Guidance warning on depression drug

Medical professionals, charities, and politicians have raised
concerns about services for children and young adults with
depression after the Department of Health warned against using the
controversial drug Seroxat to treat under-18s.

Seroxat is not licensed for use with children but can be prescribed
by clinicians when they treat children.

Eight thousand children and teenagers were given the drug in the UK
last year.

The DoH guidance follows data showing increased rates of self-harm
and potentially suicidal behaviour in this age group where Seroxat
was used to treat depression.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has been “concerned for many
years about this prescribing of anti-depressant medication for
under-18s”, said a spokesperson.

Mental health charity Mind said the DoH warning confirmed the
concerns of young patients and pointed out the severe shortage of
trained professionals offering non-drug treatments to under-18s.

A spokesperson said: “There is a huge shortage of counsellors. One
in four GP practices is without a counselling service.

“So many people are fobbed off with quick-fix medication.”

Peter Wilson, chief executive of children’s mental health charity
Young Minds, said: “We must be very careful about dishing out
medication. It is an extremely worrying trend.

“Lots of children feel depressed when they are growing up and we
must look at the reasons – their family circumstances and what is
happening at school.

“We should treat people as people, not as disorders.”

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