Independent experts warn that antidepressants containing the substances Escitalopram and Citalopram, may cause cardiac arrest and increased risk of heart disease.
The respected independent French medical journal, La Revue Prescrire, is unequivocal in its warning not to use brands with the substances.
Prescrire gets most of it’s funding from the UN World Health Organization, WHO, and the French medical experts have previously revealed dangerous drugs which have since been removed from the market.
It is Prescrires annually updated list, “Topics to Avoid in 2016” (pdf), based on research from 2010 to 2015 intended for physicians, pharmacists and other health professionals, which now includes the two antidepressant substances.
The experts noted among other things that Citalopram and Escitalopram are not more effective than other SSRIs (serotonin-increasing antidepressants – also called happy pills, reds. Note.) But they cause more heart disease.
Among other things, they state that the substances in higher doses can cause disorders of heart rhythm – specifically, prolongation of the QT interval. This caused the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lower the permitted maximum dose of citalopram in 2011, medical authorizes all over the world soon followed suit.
Commonly prescribed pills containing the substances:
• … and many more
Citalopram was originally launched by the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck (Lundbeck A/S) in 1989 and came to the US in 1998, the patent expired in 2003 and since then, a wide range of pharmaceutical companies has launched their own antidepressants based on Citalopram.
Lundbeck later developed a new product marketed under the name Citalopram escitalopram, which is therefore also covered by the new warning.
Lundbeck denies that there is anything new in the information from Prescrire and refers to the changes in the recommended dose of citalopram, introduced in 2011 by the FDA.
“Drug Boards have informed doctors about the risks of prolongation of the QT interval,since 2011″ in cases where chose to increase the dose above the recommended maximum,” said communications director at Lundbeck, Anders Schroll.
“This is not news,” he continues, and underlines that Escitalopram has not had a reduced maximum dose imposed, but that physicians are informed about the risks associated with exceeding the maximum recommended dose.