Teen suicides dip, experts worry rate remains high

CHICAGO (AP) -- Researchers say the number of teen suicides has fallen slightly. But the rate remains disturbingly high.

One reason could be drug warnings that have scared many from using antidepressants.

The suicide rate was about 4.5 per 100,000 in 2005, the most recent data available. That follows an 18-percent spike the previous year that alarmed experts when first reported.

That's because until then, suicides among 10 to 19-year-olds had been on a steady decline since 1996.

The decline in teen use of antidepressants stems from the FDA's black-box warning in 2004 because of reports that the drugs can increase risks for suicidal tendencies.

Supporters of the drugs say their benefits, including treating depression that can lead to suicide, outweigh their risks.

The new research, based on 1996-2005 national data, appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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