Preventable Death

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The recording above was made in September 2009, one month after Shane died. The radio show ‘The Right Hook’ was hosted by Kevin Myers and the programme involved Phil Mac Giolla Bhain and Patricia Casey discussing antidepressant-induced suicide and violence. Phil Mac Giolla Bhain said SSRIs causes both and not surprisingly Patricia Casey said they don’t.

At the moment I’m reading ‘Preventable Death’ by this guy – Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. It’s a very thought provoking read, particularly Chapter 9 which again deals with antidepressant-induced suicide and violence. The book was first published in 2008. I wish I’d read it! Here’s an excerpt:

“Dr Lynch first came to public prominence with the publication of his book ‘Beyond Prozac’ that questioned the efficacy of medicating people with Eli Lilly’s biggest earner if they presented to a GPs surgery suffering from life. Lynch, remember, is a GP. Like most revolutionaries what he wants is incredibly reasonable. He thinks that there must be a better way to help someone cope with the blows of life than giving them dangerous drugs as the first and last choice of medics. Preventable Death

Prozac has been persistently dogged by claims that it can trigger suicide – not just in depressives but also in healthy volunteers. Some SSRI users have reported agitation and an inability to keep still, a preoccupation with violent, self-destructive fantasies and a feeling that ‘death would be welcome’. In Germany, Prozac was initially refused a licence after trials resulted in 16 attempted suicides, two of which were successful.

The SSRIs have made hundreds of court appearances. The first big case was in 1989, when Joseph Westbecker walked through the Standard Gravure printing plant in Louisville, Kentucky with an AK47 killing eight employees, then himself. Westbecker had been on the newly licensed Prozac less than a month and had become increasingly agitated. The families of those killed sued Eli Lilly but agreed to an undisclosed settlement. 

More followed. After six days on Prozac, Patricia Williamson, 60, killed herself in her bath while her husband ate breakfast downstairs. Eli Lilly settled out of court. Don Schell had been on Seroxat (marketed as Paxil in America) for 48 hours when he shot his wife, his daughter, his nine-month-old grand-daughter and himself at his home in Wyoming. Schell’s son-in-law was awarded $8m by manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline.”

4 thoughts on “Preventable Death

  1. Despite the breathless enthusiasm and bluster, Patricia Casey made one important point. She acknowledged that ****depressants are over prescribed. She appears to have made some effort to correct this by writing in the “scientific literature” about the low criteria used to diagnose depression. Wouldn’t she have made more headway twisting the tail of the Irish Medical Council whose objective “is to protect the public by promoting and better ensuring high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among registered medical practitioners.”
    However her belief that meta analyses of up to 12 SSRI studies proves their effectiveness and safety is mind boggling. Am I wrong to believe that the studies she refers to were produced for marketing purposes, written by ghost writers, delivered by KOLs to highlight the positive and enrich same KOLs and therefore however many meta analyses are undertaken the truth remains a mystery.
    Also for a practising psychiatrist to state that if she ever had a “full blown depressive illness” she would have no difficulty in taking antidepressants and would ask for them. What piffle! Wouldn’t she would be so low that she couldn’t function sufficiently to know what ailed her?
    As a psychiatrist she meets people with a “severe depression” diagnosis in the out patient clinics whilst generally those with a mild or moderate diagnosis are treated by GPs. Is it possible that some of those GP patients progressed to a severe diagnosis because of a low criteria ****depressant prescription. Shucks!

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    1. I agree Sarah, Ghost written articles are a disgrace and citing them is even worse. BMJ comment on today’s article ‘Should journals stop publishing research funded by the drug industry?’ Says it all really:

      “Prescribed drugs are the third leading cause of death, partly because of flaws in the evidence published in journals. We have long known that clinical trials funded by the drug industry are much more likely than publicly funded trials to produce results favourable to the company. The reason is obvious. The difference between an honest and a less than honest data analysis can be worth billions of euros, and the fraudulent trials of some cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors for arthritis and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for depression are good examples.”

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  2. This interview is a classic example of psychiatric bluff and bluster, blind the lay-person with jargon, information and scientific sounding terminologies and the air time is used up quicker than you can say, “bullshite”…

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