Antidepressants are efficacious for treating depressed patients, especially patients who are severely ill and may be at greater risk for suicide [1-3]. However, all antidepressants in the United States carry a warning that they are associated with an increased risk of suicidality in adults aged 18 to 24 years during initial treatment (generally the first one to two months) . Suicidality includes suicidal ideation, action to prepare for an attempt, attempt or nonfatal self-harm, or death. The warning also applies to children and adolescents.
The warnings issued in the United States and other countries appear to have significantly reduced both rates of diagnosing depression and antidepressant treatment [4-8].
This topic reviews whether antidepressants affect the risk of suicidality in adults. The effect of antidepressants on suicide risk in children and adolescents, risk factors and management of suicidality in adults, and the pharmacology and use of antidepressants to treat depression are discussed separately.
●(See "Effect of antidepressants on suicide risk in children and adolescents".)
●(See "Suicidal ideation and behavior in adults".)