Amid increasing concerns about the safety of popular SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant drugs like Paxil and Zoloft, the findings of a new study question the effectiveness of using second-generation antidepressants as a treatment for anxiety disorders. If you used Paxil or another popular SSRI antidepressant drug, and you have since experienced serious side effects, or if you took an SSRI drug during pregnancy and your child was born with a devastating birth defect, consult our product liability attorneys at Bandas Law Firm to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a drug injury claim against the manufacturing company, in order to pursue financial compensation for your losses.
SSRIS MAY BE NO MORE USEFUL THAN A PLACEBO
In this new antidepressant study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry on March 30, researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands suggest that claims that SSRI antidepressants can effectively treat anxiety disorders are influenced by publication bias and outcome reporting bias. According to the researchers, even though SSRI drugs may play some role in treating generalized anxiety disorder and similar conditions, the effectiveness of the medications has been overestimated. The researchers went so far as to say that, in some cases, the drugs may be no more useful in treating anxiety disorders than a placebo.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS OF SSRI ANTIDEPRESSANTS
Antidepressant medications like Paxil and Zoloft are widely used throughout the United States to treat depression and other conditions, like anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety. In recent years, the use of SSRI antidepressant drugs has skyrocketed, and research shows that the medications are mostly prescribed by non-specialists in a primary care setting. The fact that the drugs may not be an effective treatment for certain conditions is alarming, considering the serious side effects that have been linked to the use of antidepressant drugs, particularly the potential risk for birth defects among babies exposed to SSRIs in pregnancy.
BIASES IN PUBLICATION AND OUTCOME REPORTING
The researchers involved in this latest antidepressant study identified publication bias as one of the most serious problems in double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials submitted to the FDA, and found that studies with positive findings were five times more likely to be published than studies with findings not considered positive. The researchers also found an issue with bias in outcome reporting, in which positive outcomes from drug use were emphasized over negative outcomes, as well as issues related to “spin,” in which investigators concluded that a treatment was beneficial even when their published reports showed insignificant primary outcomes.
OUR EXPERIENCED DRUG INJURY ATTORNEYS CAN HELP
“These findings mirror what we found previously with the same drugs when used to treat major depression and with antipsychotics,” the researchers wrote. “When their studies don’t turn out well, you usually won’t know it from the peer-reviewed literature.” They warned that publication bias and bias in outcome reporting can also affect the way doctors are informed about the drugs they prescribe, which could have an adverse impact on the people actually using the drugs. If you believe you have been harmed by side effects of antidepressant drugs like Paxil, contact our knowledgeable drug injury lawyers at Bandas Law Firm today for legal help.