Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Speculation Arises Following Red Lake High School Shooting on Role of Antidepressant Medication

Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Speculation Arises Following Red Lake High School Shooting on Role of Antidepressant Medication

Article excerpt

In the wake of the shootings at Red Lake High School in Minnesota on March 21 in which a 16-year-old high school student shot nine people and then himself, family members speculated that the antidepressant Prozac may have played a role. The niece of the teenager, who lived in the same house with him, said he had been prescribed the medication following a suicide attempt and 72-hour hospitalization a year earlier. Another relative said that his medication had been increased a few weeks before the shootings. At the same time, a number of other risk factors that might be linked to the shootings have been identified.

A federal panel of experts in 2004 said antidepressants could cause children and teenagers to become suicidal. While acknowledging that depression and other psychiatric disorders in pediatric patients can have significant consequences if not appropriately treated, the Food and Drug Administration subsequently required the makers of antidepressants to warn of this danger on their labels for the medications and has cautioned that suicide risk is particularly acute when therapy starts or a dosage changes. …

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