Glaxo launched Seroxat in direct competition to Eli Lilly's Prozac. Lilly, being Lilly, saw this as a threat. So battle did commence.
According to this recently surfaced internal file, GlaxoSmithKline [then SmithKline Beecham] knew of two studies that Lilly had carried out, those studies showed that Seroxat showed significantly higher rates of withdrawal problems when compared to Prozac.
How did GSK handle this?
Well, instead of addressing Lilly's findings they decided to play down the issue of Seroxat withdrawal. The fact that Seroxat withdrawal problems were significantly higher than Prozac saw Glaxo's team pull together the following plan.
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You will note the date of the letter is July 1997, that's 14 years ago.
Let's catapult to present day, 2011, and an article I ran with on June 19.
GlaxoSmithKline UK had been contacted by a patient because she was at her wits end. She had, for some years, being struggling to withdraw from Seroxat. This was frustrating because she wanted to start a family and she knew the possible consequences of trying for a baby whilst hooked on Seroxat. Seroxat is a teratogen for those of you that don't know - The British drug regulator, the MHRA won't admit that it is though.
14 years on and, it appears, Glaxo still don't want to address the issue of Seroxat withdrawal. The woman who contacted them was told, not by Glaxo but by one of their lawyers, that Seroxat was not addictive and that she should "talk to her doctor."
The fact that this woman had already spoken with her doctor, who had no idea how to tell her to taper or how long it would take, seemed irrelevant to GlaxoSmithKline's lawyer!
"Zoe's" full story can be read HERE.
With Glaxo refusing to acknowledge those that suffer serious withdrawal problems at the hands of their product, we have a cluster of people who have been thrown onto the scrap heap. In a previously unseen BBC transcript  from Panorama, Glaxo's Alastair Benbow told investigative journalist, Shelley Jofre, that Seroxat was not addictive, in fact he went one step further and said that people could stop taking Seroxat anytime they wanted, adding, "It is true that a proportion of patients may develop symptoms on stopping the drug. These are generally mild to moderate in nature."
It took me almost two years to quit Seroxat. For Benbow to suggest that my withdrawal was possibly mild to moderate in nature is seen as an insult. To suggest that "Zoe", the woman who featured in my June article, is possibly suffering only mild to moderate withdrawal also smacks of someone who has a characteristic of being conceited. Mine and "Zoe's" withdrawal are just two stories. Here's just a minuscule of other withdrawal comments left by people who have signed the Online Paxil Petition.
I've recently stopped taking Paxil after 18 months and have experienced many of the side effects associated with withdrawal - hot flashes, electrical "zaps", inability to concentrate, weight gain, dizziness, headaches, etc., etc., Had I been aware of these withdrawal horrors, I would have requested that my physician prescribe another medication.
I am going through hell trying to get off of this drug. I've been on it for 4 years - tried to get off of it twice, unsuccessfully, and am now trying a 3rd time. Each time I get so sick, I give in and start taking it again so that I can function. I never would have taken this drug if I would have known the consequences.
Very sick with electrical charges in head when trying to quite. This is like being addicted to hard core drugs. The manufacture needs to have a plan to withdraw people who take this. I have been sick for at least 2-3 days every time I try to decrease the dose. It's been a horrible experience. I want off this drug and no one seems to know how to stop it without getting sick.
There are more to read HERE, in fact over 10,000 more.
Glaxo's Alastair Benbow is aware of the voices on the Internet, in 2002 he had this to say to Shelley Jofre:
"...we cannot be driven by anecdote; we have to be driven by facts."
On being asked how long patients have to taper when coming off Seroxat, Benbow replied:
"That depends on the dose of Seroxat that the patient is on. In the majority of cases, if you are on one of the higher doses, it will only take a matter of weeks."
Maybe Benbow still remembers the 'plan' his employers set out in 1997 to basically debunk the withdrawal problems of Seroxat?
ORDER THE PAPERBACK
'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
US & CANADA HERE OR UK FROM CHIPMUNKA PUBLISHING
AUSTRALIAN ORDERS HERE
Previously Unseen Paxil GlaxoSmithKline Court Documents Part I