- New research led by Suvi Virtanen, PhD, suggests that antidepressants do not induce mania or hypomania in pediatric patients with unipolar depression.
- Prior to this research, there were few studies on the effects of antidepressants on children and adolescents with unipolar depression. Investigating these rare outcomes, such as incident mania, has been challenging in randomized clinical trials (RCTs).
- The investigators used nationwide data from Sweden to examine incident mania or hypomania in pediatric patients. They conducted an observational study with a 12-week time frame, extending it by 4 weeks to account for potential slower medication titration in children.
- Participants in the study were aged 4-17 and diagnosed with unipolar depression. They underwent a "washout period" where they didn't take antidepressants for a year before the depression diagnosis, except for those with a prior mania diagnosis.
- The treatment group included participants who took antidepressants within 90 days of diagnosis, while the control group did not take antidepressants during that period.
- At 12 weeks, the cumulative incidence of mania/hypomania was 0.26% in the treatment group and 0.20% in the control group. By 52 weeks, these figures increased to 0.79% and 0.52%, respectively. Boys in the treatment group had a slightly higher risk of mania.