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Latest Government press briefings

10/06/2003 12:00

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home > newsroom > Young people advised not to use Seroxat

Young people advised not to use Seroxat

The anti-depressant Seroxat should not be used to treat youngsters under the age of 18, according to Government experts. However patients should seek medical advice before discontinuing use.

Research shows that the use of Seroxat resulted in increases in the rate of self-harm and potentially suicidal behaviour in under 18s.

The data, evaluated by the Committee on Safety of Medicines, made clear that the benefits of Seroxat in children for the treatment of depressive illness do not outweigh these risks.

In the last year approximately 4 million prescriptions were issued and an estimated 8,000 patients under 18 years were treated with Seroxat.

Chairman of the Committee Professor Gordon Duff said:

"Seroxat is not licensed for use in children but we know it is used in this age group outside its licensed indications where prescribers make a judgement on their own responsibility that it is the right treatment for a particular patient. It is therefore important that doctors, patients and parents are aware of the new advice."

Seroxat is the tradename for the medicine paroxetine, which has been used successfully to treat depressive illness in millions of people worldwide over the last decade. The drug work by increasing the level of the chemical serotonin in the brain, which helps to alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Patients over 18 years and those who are benefiting from Seroxat should not be frightened into stopping their medication, according to Professor Ian Weller, Chairman of the Expert Group looking at the drug and other related medicines.

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