Warnings have been sounded about the possible suicidal side effects of common antidepressants. Researchers analysed the results of 16 trials involving the drug paroxetine (Seroxat) - one in a class of drugs known as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) - used by adult patients. Experts have already warned that the drug is not suitable for children and adolescents due to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts.
Now the latest study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, suggests that these warnings should also be extended to adults.
But GlaxoSmithKline, makers of Seroxat, said it own extensive research showed that the benefits of using the medication outweighed the risks.
Last year the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's (MHRA) Committee on Safety of Medicines reviewed the safety of SSRIs. Their report concluded that a modest increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and self-harm for SSRIs could not be ruled out, but the benefits for adults outweighed the risks.
In the latest study researchers from the University of Oslo looked at trials involving patients given either paroxetine or a dummy pill.
Dr. Ivar Aursnes and colleagues carried out a statistical analysis of all the results, taking into account the length of time patients were on the drugs, Ananova.com reports.
The studies included 916 patients on paroxetine and 550 patients on placebo. Overall the researchers found there were seven suicide attempts in the group on paroxetine, and only one in the placebo group.