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GPs failing to heed SSRI dose warning

GPs are failing to heed warnings to limit the starting dose of paroxetine (Seroxat) to 20mg per day, warns the Committee on Safety of Medicines.

New data analysed by the CSM's expert working group on SSRI safety shows 17,600 patients were started on doses above 20mg last year. This represents 16 per cent of the 110,300 people taking the drug.

The CSM said severe adverse events were more common at doses above 20mg, although there was no evidence to link higher doses with an increased risk of suicide.

Committee chair Professor Gordon Duff said patients being successfully treated on higher doses should continue to the end of their treatment, but patients who were not doing well should be considered for a change of dose – although no patient should stop treatment suddenly.

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