|Talk to your doctor, it's not a Glaxo problem.|
I think that I am familiar with the fact that you are going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and BITES YOU ON THE ASS!
Quote from the movie JAWS
I was recently contacted by a reader, who was desperate for any sort of help, guidance or advice that I could offer her to help her through her horrific Seroxat withdrawal. She was in a terrible state and had tried every possible avenue to seek intelligent advice on how to withdraw from Seroxat safely.
She wishes to remain anonymous, reasons for which shall become clear as you read the following. Her name has, for the purpose of this article, been changed to "Zoe".
Zoe was prescribed Seroxat 11 years ago after she had suffered an upheaval in her life and Seroxat was deemed to be the drug that could help. She was extremely concerned at the time about taking anything that would be addictive and was told Seroxat was NOT addictive and safe enough for children, she would be able to stop in a few months when she was feeling better.
ZOE HAS SPENT THE LAST 11 YEARS TRYING TO COME OFF SEROXAT.
Now in her 30’s and desperate to start a family she has forced herself to go through the horrors of Seroxat withdrawal in a desperate attempt to take her life back and enable her to have a safe pregnancy, only too aware of the horror stories of so many other poor women whose babies have been born with serious and life threatening heart conditions.
When she drops her dose the physical and mental side effects she experiences are debilitating and she is literally left in shock . She found her doctor and psychiatrist could offer no satisfactory answers or help, so in her desperation she reached for the phone and called GlaxoSmithKline [GSK]. ‘They must be able to help me, they are the makers of the drug’, she thought.
Because Zoe had made various accusations regarding Seroxat being addictive she was later contacted by one of GSK's lawyers. He, at first, seemed concerned and mentioned that they [GSK] could possibly set up an appointment with their own neurologist but Zoe should give permission for them to look through her doctor's notes. The lawyer said that GSK would confirm this in writing for her.
A week went by which saw Zoe go through another hellish withdrawal episode, in a phone conversation I had with Zoe she was sobbing and had thoughts of just 'ending it all'. We spoke for a while and I explained to her that what she was feeling was probably down to the side-effects of Seroxat withdrawal. I told her of my time tapering and of other countless stories regarding patients trying desperately to taper of GSK's wonder drug.
Zoe also contacted the MHRA to ask for advice, she was told to "talk to her doctor". She also asked them for a meeting with Kent Woods, the MHRA CEO, and spoke to a member of the MHRA who said he was very concerned and was going to get back to her at the early part of the next week regarding the meeting… She has not heard back from them since! They have made no contact when they promised they would…a really caring "independent body" aren’t they?
I told Zoe two things regarding the MHRA:
1.She won't get her meeting with Kent Woods.
2.The MHRA are a complete waste of space.
A letter from GSK soon arrived, the crux of which was that they [GSK] were unable to discuss her personal experience regarding her withdrawal, they quoted the Code of Practice of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry [ABPI] whilst adding, "..this does not allow us to provide advice on personal medical matters to individual members of the public so that we do not intervene in the doctor/patient relationship by offering advice which properly should be in the domain of your doctor."
I must admit, I had to laugh.
On page 132 of my book, 'The evidence, however, is clear...the Seroxat scandal', I write about how I was sent a response from GSK when I had asked them if Seroxat was a teratogen. They wrote back quoting the Code of Practice of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry [ABPI] whilst adding, "..this does not allow us to provide advice on personal medical matters to individual members of the public so that we do not intervene in the doctor/patient relationship by offering advice which properly should be in the domain of your doctor."
Can you see a pattern forming here of utter contempt?
Here we have a patient who has tried everything to get off Seroxat. To be sent a letter from the manufacturers of the drug, that basically is shirking its responsibility, is nothing short of callous.
Zoe telephoned the lawyer whom she had previously spoken with, his secretary answered but for some reason would not give her name, citing that she was not allowed to. The lawyer was in a meeting so could not take Zoe's call.
Zoe phoned back an hour or so later. The woman, who had previously told Zoe that she was not allowed to divulge her name, answered the phone by announcing her name!
Quite a game GSK play isn't it?
She eventually spoke with the same lawyer. He told her Seroxat was not addictive and that GSK were not brushing her aside, he told her to talk to her doctor and if he [her doctor] had questions he was to write to GSK to get the answers. Quite an astonishing request considering the drain on the National Health Service.
Don't you just love how GSK operate?
Here we have a woman desperate for help. Her doctor and psychiatrist do not know how to tell Zoe to taper off Seroxat without having to go through the side effects that follow each dosage drop, why would they? No such protocol exists because Glaxo have convinced doctors and psychiatrists that Seroxat isn't addictive. Furthermore, Zoe wishes to start a family, Glaxo won't help her get off their drug, instead they place her on a merry-go-round that isn't very merry at all. She is right to seek help coming off, it would be very unwise to fall pregnant whilst on Seroxat, Glaxo know that, so do the MHRA, yet Seroxat still carries no warning regarding the fact that it is a known teratogen. She contacts GSK and is advised by a lawyer!, I use the word 'advised' loosely. Was this lawyer a doctor, has he ever had training in the medical field or was he told what to say by Glaxo officials?
Zoe and I have discussed a tapering regime, I have also offered her some advice on how to combat the electric zaps that rip through her body on each dosage drop, information on the history of GSK and Seroxat was also given to her. We remain in touch and I strive to help her pick up the pieces, something Glaxo should be doing but they clearly don't seem to give a hoot about one of their consumers.
Interestingly, during one of her conversations with the GSK lawyer, Zoe mentioned that there was a case [litigation] against GSK regarding Seroxat withdrawal. The lawyer told her that there will be an announcement about the litigation in a few months, it’ll be all over the papers and in the news apparently !
Really? I'm all ears Mr Lawyer man!
Zoe and I continue to work on getting her off Seroxat.
This woman is a very strong lady, she’s a tough cookie and will definitely beat this drug. I’d say when this one’s fully recovered from the evils of Seroxat - GSK may find they have a new campaigner in town and by hook or crook I'll be standing right by her side.
GlaxoSmithKline proudly boast on their website that they are a "leading healthcare company that helps people to do more, feel better and live longer."
Back Stories regarding UK Seroxat litigation:
GlaxoSmithKline/MHRA - When Ignorance Turns To Bliss - Part I of IV
GlaxoSmithKline/MHRA - When Ignorance Turns To Bliss - Part II of IV - Witness For The Defence
GlaxoSmithKline/MHRA - When Ignorance Turns To Bliss - Part III of IV - Expert Statistician
GlaxoSmithKline/MHRA - When Ignorance Turns To Bliss - Part IV - The Colour of Money
Court documents from Seroxat birth litigation trial.
KILKER v GLAXOSMITHKLINE COURT DOCUMENTS
Notes of Meeting I had with MHRA to discuss withdrawal from SSRi's
Note of the meeting with Bob Fiddaman [PDF]