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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Paxil Changes Your Personality


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I can't argue with the title to this post. Paxil [Seroxat] does indeed change your personality.

It appears that it changes it for the good, if a recent study is to be believed.

The study, 'Personality Change During Depression Treatment' appeared in the Archives of General Psychiatry - Vol. 66 No. 12, December 2009.

In a nutshell, the study found no significant differences between the two active treatments, the SSRI paroxetine [Paxil/Seroxat] and cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT]. But both paroxetine and the CBT treatment outperformed placebo in changing depression, neuroticism, and extraversion scores significantly. [1]

Peter D. Kramer, the psychiatrist and author of the 1993 book 'Listening to Prozac,' has said that he felt "vindicated" by this newly published study. The LA Times reports that Kramer thought this study might have been funded by the makers of Paxil/Seroxat, GlaxoSmithKline. However, to back up his [vindication] the LA Times reports that the study was funded by Northwestern University initially, and then continued under a pair of grants from the National Institute of Mental Health.

So, all seems well in Peter Kramer's world - he feels vindicated that this study has proved him right.

Let's try not to rain on Kramer's parade here... I prefer the term 'Piss on one's cornflakes.

On Monday December 1st, 2003, Emory University, GlaxoSmithKline, and National Institute of Mental Health Create Partnership announced that they were going to develop new treatments for depression.

Wait a minute... The National Institute of Mental Health?

The same institute that continued the 'Personality Change During Depression Treatment' study?

Yes, you read correct folks.

Strange that Kramer doesn't mention this whilst blowing his own trumpet at his vindication.

We all know of Emory University and their connections with GlaxoSmithKline and Paxil/Seroxat don't we?

Here, Emory researchers found Paxil/Seroxat improved memory and brain structure in people with post traumatic stress disorders.

More worryingly, here, we find that Charles Nemeroff, prominent Emory University psychiatrist, failed to tell the Emory officials about $500,000 he received from GlaxoSmithKline while heading a government-funded research project studying Glaxo drugs.

I think we can safely say there is a conflict of interest here.

But what of The National Institute of Mental Health?

Well, scientists from Emory University School of Medicine, GlaxoSmithKine (GSK), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have worked together since 2003 to accelerate the development of drugs to treat depression and other mood disorders. They were funded through a $4.9 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.

When I hear of Paxil/Seroxat being heralded as this or that, I tend to think there is a conflict of interest. It's a risk vs benefit thing with me you see. I like to weigh up the evidence that is out there and not the evidence we are just told to accept.

Kramer conveniently forgets to mention the on-going partnership between GSK, Emory and the National Institute of Mental Health.

See for yourselves here

Maybe Kramer just didn't know?

Enjoy those cornflakes.


[1] Personality Change During Depression Treatment


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