CBSNews.com
  May 19, 2004 18:02:52

Section Front • Section Front

E-mail This StoryE-mail This Story  Printable VersionPrintable Version

Anti-Depressant Taken Off Market

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2004



Anti-Depressant Concerns

Cassie Geisenhof died after her body rejected a transplant liver.  (Photo: CBS)



"From a health perspective there is no justification for this drug being on the market."
Dr. Sidney Wolfe
Consumer Advocate



(CBS) Serzone, a controversial antidepressant, is being taken off the American market as by its manufacturer, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, reports CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

The drug was already taken off the market in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In the case of Canada, Bristol-Myers acknowledged the reason was "adverse events including liver failure." However, the company continued to sell the drug in the U.S.

"For commercial reasons we're discontinuing sales and manufacture of Serzone effective June 14, A Bristol-Meyers spokesman told Attkisson today. The company denies adverse events played any role in the withdrawal, even though the company acknowledged that was the case in the Canada withdrawal.

The advocacy group, Public Citizen was in the process of suing the Food and Drug Administration over Serzone because the FDA had not responded to the Public Citizen petition asking for a ban.

This will not quite end the controversy, as generic versions of the drug are still on the market and Public Citizen will continue to sue the FDA over this issue if the generics aren't also pulled.

Serzone, the brand name for "nefazodone," is linked to dozens of liver failures including at least 21 deaths in the U.S., reports Attkisson. Hundreds of patients who may have been affected are suing Bristol-Meyers.

Last month, Attkisson reported on one of those possible victims, Cassie Geisenhof, who was just 15 when a doctor prescribed Serzone for her depression.

Three months later, Cassie suffered irreversible liver damage. Doctors rushed her in for an emergency liver transplant and blamed the Serzone.

The FDA forced Bristol-Myers Squibb to add a serious liver warning two years ago, but problems continued.

"Is there any legitimate reason this drug should still be sold in the U.S. when it's been taken off the market in other places for the same dangers?" Attkisson asked Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen.

"From a financial perspective, the only reason is to make money for Bristol-Myers Squibb," answered the consumer advocate. "From a health perspective there is no justification for this drug being on the market."

The FDA said it was studying the lawsuit.

Bristol-Myers defended Serzone as "an important therapeutic option." But even the company said it's not the first choice, but for patients "who have not responded to other medication."

Unfortunately, Cassie Geisenhof suffered constant problems after her liver transplant. She lapsed into a coma and passed away on April 13 in a Minneapolis hospital.

©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Abuse Video Shows POW Torment
Pentagon: 33 Prison Deaths In Iraq, Afghanistan Under Investigation

• Perjury Charge For Martha Witness
• Berg Slaying Suspects Questioned
• Deserter GI Gets Year In Jail
• Fierce Fighting In Iraq's South
Tenants Target Rent Blacklist
Database Of Evictions Keeps Some Innocent Renters Out In Cold

• Disaster Pic Makes Political Waves
• Retirement On The Go
• More Retirees Migrating South
• Berg Video Shown In Classrooms


Back to Top Back To Top


• Help  • Advertise  • Contact Us  • Terms of Service  • Privacy Policy
  • CBS News Bios  • Internships
©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
CBSNews.com


• CBS Evening News Video
• Consumer Alert
• Everybody Has A Story
• Making Ends Meet
• Program Facts
• Bios
• Contact Info
• Up Next, Weekdays
• Up Next, Saturday
• Up Next, Sunday
• Email: evening@cbsnews.com
Eye On Health
Enter
Explore health issues including AIDS, cancer and antibiotics.

Fact Or Fiction?
Enter
Do you have a healthy knowledge of common medical misconceptions? Take this quiz to find out.

Video  Video Go

Sharyl Attkisson reports on the growing controversy surrounding the anti-depressant drug Serzone, which has been linked to liver failure and other complications.

Story  Story Go

New Concerns Over Anti-Depressant
Story  Story Go

Prescription For Kids' Depression
Story  Story Go

Taking Drugs Safely
Story  Story Go

Tools To Fight Depression
Story  Story Go

Depression's Long Shadow
Story  Story Go

Depression Study Eyes Brain Cells