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Risks of SSRI Antidepressants Like Paxil Outweigh Benefits, Study Finds

Amid the ongoing debate about the safety and effectiveness of SSRI antidepressant drugs like Paxil, a new study has indicated that the side effects of this class of medication outweigh the benefits, suggesting that the drugs actually do patients more harm than good. The study was published online last week by the journal Frontiers in …

Amid the ongoing debate about the safety and effectiveness of SSRI antidepressant drugs like Paxil, a new study has indicated that the side effects of this class of medication outweigh the benefits, suggesting that the drugs actually do patients more harm than good. The study was published online last week by the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Psychology, and found that, when both published and unpublished SSRI side effect studies are taken into consideration, Paxil and other SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are neither safe nor effective.

SSRI antidepressants like Paxil are some of the most popular medications in the country, used by millions of Americans to relieve depression and improve certain mood disorders. Unfortunately, recent information has raised serious concerns about the safety of Paxil and other SSRIs, especially when taken during pregnancy. According to SSRI side effect studies and FDA warnings, women who taken SSRI antidepressants like Paxil during pregnancy may have an increased risk of giving birth to a child with serious birth defects.

Possible SSRI Side Effects and Birth Defects

Researchers from the United States and Canada reviewed the results of numerous SSRI side effect studies, both published and unpublished, and found an alarming collection of serious risks users of SSRI antidepressants face by taking the drugs. Among these side effects were cognitive impairment, dementia, depression relapse, brain neuron death, decreased fertility, birth defects, tardive dyskinesia, gastrointestinal illness, bone fractures, cardiovascular disease, seizures, stroke, bleeding problems, suicidal behavior, respiratory arrest, death, and more.

In light of this list of dangerous side effects, researchers concluded that the benefits of SSRIs are overstated, due in large part to an imbalance between studies that are published and those that are not. By looking at a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted to the FDA, researchers found that, when only published studies are taken into account, 95% of these studies appear to indicate that SSRIs have a net positive benefit. However, when the entire body of SSRI research is considered, including unpublished studies, that percentage drops significantly, with only 51% of studies finding SSRI antidepressants provide an overall benefit to patients.

SSRI Antidepressants for Depression Treatment May be Dangerous

This new report challenges the entire premise of using SSRI antidepressants like Paxil to treat depression, indicating that the notion that depression comes from brain malfunction may be misguided. “An alternate view is that current diagnostic criteria do not accurately distinguish between true instances of disorder and normal, evolved emotional responses to stressors,” researchers wrote. “This latter view suggests that pharmacological disruption of depressive symptoms could negatively affect the ability to cope with or manage stressors.”

After reviewing the wealth of information concerning potential SSRI side effects, researchers concluded that the possible benefits of Paxil and other SSRI antidepressants are not worth the risks. “It is widely believed that antidepressant medications are both safe and effective; however, this belief was formed in the absence of adequate scientific verification,” they wrote. “The weight of current evidence suggests that, in general, antidepressants are neither safe nor effective; they appear to do more harm than good.”

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