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Caution appropriate when prescribing in age group

Media Statement

From the deputy president of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners,
Dr Jonathan Fox

24 March 2004

Caution appropriate when prescribing in age group

GPs would always wish to be cautious with any medication in the under-18 age group, says College of GPs spokesman Dr Jonathan Fox, who welcomed and supported Medsafe advice to health professionals about prescribing anti-depressants.

A Medsafe review of SSRI’s concluded an accurate determination of the risks and benefits of SSRIs for children under 18 with depression cannot be made “at this point.”

The Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee acknowledged that, “with the support of specialist advice, SSRIs could continue to be used as they may help in the management of depression in some children under 18 years."

Dr Fox reiterated Medsafe concern that parents talk to their doctor before stopping or changing treatments. He believed the letter “reflected the realities of what is happening in New Zealand.

“Often we are left with little choice as availability of non drug treatment is so limited in this country. Even access to Adolescent Psychiatrists for advice is very limited,” he said.

The College believed it important Government also worked to strengthen the availability of mental health infrastructure and services for young people in New Zealand.


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