FDA is currently reviewing reports of an increased risk of suicidal thinking and suicide attempts related to the use of the drug Paxil in children and adolescents under the age of 18 with MDD. Although FDA has not completed this evaluation, we are recommending that Paxil not be used in the treatment of pediatric MDD. There is no evidence that Paxil is effective in children or adolescents with MDD.
It is very important that children and adolescents not stop taking Paxil suddenly, as there is a risk of discontinuation effects. Caretakers of children and adolescents currently taking Paxil should consult their doctor to discuss the best course of action. If they are doing well on Paxil, their doctor may advise that they complete their course of treatment. If their doctor advises that Paxil should be stopped, this should be done gradually to minimize the risk of discontinuation effects. If the dose is not reduced gradually, there is a greater chance of experiencing side effects. If severe unwanted side effects occur, it may be necessary to start taking Paxil again or increase the dose before subsequently decreasing the dose more gradually.
Three well-controlled clinical trials carried out in children (under 18 years of age) with MDD compared the effect of Paxil and placebo (sugar pills) and found that Paxil did not work any better than placebo in the treatment of MDD.
Based on the results of the new analyses of safety data from pediatric studies, it was found that certain possibly suicide-related behaviors, including suicidal thoughts and attempts, were more common in children receiving Paxil. The risk of these events in the study was about 3 times greater with Paxil compared to placebo. There were no deaths in these trials.
The FDA has not approved Paxil for the treatment of MDD or any other indication in pediatric patients. However, the FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine and physicians may use a drug in ways other than indicated on the labeling when, in their professional judgment, it is warranted in a particular case.
Paxil has not been approved for use in children under the age of 18 for any indication, but your child may have been prescribed Paxil for an off-label use. As stated above, physicians may use a drug in ways other than indicated on the labeling when, in their professional judgment, it is warranted in a particular case. If your child is taking Paxil, you should consult with your doctor before making any changes. It is very important that Paxil not be stopped abruptly since discontinuation effects may occur.
Paxil is approved for use in adults for the following indications: major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Extensive analyses of the data from studies of Paxil in adults and from postmarketing adverse event reports have not revealed an increase in the rate of suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts compared to placebo.
It is vital that patients are not panicked into stopping their medication suddenly. The advice to adults using Paxil has not changed. Paxil has been demonstrated to be effective in treatment of major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder in adults. Anyone taking Paxil who is feeling unwell or is concerned about the treatment should consult his or her doctor.
Childhood depression is different from adult depression. The reasons are not clear but could relate to the continuing development of the child’s brain. It has been difficult to show effectiveness in children of antidepressants known to work in adults and a number of effective adult antidepressants have not been shown to work in childhood depression Children may also react very differently to some medicines and some side effects over a range of drugs are seen in children that are not seen in adults.
However, the Agency has not yet definitively determined that there is an increased risk of suicidal behavior in pediatric patients with MDD treated with Paxil.
Prozac (fluoxetine) is the only drug approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder in children. It is approved in children 8 to 18 years of age.
Paxil (paroxetine) is one of a class of medicines called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs increase the activity of an important brain chemical called serotonin, a chemical know to be deficient in patients with MDD.
Paxil was first approved in the United States on December 29, 1992, for the treatment of depression.
FDA/Center for Drug Evaluation and