Lexapro Increases the Risk of Suicide
SSRIs like Lexapro
cause some people (3 to 5 percent) to experience a suicide related
side effects. These suicide side effects include suicidal
thoughts, suicidal gestures (typically cutting of the body),
suicide attempts and actual death by suicide.
People being treated with SSRIs like Lexapro have become violent
and suicidal. Others have complained of severe withdrawal
The FDA in March 2004 issued a warning for Lexapro and other
antidepressants, stating that the drug can cause suicide and
violence in children and teenagers. This FDA public health
advisory places doctors, patients and families on notice to be
particularly vigilant for signs of worsening depression or suicide
thoughts at the beginning of anti-depressant therapy or whenever
the dose is changed.
The drugs listed in the FDA warning are all newer antidepressants:
Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Celexa, Remeron, Lexapro, Luvox,
Serzone and Wellbutrin.
The FDA action follows Britain's version of the FDA citing in
December 2003 evidence of a twofold to threefold increase risk of
suicide and suicidal thinking in children and adolescents with the
SSRI drugs like Lexapro.
These two agency actions follow 16 years of long-standing
controversy about the possibility that SSRI antidepressants like
Lexapro might induce suicide tendencies in some patients. Reports
of unusual and severe reactions with SSRIs began shortly after
Prozac, the first SSRI, was introduced in 1988.
In 1990 two Harvard researchers and psychiatrists published an
article entitled: “Emergence of Intense Suicidal Preoccupation
During Fluoxetine Treatment.” This article, which appeared in the
American Journal of Psychiatry reported that persistent,
obsessive, and violent suicidal thoughts emerged in a minority of
patients treated with fluoxetine (Prozac).
Yale psychiatrist Dr. Robert A. King researched SSRI-induced
suicide risk in1991. His peer-reviewed article, “Emergence of
Self-Destructive Phenomena in Children and Adolescents during
Fluoxetine Treatment,” stated that “self-injurious ideation or
behavior appeared de novo or intensified during fluoxetine
SSRI manufacturers and the medical community have been aware that
SSRIs can cause people to kill themselves for a long time. Despite
the numerous studies linking increased suicide risk with SSRIs
like Lexapro, drug manufacturers continued to refute these claims.
As the suicide debate bubbles, so does the debate among doctors
and researchers about the effectiveness of SSRIs like Lexapro.
Most studies find that SSRIs are no more effective in fighting
teenage depression than sugar pills. Even in adults, SSRIs have
been found to offer only modest benefits. In about half of all
adult tests, the drugs prove no more effective than placebos.
These modest benefits are found in published studies. Researchers
have not been able to analyze a large amount of the data because
unfavorable studies are not made public.
GlaxoSmithKline, for instance, acknowledged that just one of its
nine studies of Paxil in children and adolescents has been
published. The one published study made only passing mention of
suicide and concluded that the drug was effective against
depression. According to the FDA, the combined results of all nine
trials show that the drug is not effective against depression in
patients under 18.
Unpublished studies of Effexor, for example, suggested the drug
increased suicide-related events such as suicidal thoughts or
attempts by 14 times compared with placebo.
Other drug companies similarly have withheld negative studies of
SSRIs, claiming that the studies are “trade secrets.” With
negative results not disclosed, physicians often believe the drugs
are more effective and safer than they actually are.
SSRIs like Lexapro have been found to increase the risk of
suicide. SSRIs like Lexapro are found to be no more effective than
a sugar pill. In addition to that, all pharmaceutical drugs cause
side effects ranging from mild to life-threatening.
In addition to the increased suicide risk,
Lexapro can cause serious side
effects. Weight gain and
are common Lexapro side effects. Lexapro can also cause addiction
and subsequent withdrawal
The natural antidepressant Deprex safely
and effectively relieves depression symptoms without side effects
commonly associated with pharmaceutical medications.
Do not stop taking Lexapro without first
talking to your doctor. Your doctor may need to gradually reduce
the dose before stopping Lexapro completely. Suddenly stopping
Lexapro may cause unpleasant and potentially serious side effects
and withdrawal symptoms.
*This antidepressant drug information does not
endorse Lexapro, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. The
information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible
warnings, uses, precautions, drug interactions, allergic
reactions, or adverse side effects of Lexapro. If you have
questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your health
care provider or pharmacist. The information provided should not
be construed to indicate that Lexapro is safe, effective or