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Anti-depressants, suicide, and drug regulation

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Author Info

  • Jens Ludwig

    (Georgetown University)

  • Dave E. Marcotte

    (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

Abstract

Policymakers are increasingly concerned that a relatively new class of anti-depressant drugs, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI), may increase the risk of suicide for at least some patients, particularly children. Prior randomized trials are not informative on this question because of small sample sizes and other limitations. Using variation across countries over time in SSRI sales and suicide, we find that an increase of one pill per capita (a 13 percent increase over 1999 levels) is associated with a 2.5 percent reduction in suicide rates, a relationship that is more pronounced for adults than for children. Our findings suggest that expanding access to SSRIs for adults may be a cost-effective way to save lives, although policymakers are right to remain cautious about pediatric use of SSRIs. © 2005 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 24 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 249-272

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:24:y:2005:i:2:p:249-272

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  1. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. " The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
  2. Morrall, John F, III, 2003. " Saving Lives: A Review of the Record," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 221-37, December.
  3. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
  4. Morrall III, John F., 2003. "Saving Lives: A Review of the Record," Working paper 188, Regulation2point0.
  5. Dahlberg, Matz & Lundin, Douglas, 2005. "Antidepressants and the Suicide Rate: Is There Really a Connection?," Working Paper Series 2005:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  6. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Tomas Philipson, 1999. "Economic Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases," NBER Working Papers 7037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Sunstein, Cass R., 2004. "Are Poor People Worth Less Than Rich People? Disaggregating the Value of Statistical Lives," Working paper 193, Regulation2point0.
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Cited by:
  1. Manoj K. Pandey & Charanjit Kaur, 2009. "Investigating Suicidal Trend and its Economic Determinants: Evidence from India," ASARC Working Papers 2009-08, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  2. Dahlberg, Matz & Lundin, Douglas, 2005. "Antidepressants and the Suicide Rate: Is There Really a Connection?," Working Paper Series 2005:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Alison Cuellar & Sara Markowitz, 2006. "Medicaid Policy Changes in Mental Health Care and Their Effect on Mental Health Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12232, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jens Ludwig & Dave E. Marcotte & Karen Norberg, 2007. "Anti-depressants and Suicide," NBER Working Papers 12906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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