Mental health charity Mind has called for an urgent review of drug
licensing laws after the antidepressant Efexor was banned from
being given to young people.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency announced
the ban last week after new research showed there was insufficient
evidence of its effectiveness and increased fears over its
Compared with a group given a placebo, those under-18s being
treated for depression with the drug were more likely to experience
harmful outcomes including hostility, suicidal thoughts and
self-harm, the study found.
About 3,000 under-18s are being treated with the drug, despite it
carrying a warning that it should not be used on children. Doctors
were entitled to prescribe the drug “off licence” because, until
now, there was insufficient research showing the dangers associated
with the drug. Advice will now be strengthened in light of the
Mind said the case raised “deep concerns” about the way psychiatric
drugs were regulated and the way clinical trials were carried out,
and called for the government to provide more alternative
treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy.