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SSRI Antidepressants allegedly causing Suicidal Behavior

With recommendations from the Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee and the Pediatric Drugs Advisory Committee, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a Public Health Advisory directing antidepressant manufacturers to expand their warning label on October 15, 2004.

While the FDA's recommended "Black Box" warning label is extensive, most manufacturers of SSRI antidepressants have not used the FDA's recommendations and only included one line statements on their websites. The FDA's warning makes note of study results which indicate a 4% increased risk of suicide attempts in children and adolescents taking SSRIs antidepressants compared to a 2% risk of those taking a placebo.

SSRI drugs are second-generation antidepressants known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and are a part of a large family of antidepressants that are used by millions of Americans on a daily basis. With significantly increased rates of children showing signs of depression and anxiety, more children are prescribed Paxil and other antidepressants to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Aspergers.

Paxil (paroxetine)
Prozac (fluoxetine)
Zoloft (sertraline)
Luvox (fluvoxamine)
Celexa (citalopram)
Effexor (venlafaxine)
Lexapro (escitalopram)

Paxil and many of the other SSRI antidepressants have not been formally approved by the FDA for use in children under 18 years of age, but it is not illegal to prescribe them. Physicians are allowed to prescribe these drugs on an "off-label" basis in which the physician or pharmacist accepts liability. In these cases, the medical and pharmaceutical communities are required to warn patients and their guardians of the side effects and risks of suicidal behavior. On the other hand, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote off-label use, such as promoting use of SSRI drugs for children under 18 years of age, through advertising or other communications. These actions are monitored by the Federal Trade Commission.

The widely prescribed antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine) is also a SSRI drug, but it is not included in the group because its manufacturer, Eli Lilly, had previously undergone formal studies and won FDA approval for its use in children and adolescents.

With ongoing clinical studies being conducted and results examined, The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) joined the growing chorus of voices asking pharmaceutical companies to share all relevant data with FDA. The ACNP urged that all data held by FDA or pharmaceutical companies should be made rapidly available to allow the ACNP and other research organizations to conduct evaluations of the risks and benefits of SSRIs in youth and adults with depression and other mood disorders.

FDA has indicated that the manner in which pharmaceutical companies have responded to requests for data on pediatric suicides had been unsatisfactory. The FDA's comments stop short of saying that the data had been "massaged" by the drug sponsors. Pharmaceutical companies are required to make periodic safety update reports to FDA including all serious adverse events, without FDA prompting.

SSRI use Outside the US

Paxil is banned for pediatric use in England and the UK Committee on Safety of Medicine (CSM) advises doctors that most SSRIs, such as the international equivalents to Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, Lexapro, Effexor, Lexapro, are not suitable for children under the age of 18 years.

SSRI Antidepressant Articles

Lawmakers Catch Glaxo Hiding Paxil Suicide Risks - Again (Part I)
GlaxoSmithKline recently received greetings from a Congressional Committee, asking the company to explain the findings in a report unsealed last month in a lawsuit which shows that Glaxo knew as early as 1989 that Paxil increased the risk of suicidal behavior in patients by more than 8-fold compared to patients who received a placebo.

FDA Wakes Up: Now Requires Drug Makers to Test for Suicide
Although there is no direct reference to Chantix, the smoking cessation drug that has been the center of much recent concern regarding suicidal thoughts, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just announced a policy that requires drug manufacturers to study the potential for suicidal tendencies during clinical trials.

New Study: Putting the Positive Spin on Anti-Depressants
In a confirmation of suspicions that critics have been harboring for years, a new study reveals that anti-depressant drug manufacturers routinely sweep less-than-stellar drug trail results under the rug, while trumpeting positive findings for the masses.

SSRI and Suicide In the News

A new analysis of over 87,000 patients taking SSRIs found an increased rate of suicide attempts compared to those taking a placebo or other therapies. (Feb-27-05) [NEWS-MEDICAL.NET]

FDA issues a Black Box warning label for antidepressants found to increase risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents. [FDA]

Register your SSRI Antidepressant Complaint

If you have had increased suicidal tendencies while taking an SSRI, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible class action lawsuit. Please fill out the form and a lawyer will review your SSRI complaint.

