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Date you started taking this drug:

Date you stopped taking this drug:

Age of patient when antidepressant(s) prescribed:

What condition was this medication prescribed to treat?

What additional medications were you taking at the time?

Did patient hurt themselves during or after taking the drug?

Did patient become violent during or after taking the drug?

Was suicide attempted?

Was hospitalization or institutionalization required after taking antidepressant(s)?

Did loved one commit suicide?

If patient did attempt or commit suicide, did patient ever attempt suicide previously?

If patient did commit suicide, what was the method of suicide?

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Harvard Mental Health Letter Reports on the Link Between Antidepressant Treatment and Increased Risk of Suicide

May 27, 2004 | PR Newswire

Depression is a serious illness that increases the risk of suicide. This March, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory in response to a possible connection between the antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil) and thoughts of suicide or self-destructive behavior in some teens and children.

The June issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter discusses the FDA advisory and offers suggestions to people taking antidepressants.

The advisory targeted ten antidepressants in addition to Paxil and urged drug companies to add a prominent warning to their labels calling for close observation of anyone starting or changing the dose of an antidepressant.

Although no suicides were reported in Britain where the connection between Paxil and suicide was first noted, the FDA decided to act conservatively while preparing to investigate the issue further.

According to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, if you're considering antidepressant medication, you should first be fully evaluated by your doctor.

Also consult your doctor about all possible treatments for depression, including medications and psychotherapy.

If you already have an antidepressant treatment established, do not change a thing. Additionally, talk to your doctor before stopping your medications because you can develop uncomfortable discontinuation symptoms.

Dr. Michael Miller, the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, believes that if all patients and doctors heed recommendations from the FDA advisory, antidepressant treatment will be much safer.

Dr. Miller also notes that this warning should not be interpreted as a reason to fear medication or reject them entirely. In many cases, the risks of depression are much greater than the risks of antidepressants.

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