An article in the Oxford Mail stated that Tom had moved schools in January of this year and was ‘quite upset’. On March 20th 2014 Tom was prescribed Fluoxetine, aka Prozac, for depression. 11 days later on March 31st, Tom jumped from a multi-storey car park and was pronounced dead that day.
At Tom’s inquest this week his dad stated that his family were not adequately consulted on the risks of Tom being put on Prozac. He told the coroner’s court that he and his wife were not involved in the decision-making process regarding Tom taking this drug, which they felt was “presented as a done deal”.
Dr Ann Rowlands, ‘child and adolescent psychiatrist’ for Oxford Health, headed Tom’s treatment. She argued that it wasn’t a done-deal and that she had discussed the increased risks of self-harm with his parents. She acknowledged that medical consensus was that Prozac could increase the risk of self-harm or suicide among young people within the first two or three days of use, but stated that the “risks are extremely low”.
The Oxfordshire coroner, Darren Salter, recorded a verdict that Tom took his own life.
Both AntiDepAware and Bob Fiddaman have written about Tom’s inquest this week. They made a couple of extremely valid points:
AntiDepAware: “In my research, I have never heard even the most committed proponent of SSRIs state that a period of suicidal ideation would last for a period of just two to three days” and
Bob Fiddaman: “If Slater (the coroner) delved deeper into the side effects of Prozac he would have learned that suicidal completion is a side effect and has been reported and acknowledged by makers of generic Prozac, Mylan. If he had bothered to research he would not have returned such a ludicrous statement”.
While I assume that Dr Rowlands and her team at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service had Tom’s best interests at heart, the fact is he was 14, prescribed Prozac (which doubles the risk of suicide) and is now dead. Tom’s story is very similar to an Irish child whose death was reported in the Irish Times earlier this year. Jake was also 14, was also prescribed Prozac and is also now dead. Both sets of parents have said they were not warned of the risks before their children were put on this drug.
The European and American drug regulators have provided stark warnings on the suicidal risk with this drug (and all SSRIs), particularly in children and under 25s. The sad fact is that lessons are not being learned because doctors and psychiatrists are still denying the evidence provided by the deaths of children like Tom and Jake. How many more Toms, Jakes or Torans will there be before the blinkers will finally come off?
(Jake’s inquest is ongoing)
Irish Prozac PIL (Patient Information Leaflet). American Prozac PIL. On the RxISK website there are 1,380 suicides associated with Prozac alone. This week’s paper ‘Why I think Antidepressants Do More Harm Than Good’, written by Peter Gøtzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Center, is free for anyone looking for more information.