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The Lancashire Evening Post
Published: 11:04 Monday 02 June 2008
Gina Loxam, of Heysham, is taking legal action against GlaxoSmithKline
Two Lancashire women face a High Court showdown with a pharmaceutical giant over claims their lives were blighted by a so-called wonder drug.
Designed to restore confidence, GlaxoSmithKline UK’s Seroxat was billed as the “sunshine pill” as it helped patients with their depression.
But several hundred people want to sue the drug manufacturer claiming the anti-depressant ruined their lives with horrendous side-effects, while others say they have become addicted to it.
Michelle Dewhurst, 38, of Grimsargh, Preston, is one of the many claimants seeking up to £50,000 for personal injuries and other losses suffered as a result of using Seroxat.
The mum-of-one claims the drug’s “terrible side-effects” robbed her of years of her life and says she found it difficult to come off the anti-depressants.
Gina Loxam, of Heysham, near Morecambe, is also taking legal action against GlaxoSmithKline.
She claims Seroxat ruined her life and led to the breakdown of her marriage.
She was first put on the anti-depressant 10 years ago as a “quick-fix” when she was feeling low.
She is still on Seroxat now as she finds it too difficult to come off it.
Gina, 52, a finance and quality manager, said: “I was just getting a bit low so went to see my GP and he prescribed Seroxat.
“The doctor said there were no withdrawal symptoms as this is what GlaxoSmithKline stated on their drug information sheet.
“I thought I would take Seroxat for a few months, then I would come off it and everything would be OK.”
However, when Gina tried to stop Seroxat six months later, she began suffering severe mood swings, excruciating headaches, weight gain, fatigue and felt unable to cope with life.
She said: “I don’t want to go through the horrible withdrawal symptoms again.
“I just wish I had never started Seroxat.”
Since it was first prescribed in 1990, Seroxat has been linked to at least 50 suicides of adults and children.
It was banned for under 18s in 2003.
The drugs company, which makes up to £1bn a year from Seroxat, has been bombarded with lawsuits in the US and accused of failing to act on warnings it could have serious side-effects.
Mark Harvey, of law firm Hugh James, which is representing the two Lancashire women, has claimed Seroxat is ‘defective’ under the 1987 Consumer Protection Act.
He has previously said: “When patients took the drug, not only was there no warning of withdrawal symptoms, there was also a statement on the data sheet until about 2003 which said you cannot be addicted to Seroxat.
“Unfortunately, many people are having difficulties as they try to withdraw from the drug and there are a few who have not been able to stop taking it.”
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