It is beyond belief – it really is, but here goes.
A study has been published earlier this month in the American Journal of Psychiatry by researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands and other Dutch centers.
It was funded by an “educational grant” from Glaxo SmithKline, which makes Paxil.
Scientists reported that the antidepressant Paxil helped hypochondriacs be less fearful about getting sick. In the first controlled study that compared a group of hypochondriacs given the drug with a group that got psychological talk therapy and another group that received sugar pills, the medication significantly reduced people’s fears about imaginary illnesses. However, the study also found that hypochondriacs who got cognitive behavior therapy, which encourages people to challenge the validity of their disabling beliefs, also improved — as much as those given the drug.
Before the trial, one 40-year-old, who said he had fears starting at age 10 that he was going to die in his sleep, rated his certainty that he was suffering from a serious illness as an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. After six weeks on Paxil, his fear level dropped to a 4.
I have to say that anyone who has taken Seroxat will understand this feeling. You don’t care about anything, as you’re so disassociated from your life and your emotions.
I’ll be interested to see how Glaxo spins this one and starts to market Seroxat for this latest ‘indication’. I can’t be the only one who sees the irony of inflicting Seroxat and its perils on people who aren’t actually ill.
Surely no regulator in the world will give them a license for this use… still there’s always off-label prescribing as long as Glaxo spends enough on marketing.
Hmmm, who can tell me what role serotonin plays in cause and cure of hypochondria, I wonder? How long before we start to see papers on the subject, ‘authored’ by medical professionals.
Where are you Greg Simon and Bruce Pollock?