Paxil Information and Warnings

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) approved for treatment of depression and several related disorders in adults. Paxil is not approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for treatment of children, because studies presented to the FDA have not shown that Paxil is effective for treating children under 18.

Paxil has been implicated in several serious and often life-threatening side effects including suicide, birth defects, and terrible withdrawal symptoms in patients and infants whose mothers took Paxil during pregnancy. A March 2006 study linked Paxil and other SSRIs to a new form of birth defect. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that infants born to mothers who took SSRIs, including Paxil, in the last half of their pregnancies were 6 times more likely to develop persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN). Infants with PPHN don’t get enough oxygen and require intensive care to survive. Around 10 to 20 percent die soon after birth and some survivors suffer from deafness and neurological problems.

A 2005 FDA warning also implicated Paxil in congenital malformations. (See Drug Warnings: Paxil Side Effects and Risks) Two studies in 2005 indicated that Paxil was more likely to cause side effects than other drugs in the SSRI category. A September 2005 study presented to the FDA showed that there was a higher risk of major congenital malformations in infants whose mothers took Paxil during the first trimester of pregnancy than with other SSRIs.

Paxil, along with all the other SSRIs has been linked with suicide and suicidal thoughts in children, adolescents, and adults. An August 2005 study from Norway found that Paxil presented a higher risk of suicide in adults than other drugs.

Paxil and other SSRI drugs are often prescribed under the American Psychiatric Association treatment guidelines, which say, “most moderately and severely depressed patients will require medication.” A 2005 study led by Pennsylvania psychologist Robert DeRubeis and Steven Hollon from Vanderbilt, has challenged this assumption. Their study found that cognitive therapy was as effective and lasted longer than treatment with SSRI drugs in depressed patients. Most of the patients in the study took SSRIs received Paxil. DeRubeis and Hollon recommend that the American Psychiatric Association revise its treatment guidelines.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 showed that there were several negative studies showing that antidepressants are not significantly successful in treating depression, but that these studies were either usually not published in the U.S. or were published with misleading results. Because this information has been withheld from doctors and the public, they have been unable to make informed choices about whether antidepressants like Paxil are worth the many risks.

If you’re taking Paxil, you may want to consult with your health care provider about alternative therapies. If you’re pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, consult with your health care provider immediately about possible birth defects. If you or a family member has been injured from using Paxil, you may be entitled to damages. See Paxil Attorney and Lawyer – How to Hire for more information on finding a qualified Paxil attorney to evaluate your case.

Check out the following articles for more information about Paxil, filing a Paxil lawsuit and finding a Paxil attorney:

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