Major depressive disorder in children and adolescents is common and associated with significant morbidity and mortality. This 2012 meta-analysis by Hetrick et al shows statistically significant, but small, improvements in depressive symptom scores and probability of remission with second-generation antidepressants (SGAs) compared with placebo. SGAs lead to a small, but significant, increase in risk of suicidal thoughts/attempts compared with placebo. Patients included in the primary studies had milder depression, less psychiatric comorbidity and less suicidality than those normally seen in clinical practice in the UK’s National Health Service. However, primary studies had significant methodological shortcomings. Therefore, caution is needed when trying to generalise results to clinical practice.
- ©2017 The Royal College of Psychiatrists
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