Generic Paxil Suicide Lawsuit

Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award Recipient (Twice)
Humanist, humorist

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Old article, but still worth a read

Drip Drip Drip - Paxil Info Leaks Out

by Evelyn Pringle

While researchers have acknowledged the potential for withdrawal reactions with all SSRIs, Paxil is by far the worst. Citing data from the World Health Organization, the lawsuit’s complaint states: “Paxil has the highest incidence rate of withdrawal adverse experiences of any antidepressant drug in the world.”

Secrecy agreements in litigation hide information about defective products or a company’s negligence, and sometimes go so far as to prohibit the parties from discussing that there ever was a lawsuit. Such is the case with Paxil and as a result, unwitting patients continued to take the drug long after its dangers were known to GlaxoSmithKline.

Many lawsuits filed against Glaxo have been settled out of court, with confidential agreements that prevent the public from knowing about the harmful effects of the Paxil.

Previously sealed documents and internal company memos suppressed with protective orders, prove that Glaxo knew about the problems with Paxil before it received FDA approval, but continued to sell the drug for over a decade without warning consumers.

Long overdue legislation is currently pending in both the US House of Representatives and the Senate known as Sunshine in Litigation Act of 2005, which basically says that a court shall not enter an order restricting the disclosure of information obtained through discovery, an order approving a settlement agreement that would restrict the disclosure of such information, or an order restricting access to court records in a civil case

Glaxo currently faces thousands of lawsuits over Paxil side effects related to addiction, dependence, and a severe withdrawal syndrome.

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) like Paxil, are not addictive in the sense that “an individual would mortgage their livelihoods and all they hold dear for further supplies of the drug,” according to Dr David Healy MD, FRCPsych, North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine

SSRIs can hook patients in the sense of making you “physically dependent,” he explains.

Dr Healy, is considered an expert on Paxil and has had access to confidential studies from the Glaxo archives. The common symptoms of withdrawal, he says, break down into two groups. The first group may be unlike anything you have had before, he warns, to include:

Muscle Spasms
Electric Shock-like Sensations
Other Strange Tingling or Painful Sensations
Nausea, Diarrhoea, Flatulence
Dreams, including Vivid Dreams

The second group overlaps with general nervousness, Dr Healy says, and may lead to you or your physician to think that all you have are features of your original problem. These symptoms include:

Lability of Mood
Flu-like Feelings
Insomnia or Drowsiness
Mood Swings
Feelings of Unreality
Feelings of being Hot or Cold

These symptoms appear in anywhere between 20% to 50% of patients taking SSRIs, Dr Healy says, sometimes within hours of the last dose.

In the class action case against Glaxo settled in 2005, In re: Paxil Products Liability Litigation, MDL No 1574, CD Calif, the plaintiffs were forever silenced by a strict confidentiality clause incorporated into the settlement agreement.

This author obtained a copy of the lawsuit’s complaint, dated August 23, 2001, as well as a copy of the settlement agreement with a secrecy clause that states in relevant part:

Plaintiffs and their attorneys, “will not make any statements, either directly or indirectly, by implication or innuendo, to anyone, including but not limited to consultants, experts, the press or media, concerning the amount or other terms of such settlement or settlements, or the nature and substance of settlement negotiations, or describing or characterizing the settlement in any way.”

Plaintiffs and their attorneys “will not, either directly or indirectly, publicize the fact of the settlement and that any inquiry into the settlement, its amount, meaning, interpretation or comparative value, or the negotiations leading to the settlement by anyone, including but not limited to the press or media, will be met only by a statement that the case has been resolved, and will decline any requests for interviews by the press or media regarding the settlement, its history or its terms.”

The clause even extends the internet specifically in that plaintiffs and attorneys “will not maintain and instead will discontinue any website references to Paxil discontinuation or withdrawal.”

And, it says, they “agree to refrain from any future internet postings regarding Paxil discontinuation or withdrawal.”

Paragraph 5 of the lawsuit’s complaint says that over a 2 years period, “plaintiffs' attorneys have been individually contacted by approximately 500 Paxil withdrawal victims.”

And, the pain and suffering experienced by each individual is the direct result of Glaxo’s “failure to warn users of Paxil’s addictive nature, the drug's inducement of physical or psychologic dependency, and its infliction of dependency/withdrawal syndrome when the patient's Paxil dosage is reduced or terminated,” the complaint states.

