Wednesday, November 28, 2012

GlaxoSmithKline's Requip and Paxil in the Dock



British pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, have just been ordered to pay almost €200,000 [$260,000 US] to a man who claimed that Requip [ropinirole] turned him into a sex and gambling addict.

Requip, a drug to help with Parkinson's disease, carries many side effects which can include hypersexuality and compulsive gambling, even in patients without a prior history of these behaviours [1]

Didier Jambart, writes thejournal.ie, had suffered side effects after being administered the drug Requip in 2003 for the illness, which causes tremors, slows movement and disrupts speech.

“It’s a great day,” he said. “It’s been a seven-year battle with our limited means for recognition of the fact that GSK lied to us and shattered our lives.”


In other news, a US jury has awarded $1.5 million to the family of a man who committed suicide.

Joseph Mazella, a 51 year old high school basketball coach and teacher, had been prescribed GlaxoSmithKline's antidepressant, Paxil. Strangely, Mazella was on the medication for 10 years in which time he never once saw his prescribing physician, William Beals, M.D.

On Aug. 9, 2009 Mazella and his wife contacted Beals who magically made a diagnosis over the telephone before doubling Mazella's Paxil dosage from 20mg to 40mg and also adding Zyprexa.

Story continues here

Comment

Here we have two cases which, in essence, pretty much amount to the same in as much that two people were given psychiatric drugs that made them do things that they really had no intention of doing.

I'm currently reading Joseph Glenmullen's book, "Prozac Backlash" to try and get a better understanding of the serotonin-dopamine connection.

Glenmullen writes:

"Dopamine is a close chemical partner of serotonin. A large body of research over decades has implicated dopamine, not serotonin, in these disorders, regardless of whether or not they are caused by medications or by diseases such as Parkinsons...

"As reports of these side effects occuring with the Prozac group (SSRi's) have mounted, researchers have been puzzled by the question of how drugs that boost serotonin could cause side effects usually linked to dopamine.

"Working out the full details of the serotonin-dopamine connection may take decades or more. Meanwhile, we are left with the clinical reality of these serious side effects, which in some cases are devastating. The unfortunate irony is that drugs heavily promoted as correcting unproven biochemical imbalances may, in fact, be causing imbalances and brain damage."

The promotion of SSRi's such as Paxil has seen pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars on promoting products that they really know nothing about. Withdrawal reactions to SSRi's and reports of suicide are downplayed by pharmaceutical spokespersons and key opinion leaders, who, ironically, are paid vast amounts of dollars by pharmaceutical companies to promote the use of SSRi's.

In the six or so years I was taking Seroxat [Paxil] I did many things that I wouldn't have done if I had not taken it. I look back now and wonder if a; Seroxat induced these thoughts and b; if my brain has been damaged by long term use of Seroxat.

Will I and the millions of others who have, at some point, taken an SSRi be more prone to develop Parkinson's or Huttingdon's disease?

Only time will tell.

That's some price to pay for taking a pill that was apparently safe and effective, huh?


[1] Bostwick JM, Hecksel KA, Stevens SR, Bower JH, Ahlskog JE (2009). "Frequency of new-onset pathologic compulsive gambling or hypersexuality after drug treatment of idiopathic Parkinson disease".  [Link]