Drug doubts of suicide woman's parents

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THE parents of a woman who committed suicide fear the anti-depressants she was taking could have made her feel worse rather than better.

Geoff and Shirley Collier's daughter, Joanne, hanged herself in her home in Green Walk, Fareham on May 10, 2001, after her dosage of Seroxat was doubled.

The 26-year-old, who is buried at Catherington Cemetery, near Horndean, was prescribed the drug following the break-up of a relationship.

The government body responsible for licensing drugs – the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency – now says thousands of people may have been taking Seroxat at unsafe levels.

It says there is no evidence to suggest that this could increase suicidal tendencies – but has advised doctors not to start patients on high doses of Seroxat and limit any dose to 20mg.

The MHRA said dosages above 20mg could cause side-effects including nausea and insomnia. But the agency added: 'We have looked at clinical trial and spontaneous reporting data and do not have evidence that higher doses ... are linked to an increased risk of suicidal behaviour.'

Mr Collier, who now lives in Southampton, said: 'My daughter committed suicide one month after having her dosage of Seroxat doubled to 40mg.

'I cannot say that Seroxat was the cause of Joanne's death. My opinion, however, is that it was a significant factor.'

The manufacturers of Seroxat, GlaxoSmithKline, denied any link between the drug and increased risk of suicide. Dr Alastair Benbow, the company's European medical director, said: 'We remain fully confident in the effectiveness of Seroxat.'