Popular Antidepressant May Promote Breast Cancer

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Even worse, it’s frequently prescribed to the most at-risk group: women in their 40s and 50s. Action Alert!

We’ve told you before about the dangers of SSRIs, an incredibly popular class of antidepressants that can cause violent outbursts—both homicidal and suicidal. But now, researchers have found another alarming side effect: they may promote breast cancer.

 

About 70% of breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen—that is, estrogen contributes to their growth. Recently, researchers have found that paroxetine—the active ingredient in Paxil and Pexeva, some of the most widely prescribed SSRI antidepressants—has an estrogenic effect that likely promotes the development and growth of breast tumors in women.

 

The same study also identified bisphenol A, or BPA, which we have also warned about, as having estrogenic effects. BPA is found in some plastics, and in particular in the liner of tin cans and on many sales receipts.

 

In thinking about the breast cancer risk from SSRIs, keep in mind that clinical depression is twice as common in women as it is in men. In fact, one in four women in their 40s and 50s (one in ten Americans overall) now take an antidepressant medication.

 

As you may recall, last year the FDA approved paroxetine (marketed under the name Brisdelle) as a treatment for hot flashes and menopausal symptoms—despite the fact that the FDA’s own Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee voted 10 to 4 against approval, because the severe side effects associated with SSRIs outweigh the minor benefits. In addition, SSRIs can be highly addictive. Many people struggle to get off them.

 

The agency touted its decision to approve Brisdelle as an opportunity to provide women with a non-hormonal alternative to synthetic hormone replacement therapy (a common way to treat hot flashes). Why? Because synthetic—but not bioidentical hormone—therapy has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer as well as heart disease.

 

Let’s walk through this. The two most important risk factors to developing breast cancer are being female and growing older: the older you get, the more likely you are to get breast cancer. So the FDA has approved a drug that may cause breast cancer for the group most at risk for breast cancer—in the hope of reducing breast cancer.

 

Is there a link between increased antidepressant use and increased rates of breast cancer? There’s no way to tell without a reputable, long-term study, but it’s not far-fetched to think that these two trends are linked.

 

You’ll note that the FDA conveniently ignored the safer alternative treatment option for post-menopausal symptoms: natural, bioidentical estriol. In addition, as Dr. Joseph Mercola points out, there are well over 800 references in the medical literature showing vitamin D’s effectiveness against cancer. Most recently, a meta-analysis of five studies published in the March 2014 issue of Anticancer Research found that patients diagnosed with breast cancer who had high vitamin D levels were twice as likely to survive compared to women with low levels. Moreover, high levels of vitamin D in conventional medicine is not really high by integrative medicine standards. Conventional medicine considers ng/ml blood levels of 30-100 to be safe. To prevent cancer and other health hazards, there is considerable evidence that levels need to be above 60 while still below 100.

 

For more about breast cancer and its diagnosis, see our other article in this issue.

 

Action Alert! Tell the FDA to reverse its approval of paroxetine for hot flashes. There is no reason for this dangerous drug’s approval, especially considering that it does the opposite of what it was intended to do when it was initially approved—reduce the risk of breast cancer. Send your message to the FDA today!

Tell the FDA

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  • Julie Sanford

    I urge you to reverse approval of paroxetine for hot flashes. There is no reason for this dangerous drug’s approval, especially considering that it does the opposite of what it was intended to do when it was initially approved—reduce the risk of breast cancer

  • Craig Browning

    Too many Doctors have sold out to Big Pharma. Today in America I feel I can’t trust doctors, due to the profit motive.

  • Beverly

    You say nothing in the article addressing a safe alternative to the anti-depressant.

  • Darlene Mednick

    Yes, we can require a double-blind, placebo 10-yr study to prove this correlation, but do we really need to? Let’s realize the information age is certainly faster than in the past and fortunately there are data known that can prevent injury or death that DO NOT have to be vetted in the old way. Perhaps more like oncology operates. Either way valuable information and knowledge can be disseminated with that caveat, and lives can be saved or even better, cancer/death avoided.

  • Blake

    As someone who suffers from depression, I can assure you that a little added risk from another disease may be very preferable to a patient rather than having to live with depression.

  • Adriana Guastavino

    It seems obvious to many that big pharma cares more about making an extra buck than truly helping people get well. Unfortunately, this greedy, harmful practice has been going on for decades now, getting more and more prevalent with each passing year. Personally, I think we need to go back to using more holistic, organic medicine and stop the over-use of man-made, toxic chemicals disguised as “medicine.”

  • paxil was the worst antidepressant. The side effects were terrible, lightheadedness, malaise, no energy. Withdraw was worse. I heard clicking noises when I moved !y eyes. It took weeks , probably a couple month to step down.

  • josette jackson

    Well how could men come up with a guilt free way to get RID OF THE OLD BODY so they can look for a YOUNGER BODY? Are us women really surprised that men found a way to make all THEIR DREAMS come true at OUR EXPENSE?????

  • C McDonald
  • Hi, Thank you so much for the news about Paxil even though distressing because I take it now and it works very well for me with my depression…I now may have to change….I will consult my two doctors who could help me with this, and get frequent mammograms too. Kathy

    • Kerry berry

      No! Kathy, I would not recommend you get frequent mammograms. They are in in for the profit! And, they have been known to make errors, there are several false negatives too. Doctors will lie, they will tell you anything so they can make large amounts of money off you, all the while cutting off a breast when it unecessary. I suggest you instead look into Thermal, this is safe and there are no side effects or errors/problems.

