Paxil’s Link to Breast Cancer

Paxil’s Link to Breast Cancer | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

Paxil attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report on a new study that suggests a link between popular antidepressant Paxil and breast cancer development. Researchers conducted a survey of nearly 450 drugs and found that Paxil stood out as having a particularly unique chemistry that could promote the development of breast tumors.

Paxil (paroxetine) was recently re-branded as Brisdelle to treat hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. This is worrisome for several reasons, not least of all because of this new association with breast cancer. Paxil is prescribed most commonly to treat symptoms of depression, and women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Health.

Additionally, both breast cancer and menopause are known to cause or worsen depressive symptoms, which could in turn lead doctors to prescribe Paxil. As many as 25% of women currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer are also battling depression, making these new findings even more pertinent.

First Birth Defects, Now Breast Cancer, What’s Next?

Paxil was approved by the FDA in 1992 as part of a class of antidepressant drugs labelled selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Other well-known drugs part of this class includes Celexa, Effexor, Lexapro, Zoloft and Prozac. More than a decade after Paxil was introduced, several studies emerged proving that these drugs cause serious, life-changing birth defects in infants born to mother who took an SSRI while pregnant.

In 2005, a team of Danish researchers analyzed their country’s medical database and confirmed that women who took an SSRI like Paxil during pregnancy were 60% more likely to birth a child with a severe congenital heart defect. Other birth defects linked to SSRIs include lung conditions like PPHN, limb malformations, such as cleft lip or palate, and neural tube defects.

These findings spurred mass litigation against Paxil manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, among other SSRI manufacturers. By 2010, Glaxo had paid over $2 billion to resolve Paxil birth injury lawsuits. 

This most recent breast cancer finding will soon be published in the journal Toxicological Sciences. In addition to Paxil, researchers also named two other drugs that could potentially promote breast cancer growth: biconazole and oxyconazole. Researchers do not yet know if Paxil alters estrogen’s activity directly or indirectly.

Our team of Paxil attorneys will continue to update our blog as more information on this topic is made available. We are currently investigating cases of Paxil birth injury for clients throughout the country. If your child was born with significant birth defects after being exposed to Paxil or any other SSRI in the womb, contact our firm now for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.