Effexor Causes Massive Jawbone Loss in Periodontal Disease
Honest Results in Journal of Negative Results Document Truth of Drug Trial
by Heidi Stevenson
16 June 2010
In pure science, an experiment is neither successful nor a failure. Even if the results are the opposite of what the researchers expected or hope for, information is gained. Sadly, in the era of Big Pharma, scientists are expected to produce predetermined results. Occasionally, though, they tell the truth anyway.
The Journal of Negative Results came into being recently to report on trials that didn't have the intended results. This month, the journal has published a report of a study that demonstrated "intense bone loss" in rats with periodontal disease given venlavaxine, the generic term for Effexor.
Effexor is owned by Pfizer, but the patent expires this year. As often happens, the company is frantically trying to find a new use for it before the expiration, in the hope of gaining a new patent.
Periodontal disease, which is a common condition of gum inflammation that can lead to bone and tooth loss, was instigated in the study's rats. They were given Effexor shortly before surgical treatment and for ten days after. The amount of bone loss at the site of periodontal induction averaged 1.61 mm (+/- 1.36 mm) without Effexor and 4.47 mm (+/- 1.98 mm) with Effexor. The drug caused close to three times more bone loss. Higher doses equated with greater bone loss.
The authors state:
- Thus we show for the first time that SNRIs such as venlafaxine are likely to worsen the bone loss in periodontal disease.
Recent studies have shown a connection between periodontal disease and depression. The results of this study, though, must open the question of whether the use of antidepressants may be the real cause of increased periodontal disease. Certainly, anyone who already has periodontal diseasea large percentage of usshould think twice before considering taking Effexor or any other SNRI.