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Press Release
Royal College of Psychiatrists reacts to ban on use of Seroxat in the treatment of depressive illness in children and adolescents under 18 years

The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes the clear advice from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency banning the use of Seroxat in children and adolescents under the age of 18 in the treatment of depressive illness.

We shall ensure that this advice is disseminated to our membership promptly.

Depressive illness in children and adolescents is a very serious illness which has been under-recognised for many years and which presents a considerable challenge given the paucity of evidence of the effectiveness of any treatments. There is some suggestion that the failure to treat depression in children may lead to life-long disabilities and disturbed relationships.

The College has been concerned for many years about ‘off-licence’* prescribing of anti-depressant medication for under 18s and we have raised these concerns with the Department of Health.

Currently the National Institute for Clinical Excellence has asked the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health to undertake a full review of the treatment of depression in children. Work is already underway and will be reporting in 2004. The Collaborating Centre (which includes the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ and British Psychological Society’s Research Units) will be reporting very early next year on the use of the drugs and the treatment of depressive illness.

For further information or a press copy of the full article, contact Deborah Hart or Thomas Kennedy in the External Affairs Department. Tel: 020 7235 2351 exts. 127 or 154. E-mail:

*Off-licence: These are drugs which are not licensed for use in children; this does not mean that they cannot be used by clinicians for treating children, but no drug companies are allowed to advertise for such use.