June 14, 2003 — A New Jersey mother whose daughter mutilated herself while on the controversial anti-depressant drug Paxil called yesterday for a ban on its use to treat children.
The call for a ban comes hot on the heels of alarming new research released earlier this week that claims depressed children who take the drug become more suicidal – and a warning from the Food and Drug Administration, The Post has learned.
Lisa Van Syckel said her daughter Michelle, 18, was the victim of a three-year nightmare after she began taking Paxil in 2000.
“Michelle repeatedly slashed her body with a razor and inflicted over 25 wounds,” according to the lawsuit which names four New Jersey doctors and five hospitals.
Van Syckel said her daughter eventually got better after she was taken off Paxil.
“I hope to God that by speaking out about what happened to my daughter that I could save [a] life,” she said at a press conference organized by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) who urged the FDA to ban Paxil.
The drug is not officially approved for children here but drug-manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline has asked the FDA to approve it to treat children who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The FDA is reviewing nine studies in Britain that concluded Paxil, which is prescribed to 30.4 million Americans – many under 18 – spurs suicidal behavior.