Last updated on


Use of SSRIs During Pregnancy Linked to Autism and Developmental Delay
Use of SSRIs During Pregnancy Linked to Autism and Developmental Delay
April 17, 2014
According to results just published in the online edition of Pediatrics, prenatal use of the class of antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can cause autism. READ MORE

SSRI Pushers under Fire
SSRI Pushers under Fire
January 6, 2009
Throughout the 1990's, most doctors who attended conferences, medical seminars and other events were not aware that the so-called "key opinion leaders" encouraging them to prescribe the new generation of antidepressants for everything under the sun, including to children as young as infants, were nothing more than highly paid drug pushers for Big Pharma. READ MORE

Lawmakers Catch Glaxo Hiding Paxil Suicide Risks - Again (Part II)
Lawmakers Catch Glaxo Hiding Paxil Suicide Risks - Again  (Part II)
February 13, 2008
Apparently, GlaxoSmithKline is still trying to hide damaging information about Paxil, because 9 pages of a report released from under a court order last month, are not available to the public. However, Senator Charles Grassley has instructed Glaxo to provide him with the full report by February 14, 2008. READ MORE


Posted by

In 2007 my son committed Suicide by hanging. He had been prescribed Fluoxetine and after about 10 days of taking attempted suicide by taking 30+ Tylenol and Aleve. He was put in the hospital on a Wednesday with liver concerns over the overdose. He was put in the Psychiatric Unit in the hospital on Friday afternoon. He was evaluated over the weekend and then released on Monday afternoon telling his Doctor etc... that he had had a headache and wasn't trying to kill himself. His Doctor again started him on Fluoxetine. Approximately 9 days later I had been with him in the morning at the dentists. I dropped him off at home and went back to work. He went to school, left and walked home and hung himself. In 2014 I was finally given the trial I had started in 2008. The jury said the Doctor was negligent but the Fluoxetine hadn't caused the suicide. The jury was to find both at cause in their jury instructions. I will never understand any of this and how there can be a Black Box Warning, previous lawsuits filed and won, but my son didn't commit suicide from this terrible drug. My son was 17 years old, needed some help. Went to a Young Psychiatrist, who prescribed a Drug with an FDA Black Box Warning ignoring the fact that the Fluoxetine had affected my son and he had tried to commit suicide a few days prior to his second prescribed dose of Fluoxetine. The only thing found on my sons Autopsy was Fluoxetine in his system...…………………………..

Posted by

I have tried all these drugs and then some and can't take them. Too many side effects such as homicidal thoughts, suicidal thoughts, electric shock, dizziness, etc. I can go on and on. I gained so much weight that I am now borderline Diabetic. I can't work,no energy, severed relationships. I feel as though I have more mental instabilities than I did before.

Posted by

I've been on effexor xr and the generic for several years. I've been weaned off once, too fast. I was aggressive, angry, yelling etc. On it, I shake constantly and my insomnia is worse. It is supposedly good for anxiety, but I get panic attacks on it. Weaning off this drug is horrid. Must be done very slowly. "Discontinuation syndrome": brain zaps, anger, hostility, aggression, and feel like you are losing your mind. People around the world HAD a petition for class action. What happened with that?

Posted by

My son was taking Zoloft as a teenager. He has Type 1 diabetes, and he has never been the same since. He is now 24, and he can't seem to adjust. He took Zoloft for 2-3 years, and was suicidal at the time. This medication has changed this person, and I believe has left him with more mental issues.

Posted by

My husband took Paxil for one week and then was switched to Lexapro, both for anxiety. A week after he was switched, he committed suicide. He was 40 and left behind a 10-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter. He had mentioned before being prescribed Paxil that he had been on Paxil about 15-20 years before (he was NOT taking anything in the 12 years I had known him). I learned after he died that he had attempted suicide before. This would've been around the first time he had taken Paxil, but I cannot confirm if he was prescribed the SSRI before or after his first suicide attempt.

Posted by

Loss of career, stigma, damaged relationships.


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