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Judge Orders Halt To Paxil Commercials
Judge: Ads Misleading About Withdrawal Symptoms

POSTED: 11:45 a.m. EDT August 20, 2002

A federal judge has told the makers of Paxil to stop running TV ads that claim the antidepressant isn't habit-forming.

PaxilThe ruling came in a federal court in Los Angeles. The case is a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 35 patients who said they suffered withdrawal symptoms.

The patients say they had symptoms such as nausea, fever and "electric zaps" to their bodies when they quit taking Paxil.

The judge ruled the company's commercials were "misleading" and created inaccurate expectations of how easy it would be to quit taking the drug.

The judge noted that in other countries, labels warn of adverse reactions when Paxil is discontinued.

Paxil maker GlaxoSmithKline plans to appeal the ruling, it announced in a press release.

"We are very disappointed in the ruling. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration -- and not the courts -- has the expertise and responsibility for reviewing and regulating pharmaceutical ads," said David Stout, president of U.S. Pharmaceuticals at GlaxoSmithKline. "The Paxil television ad was submitted for FDA review prior to use, and the agency raised no objections to the language at issue."

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