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The use of SSRIs for the treatment of depression and anxiety in young people is increasing. However, the effects of SSRIs in adolescence, a time when there are substantial changes in neural, cognitive, and social functioning, are not well understood. Here, we review evidence from clinical trials about the benefits and risks of SSRIs in young people and consider their mechanisms of action, as shown through human experimental work and animal models. We emphasise key outstanding questions about the effects of SSRIs in youth, identified through gaps in the literature and in consultation with young people with lived experience. It is crucial to characterise the mechanisms underpinning risks and benefits of SSRIs in this age group to progress the field, and to narrow the chasm between the widespread use of SSRIs in youth and the science on which this use is based.

Original publication




Journal article


Lancet Psychiatry

Publication Date





824 - 835


Adolescent, Animals, Anti-Anxiety Agents, Antidepressive Agents, Anxiety, Depression, Humans, Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors, Treatment Outcome