The health agency, Sundhedsstyrelsen, has decided to make it harder for doctors to prescribe antidepressants to 18-to-24-year-olds after the suicide of a young man, TV2 News reports.
Danilo Terrida, 20, committed suicide in 2011, eleven days after he was prescribed antidepressants following an eight-minute-long conversation with a doctor.
The doctor never followed up on the consultation and has now been found responsible for the suicide by the National Agency for Patients' Rights and Complaints.
Harder to get 'happy pills'
From now on, young patients will have to face an assessment and an in-depth conversation with a doctor before antidepressants can be prescribed.
“Along with the Danilo case, there have been other cases that we, as the oversight authority, are not satisfied with. That is why we are now tightening the rules for this vulnerable group,” Sundhedsstyrelsen spokesperson Anne Mette Dons told TV2 News.
Terrida’s family said that they were pleased that the rules had been tightened for prescribing antidepressants.
“It doesn’t change the fact that we have lost our son," Danilo’s mother, Marianne Terrida, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. "The fact that it’s a dangerous drug is not new, it’s been known a long time.”
Researcher: Medication counter-productive
The case has sparked a debate about the dangers of psychiatric drugs, and in Politiken newspaper today Peter Gøtzsche, medical researcher and leader of the Nordic Cochrane Center at Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet, wrote that antidepressants have caused healthy people to commit suicide.
“It is true that depression increases the risk of suicide, but antidepressants increase it even more, at least up until the age of 40," he wrote.
He added that psychiatric medication often does more harm than good and that patients would often be better off without medication.
“Doctors cannot cope with the paradox that drugs that can be useful for short-term treatment can be highly dangerous when used for years and even create the illnesses that they were supposed to prevent, or even bring on an even worse illness,” Gøtzsche wrote.