Paper in Future Neurology
  • Karanges, E. and McGregor, I.S. (2011). Antidepressants and adolescent brain development. Future Neurology, 6, 783-808.

    Despite being a first-line treatment for adolescent depression and anxiety, antidepressant drugs appear to have questionable efficacy and carry an increased risk of adverse effects in this population. The neural mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are currently unknown. Recent research into the neural effects of alcohol and recreational drugs suggests that the developmental trajectory of the adolescent brain may be particularly vulnerable to pharmacological disturbance. It is therefore important to consider whether prescription psychotropic drugs may have analogous effects. This article reviews the contribution of recent preclinical, clinical and pharmacogenetic literature to current knowledge on the short-term and enduring neural effects of antidepressants on the adolescent brain, with a particular focus on the major neurotransmitter systems and neuroplasticity.