The GlaxoSmithKline Seroxat case highlights the need for transparency regarding antidepressant research. Still, not enough is known about the potential dangers associated with antidepressant medication. Continued research is needed but more importantly its outcomes must be candidly communicated.
Key issues around the prescribing of medication for children and young people need to be addressed. While European guidelines state that talking therapy should be the first line of treatment, in reality children and young people can wait up to a year before treatment due to long waiting lists. Considerable investment is needed to provide effective counselling and psychotherapy services for children and young people. Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years. Without adequate provision of this kind of service, these rates will continue to rise.
For some young people, it may be necessary to prescribe antidepressant medication when other treatments do not work. In this instance, only medication authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency should be prescribed, and responsibility should sit with experienced health care professionals who can closely monitor the young person and their response to the treatment.
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