A review of the popular antidepressant drug paroxetine has revealed that the drug is no more effective than a placebo. Worse the drug has been found to provoke young people to suicide.
An Australian-led review of a popular antidepressant drug paroxetine has also uncovered evidence that the drug manufacturer had downplayed the lethal side effects while it had exaggerated its benefits.
The study that reviewed data that was highlighted by pharmaceutical companies to market the drug has been published in the recent edition of British Medical Journal. The drug is sold in different countries under various trade names.
The drug has been blatantly prescribed in billions by clinicians in the 1980’s and 90’s and was widely perceived to be beneficial in treating depression and was said to have minimal side effects in comparison to debilitating side effects seen in older medications for treating depression.
The hard-hitting study has highlighted three main contentious issues:
- Paroxetine could be dangerous for health.
- Benefits of the drug greatly exaggerated.
- Company that marketed the drugs earlier has denied that it is not cooperating with the review.
A few decades on, an evaluation of data used to support paroxetine revealed that confidence in the drug was misplaced and perilously overstated.
The team of researchers was headed by Professor Jon Jureidini, from Adelaide University’s Critical and Ethical Mental Health Research Group, said that doctors had made wrong prescribing decisions on the basis of the way the study was reported.
Jureidini said that the study had claimed that paroxetine, an antidepressant, was efficient and safe for young people. The truth is just the opposite. The study revealed that the drug produced twice the level of serious side effects and four times psychiatric adverse events. Out of 100 patients on Paroxetine, 11 patients had episodes of suicidal behavior or self-harm.