Efficacy of antidepressant medication with depressed youth: What psychologists should know

John Sommers-Flanagan, Rita Sommers-Flanagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Pharmacologic treatments for mental or emotional disorders are becoming increasingly popular, especially in managed care environments. Consequently, psychologists must remain cognizant of medication efficacy concerning specific mental disorders. This article reviews all double-blind, placebo-controlled efficacy trials of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) with depressed youth that were published in 1985-1994. Also, all group-treatment studies of depressed youth using fluoxetine, a serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), are summarized. Results indicate that neither TCAs nor SSRIs have demonstrated greater efficacy than placebo in alleviating depressive symptoms in children and adolescents, despite the use of research strategies designed to give antidepressants an advantage over placebo. The implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


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