City of Hope Cancer researchers indicate that a new test called the AroER Tri-Screen, desgined to look for drug side effects that could cause cancer, found a potential link between Paxil and breast cancer. Paxil is a widely prescribed anti depressant.
Researchers have found that Paxil has a weak estrogen effect that could increase women’s breast cancer risks.
According to lead author and chairman of City Hope’s Department of Cancer and Biology, Siuan Chen, Ph.D., approximately 70 percent of breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen and exposure to estrogen disrupting compounds especially during the critical periods of pregnancy, childhood and adolescence.
The test is designed to asses many chemicals at once to help identify which environmental compounds are disrupting estrogen functions.
Estrogen disruptions can increase women’s risk of breaks cancer or promote cancer growth in women who already have the disease.
Once Paxil was put through the AroER Tri-Screen test researchers discovered it had estrogen disrupting effects.
Paxil and Birth Defects
Approved in 1992, Paxil has become one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States. However, studies showed that the drug could increase the risk of birth defects if used during the first trimester of pregnancy. As a result, in December 2005, the FDA issued an alert in the United States about such risks from Paxil.
GlaxoSmithKline was required to update the warning label to include the information about the pregnancy risks.
The company has faced hundreds of Paxil lawsuits, which were brought about on behalf of children who suffered various birth defects and other health problems.
The complaints alleged that Glaxo hid test results that would have revealed the risks associated with use of Paxil during pregnancy and misled doctors.