The benefits of taking the anti-depressant drug Paxil have always been marginal at best and the serious consequences of it’s side effects have been either misrepresented or downplayed. When an initial study of the now-popular antidepressant was conducted on 100 patients with depression-related psychological issues, patients were given 3 different pills and the results of their mood recorded. The first group was given Paxil. The second group was given the existing leading prescription antidepressant, and a third group given a placebo. Results of the study concluded that there was no discernible difference in a standard depression questionnaire given all of the patients. Paxil did rate better on another test of mood measures but this was only on a secondary level.
As a result of this study and alot of “marketing spin” on the study’s results, Paxil was able to become the drug of choice for physicians and as demand post 2001 surged for antidepressants for young people, prescriptions surged by 36% from 2002-2003. Once the study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry however, the results of the study and the glaring omissions of the drug’s dangerous side effects came under closer scrutiny. Those analyzing the study concluded that the results were “not at all convincing and that serious side effects had been played down.” In addition, there is ample indication that evidence and inferences to the drug’s serious side effects were misrepresented by the study.
The study concluded that in 5 of 6 events that were labeled as “emotional liability” included suicidal thinking or suicidal behavior, but were not presented as such. Although no actual suicides occurred, there were a number of suicide-related incidences by the patients ranging from an overdose of Tylenol (taking 80 tablets), to Paxil overdoses after stressful events like arguing with a parent.
While no actual suicide statics are available, doctors analyzing the study feel that the benefits of taking the drug have been overstated, and that the increased suicidal tendencies of several of the younger patients in the study warrant the release of data on a “patient-level” to see if others were negatively effected by the drug and have had increased suicidal tendencies.