How many dead children does it take before the medicine regulators take action? How many parents screaming ‘STOP’ will it take before this medication madness is banned?
This week another inquest sheds light on the dangers of prescribing SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) to children. George Werb was 15 when he was admitted to the Priory Hospital in Southampton. He had previously been prescribed Olanzapine/Zyprexa and expressed concern that he was suffering from adverse effects of the drug. George’s parents also expressed concern that the drugs were harming him and asked for him to be taken off them. His mother, Joanne Werb, told his psychiatrist (Dr Carlos Hoyos) of George’s desperation to come off Olanzapine. Despite this, George and his parents’ concerns were ignored, the drugs were increased and Fluoxetine/Prozac was added to the mix.
According to this article, George had previously had an adverse reaction to fluoxetine, yet inexplicably he was prescribed it again and sent home. The following day (28/June/2013) George stepped in front of a train and was killed.
Defending his position, Dr Hoyos explained that “there is no significant evidence that the particular anti-depressants George was prescribed caused suicidal tendencies”. Seriously, what an absolute idiot! Dr Hoyos should be struck off for that one ill-informed sentence. If Dr Hoyos would care to open a packet of Fluoxetine, he would find a reference to suicidal tendencies in the PIL. I guess the supposed ‘expert’ never read the warnings or heard of a black-box then? Sadly for George, the ‘expert’ was no expert.
Similar to Tom Boomer’s family (Tom aged 14), George’s family said at no time were the risks of starting Fluoxetine or the risk of suicide discussed. Again, Maria Bradshaw whose son Toran (aged 17) died from a Prozac induced death, was not informed that SSRIs doubled the risk of suicide and violence. The drug company in Toran’s case (Mylan) admitted that Prozac was the ‘probable cause’ of his death. Despite the dire FDA and EMA warnings of prescribing antidepressants to children, there is widespread opinion among GPs and Psychiatry that Prozac is safer than other SSRIs in Paediatrics. ‘Not so’ according to Dr David Healy, the leading expert in SSRIs. He stated that “Prozac is no safer than other SSRIs for children“.
Earlier this year the Irish Independent reported that another Irish child (age 14) had died following a prescription for Prozac. His mother said “that she had no idea about the side effects of Prozac and that she would never have agreed to him taking it if she had” and that “NO mother in her right mind would let their child have a drug that can cause suicide and self-harm when they are suffering from those symptoms in the first place.”
So how many children will have to die before the multiple evidence before our eyes is believed?
Update, 07/Oct/2014 – Similar to the findings at Shane’s Inquest, George’s inquest found that despite walking in from of a train, George did not take his own life. A serious case review into George’s treatment at the Priory is under way – http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-devon-29520139