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Children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) appear to be at increased risk of psychosocial problems, but there are few large-scale studies related to mental health in paediatric IBD. We aimed to assess the use of antidepressants among adolescents with recent-onset IBD.In a Finnish nationwide register-based study, we assessed dispensed prescribed antidepressants in 248 adolescents with incident IBD and in 992 peers individually matched for age, sex and place of residence between 1 January 2006 and 30 September 2010. For comparison, dispensed prescribed centrally acting sympathomimetics (ADHD drugs) were also assessed. Purchases of these drugs, available by prescription only, were considered proxy indicators for drug use.We observed a significant difference in the frequency of antidepressant use among adolescents with IBD (3.2%) when compared with peers (1.2%; P = 0.031) up to 3 years from diagnosis. In the use of ADHD drugs there was no difference between the groups.The findings address the disease burden of the gut disease and reflect the importance of considering mental health in adolescents with IBD.