Intended for healthcare professionals


Panorama: “The Secrets of Seroxat”

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 19 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:910
  1. P J Cowen, professor of psychopharmacology (
  1. University of Oxford

    Rating: Embedded Image

    BBC 1, 13 October at 10 15 pm

    The postmodern media critic Jean Baudrillard once asserted that the Gulf war did not happen, and was only a televised simulation of a war. By the end of Panorama's “The Secrets of Seroxat” my own grip on reality, never particularly strong, was faltering. This mental fragility disappointed me because I know quite a lot about selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), having prescribed them, done research on them, and taken them. It may have been the nature of Panorama's “secrets” that undermined me. For example, the Shorter Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry notes both the key issues raised in the programme, namely that SSRIs, particularly paroxetine (Seroxat), can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and that early in SSRI treatment restlessness and agitation might increase the risk of suicidal behaviour.

    Despite this it seems likely that …

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