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Imipramine and Suicide

Does Imipramine Cause Suicides?

In clinical studies, it did appear that there was a slightly increased risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers who took antidepressants, such as imipramine. In one study, about 4 percent of children and teens taking an antidepressant had suicidal thoughts or behavior, compared to 2 percent of children and teens who were not taking an antidepressant. This study looked at all suicidal behavior, including suicides, attempted suicides, and thoughts about committing suicide. It is important to note that no one in the study actually committed suicide.
 
It is difficult to know for sure if there is a relationship between the use of antidepressants, such as imipramine, and suicides or suicidal behavior. To make matters more confusing, depression itself can cause suicidal behavior. The bottom line is that you should report any signs of suicidal behavior to a healthcare professional, regardless of whether or not you are taking an antidepressant.
 
Certain people seem to be at a higher risk of suicidal behavior while taking antidepressants. This includes people with bipolar disorder (or a family history of bipolar disorder) and people who have attempted suicide (or have a family history of suicide attempts).
 

Imipramine and Suicides: Suggestions

Your healthcare provider should monitor you (or your child) carefully when you are first starting an antidepressant. You should also be watchful for any signs of suicidal behavior. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you (or your child) have any of the following:
 
  • Thoughts about death or committing suicide
  • Suicide attempts
  • Depression or anxiety that is new or worse
  • Agitation, restlessness, or panic attacks
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Irritability that is new or worse
  • Aggressive, angry, or violent behavior
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • Unusually increased talking or activity
  • Other strange changes in mood or behavior.
     
Also, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using imipramine in children and teenagers, as well as other options for depression treatment.
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