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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
'I couldn't stop taking Seroxat'
Woman (anonymous)
Campainers are calling for new warnings on Seroxat
Campaigners are calling for patients to be warned the antidepressant Seroxat can be addictive.

Government advisors are due to make an announcement about advice relating to the drug on Tuesday.

Sarah Venn of the Seroxat Users Group, who has been taking the drug for over five years, talks to BBC News Online about her experience of taking the drug, and the changes she would like to see.


"When I was at university, I was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder.

My doctor has told me 'Although it's important to come off this, you've got a life to live as well'
Sarah Venn
"I was feeling very wobbly, like I was walking on a boat.

"As I got older, it became worse, and I became afraid and started suffering panic attacks."

Ms Venn, who was aged 20 at the time, added: "My GP put me on Seroxat. He said it was a short-term drug."

She said she suffered side effects straight away.

"I had no energy at all. I was lethargic.

"I started to get what felt like electric shocks, which made me jolt.

"It got to the point that I couldn't study."

'Stuck in bed'

Ms Venn said she read the patient information leaflet which said there could be initial side effects which would soon abate.

She decided to keep taking the drug.

"I wanted to do something to sort out the problem which I was already having."

Ms Venn continued taking the drug, but tried to come off it in May 2000 when she was in her final year at university.

"I didn't know anything about Seroxat. I tried to come off it quickly, in a week or two.

"Before I knew it I was stuck in bed. I couldn't see. I felt like I had flu constantly."

Her doctor put her straight back on to Seroxat.

"I did try to come off it much more gradually, using the liquid form, but that didn't work either.

"It was about that time I got involved with the Seroxat Users' Group."

Warning call

Ms Venn, who was due to take up a pupilage to become a barrister, is currently taking a year off during which she hopes to stop taking Seroxat.

"I have got a third of the way down, from 30 milligrams to 20 milligrams a day."

She has been unable to cut down any further.

"I think I'm going to stay on it. I'm hoping to go back to work in September.

"My doctor has told me 'Although it's important to come off this, you've got a life to live as well'."

She said she would like to see the patient information leaflet given out with Seroxat changed to reflect the problems she has experienced.

"I would like a clear warning that Seroxat can cause dependency and proper guidance on how to stop taking the medication.

"I would also like to see a full list of symptoms people might experience, even after simply reducing the dose."


SEE ALSO:
Anti-depressant safety reviewed
08 Jan 03  |  Health
Glaxo denies Seroxat problems
13 Oct 02  |  Panorama
Health group's Prozac fears
24 Jan 02  |  Scotland


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