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Study Finds Paroxetine (Paxil®) Not Safe or Effective for Adolescents
A re-examination of research originally published in 2001 suggests that the popular SSRI antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil®) is neither effective nor safe for treating depression in adolescents. The new study is published in the academic journal, The BMJ, and is discussed in a September 16, 2015, article appearing in the online version of the Washington Post (Researchers: 2001 Paxil study seems to play down suicide risks to youths). 
 
In the study, researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia analyzed raw data of the original study and discovered numerous transcription errors and coding discrepancies. These uncorrected errors, the study suggests, led the original study's authors to overstate the efficacy and safety of paroxetine. For example, serious suicide attempts noted in the original study were sometimes miscoded as "emotional lability", a temporary condition that involves uncontrollable episodes of crying. These events in the new study were reclassified as serious suicide attempts.
 
The evaluation of the new data led the researchers to conclude that, contrary to the original study's claims, paroxetine is no more effective than a placebo at treating depression in adolescents and is associated with a a high rate of suicidal thoughts. The new study is part of a program by The BMJ to encourage the reassessment of abandoned or misreported studies in order to ensure that doctors have accurate information. 
 
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