Friday, October 16, 2009

Antidepressants and suicide risk

Antidepressant treatment has been linked with an increase in suicidal thoughts among some people. Dr Nader Perroud from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London studied 811 people with moderate to severe depression comparing the number of suicidal thoughts in those taking nortriptyline and those taking escitalopram. Nortriptyline works by increasing the effectiveness of noradrenaline in the brain whereas escitalopram works by increasing the effectiveness of serotonin. Dr Perroud's study found that nortriptyline led to nearly ten times as many suicidal thoughts as escitalopram. The study is significant as it is the newer class of drugs known as SSRIs (serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors) - to which escitalopram belongs - that have been linked to an increased risk of suicide in the past yet this research shows that the older drug (part of a group of drugs called the tricyclic antidepressants) which led to more suicidal thoughts.

You can find out more about this research at

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