- November 12, 2009, 10:11 AM ET
Senator Asks How Many Troops Are on Antidepressants
By Jacob Goldstein
For people in their late teens and early 20s, taking an antidepressant may actually increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, at least during initial treatment. So it’s important that those patients are carefully monitored.
Citing the rising number of suicides among active-duty soldiers in the U.S. Army, a senator wrote to the secretary of defense this week asking for the “estimated number and percentage of troops since June 2005 who have been prescribed antidepressant medications while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The letter is from Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat. He said Congress must:
- examine the extent to which DoD is prescribing antidepressants to its service members, especially those deployed in-theatre, and the methods it is employing to ensure that sufficient observation periods are conducted by properly trained mental health providers. In short, my concern is how DoD is managing the sheer volume and manner by which antidepressant drugs are being administered to our service men and women overseas.
We called and emailed the Department of Defense to ask for a reply, but they didn’t immediately respond to our request. We’ll update this post when we hear back.
Hat Tip: Pharmalot; Photo: iStockphoto