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Dangerous DNA: Genes linked to suicidal thoughts with med use

Two gene variations appear frequently in depressed patients who contemplate killing themselves during treatment with a common antidepressant medication, a new study finds.

In the study, reports of suicidal thoughts occurred from 2 to 15 times as often in antidepressant-treated patients with the key gene variations as in patients without them, say psychiatrist Gonzalo Laje of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., and his colleagues. Participants received citalopram, a widely prescribed antidepressant related to medications such as fluoxetine (Prozac).

"These findings need to be replicated before we can devise a genetic test to determine who's at risk for suicidal thoughts during antidepressant treatment," Laje says.

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