Antidepressant gamble is risk to children
Posted Monday 29 January 2007
Commenting ahead of Panorama: Secrets of the Drugs Trials Sophie Corlett, policy director at mental health charity Mind, called for greater powers for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA):
"Thousands of young people have been prescribed Seroxat since its side effects were first exposed several years ago. Companies making powerful psychiatric drugs should act with the highest standards of propriety, but these emails show GlaxoSmithKline appears to have been playing Russian roulette with the lives of young people.
The regulator needs greater clout to police pharmaceutical companies still getting away with selling drugs without sufficient regulation. It needs the power and determination to make drug companies accountable and insist on complete transparency when it comes to patient safety.
Mind's research with Panorama in 2003 found that SSRI-type antidepressants have been particularly associated with suicidal feelings and self-harm. Yet Seroxat is still prescribed to young people even though its use in under 18s is specifically recommended against.
Many doctors say they have been forced to prescribe drugs for patients with anxiety and depression when the guidelines say they should refer them for talking treatments, but these simply aren't available in much of the country. We know that this frustrates clinicians as much as it does patients. A recent Mind poll of GP practices confirmed the existence of a postcode lottery of therapy provision, with waits of up to four years in some areas. This is nowhere near good enough."
If you have concerns about medication you should get as much information and support as you can, and involve your doctor wherever possible. If you are considering withdrawing from your medication, you may like to read the Mind booklet Making sense of coming off psychiatric drugs.
Mind has also published a booklet on How to cope with suicidal feelings.
1) Panorama: Secrets of the Drug Trials, 8.30pm Monday 29 Jan, BBC One
2) In 2004, Mind's former Chief Executive, Richard Brook, resigned from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's expert working group on Seroxat over its failure to protect consumers from potentially harmful doses of Seroxat.
3) Mind, along with other mental health charities, recently published the We Need To Talk report, calling on the Government to make greater provision for the recommended talking therapies on the NHS. www.weneedtotalk.org.uk