In clinical studies involving Luvox and suicide, there was an increased risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers who took the medicine. Because depression alone can cause suicidal behavior, it is difficult to determine if the suicidal behavior is due to the depression or the medication. Be sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any signs of suicidal behavior, such as acting on dangerous impulses or depression that is new or worse.
An Overview of Luvox and Suicide
Luvox® (fluvoxamine maleate) is a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adults, teens, and children. It is part of a group of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Because of the way it works in the brain, Luvox is classified as an antidepressant. As with all antidepressants, there may be an increased risk of suicidal behavior when taking Luvox.
Luvox and Suicide: FDA Warning
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a special warning about the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in children, adolescents, and young adults up to the age of 25. The warning was issued due to concerns that antidepressants seemed to increase the risk of suicidal behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults in clinical studies.
Does Luvox Cause Suicides?
In previous short-duration clinical studies, it did appear that there was a slightly increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior (termed "suicidality") in children, adolescents, and young adults aged 24 and younger who took antidepressants (such as Luvox). Specifically, about 4 percent of children, adolescents, and young adults taking an antidepressant had suicidal thoughts or behavior, compared to 2 percent of those who were not taking an antidepressant.
This increased risk was only seen in age groups younger than 25 years old. In fact, people aged 65 and older appeared to have a lower risk for suicidality when treated with antidepressants compared to those not treated with antidepressants.
The term suicidality is not the same as suicide. The FDA-reviewed studies looked at all suicidal behavior, including completed suicides, attempted suicides, and thoughts about committing suicide. Suicidality describes thoughts and actions related to suicide. It is important to note that none of the children or adolescents in the studies actually committed suicide.
It is difficult to know for sure if antidepressants actually cause the suicide thoughts and behaviors. To make matters more confusing, depression itself, as well as other mental health problems, can cause suicidal behavior. The bottom line is that you should report any signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior to your healthcare professional, regardless of whether or not you are taking an antidepressant.
Certain people seem to be at a higher risk of suicidal behavior while taking antidepressants. These people include those with bipolar disorder (or a family history of bipolar disorder) and people who have attempted suicide (or have a family history of suicide attempts).
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Luvox [package insert]. Baudette, MN: ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc.;2012 November.
Friedman RA, Leon AC. Expanding the Black Box -- Depression, Antidepressants, and the Risk of Suicide. NEJM 2007; 356: 2343-46.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Medication Guide for Antidepressant Drugs. Available at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/ucm100211.pdf. Accessed October 11, 2010.
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