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Volume 5 (2005), Pages 420-426
Review Article

Pharmacological Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in Adolescents

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, USA

Received 29 April 2005; Revised 2 May 2005; Accepted 3 May 2005

Copyright © 2005 Rachel L.¬†Farley.


Major depressive disorder (MDD) affects a significant number of adolescents today. Its consequences (including social isolation, failure to achieve crucial developmental milestones, and suicide) mandate close attention in clinical practice. While tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) have been used infrequently and with questionable efficacy, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), particularly fluoxetine, consistently have been shown to be of benefit in treating outpatient adolescents with MDD. Despite some success with other drugs in its class, fluoxetine remains the only SSRI that is FDA approved for treatment of children and adolescents with depression. A review of recent studies is presented, including the controversy regarding the relationship of antidepressants and suicidal behavior in this patient population.