Paxil Not for Kids

June 20 -- The FDA yesterday warned that children younger than 18 should not take the antidepressant Paxil because of a possible increased risk of "suicidal thinking and suicide attempts" associated with the drug. This statement from the FDA came on the heels of a similar warning on June 10 by British regulators. The drug is known as Seroxat in the UK.

Quote: "There is currently no evidence that Paxil is effective in children or adolescents with MDD (major depressive disorder), and Paxil is not currently approved for use in children and adolescents." (FDA Statement)

Our Comment: In the US, the FDA permits physicians to prescribe approved medications for other than their intended indications. This practice is known as off-label use. Although there is practical merit in off-label use, the current situation surrounding Paxil illustrates one of the dangers of off-label drug usage.

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Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com