are self-medicating depression.

When any depressed person suddenly feels good, it may be that a firm suicide plan has been made and will soon be executed.

Hold your children close.

CATHERINE COVENEY

Santa Barbara, Calif.

A great deal has been written in the lay press about the possibility that selective seretonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) could cause depressed children or adolescents to commit suicide, based on unpublished studies submitted to the Food and Drug Administration by GlaxoSmithKline to gain approval for use of paroxetine (Paxil) in children. There were no completed suicides in these studies. After these results were publicized (inaccurately) by the United Kingdom's Committee on Safety of Medicines, the FDA warned against use of paroxetine in children and recently advised caution using other SSRIs and three other antidepressants in the pediatric age group.

All SSRIs are widely used in children with anxiety and mood disorders, but high placebo response rates have made it difficult to establish their efficacy in controlled trials. Some studies have, nevertheless, found them effective.

SSRIs, like other antidepressants, may cause mania when used to treat depression in patients with bipolar disorder. This misdiagnosis may lead to increased suicidality in children. There are no convincing data showing that SSRIs, including paroxetine, are any less safe in children than in adults. Most medical consultants believe that all of these drugs are much more likely to prevent suicide in depressed patients than to cause it.

JAMES MOODY

Missoula, Mont.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Coveney, Catherine; Moody, James
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Oct 8, 2004
Words:369
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