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Youth suicide rate may be rising after years of decline.

The suicide rate among children and adolescents appears to be rising after a decade of decline, according to an analysis.

The rate of suicide among youth aged 10-19 years was significantly greater in 2004 and 2005 than was expected, based on wends in the adolescent suicide rate from 1996 through 2003. In 2004, there were an estimated 326 excess suicide deaths among adolescents than had been predicted under the regression model There were 292 excess suicide deaths in 2005. However, the overall observed rate of suicide in this age group fell by 5.3% between 2004 and 2005, from 4.74 deaths per 100,000 individuals to 4.49 deaths (JAMA 2008;300:1025-6).

Investigators from the research institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, used national fatal injury data from the National Vital Statistics System to estimate trends in suicide rates from 1996 to 2003 using loglinear regression. The researchers disclosed past financial relationships with Forest Laboratories Inc., which markets Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate) and Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide), and with Eli Lilly & Co., which markets Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride). The current analysis was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers decided to analyze the 2004 and 2005 data after federal data showed that the suicide rate in children younger than age 20 years had increased 18% from 2003 to 2004, the largest single-year increase in the last 15 years. The 2004 and 2005 data seem to indicate that the spike between 2003 and 2004 was not an isolated increase.

They recommended that new studies be launched to investigate the cause of the increase, with special attention to changes in risk factors, the influence of Internet-based social networks, the higher rate of untreated depression, and increased suicide among U.S. soldiers who are in their late teens.

This apparent sustained increase in the adolescent suicide rate correlates with the decreased use of medication to treat depression in children and adolescents after the Food and Drug Administration's black box warning on antidepressants, Dr. David Fassler, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont, Burlington, said in an interview. The FDA should reconvene its advisory panel to review these recent data, he said.

BY MARY ELLEN SCHNEIDER

New York Bureau

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Title Annotation:Behavioral Pediatrics
Author:Schneider, Mary Ellen
Publication:Pediatric News
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:385
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