Study Results: ICU Patients Who Take Paxil May Be More Likely to Die

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants like Paxil (paroxetine) have come under scrutiny many times over the last few decades. Approved by the FDA in 1992 to treat depression, panic disorders, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post traumatic disorder, Paxil was later linked with serious side effects including suicidal thoughts and actions in teenagers and young adults, as well as the increased risk of Paxil birth defects when taken by pregnant women.

Now, a recent study presents more concerning evidence regarding the use of Paxil in critically ill patients under intensive care. Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge found that patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) who took SSRIs like Paxil prior to admission were 73 percent more likely to die within a year than those who did not take antidepressants.

Manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline has already paid out over $1 billion to resolve each Paxil lawsuit claiming serious side effects from the drug. A Paxil lawyer is likely to use the results from this latest study to support arguments against the safety of the drug, particularly in certain populations.

Study Shows Increased Risk in Patients Taking Paxil

Researchers presented the study on May 22, 2012, at the American Thoracic Society’s International Conference in San Francisco. Their data was based on a retrospective review of over 10,500 patients who were placed in ICU. A little over 1,800 of them had prescriptions for antidepressants, including SSRIs like Paxil, and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like Cymbalta.

According to the study results, those taking antidepressants were 73 percent more likely to die, either in the hospital or during the first year following their time in the ICU, than those who weren’t.

In addition, those patients suffering from certain heart conditions were twice as likely to die in the ICU if they were taking antidepressants, compared to those who weren’t. Patients with other illnesses, such as bacterial infections, who were also taking antidepressants, experienced no such increase in mortality.

Are the Antidepressants to Blame?

The researchers are quick to point out that this study does not prove that the antidepressants caused the early deaths. The depression itself, or other factors—such as smoking—could also play a role in increasing mortality. They did note, however, that there definitely is a clear association, and stated that though antidepressants have health benefits, the long-term risks are unknown.

More Women Filing a Paxil Lawsuit

In October 2004, the FDA required that all antidepressant medications, including Paxil, add new “black box” warnings to their product labels, alerting physicians and the public to the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and adolescents. Later, in December 2005, the agency alerted healthcare professionals and patients about early results of new studies with Paxil, suggesting an increase in Paxil birth defects—particularly heart defects—for those women taking it during the first three months of pregnancy.

In July 2006, the agency issued a public health advisory warning physicians about studies that had shown a link between SSRI antidepressants like Paxil, and Paxil birth defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension of a newborn. Later studies indicated a link between SSRIs and other Paxil birth defects, including abdominal, cranial, and limb malformations.

Meanwhile, the number of women seeking the advice of a Paxil lawyer has increased substantially, with claims concerning Paxil birth defects centralized in Philadelphia, and proceeding in other courts around the nation.

A Paxil Lawyer Can Help

Chaffin Luhana has years of experience in fighting for the rights of those injured by medical drugs of devices. If you or someone you loved has suffered from serious Paxil side effects, or if you have had a child with Paxil birth defects, you need to understand your rights. A successful Paxil lawsuit could result in monetary compensation. For a free and confidential cause evaluation, contact Chaffin Luhana LLP at 1-888-480-1123.

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