      Good luck…

  • Brooke

    You didn’t cite a legitimate source for your assertions and and you reference Mercola (brilliant purveyor of snake oil that he is) as a reference. Meanwhile, reputable sources refute your claims.
    http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/152/11/1104.full
    http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Does_Paxil_cause_breast_cancer.htm
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2720762/

    • Hi Brooke–Thank you for your message! All sources are hyperlinked in the article. However, if you’d like specific references for any of our claims, please let us know what they are, and we will provide them. Best, ANH-USA

  • Jeanne

    I take issue with you describing SSRI’s as “addictive” which is inappropriate and inaccurate. For many SSRI’s may demonstrate strong benefit depending upon one’s situation, winning in a cost-benefit analysis for a particular individual. So labeling something with something highly stigmatized like addiction may prevent people from receiving much needed care. Just because the body experiences withdrawal if one stops suddenly does not meet clinical criteria for addiction. If you have evidence clarifying why you call it addictive, please provide it. SSRI’S do not causing craving, powerlessness, etc…

    • Kendra

      From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paroxetine):

      “For 10 years, GlaxoSmithKline marketing of the drug stated that it was “not habit forming”, which numerous experts and at least one court found to be incorrect.[75][76][77] In 2002, the U.S. FDA published a new product warning about the drug, and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations said GSK had misled the public about paroxetine and breached two of the Federation’s codes of practice.[78] The suppression of unfavorable research findings on Paxil by GSK — and the legal discovery process that uncovered it — is the subject of Alison Bass’s 2008 book Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial.”

    • K

      I also take issue with SSRI’s being called addictive. I chose to begin taking an SSRI because I wanted to stop treating my loved ones like crap. I am not a drug addict and I refuse to feel shamed by the fact that I am voluntarily receiving psychological care. I am extremely proud of myself for finally taking the initiative to try to improve my own life and the lives of those around me. The last thing the mental health treatment cause needs is more negative publicity like this.
      “…the severe side effects associated with SSRIs outweigh the minor benefits.” also, this is not true for me. There are many problems caused by mental illness, which can be ameliorated by SSRIs, that seem to have been left out of this article. I.E. shaking, nausea, night sweats, difficulty breathing, difficulty sleeping, unpleasant ruminating thoughts that can last for hours, unusual and/or embarrassing phobias, difficulty speaking clearly, difficulty remembering very simple things, detrimentally-low self esteem, agoraphobia, germophobia, fear that failing to do even the most trivial of things will set off a terrifying chain reaction of events that will culminate in oneself or loved ones being severely injured or worse….the list goes on. If the author of this article wants to make these types of statements then so be it, but please cite your sources. Thank you.

  • See http://www.cchrint.org/psychdrugdangers/ which is a search engine for adverse drug reaction reports submitted to the FDA’s MedWatch system. Type in paroxetine as the drug name and cancer as the side effect and click Search.

  • Alobar Gewywalker

    When I click on the button to “take action” the webform tells me my e-mail is invalid if I capitalize the first letter of my name and the first letter of mye=mail provider.

    Please FIX IT!

    • dr david arneson

      I have been detoxing patients from recreational drugs for over 13 years…also from antidepressants…the drug companies met some 10 years ago because they recognized the difficulty from getting off antidepressants…couldn’t call it an addiction…their euphemism for this condition, that is now accepted in the industry, is “antidepressant discontinuation syndrome”…detox from antidepressants is always a step down…with supportive amino acid therapy…6 weeks for the shorter acting ones…longer for drugs like paroxetine which has a half life of 120 hours or more. It is infinitely easier to detox someone from alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine, or opiates than it is to detox them from antidepressants…and anyone that bothered to read Glenmullens book, Prozac Backlash, would understand that SSRI and SNRI’s eventually damage dopamine neurons…furthermore studies show that 90% of the people put on these drugs would have done just as well on the placebo…most depression is situational…what patients need more than anything is a doctor with the ability to hear what they have to say and to guide them in the proper therapy so they can resolve and heal from there personal issues…doctors that take the time to work with them…

  • J Howard

    I truly have no way of being sure as I think that there are many pieces to the cancer puzzle, but I was diagnosed with breast cancer (estrogen receptor positive) at 42 years of age after having taken Paxil from 30-38 years of age. Was there no effect or did it fuel the cancer? Personally, from what I’ve learned about cancer over the last 8 years, I would recommend other safer, holistic approaches to dealing with depression over SSRI’s as well as other remedies for menopausal symptoms. Unfortunately, we live in a quick-fix society that doesn’t seem to care about all the negative repercussions of so many drugs/choices. If I only knew then what I know now, who knows if I even would have had cancer. I would hope that this info re paroxetine would be broadcasted everywhere but sadly I’m not going to hold my breath!

  • It is highly negligent of the FDA to put people at risk knowing the horrendous potential of suicide and breast cancer with the SSRIs. How can we rely on this agency to protect us? Please do your job and allow the American consumer to have only safe alternatives marketed to them.

    • Kerry berry

      There is a high chance we will never be able to rely on this corrupt agency called FDA, our system in America is very corrupt and full of greed. They are Psychopaths, and psychopaths don’t change. Only the American people have to do it themselves. We cannot rely on the FDA, they don’t give a about us or human lives, all they care about is money!! Scum.

  • Searching for answers

    And not one of the above comments referenced the seminal book “Pharmaggeddon” by Dr David Healy?
    If unaware of SSRI dangers, from the files of the FDA,

  • joe

    I live a Hemp lifestyle and in doing so i have learned many things about cancer and if you would like to know these things go here http://mycbdresearch.com/ i have found that very interesting and if you would like to know more about the Hemp lifestyle go here http://countdowntokannaway.com/CP2/9776605 have a Hempy day 🙂