Issues - chemical abuse - more drug scandal
A new warning that the controversial antidepressant
Seroxat may increase the
risk of suicide in young adults up to the age of 30 is to
be issued throughout Europe.
Seroxat is among the biggest selling drugs in
the world and is taken by between 600,000 and 800,000 people
in the UK, of whom "a significant proportion" are
aged under 30, according to the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline.
Fears that Seroxat was unsafe were aired in
two BBCPanorama programmes in 2002 and 2003. They provoked
67,000 calls and 1,400 e-mails, the biggest response in the
programme's history, and led to the review by the MHRA. Two
weeks after GlaxoSmithKline supplied it with evidence from
trials of Seroxat in children carried out years earlier, the
drug was banned. The ban in
under-18s was extended to all other SSRIs, except Prozac.
GlaxoSmithKline is now facing fraud charges
in the United States for allegedly concealing information
that the drug caused suicidal behaviour in children and adolescents.
The MHRA is now also examining the implications of studies
with all SSRIs for adults. But the outcome of a key part of
that review, expected in October, has been upstaged by the
EMEA's decision. Mr Brook, who resigned from the MHRA's SSRIs
working group earlier this year, said: "It is extremely
difficult to see how the MHRA can come to a different decision
that contradicts EU law. Government announcements on this
issue have perhaps been misleading."