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Drug “boosts breast cancer deaths”


Researchers say a study linking paroxetine with increased mortality for women with breast cancer has major implications for clinical practice.

Health records analysis showed those taking paroxetine (brand name Seroxat) alongside tamoxifen were more likely to die from the disease as it could interfere with the breast cancer drug.

Researchers writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said paroxetine use for 41% of tamoxifen treatment would result in one additional breast cancer death within five years of stopping tamoxifen for every 19.7 patients so treated. The risk with more extensive overlap would be greater

The study, which was led by a team from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the University of Toronto in Canada, showed up to 25% of women with breast cancer can experience some depression and antidepressants are also prescribed for hot flushes.

They surveyed 2,430 women taking tamoxifen and one of five anti-depressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including paroxetine, which was the most commonly prescribed drug.

Copyright Press Association 2010

Department of Health

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