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Article posted Sep 28 2008, 11:56 PM Category: Brave New World Source: Daily Mail Print

Depression pill may damage men's chances of having children


Anti-depressants taken by millions of Britons may damage a man's sperm and limit his chances of fatherhood, doctors have warned.

Taking paroxetine tablets for just a few weeks can more than double the amount of damage to the DNA in sperm, a study found.

IVF doctors said the findings were 'alarming'.

But they warned those keen to start a family not to stop taking their anti-depressants without speaking to their doctor first because coming off the treatment could increase the risk of suicide.

The researchers, from the Cornell Medical Centre in New York, examined the sperm of 35 healthy men before and after a course of the popular anti-depressant paroxetine, which is also known as Seroxat.

Superficially, the men's sperm seemed healthy, with the quantity, shape and ability to move all showing as normal.

But closer inspection revealed that the proportion with DNA damage rose from 13.8 per cent to 30.3 per cent after just four weeks, New Scientist magazine reports.

Similar levels of damage are known to affect the formation of embryos and their ability to implant in the womb to create a pregnancy.

Seroxat slows sperm through the male reproductive system, which may give it more time to develop flaws.

Janet Morgan, from Seroxat manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, said: 'We are reviewing the findings.

'We take seriously our responsibility to ensure our medicines are used safely.'

Seroxat was hailed as a wonder drug when it was first sold in Britain in 1990.

But it was later linked to child suicides, mood swings, nightmares and personality changes.

It was banned for under-18s in 2003 but is still prescribed for adults.





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