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Antidepressant Seroxat Linked to Suicide Attempts Among Adults

Aug 22, 2005 | The Independent

The antidepressant Seroxat has been linked to an increase in suicide attempts among adults. Researchers suggest that patients and doctors should be warned of the propensity to suicidal thoughts while on the drug.

Experts have already warned that Seroxat is not suitable for children and adolescents due to an increased risk of self harm.

In the new study of 916 adults on the drug, seven attempted to take their own life. Dr Ivar Aursnes and colleagues at the University of Oslo compared these findings with 550 patients taking a placebo, of whom one tried to commit suicide. Their conclusions are published in the journal BMC Medicine.

They say: "We conclude that the recommendation of restrictions in the use of paroxetine (Seroxat) in children and adolescents ... should include usage in adults."

Seroxat has been taken by about 20 million people around the world since being licensed in 1990. Like Prozac, it is a Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor (SSRI).

Last year the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's Committee on the Safety of Medicines reviewed SSRIs. Their report concluded that a modest increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and self-harm for SSRIs could not be ruled out, but the benefits for adults outweighed the risks.

A spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Seroxat, who are facing lawsuits in connection with the drug, said: "We take the safety of all our medicines extremely seriously.

"At this stage, it's not clear what method the researchers have used to arrive at these numbers or which clinical trials they have selected. However, we can say that these conclusions in no way reflect the picture that has been built up about the benefits and risks of paroxetine in adults through an extensive clinical trials programme involving 24,000 patients, or through the use of this medicine in tens of millions of people around the world."

The antidepressant Seroxat has been linked to an increase in suicide attempts among adults. Researchers suggest that patients and doctors should be warned of the propensity to suicidal thoughts while on the drug.

Experts have already warned that Seroxat is not suitable for children and adolescents due to an increased risk of self harm.

In the new study of 916 adults on the drug, seven attempted to take their own life. Dr Ivar Aursnes and colleagues at the University of Oslo compared these findings with 550 patients taking a placebo, of whom one tried to commit suicide. Their conclusions are published in the journal BMC Medicine.

They say: "We conclude that the recommendation of restrictions in the use of paroxetine (Seroxat) in children and adolescents .should include usage in adults."

Seroxat has been taken by about 20 million people around the world since being licensed in 1990. Like Prozac, it is a Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor (SSRI).

Last year the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's Committee on the Safety of Medicines reviewed SSRIs. Their report concluded that a modest increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and self-harm for SSRIs could not be ruled out, but the benefits for adults outweighed the risks.

A spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Seroxat, who are facing lawsuits in connection with the drug, said: "We take the safety of all our medicines extremely seriously.

"At this stage, it's not clear what method the researchers have used to arrive at these numbers or which clinical trials they have selected.

However, we can say that these conclusions in no way reflect the picture that has been built up about the benefits and risks of paroxetine in adults through an extensive clinical trials programme involving 24,000 patients, or through the use of this medicine in tens of millions of people around the world.


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