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“The thing that’s of concern here is that when prescribing for conditions other than depression, often these are for indications such as fibromyalgia and migraine where it’s unknown whether the drug is going to be effective, because it’s never been studied,” said senior author Robyn Tamblyn. She is a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at McGill University in Montreal. “These doctors are prescribing in the dark,” she said.

Antidepressant use in the United States increased almost 400 percent between 1988-1994 and 2005-2008, with the most recent figures showing 11 percent of teens and adults take antidepressants, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers have suspected part of this boom may be that doctors are prescribing antidepressants for off-label indications that haven’t been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Tamblyn said.

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