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Effexor Restrictions Getting Tougher

Perhaps, in a foreshadowing of things to come, U.K. regulators recommended physicians restrict the use of Effexor due to side effects that may hurt the heart and other problems that could require more careful monitoring than other anti-depressants. The news of these new restrictions also caused the stocks of parent company Wyeth to fall 3 percent yesterday.

England's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency announced there should be stronger warnings about withdrawal reactions such as anxiety and insomnia for ALL anti-depressant drugs. British regulators also said there should be a warning anti-depressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and self-harm in a small group of people. These recommendations are the result of a British government study launched 18 months ago to study the safety of SSRIs.

As far as physical effects, Effexor may cause irregular heart rhythms, withdrawal symptoms and have a higher rate of death from overdose than similar drugs, British regulators said.

It's not terribly surprising some governmental body is cracking down on antidepressants, especially since Wyeth warned Americans doctors Effexor usage increased the risk of suicidal behaviors among children taking the drug and the company recommended they reassess the "benefit-risk balance" for each patient.

Truth is folks, there are so many better options for treating depression than drugs. Optimizing the diet is clearly an important step, and one of the most important tools within this area is to make sure you are getting enough omega-3 fats. I have had large numbers of patients spontaneously take themselves off their antidepressants once they started taking fish oil, which is loaded with omega-3.

I recommend reviewing Dr. Alan Logan's report I posted earlier this year to learn more about omega-3 fats and getting rid of your antidepressants once and for all.

Forbes December 6, 2004

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