In February 1998, only two days after being prescribed Paxil, a popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), to treat his depression, Wyoming resident Donald Schell abrubtly and without warning murdered his wife, his daughter, and his 9 month old granddaughter, then committed suicide.
Just over three years later, a jury ruled that drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline had been aware of the potentially deadly psychological effects of Paxil, and had not sufficiently warned doctors and patients of those risks. The court awarded Mr. Schell’s surviving family members $6.4 million in damages from the drug maker.
Paxil, approved by the FDA for the US market in 1993, has been the subject of numerous lawsuits to date, filed by grieving families, injured patients, and even by the state of New York.
In 2004, New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer filed suit against GlaxoSmithKline, alleging that the company intentionally withheld data from four of five studies of Paxil’s effects on children. The publicized study showed mixed results, while the four unpublicized studies all showed that not only did Paxil increase the rate of suicide and suicidal behaviors in children taking the drug, but that the drug had no benefit in alleviating the signs of depression it is prescribed to treat.
Although Paxil was not indicated for use by children and adolescents, it is alleged that the company encouraged physicians to prescribe the drug for youngsters as well as adults, without informing the doctors of the serious side effects, or the lack of evidence that the drug worked to alleviate depression.
New York State won the judgment, requiring GlaxoSmithKline to make public all of the data from the studies they were found guilty of concealing. According to Spitzer as quoted in the New York Times, however, these concessions do little to resolve the core problem: “”Nobody should believe that we think this is a panacea and that there will be perfect understanding of testing and clinical variables.”
Paxil’s Deadly Side Effects
Like many other SSRIs, Paxil has been linked to a disturbingly long list of potentially dangerous and even deadly side effects, including:
- Emotional instability and violent behaviors
- Dependency and withdrawal symptoms
- Severe birth defects and premature birth
- Mania, anxiety, and restlessness
- Muscle spasms
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Akathisia (a severe form of restlessness)
- Akinesia (temporary muscle paralysis, frequently accompanied by intense pain)
- Malaise (bodily discomfort) and pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Syncope (fainting)
This is only a partial list of some of the many reported side effects. Paxil, like many other SSRIs, has been linked to a host of problems, both physical and psychological.
Options for Victims of Paxil
If you or a loved one have suffered from these or other side effects of Paxil—particularly if you were not sufficiently warned of the potentially deadly side effects of this little understood medication—you and your family deserve to be compensated for your injuries.
GlaxoSmithKline knowingly promoted Paxil knowing that it was dangerous and potentially deadly, and knowing that it was ineffective for certain types of patient. The patients and their families who suffered because of
GlaxoSmithKline’s decision deserve competent legal representation from a qualified, experienced pharmaceutical injury attorney who can represent their interests and get them the compensation they deserve.
Contact a pharmaceutical injury lawyer in your area today to review your case and get your family started on the road to recovery.