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John Ghezzi
John Ghezzi
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GlaxoSmithKline and Paxil Under Fire

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GlaxoSmithKline agreed to settle for $63.8 million dollars a class action lawsuit in which class members contended that GSK promoted the treatment of children and adolescents with its antidepressant Paxil while simultaneously withholding negative information about the drug’s safety and effectiveness. This is just the latest in an avalanche of bad news for GSK and consumers regarding Paxil.

The first trial against GSK in which a minor claims that his mother’s use of Paxil during pregnancy caused him heart-related birth defects is currently scheduled for summer 2007 in Texas. Recent studies have also shown an association between SSRIs such as Paxil and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn ({PPHN). The first lawsuit in the nation in which a minor contends that his severe PPHN was caused by maternal exposure to Paxil during pregnancy was filed October 16, 2006 in Philadelphia. These lawsuits are probably just the tip of the iceberg as data shows that of 4 million live births annually in the United States, 92,000 of those infants have been prenatally exposed to SSRIs.

All pregnant women who are taking Paxil or other SSRIs for depression should immediately consult their physician to see whether they can be treated with a non-SSRI antidepressant. Pregnant women who took Paxil during their pregnancies and delivered children with cardiac malformations or PPHN should immediately consult an experienced pharmaceutical products liability attorney.