Working with Greenhouse will be Howard Seltman, a research scientist in Carnegie Mellon's Statistics Department; Eloise Kaizar, who recently earned her Ph.D. in statistics from Carnegie Mellon and soon will join the statistics faculty at Ohio State; and Kelly Kelleher, director of the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice and vice president for Health Services Research in the Columbus Children's Research Institute at Columbus Children's Hospital. Kelleher is also a faculty member of Ohio State's College of Medicine.
Greenhouse said several other factors are worth noting. The clinical trials that formed the basis of the FDA's review were not designed to measure suicide; their purpose was to determine the efficacy of various antidepressants in treating mental illness among children and adolescents. None of the approximately 4,600 youth who participated in those studies committed suicide, and the number of suicide attempts was too low to be statistically significant. That prompted the FDA to broaden its primary outcome to include suicidality, even though there is no evidence of a link between suicidality and suicide itself.
The researchers will use the grant to analyze other data sources that might shed light on what relationship, if any, antidepressant use has with suicidal behavior. For example, the FDA did not take into account recent results from large observational studies that, using health administrative data, have been unable to find an increased risk of suicidal behavior among youths who use antidepressants. They will also review psychotherapy studies to see whether there is an increase in suicidality among teens who were successfully treated with methods other than antidepressants. Greenhouse said that many psychiatrists believe that as their patients' conditions improve, they are more likely to express suicidal thoughts simply because the
Contact: Jonathan Potts
Carnegie Mellon University