Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 771–790 | Cite as

The influence of FDA advisory information and black box warnings on individual use of prescription antidepressants

  • Kristy Parkinson
  • Joseph Price
  • Kosali I. Simon
  • Sharon TennysonEmail author


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.


Warning labels Prescription use Antidepressants FDA 

JEL Classification

I11 I18 D83 M38 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristy Parkinson
    • 1
  • Joseph Price
    • 2
  • Kosali I. Simon
    • 3
  • Sharon Tennyson
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  3. 3.School of Public and Environmental AffairsIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Policy Analysis and ManagementCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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