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ANTIDEPRESSANTS MAY HARM, FDA SAYS

Using antidepressants increases the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior among young adults but lessens it for seniors, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The information came from a review of 372 studies involving roughly 100,000 patients and 11 drugs. The FDA analysis will be incorporated in future changes to antidepressant labels.

It now appears there is an increased risk of suicidal tendencies among adults between the ages of 18 and 25. And the effects of antidepressants on adults from 25 to 64 were so mixed that the FDA would only conclude the drug had a neutral effect on suicidal behavior for them but possibly lowers the risk of suicidal thoughts.

The information was released ahead of the Dec. 13 meeting of the FDA's psychopharmacologic drugs advisory committee.

WASHINGTON

FDA acknowledges stents' blood-clot risk

Patients implanted with drug-coated stents to hold open choked arteries face a small but significant risk of blood clots, health officials said Tuesday. A new study released Tuesday on the Web site of the Journal of the American Medical Association recommended they take clot-busting medications indefinitely.

Growing concern about the long-term safety of drug-coated stents comes to a head this week when the Food and Drug Administration convenes a two-day meeting to discuss clotting risks associated with the devices.

About 6-million people worldwide have one or more drug-eluting stents in their bodies. The miniature lattice-shaped tubes are coated with drugs that slowly dissolve - or elute - into the bloodstream to prevent regrowth of tissue that can clog arteries anew.

WASHINGTON

Superfund cleanup may not be effective

The Environmental Protection Agency cannot verify the effectiveness of its cleanup programs in a Montana town where residents have contracted asbestos-related illnesses in unusually large numbers, the agency's inspector general said Tuesday.

The agency needs to do more testing to be certain its cleanup in Libby, a Superfund site, reduces the risk that residents may become ill - or, if already ill, become sicker, the inspector general's office wrote in a report released by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

The report could mean that hundreds of homes already cleaned by the EPA would need to be re-evaluated for safety. The EPA did not respond to requests for comment.

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