- Seroxat could turn social wallflowers
into party animals
- Social wallflowers could be transformed
into outgoing party animals with the help of a new drug.
- SmithKline Beecham claims its anti-depression
drug Seroxat, launched in the UK in 1992, has been shown in tests to cure
- It has applied to the US Food and Drug
Administration for a licence to use the drug, now prescribed for panic
attacks, for people diagnosed as having acute shyness.
- The media has climbed onto the Seroxat
bandwagon, hailing it as the big new thing in social drugs after anti-impotence
- They say Seroxat will help shy people
get to the point where they might need Viagra.
- The downside is that Seroxat can reduce
sexual drive and function.
- The drug boosts the level of serotonin
in the brain - the hormone which controls people's moods.
- It is already a major success at treating
depression and its sales have risen by 23% in the last year.
- It now accounts for one quarter of US
anti-depressant drug sales and it was the fastest selling anti-depressant
drug in the UK in the mid-1990s. In 1996, UK sales grew by 50%.
- But if it gets approval to be used to
treat acute shyness, sales are likely to soar.
- A spokesman for SmithKline Beecham said
shyness was ' a serious condition' and that only those who had acute problems
would be prescribed the drug by doctors.
- "It would be used for the sort of
people who would have to run out of a crowded room. The underlying problem
is usually extreme anxiety," he said.