The AACAP and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) testified before the United States Senate in favor of the appropriate use of childhood and adolescent antidepressant medications, including SSRIS.
For immediate release:
Mar 01, 2005
Jim Wood, Director Development and Communications
202.966.7300, ext. 120, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason Young, APA, Communications Manager, 703.907.8582, email@example.com
Kristin Kroeger Ptakowski, AACAP Director of Government Affairs and Clinical Practice
202.966.7300, ext. 108, firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and American Psychiatric Association (APA) thank Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) for his leadership in holding today’s U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process, including labeling changes for the prescription of antidepressant medications to treat children and adolescents with depression.
Child and adolescent psychiatrist David Fassler, M.D., will testify at the Senate hearing on behalf of the AACAP and the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Dr. Fassler’s testimony emphasizes that medication, in general, and the SSRI antidepressants in particular, are an important option when treating child and adolescent depression. He says, “Research has clearly demonstrated that medication can be extremely helpful, and even lifesaving, for many children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders, but medication is most effective when it’s used as a component of a comprehensive treatment plan, individualized to the needs of the child and family. The SSRI antidepressants are generally well tolerated by children and adolescents, and despite frequent media reports to the contrary, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that these medications increase the risk of suicide.”
Dr. Fassler’s testimony points out the need for more research, particularly long-term follow up studies, on both the safety and efficacy of antidepressants medications in children and adolescents. Fortunately, several studies are currently underway, with funding from the National Institutes of Mental Health. In their recommendations to Committee members, the APA and the AACAP are calling for the formation of a pediatric and adolescent Central Nervous System Advisory Committee at the FDA comprised of experts including child and adolescent psychiatrists and pediatric neurologists.
Open access to data from all clinical trials, including data from negative trials and unpublished research is also critically important for physicians and parents to make fully informed decisions about treatment options. For this reason, the AACAP and the APA have been at the forefront of the call for the development of a publicly accessible, national registry of clinical trials.
In his recommendations, Dr. Fassler also noted the shortage of pediatric mental health specialists and researchers, and urged them to support legislation that would help ease this workforce shortage. Finally, he called on parents to be advocates for their children to ensure that youth with depression or any other mental illness receive a comprehensive evaluation by a trained and qualified mental health professional. The AACAP and the APA have jointly developed a new website, www.parentsmedguide.org, to provide parents and physicians with as much information as possible about the evaluation and treatment of childhood and adolescent depression.
Representing over 7,500 child and adolescent psychiatrists nationwide, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is the leading authority on children’s mental health. AACAP members actively research, diagnose, and treat psychiatric disorders affecting children, adolescents, and their families.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is the leading authority on children’s mental health. AACAP members actively research, diagnose, and treat psychiatric disorders affecting children, adolescents, and their families.
Our Facts for Families, available free of charge on the AACAP website, provide concise and up-to-date information on a wide array of issues relating to children’s mental health. Written in a simple, straightforward manner, these 88 one-page fact sheets are valuable to anyone raising or working with children. In addition, the AACAP routinely refers the media to expert spokespeople on child and adolescent issues, and sponsors The Campaign for America’s Kids – an initiative designed to fund an Advocacy Institute for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, with the goal of mental health for all children.
AACAP Mission: The Mission of the AACAP is the promotion of mentally healthy children, adolescents and families through research, training, advocacy, prevention, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment, peer support and collaboration.