Doctors play down drug risk

News that a popular anti-depressant drug leads to more suicides was met with caution yesterday by Greek psychiatrists who admitted the drug’s dangers but said it also offered relief to patients. A British newspaper reported on Monday that the drug Seroxat has been linked to a seven-fold increase in suicide attempts. Seroxat is the most popular drug of its kind in Greece. Venos Mavreas, a psychiatry professor at the University of Ioannina, said the category of drugs to which Seroxat belongs often increases suicidal thoughts. «However, we also need to weigh in the benefits,» he said. «This drug, like other anti-depressants, are improved and also help a lot of people.» The Times report earlier this week said an Oslo University analysis on Seroxat involving more than 1,500 patients found seven suicide attempts among those taking the drug and only one among those taking a placebo. Suicidal thoughts were three times more common among those taking Seroxat, the report said.