The state Department of Children and Families plans to stop using Paxil to treat depressed young people because of warnings about severe negative effects for children, the Journal Inquirer of Manchester reported.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned last month that no one under 18 should be prescribed Paxil because it may increase a child’s risk of suicide. The British government also issued a strong warning against pediatric use of the anti-depressant, sold there under the name Seroxat.
Maribel Vazquez, DCF program supervisor for the Bureau of Child Welfare Services, said the department is stopping use of Paxil for six months pending further study.
DCF will recommend children on Paxil switch to safer alternative treatment, if one is available.
“We are expecting closer scrutiny in prescribing and monitoring children on this medication,” Vazquez said.
Department officials wouldn’t reveal the number of children in their care who are prescribed Paxil, saying that would violate patient privacy rights.
The FDA has never approved use of Paxil in children or teens. But some doctors prescribe the adult drug for children anyway.
The FDA had asked all makers of adult antidepressants to submit research showing how their drugs affect children. Three studies of Paxil found it didn’t seem to help pediatric depression – but FDA scientists spotted some safety concerns and ordered manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline to reanalyze the data.
That reanalysis found the risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts was three times greater among Paxil users, mostly teens, than among children given dummy pills, the FDA said.