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New inquiry launched into SSRI withdrawal

The Government has reconvened its inquiry into the

safety of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors after the committee originally set up to look at potential withdrawal reactions was dissolved.

The inquiry was halted in March after it emerged two members of the expert group of the Committee on Safety of Medicines held shares in

GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures the SSRI Seroxat.

The new expert group, which met for the first time last month, is made up of CSM members and patient groups and will focus on potential withdrawal reactions and suicidal behaviour. The group will also be reviewing the summary of product characteristics.

Professor Alasdair Breckenridge, chair of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, said: 'SSRIs have been kept under close review for the past five to six years, but we are aware there is ongoing interest among patients about withdrawal reactions, feelings of suicide and whether these are linked to

SSRIs. There will be an in-depth investigation into these very areas.'

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