British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK:NYSE
conceded that its antidepressant Seroxat caused heightened suicidal
thinking in some young patients, but urged that nobody stop using it
before consulting with a doctor.
The statement follows a recommendation from the U.K. government that
physicians stop prescribing the medication to people under 18. "It has
become clear that the benefits of Seroxat in children for the treatment of
depressive illness do not outweigh these risks," the government said.
for whom Seroxat is its second-biggest drug, stressed that the effects
were found only in children and adolescents and said there's no good
evidence that it causes actual suicides. The drug is called Paxil in the
"In our paediatric trials, which included over 1,000 patients treated
with paroxetine, not a single person committed suicide," the company said.
"However, in our pediatric trials for patients with depression we have
seen a difference between Seroxat and placebo in terms of suicidal
thinking or attempts, particularly in adolescents."
"While we believe that today's move will inevitably limit the choices
available to doctors treating children and teenagers under 18 years with
major depressive disorder, and the conclusions we draw from the data
differ, we recognize the MHRA's decision for U.K. paediatric patients and
we will work with them to implement the changes as soon as possible."