GSK Discontinues Production of Liquid Paroxetine (Seroxat)

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Liquid forms of antidepressant drugs are often used for tapering by those wishing to gradually reduce their dosage. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has recently announced that it will discontinue production of its branded Seroxat liquid in the UK. Paroxetine is sometimes cited as one of the most difficult antidepressants to withdraw from, possibly because of its short elimination half-life, so the lack of a manufacturer liquid is of concern.

The UK’s Pharmaceutical Journal recently wrote about this, quoting a GSK source who said: “GSK has decided to discontinue manufacturing, supply and marketing of paroxetine hydrochloride oral suspension products. We recognise that paroxetine hydrochloride oral suspension is an important medicine for some patients and regret any inconvenience the discontinuation may cause.”

The article also quotes Nicola Greenhalgh, lead pharmacist for mental health at North East London NHS Foundation Trust, who said: “In terms of paroxetine … it is not an easy one to withdraw. We are increasingly learning that the old advice of withdrawing over at least four weeks is simply not tolerated by many patients and the advice that discontinuation reactions are normally mild and short-lived is not the case for a significant number of people coming off of antidepressants.”

Paul Sams, someone with experience of taking and coming off antidepressants, said, “The idea that this liquid form of Seroxat is no longer going to be available fills me with horror for the people hoping to come off this medication. I think the people who provide the tablet form should be firmly supported to continue making the liquid form of the medication available.”

The removal of a manufacturer-produced liquid reduces the options for those wishing to withdraw slowly; some may need to make their own liquid, some may need to turn to compounding pharmacies and some may be able to make use of paroxetine tapering strips.

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3 COMMENTS

    • Both liquid tapering and tapering by crushed tablets are unreliable. To create the most precise dosage; which is very important especially with the smallest doses, you need custom made tablets, produced with the initial Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient.
      I had an interview with the director of the Dutch professional association of pharmacists and he emphasized that titrate medication with liqiuds is a very uncertain way of tapering. You never know for sure how much medication is in a certain amount of liquid. The heap of crushed tablets contain a very small part of the active ingredient and many excipients it is impossible to come up with equally dosed portions.
      GSK already says in a report on paroxetine (seroxat) for EMA in 2005 that ‘smaller dosages are neccessary to make a safe withdrawal possible’.

  1. As far as liquid tapering versus crushing one’s pills, I wouldn’t know. Except for one time with Lithium, I went “cold turkey”. Actually, on most of the drugs, the doctors took me off of them “cold turkey.” And, I did taper Lithium, however, eventually, I did go back on Lithium a few years later. Therefore, at least in my case, I am very skeptical of tapering, as “cold turkey” seems to produce a better outcome. This, happened, for me with alcohol, also. I went “cold turkey” on alcohol when I was in my twenties and have never drank again (alcohol, that is.) Also, please note, if you are sensitive to alcohol for any reason or if you taking any drugs that would cause problems with combined with alcohol, it is much better to stay away from any foods cooked with alcohol. It is untrue that when you cook the alcohol burns off, so you don’t need to worry. From personal experience, I know this is not true, as I did eat some food that had been cooked with wine and got sick. This fact has been confirmed by a some scientifically motivated chefs, etc. Thank you.

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