Study: Paxil Benefits Diabetics with Vascular Problems
According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Paxil (a popular antidepressant medication) may work for treating diabetics who have vascular problems.
"We developed this assay and used it to test literally every single existing drug and a good selection of other biologically active compounds," said UTMB professor Csaba Szabo, senior author of a paper on the research, which has been published online by Diabetes. "We were quite surprised when paroxetine came out as an active compound — a result, we later determined, of what seems to be a completely new effect unrelated to its antidepressant actions and not shared by any other known antidepressant drug."
For the study, researchers looked at different compounds to see if they could protect the cells that compose the inner lining of the blood vessels that then protect patients from the dangerous effects of diabetes-related hypoglycemia. When diabetics get hyperglycemia, the condition causes their endothelial cells to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), which causes diabetic endothelial dysfunction. This is what causes them to suffer from strokes, heart attacks, retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy.
Further studies are what led the researchers to discover that Paxil prevents hyperglycemia-initiated ROS damage to endothelial cells. This occurs in two different ways. First, Paxil directly lowered the concentration of superoxide, which a powerful ROS, and second, Paxil stopped the production of mitochondria, which causes the cell’s largest source of superoxide.
While that may sound great, one thing has to be taken into consideration before prescribing Paxil for this purpose. The serious side effects linked to Paxil can be dangerous for both the patient and the people around them — including their unborn offspring. Paxil has been linked to violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior as well as birth defects (spina bifida, PPHN, oral clefts, neural tube defects) in babies whose mothers take Paxil during pregnancy.