For the past three years strong warnings have been added to antidepressant labels cautioning an increased risk for suicidal thoughts among children and adolescents.
The warnings appear in bold type at the top of the prescribing information provided by drug makers.
Now, federal health officials want that warning expanded to include young adults under age 25.
The Food and Drug Administration proposed labeling changes after analyzing results of a recent study that found a link between suicidal behavior and antidepressants in young adults, but not in older people.
Doctors who support the FDA’S decision said it is crucial physicians become skillful in talking to their patients.
Dr. Barry Simon of the Cleveland Clinic, "I would much rather a patient who is having difficulty with a side effect be aware that the medication could be causing that, (and) call me on the phone. Tell me geez, I'm feeling more agitated. I'm worried it may be that antidepressant you put me on. Rather than think, well, geez, I'm just having a bad day."
Some doctors warn the expanded warning could lead to more suicides, and that the potential benefits from the drugs outweigh the risk.
Doctors say more studies are needed, and close monitoring of medications is key.