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Commissioning in crisis as GPs and PCTs snub scheme

'SSRIs trigger adult suicides'

The story

SSRIs can trigger suicide attempts in adults as well as children, the Times, Guardian, Daily Mail, Independent and BBC News Online report.

The source

A Norwegian team analysed 16 trials of paroxetine (Seroxat) and found there were seven attempted suicides in people taking the drug but just one in those on placebo. The study was published in BMC Medicine.

Expert view

Professor Andre Tylee, professor of primary care mental health at King's College London, said: 'Most of this was already known. I suggest GPs follow MHRA guidance to assess patients, particularly when starting on SSRIs, for agitation and suicidality, and follow NICE guidance.'

'5-in-1 vaccine side-effects'

The story

The new five-in-one vaccine can cause serious side-effects for up to a week, the Guardian claims.

The source

A journalist gives a first-person account complaining that, as a parent, she was not warned that side-effects from the five-in-one vaccine could last for 'up to a week'. She says her own baby daughter was ill for seven days, with symptoms including a high temperature and listlessness.

Expert view

Dr David Elliman, a consultant in community child health at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said the Department of Health produced a 44-page factsheet outlining possible side-effects, and stressed they would tend to occur within 24-48 hours but could last longer, normally two to three days.

He added: 'It's sometimes difficult to know whether that's the vaccine or they are getting a common feverish illness, but they should be treated in the same way.'

'Coffee is good for you'

The story

Coffee in moderation is good for you, the Daily Mail claims.

The source

The British Coffee Association, which represents coffee manufacturers in the UK, launched a campaign to promote benefits of moderate coffee drinking such as improved concentration and a high content of antioxidants. It has produced a leaflet for GP surgeries to explain the benefits of coffee.

Expert view

Helen Stracey, a dietitian and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, said two to three cups of coffee a day might have some benefits at increasing mental alertness, but that the level of antioxidants in coffee was 'quite minimal'.

'Bird flu is inevitable in UK'

The story

Bird flu will inevitably reach Britain, a clutch of newspapers including The Independent, Times and Daily Mail warn.

The source

The president of the British Veterinary Association warned that avian flu would be carried to Britain by migrating birds, following an outbreak among migratory wild birds in Russia.

Expert view

Professor Paul Hunter, professor of health protection at the University of East Anglia, said the immediate risk was low, unless working with poultry. But he added: 'The mutation is almost certain to happen at some point.'

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