Is There a Link Between Suicide and Sarafem?

Does Sarafem Cause Suicides?

In clinical studies, it did appear that there was a slightly increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults who took antidepressants, including Sarafem. In one study, 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.
There did not appear to be an increased risk for suicidality in people over the age of 24 treated with antidepressants. In fact, people aged 65 and older taking an antidepressant appeared to have a lower risk for suicidality than those not taking an antidepressant.
The antidepressant studies looked at all suicidal behavior, including suicides, attempted suicides, and thoughts about committing suicide. The term suicidality refers to thoughts and behaviors related to suicide. While antidepressants appeared to increase the risk for suicidality in certain age groups, 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 cause suicidal thinking and behavior. To make matters more confusing, depression itself, as well as other mental health conditions, can cause suicidal thinking and behavior. The bottom line: you should report any signs of suicidal behavior to your healthcare professional, whether you are taking an antidepressant or not.
Certain people seem to be at a higher risk for suicidal behavior while taking antidepressants. This includes people with bipolar disorder (or a family history of bipolar disorder) and people who have attempted suicide (or have a family history of suicide attempts).

Sarafem and Suicide: Suggestions

Your healthcare provider should monitor you (or your loved one) carefully when first starting an antidepressant and when increasing the dose. Be watchful for any signs of suicidal thinking and behavior. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you (or your loved one) have any of the following:
  • Thoughts about death or committing suicide
  • Suicide attempts
  • Depression or anxiety that is new or worse
  • Agitation, restlessness, or panic attacks
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Irritability that is new or worse
  • Aggressive, angry, or violent behavior
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • An unusual increase in talking or activity
  • Other strange changes in mood or behavior.
Also contact your healthcare provider if you notice any other symptoms or behaviors that concern you. Do not stop taking an antidepressant without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping an antidepressant suddenly may cause other potentially dangerous reactions, including worsening depression.
Also, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using Sarafem, especially in children, adolescents, and young adults. Your healthcare provider can discuss other options for PMDD treatment with you.
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