Researchers Demand APA Retract "Deviant" Celexa Article That Promotes Rx for Kids | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

More than a decade ago, a published study touted the benefits of using the Celexa antidepressant to treat children and teens. A recent analysis, however, alleged the study had numerous problems — notably, there was no difference between the drug and a placebo. And so, the researchers and several other academics want the medical society and the journal that published the study to issue a retraction.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the American Psychiatric Association, the researchers maintain the original 2004 study, which was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, contained “gross misrepresentations” about the safety and effectiveness of the drug. They also allege the study reflected the “pervasive influence” of the marketing objectives of Forest Laboratories, the Celexa manufacturer, since the drug was never approved for use in youngsters.

The researchers wrote that procedural deviations in the study were not reported; negative outcomes were not reported; side effects were misleadingly analyzed; and drafts of the study were prepared by company employees and outside ghostwriters. These points were highlighted in their analysis of the 2004 study, which was published last May in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine.

“We believe that the unretracted … article represents a stain on the high standard of the American Journal of Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association,” they wrote to APA president Dr. Maria Oquendo. “Neither the AJP nor the APA can claim to be a leader in scientific research and moral integrity, while failing to redress this article that negligently misrepresents scientific findings.”

[Most antidepressants don’t work on kids and teens,  one study found.]

An APA spokeswoman did not respond when asked whether the organization will consider issuing a retraction.

The researchers maintain a retraction is warranted because the study “continues to be cited uncritically in the psychiatric literature” as evidence that Celexa is effective in treating adolescent depression. “Our main concern is that children and adolescents are continuing to be at risk of harm unnecessarily because well-intentioned physicians have been misled,” they wrote the APA.

The demand for a retraction follows years of controversy over the extent to which some drug makers manipulated clinical studies in order to broaden the market for their medicines.