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 June 17, 2003
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British Officials say Children and Paxil don't Mix
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(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Even though the common antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil) is not licensed for use in children, child psychiatrists often prescribe the drug for depression because of strong data supporting its effectiveness in adults. According to results of nine combined British studies, it could be deadly for children and adolescents under 18.

Those studies of more than 1,000 children, submitted to British drug regulators at the British government's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, reveal the medication (known as Seroxat in Europe) causes depressed children to become more suicidal and should not be prescribed for them.

"These data do not demonstrate efficacy in depressive illness in this age group and show an increase in the risk of harmful outcomes including episodes of self-harm and potentially suicidal behavior," said MHRA Professor Gordon Duff, in a statement from the British government. The agency's prescribing advice suggests Seroxat not be prescribed as a new therapy for patients under 18 years old with depressive illness.

Paxil belongs to a group of medicines called Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) used to treat psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. According to The New York Times, lawsuits arguing that this type of drug increases violence and suicidal thoughts have been around since the first SSRI, Prozac, was introduced in the late 1980s.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

Source: Statement from Britain's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and The New York Times, June 11, 2003

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