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Ann Marie T. Sullivan, M.D., Acting Commissioner
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

OMH Letter to Facilities and Programs Concerning
Antidepressant Use in Children and Adolescents

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TO: State operated facilities/programs
FROM: James MacIntyre, M.D, Interim Chief Medical Officer
David J. Woodlock, Deputy Commissioner and Director,
Division of Children and Family Services
SUBJECT: RE: Antidepressant Use in Children and Adolescents
DATE: December, 2004

On Friday, October 15, 2004, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new warnings and precautions to strengthen safeguards for children and adolescents treated with antidepressant medications. In response, the New York State Office of Mental Health has prepared a Clinical Advisory and Issue Analysis (attached) to assist practitioners and clinicians in understanding the complex issues surrounding the FDA's increased warnings (i.e. "black box") on antidepressant use with children and adolescents.

The attached clinical advisory includes principles of practice and strategies for patient management, however it is not intended to define the standard of care, nor is it inclusive of all methods of care. The ultimate judgment regarding care of a particular patient must be made by the clinician in light of all the circumstances presented by the patient and his/her family and the diagnostic and treatment resources available.

OMH has also developed the attached letter that could be used with parents/families to explain the FDA warnings about antidepressants in children and adolescents.

We hope this information is helpful and assists you in continuing to provide high quality care and treatment to children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances.

Sincerely,

James MacIntyre, M.D
Interim Chief Medical Officer

David J. Woodlock
Deputy Commissioner and Director,
Division of Children and Family Services

cc: Sharon E. Carpinello, R.N., Ph.D., Commissioner
Barbara L. Cohn, Executive Deputy Commissioner

Attachments:
Clinical Advisory and Issue Analysis
OMH Letter to Parents