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Study raises cancer drug fear over antidepressant.

A popular antidepressant could interfere with a

breast cancer drug and lead to a greater chance of dying from the disease,

researchers warned Tuesday. Women taking the antidepressant "paroxetine" (brand name Seroxat) alongside

tamoxifen for breast cancer were more likely to die from the disease than

women on other antidepressants, a study found.

The researchers, writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), said their

results had "major implications for clinical practice".

Tamoxifen is taken by thousands of British women each year and works by

blocking the female sex hormone oestrogen, which can fuel tumour growth.

It is generally given for up to five years following initial treatment or

surgery.

The latest research was led by a team from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences

Centre and the University of Toronto in Canada.

Up to one in four women with breast cancer can experience some degree of

depression and antidepressants are also prescribed for hot flushes, they said.

A total of 2,430 women aged over 66 took part in the research, which looked

at those having treatments between 1993 and 2005.

All the women were taking tamoxifen and one of five anti-depressants known

as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including paroxetine,

which was the most commonly prescribed drug.

Over a typical follow-up of 2.4 years, 374 women died from breast cancer.

Analysis of health records showed women taking paroxetine were far more

likely to die from breast cancer and were slightly more likely to die from any

other cause when compared with women not on paroxetine.

The researchers, who believe paroxetine interferes with the metabolism of

tamoxifen, found no evidence that other SSRIs increased the risk of death.

More than 45,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK

and just under 12,000 die from the disease.

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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Date:Feb 9, 2010
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