Paragraph 16, lists withdrawal reactions that “can summed up as one or more of the following complaints: jolting electric "zaps," dizziness, light headedness, vertigo, incoordination, gait disturbances, sweating, extreme nausea, vomiting, high fever, abdominal discomfort, flu symptoms, anorexia, diarrhea, agitation, tremulousness, irritability, aggression, sleep disturbance, nightmares, tremor, confusion, memory and concentration difficulties, lethargy, malaise, weakness, fatigue, paraesthesias, ataxia, and/or myalgia.”

Paragraph 7, says: “These reactions are "unexpected" to the victims and even their physicians because the manufacturer has deliberately failed to properly warn of this.”

“Both physician and patient unwittingly use Paxil without knowing the drug's addictive traits,” the complaint says.

Paragraph 8, charges that because Glaxo has suppressed the information, patients and physicians are fooled into thinking that the reactions are caused by another condition, such as relapse into depression, thus prompting incorrect and unnecessary medical treatment, including increased dosages of Paxil.

While researchers have acknowledged the potential for withdrawal reactions with all SSRIs, Paxil is by far the worst. Citing data from the World Health Organization, the lawsuit’s complaint states: “Paxil has the highest incidence rate of withdrawal adverse experiences of any antidepressant drug in the world.”

Starting in December 2001, Glaxo finally added a minimizing precaution to Paxil’s label of some possible "discontinuation" side effects affecting "2 percent or greater" of patients based on studies.

However, documents reveal that Glaxo has always known about the withdrawal syndrome. For instance, in 1993, in a report that occurred 5 months after Paxil arrived on the market, Stoker and Eric noted Paxil withdrawal at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting in San Francisco, May 22-27, 1993.

The authors of the study conducted 2 week tapering off periods for 186 patients in 6 to 12 week doubled blinded comparative studies. Low dose and high dose groups were studied. Paxil's low dose group actually did worse than the high dose group, suffering 42% withdrawal rate, compared to 38% in the high dose group. And, both occurred even though the tapering off regime was initiated during dosage reduction.

The lawsuit’s complaint specifically describes close to 10 studies that reveal a high rate of withdrawal symptoms since Paxil came on the market that Glaxo was fully aware of.

A fact well-evidenced in internal company documents. A previously suppressed, May 1, 1997, Glaxo memo to, “Paxil Selling Team,” on the “discontinuation syndrome,” defines the withdrawal syndrome as, "a class effect that can occur when an SSRI is stopped abruptly. Symptoms may include asthenia, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and sleep disturbances (insomnia, vivid dreams or nightmares)."

However, the memo instructs Glaxo sales representatives to avoid using the term and says: "instead of 'withdrawal syndrome,' which implies addictive properties, try to refer to this phenomenon as 'discontinuation symptoms.'"

Eight months later, in a December 1, 1997, "Business Plan Guide," sales representatives were instructed to "minimize concerns surrounding discontinuation symptoms," and told to explain to doctors that the "discontinuation incident rate is two in 1,000 patients."

However, according to a 1997 review, one study found that 25% of patients experienced at least one discontinuation symptoms, verses 5.9% taking a placebo. In another study of patients with major depression, 42% experienced at least 1 discontinuation symptom.

Another internal memo kept hidden with a protective order, states: “Discontinuation: why this is an issue,” followed by, “’97 Seroxat/Paxil sales to end Sept already exceed $1 Billion“.

This particular memo carries a cartoon-like picture of a big black money-bag.

In Paxil literature, Glaxo flat-out lied to patients and specifically said that the drug was not addictive. For example, a pamphlet made available at doctors’ offices and disseminated to patients, asked the question: “Is Paxil addictive?”

The pamphlet then states: “Paxil has been studied both in short-and long-term use and is not associated with dependence or addiction.”

The withdrawal syndrome is real and in fact, it is now known that infants of women who take SSRIs in the last 3 months of pregnancy, may experience symptoms of withdrawal, including convulsions, according to a study published in the February 4, 2005 issue of the journal Lancet.

Read full article here

Read the new book, The Evidence, However, Is Clear...The Seroxat Scandal



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