Further concerns about the potential for GlaxoSmithKline’s antidepressant Paxil/Seroxat (paroxetine) to trigger suicidal side effects have been raised this morning, after a paper in the Norwegian Biomed Central journal said concerns of suicidality should be extended to adults.

Doctors are already prevented from prescribing Seroxat – as it is known in the UK – and other members of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class to treat depression in children and adolescents because of a link with suicidal behaviour [[06/12/04a]], [[18/10/04b]]. But GSK will be unhappy to hear that this news has resurfaced, particularly after Europe’s scientific advisory body, the CHMP, last December gave the all-clear to Seroxat and stressed that the compound's benefits outweigh its risks when used by adults [[10/12/04a]].

The UK’s drug regulator – the MHRA – was quick to counter the concerns, and reiterated that it although it could not “rule out a modest increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and self-harm for SSRIs compared with placebo…there is insufficient evidence from clinical trial data to conclude that there is any marked difference between members of the class of SSRIs, or between SSRIs and other antidepressants, with respect to their influence on suicidal behaviour.”

However, the issue is not going to go away, and the US Food and Drug Administration is set to convene an advisory committee meeting within the next few months to assess the risk of suicide amongst adults using SSRIs [[31/05/05g]].