Ok, so even Lundbeck have admitted that their drugs can cause suicide. This information was not provided voluntarily, it was provided by a Lundbeck doctor who was put under pressure in a court to tell the truth. Isn’t it strange that an antidepressant can cause depression and suicide and yet pharmaceutical companies can spend so much money on PR and mis-advertising their unhappy pills, that the general public are unaware of the terrible side-effects?
I saw this article this morning in the ‘Waterford Today’ which is typical of Lundbeck’s PR machine at work. It involves another branch of their ‘Lean on me’ campaign. Get in there early and medicate with Lundbeck’s Cipramil or Lexapro (same product, another story) but don’t tell them the drugs can cause suicide; sure even the body entrusted with Irish Mental health (The College of Psychiatry of Ireland) will deny that antidepressants can cause suicide. Let’s see, who have Lundbeck not targeted yet? Oh yeah, what about the place where people go to get their pills? What about a Lean on Me Pharmacy campaign?
In a Press Release today here, it states that “Drug companies use several techniques to downplay the side effects of the potentially dangerous drugs they are advertising. First, a drug company may enlist a celebrity to endorse its product.” Ah yes…enter Ireland’s favourite housewife ‘Biddy’ from Glenroe’ aka Mary McEvoy…
Mary McEvoy, who lives with depression and manages it on an ongoing basis, is supporting Lean on Me Pharmacy. She said at the launch, “I have lived with depression for over 15 years and it is the community support network that I have around me that helps me now to manage my condition and lead an engaging life.”
There was also Johnny Logan and Niamh Kavanagh supporting Lundbeck’s lean on me campaign here. Then there is the former Munster and Ireland rugby star Alan Quinlan who is an embassador for the ‘Lean on me to win’ campaign here. Probably Lundbeck’s ultimate support of “Mind Yourself – Depression in Later Life” came from Gaybo aka Gay Byrne here. Another sporting endorsement was Bohemians who actually had the Lean on me logo on their jerseys for their match against Portadown in the Setanta Cup here.
What I find almost as disturbing is that Lundbeck’s Lean on me campaign is supported by ‘Aware’ which is a well-known Irish depression organisation. What is Aware doing, supporting a pharmaceutical company’s campaign? What is a depression organisation thinking of, supporting a pharmaceutical company who make antidepressants, which (by their own admission) can cause a person to commit suicide?
So do I think these celebrities know that Lundbeck’s drugs can cause suicide? No I don’t. I think they thought that it’s a positive thing to endorse a depression campaign and getting paid for doing it is a double whammy. Do they know the ‘Lean on me’ campaign is run by a pharmaceutical company who make antidepressants? (which can cause suicide)… I don’t know.
The article in the ‘Waterford Today’ futher states “”Non-compliance with antidepressant medication is an issue and it’s very heartening to note from the research that the majority (65%) of people would accept advice from a pharmacist if advised to continue on antidepressants.” So can a pharmacist diagnose a problem when a person stops taking his/her antidepressant because of the onset of Akathisia (the condition associated with drug-induced suicide)? Or will the same pharmacist advise the person to continue taking the drug in the mistaken belief that it will eventually work? If so, the pharmacist may be held directly responsible if the person goes on to commit suicide.
Coroners who raised flags about Citalopram during different Inquests in different countries:
1. Recommendations of Magistrate Jacqueline M. Milledge Australia… (Senior Deputy State Coroner)
Inquest of Roxanne, Luke, Grace and Michael Richardson.
To the Minister for Health and the Therapeutic Goods Administration: “That the use of Citalopram in the treatment of depression be monitored and further studied to determine its effectiveness in the treatment of depressive illness and to guard against any side effects that may exacerbate a predisposition to violent behaviour.”
2. Coroner Dr.Andrew Reid, St Pancras Coroner’s Court. U.K.
Inquest of Ian Fox.
“At his inquest on Thursday, Mr Fox’s wife, Maria Fox, blamed her husband’s sudden death on the drug, and a coroner ruled the ‘adverse effects’ of Citalopram had played a part. Coroner Dr Andrew Reid said he accepted that Mr Fox had jumped in front of the train, adding: ‘I’m satisfied he did so while the balance of his mind was disturbed while suffering the adverse effects of Citalopram.’”
3. Coroner Ian Smith Cumbria, U.K.
Inquest of Nigel Woodburn.
The retired bank manager, of Bardsea Green, south Cumbria, was killed at the wheel of his car. He had been prescribed Citalopram after becoming depressed through ill-health.
Coroner Ian Smith is to write to the committee on the safety of medicines – an independent advisory body – following the inquest into the death of Nigel Woodburn. He said: “I have to say this is probably the fifth, if not sixth inquest I’ve heard within a period of three years when somebody either just going on to Citalopram or Seroxat, or coming off it, have killed themselves one way or another, totally out of the blue, totally without expectation, without a history of suicidal thoughts in the past.”
4. Birmingham coroner Aiden Cotter U.K.
Inquest of Yvonne Woodley.
Birmingham coroner Aiden Cotter, called for more research into the drug after experts raised concerns over its side-effects. He ordered an urgent investigation into Citalopram after it turned a mother-of-two into a ‘zombie’ before she was found hanged in her attic. Housewife Yvonne Woodley, 42, visited six GPs who increased her dosage of Citalopram in the months before her death.
5. Brecon coroner Geraint Williams.
Inquest of Stephen Leggett.
On March 15, 2004, just five days after he’d taken his first dose of citalopram for stress over work, the 53-year-old Taunton teacher killed himself by dousing himself in petrol and setting himself on fire.
Brecon coroner Geraint Williams said he was “profoundly disturbed” by the effect the drug had on Mr Leggett. He took the first dose on Thursday and he killed himself on Monday.“It seems to fit a pattern seen in other deaths linked to this type of drug. CITALOPRAM (marketed by the brand name Cipramil in the UK) belongs to a group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).”
Declan Gilsenan and Professor Healy
This month (May 2012) Declan Gilsenan and Professor Healy brought their concerns (that SSRI’s can cause suicide) to Leinster House when they met with Kathleen Lynch, the Minister with responsibility for mental health.