In this health video you will learn the effectiveness of antidepressants for children.
Read the full transcript »
Raena Morgan: Can teenagers be put on antidepressants if it’s necessary? Or is it ever necessary? Dr. Gary Kohls: Well, it’s never proven to be effective. There’s only one SSRI that’s been approved for kids under the age of 18. And that one really wasn’t even tested well. And that’s Prozac. Raena Morgan: Okay. Dr. Gary Kohls: But there are a lot of extenuating circumstances—a lot of pressure from Eli Lilly to get that one approved. But none of the other antidepressants are approved for under the age of 18. First of all, most of the studies prove that they don’t work any better than a sugar pill. You know, so, they’re not even effective. Doctors, however, can prescribe drugs, even if they’re not approved by the FDA for any purpose, you know. There are lots of examples of doctors prescribing things for things that the FDA has not approved for and they can get away with it legally. So, antidepressants are very commonly prescribed in teenagers who are sad or whatever. But they haven’t been tested on children and they haven’t been approved. Raena Morgan: So, if you have a moody teenager, who’s sullen and withdrawn, you could take him to a doctor—her to a doctor—and very easily get a prescription? Dr. Gary Kohls: Very easily, very easily. Raena Morgan: What are some of the repercussions of that? Dr. Gary Kohls: Well, for one thing, virtually all the school shooters that we know of, whose records have not been—medical records have not been sealed—have been on SSRIs. And what the SSRIs do is, among other things, and, you know, at the basic neuroscience level, they’re depleting serotonin and some of them are depleting dopamine, the natural antidepressants. But they’re also altering the brain in other ways and most of them we don’t really know what’s going on. But they’re toxic substances. Most of them have fluoride attached. Floral carbon atoms, or chloral carbon atoms—we talked about that earlier—those are toxic substances. They make the drug long acting, so it only has to be given once a day, but it also makes them toxic. But one, among other things that these drugs do—besides mania or agitation or insomnia—they can actually decrease one’s impulse control. So, you wind up treating somebody for sadness with a drug that can cause mania or impulse control problems. So if you’re being dissed and you’re not on a drug, you may just pick a fight or walk away. If you’re on a drug that destroys your ability to control you impulses, you may hit back. If you have a knife, you might pick a knife fight. Or if you have a gun, you might shoot them. So impulse control in the context of these antidepressant drugs is a serious issue. And so, the school shooters, like I said, have been on Prozac or Eric Harris, the Columbine shooter, who was on Luvox—there was no question, he was manic for months before the Columbine and he was on Luvox, which is a Prozac-like compound, made by—I can’t remember the drug company that produced it. Jeff Wiese, the Red Lake shooter was on 60 milligrams of Prozac. He was a teenager. Raena Morgan: That’s a lot. Dr. Gary Kohls: Oh, that’s a huge dose. The starting dose is 20 and a lot of people get manic and have insomnia just on 20. And Eli Lilly chose not to start out with 10. They should have had 10s and 20s, but they said let’s one dose fits all. There’s 7% of the population that lacks the enzyme that can demobilize the, or at least denigrate the Prozac molecule. 7% can’t destroy it. And so that’s 7% and that’s a very expensive test to decide who can metabolize Prozac or not. So 7% of the population are probably extremely toxic right away on 20, maybe even on 10. Jeff Wiese was on 60. And he shot his grandfather and another member of his family, I think his grandfather’s girlfriend, and then 8 members of the school. And then, I think, he shot himself, too. He didn’t have impulse control probably. He was disrespected, probably blew up, and was being humiliated, perhaps, or bullied, just living on poverty and no hope. Yo