Treating children with Prozac may lead to unintended brain changes

The Star Tribune on 1-26-14 reprinted an article from the LA times. The article begins, “Adolescents treated with the antidepressant fluoxetine — known by its commercial name, Prozac — appear to undergo changes in brain signaling that result in changed behavior well into adulthood, says a new study.
Adult mice and rats who were administered Prozac for a stretch of mid-adolescence responded to social and physical challenges with less despair than animals who passed their teen years unmedicated, a team of researchers found. But, even as adults long separated from their antidepressant days, the Prozac veterans reacted to stressful situations with greater anxiety than adults who had not taken Prozac.”

Obviously, the research is on rats so far, but the article goes on to note,
“Yet, the new research raises more questions than it answers, since the changes in adults who were treated with Prozac as adolescents seem contradictory. Sensitivity to stress appears to predispose one to developing depression. So how does a medication that treats depression in children and teens — and that continues to protect them from depression as adults — also heighten their sensitivity to stress?”

Finally,
“An estimated 5 percent of U.S. children are expected to experience a bout of major depression — and about 3.9 percent of American adolescents are prescribed an antidepressant.”

FWIW, my take on this is that it provides more support for concerns about the claims of the pharmacy industry, and more support for using psychological/behavioral treatments- more support, I think for what WE do and are good at.

The article is available at:

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/241984991.html

Richard Sethre, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist
www.mhconcierge.com

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