The influence of FDA advisory information and black box warnings on individual use of prescription antidepressants
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We examine how use of antidepressant medications is influenced by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings about the increased risk of suicidality associated with pediatric antidepressant use. With individual-level data on antidepressant use from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we consider whether consumer responses to FDA warnings differ among targeted (children) and non-targeted (adult) age-groups. Because the warning labels specifically mentioned new users, we examine separately the effects of the warnings on initiations of antidepressant therapy and on continued use of antidepressants. We find evidence consistent with reduced initiation of antidepressant use among the intended population of children, and that usage among children with more highly educated parents responded earlier to FDA information. However, we also find spillover effects of reduced initiation among the non-targeted population of adults. Overall, our results indicate that the FDA warning may have led consumers to perceive risks beyond those specifically mentioned.
KeywordsWarning labels Prescription use Antidepressants FDA
JEL ClassificationI11 I18 D83 M38
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