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Paxil Lawsuits Cost Glaxo $1 Billion in Settlements

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 14, 2009 1:10 PM

Bloomberg reports that Paxil lawsuits have resulted almost $1 billion in Glaxo Smith Kline settlements. The Paxil lawsuits range from class action lawsuits to wrongful death lawsuits over a reported increased risk of suicidality in patients. The pharmaceutical company has had to battle lawsuits over birth defects and antitrust claims as well.

While Glaxo Smith Kline refused to comment on Paxil lawsuits, it did issue a statement about its overall settlement total: "Paxil has been on the market in the U.S. since 1993. Like many other pharmaceutical products, it has been the subject of different kinds of litigation over the years," Sarah Alspach, a spokeswoman for Glaxo, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. "It would be inappropriate and potentially misleading to aggregate payments in these various types of litigation."

However, the massive amount of Paxil lawsuits is troubling. One lawsuit centered around a man who shot his family and then turned the gun on himself. He was a patient taking Paxil medication for depression.

As a consumer, what do you need to know about Paxil?

What Is Paxil?

Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride) is in a class of medicines called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Paxil tablets and oral suspension are used to treat depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

What Are Some of the Risks of Taking Paxil?

Birth Defects: The use of antidepressant medicines during pregnancy may cause babies to be born with a serious condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

Increased Risk of Suicide: The FDA issued a public health advisory directing all antidepressant drug manufacturers to revise their product labeling to include boxed warning and expanded warning statements that alert healthcare providers to an increased risk of suicidality (suicidal thinking and behavior) in children and adolescents being treated with these medications.

Bleeding Problems: Paxil can cause bleeding problems especially if it is taken with aspirin

Mania: It can cause patients to become hyperactive, elated or excitable like manic depressive mood swings.

Sexual Problems: It can cause impotence (erectile dysfunction), abnormal ejaculation, difficulty in reaching orgasm, or decreased libido (sexual desire)

What is Glaxo Smith Kline's Position on Liability?

While the company has settled numerous cases that detail the problems faced by patients as outlined above, it denies liability.

"Glaxo did not admit liability" in the addiction settlements, the company's officials said in a March 2009 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

If you have any questions about Paxil lawsuits, please visit our Related Resources links.

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