Saturday, March 13, 2004

Antidepressant medication

Richard Brook, The chief executive of Mind, the mental health charity, has resigned from a review of modern antidepressant drugs, accusing the British medicines regulatory body of negligence reports the Guardian.

His resignation came in protest at what he considered a cover-up by the regulators, after months of pressure on him not to reveal the review's findings that Seroxat has for years been prescribed by doctors in an unsafe dose and that the regulators had the evidence in their possession for more than 10 years.

He was warned in a letter last Monday from the MHRA that he could risk prosecution under the Medicines Act 1968, which protects the commercial confidentiality of information from drug trials.

But Lord Warner, the health minister, to whom Mr Brook had expressed his concerns, intervened, and on Thursday the CSM put out a "reminder" to all doctors that they should prescribe Seroxat only at the recommended dose, which is 20mg. Last year 17,000 people were put on a higher dose by their doctors, running the risk of increased side-effects, which some have alleged include agitation and thoughts of violence and suicide.

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