Depression is a common problem in teens and young adults. Each year, up to 5,000 young people1 commit suicide as a result of severe teen depression. According to Mental Health America, this rate of teenage suicidal behavior has tripled since 1960. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents. In young people of college age, it is the second leading cause of death. Doctors can successfully treat the symptoms of severe teen depression. One common solution is to prescribe antidepressants. Luvox® (chemical name fluvoxamine) is one of a number of antidepressants that a doctor may prescribe.
Why doctors prescribe Luvox
Luvox is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor2 (or SSRI). Doctors commonly prescribe SSRIs for the treatment of moderate to severe depression. An SSRI may be the first type of medicine that a doctor prescribes. Other common SSRIs include Celexa® (citalopram) and Prozac® (fluoxetine). Doctors also prescribe Luvox for the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder or social anxiety disorder. These conditions may also affect teens. Luvox increases the amount of serotonin in the brain, which helps the patient maintain a normal mental balance.
The problem of teen suicides and Luvox
Clinical studies3 show that there may be an increase in suicidal thoughts in some teens and young adults taking Luvox. These studies show that there is a greater incidence of suicidal thoughts in teenagers taking Luvox than those who do not take antidepressants. This problem occurs most commonly when the patient first starts taking the medicine or when the dosage increases or decreases. The risks of young people taking Luvox (along with other SSRIs) led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration4 to issue a public health warning about it in 2004.
Indicators of suicidal thoughts in teenagers
Teens commonly give warning signs before attempting suicide. These signs include:
- Suicide threats
- Poems or other creative writing about death
- Giving away their belongings
- Irrational, bizarre behavior
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Sudden or severe drop in school performance
If parents observe the signs of teenage suicidal behavior, it is important to obtain help as soon as possible. Severe teen depression is a major problem, but early action can prevent tragedy.
Implications of Luvox and teen suicides
If you or a loved one was hurt as a result of taking Luvox, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney for advice. An attorney can help you establish whether you may be able to file a lawsuit and whether you may be able to claim compensation. You should act quickly, however, as you have a fixed amount of time during which you may file a claim. Contact an attorney for more teen suicide information and support.