Adult Antidepressants Suspected In Suicides of Canadian Kids
Jesse McLean, David Bruser
Powerful antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs approved only for use in adults are suspected of harming — in some cases killing — Canadian children.
Though Health Canada and the drug makers acknowledge the drugs are not approved for use in anyone under 18, doctors — often general practitioners with little psychiatric training — are prescribing these medications with little oversight.
Health Canada told the Star it has no jurisdiction to deal with the problem.
The regulator concedes the drugs may hurt kids but said it is up to drug companies to communicate the risks and doctors to safely prescribe the medications.
A Star investigation has found nearly 400 cases of children and teens suffering serious, sometimes fatal side effects suspected to have been caused by these drugs since 2002.
A 9-year-old boy’s breath shortened, stomach twisted and balance faltered before he died while on three different antipsychotics.
A 15-year-old boy experienced an irregular heartbeat and convulsed before killing himself while on antipsychotic Seroquel.
A 15-year-old girl on Prozac took her life in 2011.
Twenty-eight cases resulted in death, including the suicide of a 9-year-old boy three weeks after he started taking Zoloft, an antidepressant, in 2006. Convulsions and suicide attempts were among the most frequently reported suspected side effects.
Thank You Star, Mr McLean and Mr Bruser