The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all antidepressant medications have a "black box" warning about the increased risk of suicide in teenagers and children. Unfortunately, it appears that the FDA's attempts to protect the public may have backfired.
You would assume that the black box warning on prescriptions would decrease the suicide rate. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the suicide rate actually increased 18% for Americans under the age of 20. Deaths climbed from 1,737 in 2003 to 1,985 in 2004.
Some experts link the increased suicide rate to a 6.8% decrease in prescriptions during this same time period. Did the FDA's black box warning make medical professionals too cautious, limiting access to antidepressants that would have helped children in need? The CDC plans to issue a more detailed report to find out.