22 August, 2005: Glaxo drug Paxil may have an unintentional side-effect - research in Norway points to increased suicide attempts by adults who have been using the anti-depressant Paxil. The reasearch data came out of a review of 16 studies by Norwegian researchers which has been published in BMC Medicine journal.
The review compared adult patients, conducted among studies of those using Glaxo medicine against Paxil and a placebo. The researche team, headed by Ivar Aursnes at Oslo University, spotted 7 attempts at suicide among those consuming Paxil, as against one among those taking a placebo.
Officials at Glaxo were quoted as saying that they will review the study, which considered 916 patients consuming Paxil and 550 on placebo. Paxil is also known as Paroxetine.
European health regulatory authorities had warned early in April 2006 that Paxil, Prozac and several other antidepressant drugs must be avoided in treating children, due to the high risk of suicide, The researchers say that the latest study may persuade the medical fraternity to scan all use of the Paxil and similar anti-depressants. Glaxo's revenues from Paxil sales last year is pegged at 1.06 billion pounds ($1.9 billion).
A Glaxo spokesman was quoted as saying: 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 program involving 24,000 patients."
``Patients and doctors should be warned that the increased suicidal activity observed in children and adolescents taking certain antidepressant drugs may well be present also in adults,'' the researchers said in their paper.
late last year, the British Department of Health had issued guidance that Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor should not initially prescribed for patients with mild depression. Such patients should go for counselling, behavioral therapy and similar psychological treatments, the department's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said.
BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT