Adverse Reaction to SSRIs, Cases, Featured, Iatrogenesis

Jake’s Amendment Fails. And Yet..

 

Grace McManus, John Lynch, Stephanie Lynch and Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn
Grace McManus, John Lynch, Stephanie Lynch and Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing – Edmund Burke. I know, I know, this quote is painfully overused, but I couldn’t think of a more appropriate one here.

So, yesterday myself (and himself) went to Seanad Éireann (the Irish Senate) to witness the second stage of a bill to amend the Coroner’s Act (called Jake’s Amendment). Jake Lynch is the forever-14 year old child at the centre of all this. His parents, Stephanie and John Lynch, assisted by Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, have worked tirelessly on this bill since 2015 – a proposal to amend the Coroner’s Act to include a verdict of ‘iatrogenic suicide’ (treatment-induced suicide). Sadly, the bill failed at a vote of 12-19. However, there were many surprising elements to yesterday’s Seanad Shenanigans. Firstly, few showed surprise (or denied) that antidepressants can cause suicide; that is a major shift in opinion in a few short years. Secondly, among the senators who voted for Jake’s Amendment, several were willing to put their heads above the parapet and publicly support Jake’s Amendment. Lastly, the only one who argued a ‘causal’ link was the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, and he seemed to be directly quoting from Irish Psychiatry’s statement following Shane’s inquest – so hardly a surprise. Indeed, it seems all may not be lost with him either – as following the vote, he approached Jake’s family and expressed an interest in meeting up to discuss the issue. I have a feeling that little Jake Lynch (and his parents) will make a difference – and I for one, am very proud to call them my friends.

Background:

You may remember that Jake Lynch was a 14 year old boy (diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome) who was prescribed fluoxetine, aka Prozac, to ‘help with his exams’. Five weeks after being precribed fluoxetine (where the dosage was doubled without his or his parents’ knowledge), off-label and with nil informed consent, Jake ended his own life. As his mother Stephanie said – the only thing that changed in his short life was the prescription for fluoxetine. Available literature from the Irish Drug Regulator (the HPRA), provides that ‘Prozac is not for use in children and adolescents under 18’, due to the increased risk of side effects such as ‘suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts and hostility’. However, it provides that in the case of a child aged 8-18 with ‘moderate to severe depression’, a doctor may prescribe it off-label (not licenced for that indication) – if he/she decides it is in the child’s ‘best interest’. While the pros and cons of off-label prescribing have been oft-debated, it should be remembered that Jake did not have depression and was prescribed the drug ‘to help with his junior certificate’. Clearly, as he is now dead, it seems that Prozac proved to be in ‘his worst possible interest’.

Notably, Jake had no history (or diagnosis) of depression and his death came out-of-the-blue to all who knew him – seemingly inexplicable. Indeed, after a long and protracted inquest, the coroner concluded that Jake was not in his right mind on the night he died (resulting from the prescribed fluoxetine) and returned an ‘open’ verdict. This was largely due to an email that Jake sent shortly before he died, saying he felt ‘drugged out of his mind’ and further (demonstrating a shocking lack of consent), he expressed that he was never told that the drug was an antidepressant.

While the Seanad vote was disappointing, it was hardly surprising. Although 12 Senators voted to support the bill, the majority (19) voted against. The general reasoning was that an inquest cannot apportion blame and thus, a prescribing physician might be held accountable (imagine the horror!). However, this was addressed in the proposed bill and was not the intent of Jake’s Amendment. Indeed, this particular reasoning does not explain why ‘medical misadventure’ or ‘unlawful killing’ are permitted – and surely a ‘suicide’ verdict blames the deceased? It was also mentioned that there were other alternatives in circumstances where medical treatment causes harm, such as taking the legal route. However, this failed to consider that in Ireland (and indeed, Europe), taking a case against a pharmaceutical company or medical establishment means that a plaintiff must have the means to meet the costs of the defence if the action fails. Thus, for the majority of plaintiffs with relatively ‘normal’ means (who haven’t won the lotto), a legal action is nigh on impossible. This is not justice.

It was both humbling and inspiring to see ordinary extraordinary family members, stand firm with the courage of their convictions, in the face of any establishment. Senators like David Norris, Francis Black, (the very kind) Maire Devine, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh and Rose Conway-Walsh, were all thoroughly inspiring.

Contraindication?

While Senator (and doctor) James Reilly was among the opposers – it was hardly a revelation. Indeed, he took umbrage with Senator Norris stating that Prozac was contraindicated in ‘those with Aspergers’ – which he said was untrue. Hmm, let’s see, shall we?

Definition of contraindicate – To indicate the inadvisability of something, such as a medical treatment. 

According to a 2010 Cochrane literature review Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for autism spectrum disorders (ASD)’There is no evidence of effect of SSRIs in children and emerging evidence of harm (I have full text if required).

According to the NICE guidelines (section 1.4.22) – Do not use antidepressant medication for the routine management of core symptoms of autism in adults.

And again, per NICE (reviewed in 2016) – Do not use antidepressants for the management of core features of autism in children and young people. 

It seems pretty clear to me that Senator Norris was actually correct when he said that the SSRI prozac was contraindicated for ‘those with Aspergers’. What is not clear, is why Dr Reilly was unaware of the NICE guidelines or the Cochrane review.

So, back to business as usual, the families fight on for justice and Jake, the 14 year old child at the centre of all this, remains irrevocably and needlessly dead. There is little doubt that this is not over – at least until the fat skinny lady sings (aka Stephanie).

The recording of the Seanad can be seen here from 26 minutes and concludes here.

Adverse Reaction to SSRIs, Cases

Panorama – A Prescription for Murder.

This week the BBC aired a Panorama documentary titled ‘A Prescription for Murder’ which has stirred some much-needed debate on the mind-altering effects of SSRIs. The very-astute presenter Shelley Jofre is known for tackling ground-breaking medical-related issues, including ‘Who’s Paying Your Doctor‘ and ‘The Secrets of Seroxat‘. (Due to the circumstances surrounding my son Shane’s death, I make a brief appearance in this documentary. )

As expected, the documentary caused a huge furore, with many defending the antidepressants drugs they take ‘that don’t cause them to become murderers’, accusing Panorama of being irresponsible and increasing the stigma of mental illness. Indeed, psychiatrists came out in their droves with their usual defense of psychotropic drugs, with seemingly no concerns whatsoever of adverse effects – or of their profession’s incestuous relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. The possible stigmatization of the people who suffer from serious and well-documented adverse effects of these prescribed drugs never entered the debate.

Anyway, watch the documentary and see what you think. I will say what I have always said – My lovely son would still be alive if he hadn’t gone to the doctor, whose fateful decision to prescribe citalopram for heartache proved fatal. 17 days after being prescribed the drug, following a series of red-flags that the drug was causing havoc, Shane was dead.

Citalopram is an SSRI antidepressant, sold under the brand names of Cipramil in Europe and Celexa in the U.S.

Sertraline, the SSRI that James Holmes was prescribed, is sold under the brand names of Lustral in Europe and Zoloft in the U.S. It was interesting to hear Delnora Duprey speaking on the programme; In 2001, three weeks after he was prescribed sertraline, Delnora’s grandson Christopher Pittman shot and killed both of his paternal grandparents. Then there was David Carmichael, whose account of his time on Paroxetine (Seroxat/Paxil), leading to the death of his young son, is equally harrowing.

Since their inception and without exception, all the SSRI drugs have been implicated in suicides and extreme violence, including homicide. With drug-company reports of ‘self-harm and harm to others’ and regulatory warnings of suicidality, violence, mania, akathisia, worsening depression, severe withdrawal, long-term sexual dysfunction, birth defects, depersonalization, etc., the stance that these drugs are safe for all is no longer tenable.

For more information, see the available research here, and documentation by AntiDepAware and SSRI Stories.

Adverse Reaction to SSRIs, Cases, Depression, Our story., psychiatry, Shanes story.

Copenhagen Conference; Psychiatric drugs do more harm than good

Copenhagen, 16th Sept, 2015 – ‘Psychiatric drugs do more harm than good’. Peter Gøtzsche is the director of the Nordic Cochrane Center, Copenhagen and co-founder of the Cochrane collaboration. Peter’s new book Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial contains our personal stories of the harm done by psychiatric drugs. See our conference speeches below:

Leonie Fennell (me):

Stephanie McGill Lynch:

Kim Witczak:

Wendy Dolin:

Mathy Downing:

Peter Gøtzsche:

Robert Whitaker:

Adverse Reaction to SSRIs, Cases, Newspaper and internet articles

Jake’s Amendment

Jake McGill Lynch16th July 2015

Imagine your 14 year old child being prescribed fluoxetine (Prozac), not for any ‘mental illness’ but to ‘help with his exams’. Then imagine going to the local pharmacy and handing in that same prescription in exchange for a bottle of innocuous-looking liquid and being sent on your merry way to administer this ‘elixir’ to your young son, who by-the-way trusts you with all his heart. Imagine him looking you in the eye each night while you ensure that he’s taking his prescribed medication. Imagine the inexplicable scenario that neither the prescriber nor the pharmacist told you that this drug could actually cause suicide, particularly in children.

Imagine then a few weeks later, the horror of trying to remember that same trusting face after your 14 year-old child has fatally shot himself. That is most likely what Stephanie McGill Lynch does every night. I can just imagine her horror upon learning that the Irish Government already knew that these drugs were causing numerous deaths but chose to do nothing. It occurs to me that the Irish Government might just as well have shot and killed Jake, yet we are all passively allowing this to continue. Why, in an era awash in human rights activism, is nobody chaining themselves to the gates of our Government buildings for Jake, an innocent 14 year old child? Why are grieving parents left to fight a seemingly impenetrable system for justice? As one bereaved mother said recently “Why should it be down to the bereaved and harmed to battle for greater awareness of the dubious nature of ‘antidepressants’? These are random chemicals which can never merit the term ‘medicine’ until the day dawns when they are accompanied by effective information and support.”  Why indeed.

Today Jake’s parents are attending Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament) where Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD will propose an amendment to the Coroner’s Act 1961. The amendment, while not apportioning blame or fault, will permit a coroner to record an Iatrogenic death. Iatrogenesis is death caused by medical treatment and comes from the historical Greek word meaning ‘brought forth by the healer'(WIKI).

If this amendment is passed, Ireland may finally redeem itself a little. It may even prove to be a world-leader, creating precedent in paving the way for victims of medical treatment, thereby allowing other countries to follow suit. As adverse drug events are now the fourth leading cause of death in hospitals and the leading cause of death within the ‘mental health’ field, this amendment could be a huge step in paving the way for a re-think in prescribing practices.

A big thank-you to Jake’s parents and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn for pushing this hugely important amendment. Thinking of Jake today and his very sad, yet very brave parents, who are taking this one giant step on the road to justice. Newspaper Article on Jake’s Amendment below..

Jake's Amendment 2

Cases, Newspaper and internet articles

Polypharmacy and Elaine O’Hara

Elaine O'Hara

Elaine O’Hara, age 36.

Elaine O’Hara, a childcare and newsagent worker, was discharged from St Edmondsbury psychiatric unit on the 22nd of August 2012. Following a visit to her mother’s grave later that day, she went missing; it was the last time she was seen alive. At that time, due to her psychiatric history, her family though she had probably taken her own life. Her body was found the following year (Sept 2013) in the Dublin Mountains by a woman out walking her dog. Following a lengthy police investigation it transpired that Elaine was having an alleged sadomasochistic relationship with Graham Dwyer, a 42 year old architect from Foxrock in Co. Dublin. Although the cause of Elaine’s death has not been established, Mr Dwyer is currently on trial for her murder. According to the Irish Independent, their relationship was based on ‘BDSM’ – bondage, domination, sadomasochism, and masochism. Whether this man is guilty of Elaine’s murder (or not) remains to be determined by the Irish judiciary.

The Irish media are having a field day, initially portraying Elaine O’Hara as a very vulnerable yet intelligent woman; now it seems that her death is viewed as a media free-for-all, a no-holes-barred media circus. What struck me as really sad in this very peculiar case, is that Elaine herself seems to have been put on trial. Every aspect of her life, every lifestyle choice has been examined, scrutinised and then widely publicized for a further round of public analyses. There seems to be a general consensus that Elaine’s relationship with this man (and his sadistic fetishes) somehow veered towards an acquiescence of sorts. People naturally wonder how Elaine O’Hara could go out with this man, who according to media reports, had a sadistic penchant for inflicting pain on women.

Early difficulties –

Media reports say that Elaine’s difficulties started in her teens when she was bullied in school and a close friend of hers died in a road accident. Sadly, this then led to Elaine being treated under irish psychiatric ‘care’ and consequently medicated accordingly. She became very withdrawn and tried to cut her wrists at age 16. According to her father she had been medicated very heavily from the time she was a teenager and this affected their relationship – “she was hard going sometimes”. He said Elaine was on so much medication that she would sometimes fall asleep. He further stated that this had affected her in her teenage and early adult years. Considering this cocktail of mind altering drugs, is it really a surprise that Elaine would make some dubious decisions?

Elaine was released from a psychiatric Hospital the same day she went missing. That same day she collected 10 medications from her local pharmacy for athsma, diabetes, anxiety, depression, a stomach problem, vertigo and an added one for cholesterol. Which medical experts allowed this polypharmacy to continue; why did no-one put a stop to it?

Her sister Anne described Elaine as a ‘naive’ person who would “tell a man on the street her life story”. She said Elaine’s psychological difficulties meant that she ‘acted quite young’ and “she never really grew up as much as the rest of us, she was very naive, very trusting of people”. Psychologist Sheila Hawkins (partner of Elaine’s father) said “I placed her emotional development around the age of 15”. Ms Hawkins said she was aware of Elaine’s interest in sado-masochism and there was further evidence in court of a latex bodysuit being discovered. A work colleague testified that everything Elaine said had to be taken “with a pinch of salt”. She further stated “You wouldn’t know what was true or what wasn’t true”. How very sad that every single element of this woman’s life is under scrutiny; the question is, who is on trial here?

Polypharmacy –

So what about the ten medications she was on? Which doctor added in the 10th drug? Which medical expert said “Righty ho Elaine, how many drugs are you on? Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven, not eight but nine prescription drugs. Okay so, let’s add in another one for good measure and that might solve your problems” . Were any of these prescribers experts in Pharmacology or psychopharmacology? Did any have a clue as to how these ten different drugs could interact? Does anyone actually care?

It seems there was a point where at least one doctor wanted to reduce her drug regime. Her father said that in her last five years “doctors were trying to reduce her medications and he thought she had improved quite a bit”. Despite this, the Irish Independent reported that ‘in the two years before her disappearance, the cost of the medication dispensed by her local pharmacy was €8,417’. Is it any wonder that this woman would allow herself to be moulded and coached by a dangerous man? She was medicated to within an inch of her life or arguably, within an inch of her death. It actually surprises me that she was able to function after consuming these drugs, never mind function coherently.

In my opinion, whether this man is found guilty or not, Elaine was abused in life by our Irish acceptance of the ‘medical experts’ and their ridiculous polypharmacy. Following her death, she and her family are now being abused by the media’s very public portrayal of every aspect of Elaine’s very short life. Would she have gone anywhere near this man or this lifestyle if she wasn’t medicated to the gills with dangerous mind altering drugs? That is quite possibly the one question the media are not prepared to ask.

Adverse Reaction to SSRIs, Cases, psychiatry

TG4 – The Dark Side Of a Pill.

http://www.tg4.tv/share.php?p=3839822622001&t=Dark%20Side%20of%20a%20Pill%2015-6&i=https://tgfour-a.akamaihd.net/pd/1555966122001/201410/3723/1555966122001_3840151440001_WCL033332-vs.jpg?pubId=1555966122001&d=This%20is%20an%20exclusive,%20case-driven%20investigation%20into%20one%20of%20the%20medical%20success%20stories%20of%20our%20time.%20antidepressants.%20With%20global%20sales%20of%2020%20billion,%20the%20prescription%20drug%20is%20one%20of%20the%20most%20lucrative%20products%20of%20the%20medical%20industry.
Michael Jackson Concert Dublin

TG4 has recently televised a brilliant documentary on SSRIs (Selective Serotonin ReUptake Inhibitors) – you know, the dangerous antidepressants I’m always on about. The drugs which can cause people to kill themselves and others, and did so in my son Shane’s case with Lundbeck’s SSRI Citalopram (aka cipramil/celexa).

At this stage, Irish Psychiatry et al, who continue to deny that these drugs can cause suicide or violence, are looking pretty idiotic. I guess the pharma funded blinds go a long way to make up for ‘stupid’. Anyway, the link to the programme is here. I’m sorry to say it can only be viewed in Ireland and possibly on some iphones.

The ‘Dark Side of a Pill’ is obviously a very recent programme as it involves the recent case of the Manitoba teenager who killed his friend. The Winnipeg judge ruled that he murdered his friend because of the effects of the SSRI Prozac. Brian of AntiDepAware wrote about the case here (March 25 2014).

Considering that there are so many people consuming ‘life-saving’ (yes, that is sarcasm) pharmaceutical drugs that our wildlife are suffering because of it, be informed; watch the TG4 Programme. It just might save your life, or the life of your child. You might find it interesting to read Peter Hitchins view on SSRIs affecting our wildlife today:

“It’s sad to learn that starlings are suffering from antidepressants, apparently because they eat sewage-farm worms that have ingested the drugs from human waste. But isn’t it rather more important that so many people are still being persuaded to take these dubious, risky tablets – increasingly linked with inexplicable suicide?”

TG4; The Dark Side of a Pill.

Leonie Fennell; Psychiatric Drugs: Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball.

PS. I have just been informed that it’s possible to view this in the UK on an iphone and possibly on an ipad. It can also be bought here for any Rockefellers out there.

Adverse Reaction to SSRIs, Cases, Depression, Newspaper and internet articles

Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy – SSRI Induced?

Mr and Mrs Cuddihy

Yet again Ireland has suffered another horrific familicide. This time a retired couple, Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy from County Donegal, were found dead in their home. Their son Julian, a mechanical engineer, has been detained by Gardaí; an axe found at the family home is believed to be the murder weapon.

The Irish Times reported that Julian Cuddihy had been ‘medically assessed recently after concerns were expressed about his mental health’. He had been found close to the scene with a legally held shotgun and was suicidal. Most of the newspapers reported that he had recently ‘suffered from depression’, as if this somehow explained the tragedy. More stated that there is no clear motive, that Julian was very close to his parents and that the community is in shock. One source said that there was ‘certainly no issue between himself and the parents’ and that ‘there was nothing to suggest that this was coming’. He further stated that the community’s heart goes out to Julian as well as his parents.

Friends of Julian said that he had been ‘angry and agitated’ this week, which they found odd. The Irish Independent quoted a friend as saying “Julian is a normally quiet soul, well educated and articulate but he just didn’t appear to be himself in recent days”.

So how then could this happen? As was the case with the other recent Irish familicides, Julian had recent ‘medical intervention’. What was he prescribed? Was he prescribed an SSRI (Selective Serotonin ReuUptake Inhibitor), known to double the risk of suicide and violence. If so, did the drug cause mania, psychosis or akathisia (a well known precursor to suicide and violence). Certainly the agitation Julian demonstrated points to akathisia. Was he prescribed an SSRI for the first time or was his medication changed while he was being accessed? This tragedy certainly seems to have all the hallmarks of an SSRI tragedy. Similar to the O’Driscoll and Skeffington tragedies, by all accounts Julian was a nice guy, this tragedy was ‘out of the blue’, was uncharacteristic and he had recently been ‘medically accessed’.

The 3 experts who went to Leinster House and told Kathleen Lynch that SSRIs are causing many deaths, even suicide and homicide, may be shocked to realise that the Irish Government have done nothing. As with my son Shane’s case, if this Donegal tragedy is SSRI induced, as I suspect it is, the Irish Government should hang their heads in shame. My sincere condolences to the Cuddihy family.

For more information, see RxISK.org, Peter Gøtzsche et al and fellow Irishman Professor David Healy.

Psychiatric Drugs: Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball.

Similarities in ireland’s Siblicides.

Irish Times Article.

Adverse Reaction to SSRIs, Cases, Depression, Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry

George Werb, Another Iatrogenic Death?

George Werb

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

Adverse Reaction to SSRIs, Cases, Newspaper and internet articles, Shanes story.

Similarities in Ireland’s Siblicides

O'Driscoll Brothers

Barely 6 weeks after the awful tragedy in Sligo, where Shane Skeffington (20) killed his little brother Brandon (9) and himself, Ireland is once again dealing with a shocking murder/suicide involving young brothers. Jonathan O’Driscoll, aged 21, killed his twin brothers Thomas and Paddy (aged 9) and then himself, this time in Cork.

The media are divided, one newspaper states that the Gardaí believe “Jonathan flipped and killed the tragic 
youngsters in a spur-of-the-moment attack” while another states that the Gardaí “strongly suspected that Jonathan’s murderous last act was not a spontaneous violent combustion from a mentally ill man, but something he had planned, possibly for some time”. 

Despite their unimaginable suffering, both families have behaved with unbelievably dignity and understanding throughout. Jonathan’s mother has reportedly said she already forgives him. Bernadette, a sister of the 3 boys, spoke at the funeral today and said: “To my three brothers, Jonathan, Paddy and Tom Tom, your memories of laughter that we shared together as a family growing up together; I will treasure for the rest of my life. “I will always love you and I will always miss you. Forever, our family’s heart is broken. “Also, from our hearts, we say a fond farewell to the three of ye. God will be waiting at the Gates of Heaven to take ye in.” 

Reports state that Jonathan ‘doted on his younger brothers’, that all three were ‘very close’ and that ‘Jonathan made the whole family happy’. So why then did this happen? Some reports have suggested that Jonathan was a troubled young man who was ‘fixated’ with being an adopted son, while the two boys were biological children. One newspaper reported that Gardaí were investigating whether he killed his brothers ‘in a jealous rage after learning he was adopted’, but this theory was later discounted by insiders.

There are similarities between the O’Driscoll and Skeffington tragedies. In Sligo, Shane Skeffington had been receiving psychiatric treatment in the days before he killed his brother and himself. In Cork, Jonathan O’Driscoll was also receiving psychiatric treatment before he killed his brothers and himself. According to the Irish Times, he had also ‘recently engaged’ with mental health services. Another newspaper reported that Jonathan was “on a lot of medication and he had various health issues”.

A recent article by Paul Gilligan, chief executive of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services in Dublin, stated that murder-suicides are “not typically associated with mental health difficulties”. He stated that these incidents “require a great deal more premeditation and planning” than suicide alone and places the blame solely on the perpetrator: Article here. So if, as according to Mr Gilligan, murder-suicide is not caused by ‘mental health’ issues, are we to assume that Shane Skeffington and Jonathan O’Driscoll were evil murderers? I do not believe that for one second. What of the ‘care’ that these young men received shortly before these tragedies? Is it co-incidental that mental health drugs, usually SSRIs, double the risk of suicide and violence? Is it coincidental that the European Medicines Agency have warned of suicide and violence with these drugs and that they come with a black-boxed warning in the U.S.?

If these young men did not suffer from mental health issues, as Mr Gilligan suggests, then any drugs prescribed to these young men were wrongly prescribed. As a mother directly affected by a similar tragedy, whose son was also ‘recently prescribed’ these drugs beforehand, I feel a thorough investigation is required.

We have learned a lot since my son’s death in 2009. I have complied this information here for anyone who’s interested. Rest in peace to all these boys.

Considering Irish Psychiatrys’ usual defense of psychiatric drugs, it comes as no surprise that Mr Gilligan’s article has pride of place on their website, here.

Cases, cipramil (celexa) stories,, lundbeck, Our story., psychiatry, Shanes story.

Psychiatric Drugs: Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball?

Smoke ball 1

Psychiatric Drugs: Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball?

 

For decades doctors and psychiatrists have defended the use and efficacy of psychiatric drugs, from declaring that they ‘revolutionised the treatment of depression’[1] to just plain ‘lifesaving’[2]. Indeed Irish Psychiatrist Patricia Casey has proclaimed that antidepressants are lifesaving and that for early improvement in ‘clinical’ depression, ‘antidepressants are the best and often the only option’[3]. Today the most widely prescribed psychiatric drugs are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – SSRI antidepressants. Yet tragically for many, SSRIs are also thought to be the most dangerous. According to Dr David Healy, incidentally also an Irish psychiatrist, but additionally a scientist and psychopharmacologist “90% of school shootings over more than a decade have been linked to a widely prescribed type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.” Dr Healy argues the opposite to Casey, stating:

“there is no research evidence to suggest that anyone’s life is saved by taking an antidepressant but if there are lives saved the research makes it clear that for every life saved there must be another lost. There are probably something between 1000-1500 extra suicides in the US each year, triggered by an antidepressant – an extra 2000 -2500 in Europe. The data is similar for violence[4].” 

To put that number into perspective – 206 people have died since 2007 from bird flu, yet there was mass hysteria and a huge media frenzy. If Dr Healy’s statistics are correct, at least 3000-4000 suicides are induced by antidepressants each year, every year. Yet despite this huge number, the media seem reluctant to go up against the drug companies, their paid experts or the medicines regulators. Dr David Graham, who worked at the drug safety department with the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, stated that ‘all of these drugs appear to have the ability to increase the risk of suicidal behavior’. What was particularly disturbing is that he revealed the FDA (America’s Drug Safety Regulator) had suppressed a colleague’s report which found that most antidepressants don’t actually work in treating children[5]. I assume he says ‘most’ because Eli Lilly’s Fluoxetine was approved by the FDA in the treatment of children. Yet John Virapen, who worked for Eli Lilly for 35 years, testified that he used bribery and corruption to get Fluoxetine approved, knowing full well what Lilly knew all along, that Fluoxetine increased the risk of suicide and homicide[6].

The regulatory warnings for increased suicidality which were eventually attached to SSRIs are for children and young people up to the age of 25. This implies that SSRIs are safe in people older than 25, an implication which is extremely misleading. In 2006 an inquest was held in Dublin, Ireland, for a 62 year old businessman. His self inflicted death occured 5 days after starting Lundbeck’s SSRI Escitalopram/Lexapro. At the inquest his wife pointed out that Lexapro was associated with suicide, a fact that she wasn’t made aware of beforehand. Professor Casey, who attended the inquest, argued that “scientific research indicates that children under 18 who are prescribed SSRI antidepressants were at increased risk of ‘suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts’ but people of 30 years and older were not affected similarly”. Not so according to Dr Healy who says the risk of drug induced suicide and violence affect all age groups, not just the young[7]. He is not alone. Peter Gøtzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre also came to the same conclusion. He stated “SSRIs likely increase the risk of suicide at all ages. These drugs are immensely harmful[8]”. A retired psychiatrist and former inspector of mental health hospitals noted that SSRIs increased Ireland’s suicide rate. Dr Dermot Walsh stated in the British Medical Journal:

“In the context of the current debate on the efficacy of antidepressants the following may be of interest. Ireland’s suicide rate has risen threefold since antidepressants became available with the greatest increase occurring following the introduction of the SSRIs[9].”

Not surprisingly the drug companies rarely admit liability, usually testifying that it was ‘the underlying illness’ to blame, not their drug. Despite the many contradictions to this, their ‘underlying illness’ mantra rarely changes. People like Woody Witczak are dismissed as anecdotal. Woody was 37 and lived in the US. He was prescribed Pfizer’s SSRI Sertraline, not for depression but for insomnia. Five weeks later, this ‘upbeat and happy’ man killed himself. Following his death Woody’s wife Kim acquired some internal confidential documents from Pfizer[10]. One of these confidential documents was from Pfizer to The Irish Medicines Board (IMB). The documents referred to Pfizer’s clinical studies on Sertraline which concluded that the age group with the highest suicide rate was 31-40 and that the most dangerous time is 15-30 days after starting this medication. She also discovered that 54 of the 252 suicides that Pfizer investigated were found to be causally related to Sertraline.

In 2011 another inquest was held in Ireland, this time for Nicholas Maguire, aged 52, again a businessman. Mr Maguire’s family raised concerns over his recent prescription for Sertraline/Zoloft. They said their brother had been ‘driven mad’ by the pills and that there had been a dramatic change in his personality while taking Sertraline. Following the inquest Irish psychiatrist Timothy Dinan defended the drug, stating ‘The use of Sertraline helps to reduce suicidality and reduce depression’. Despite being on the Advisory Committee for Human Medicines at the IMB, Professor Dinan also stated ‘The public should have no concerns about these drugs’[11].

There is growing concern among academia that these drugs have little or no efficacy[12] and are in fact doing more harm than good[13]. Many will be aware of the curious case of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company[14] where a unilateral contract was offered by a company advertisment to the world at large. The company proclaimed that using their smoke ball would prevent the user from contracting influenza. Mrs Carlill did and the smoke ball didn’t! The company argued that they didn’t intend to be taken seriously, that the advertisment was in fact mere ‘sales puff’ and therefore not legally binding; the court held otherwise.

The drug company literature now readily admit that SSRIs are associated with an increased risk of suicide and violence[15]. Could it be that psychiatrys’ medical model is actually the equivalent of a latter-day carbolic smoke ball? Yet unlike the harmless smoke ball, psychiatry’s medical model is actually causing many, many deaths. Will our future decendants see the demise of the SSRI as just another fraudulent snakeoil or smoke ball generation? The defenders of the medical model may yet be exposed as prescription drug pushers, albeit disguised as the caring psychiatrist or doctor.

Iatrogenic death, or prescription drug induced death, is an issue which most lay people will thankfully be oblivious to. Where Iatrogenesis is slowly becoming apparent though is in the courtroom. This was seen recently in Manitoba, where Justice Robert Heinrichs found that a 16 year old boy was driven to commit an unprovoked murder because of the adverse affects of taking Fluoxetine/Prozac[16]. Dr Peter Breggin testified that the teenager’s actions were drug induced and he would not have committed the violence if he had not been given the antidepressant[17]. Dr Breggin has warned of the dangers of SSRIs for decades and has been an expert witness in a number of successful drug induced cases[18].

It seems that deciphering scientific evidence and whether the ‘independent’ expert is in fact a paid pharma shill has yet to be argued in the courtroom. The European judiciary largely defers to the psychiatric expert when determining ‘mental health’ cases; seemingly reluctant to use its own discretion, rather deferring to the possibly biased opinion of the individual psychiatrist. According to Herxheimer et al:[19]

“Many judges and coroners have not addressed these questions clearly and have not used expert witnesses consistently, on occasion disregarding scientific evidence. Courts need to appoint experts to explain and interpret the scientific evidence. Few judges are equipped to resolve contradictions between different experts” and “The reluctance of legal processes to implicate drugs as a possible cause of violent behaviour leads to injustice. Courts must be required to obtain appropriate expert evidence, and be given independent data on which drugs can cause such behaviour.”

A recent Plos One study ‘Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others’found that 31 drugs were disproportionally associated with violence[20]. 11 of these were antidepressants.

Far from finding justice, as Herxheimer said, the reluctance of the courts to implicate prescription drugs can lead to injustice. An article in the 2012 Law Society Gazette reviewed a book entitled ‘You Can’t Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom’ by journalist and author Nick Cohen. The reviewer stated that “Lawyers do not figure highly in the estimation of newspaper columnist Nick Cohen. His broadside at censorship in a liberal age paints solicitors, barristers and judges as the lackeys of oligarchs and snake-oil sellers and conspirators in liberal silence when the going gets tough”[21].

It is submitted that Mr Cohen may have a valid point. Despite the lack of evidence or any available test to confirm or deny any ‘mental illness’, once the psychiatric expert has given his opinion either way, the fate of the accused is sealed. It is very, very rare that prescription drug induced violence is put forward as a defence, most likely because the psychiatric expert will deny all knowledge of Iatrogenesis and the courts will defer to such wisdom. It is further submitted that a puff of the aforementioned smoke ball would be much less risky than taking a chance with an SSRI.

Declaration of Interest

In 2009 my son died by stabbing himself multiple times. He took the life of another young man on the same night. He had been prescribed Lundbeck’s Citalopram/Celexa 17 days beforehand, not for any mental illness but for a break-up with his girlfriend. He was never diagnosed with any illness, mental or otherwise, apart from a posthumous diagnosis on national TV by Professor Patricia Casey. From early on I was aware that Citalopram caused my son’s death and enabled him to take the life of another human being. I shouted this from the rooftops to anyone who would listen. Some did, some didn’t.

Dr David Healy testified at my son’s inquest stating that Citalopram (and all SSRIs) could cause a person to become suicidal and homicidal. He opined that Citalopram caused both my son’s death and the death of the other young man. The College of Psychiatry of Ireland intervened and involved themselves before, during and after the inquest. The college collectively denied that this family of drug could cause a person to become suicidal or homicidal. Professor Casey attended my son’s inquest, representing the college of psychiatry. She was refused permission to testify by the Coroner, Cahal Louth. Despite this, immediately following the inquest she stood outside the Coroner’s court and spoke on national TV stating that there were ‘issues’ with the evidence. A press statement was subsequently released by the college stating that the sworn expert evidence (by Dr David Healy) was, in their view, speculative. Referring to him as ‘the expert’, never once mentioning his name, the college of psychiatry proceeded to contradict his testimony and defend the drug[22]. Similar to the drug companies, they blamed the ‘underlying illness’ not the drug, eg “Anecdotal cases of suicide sometimes mistakenly attribute these tragic events to the treatment rather than the illness itself”. The college denied there was any evidence linking SSRIs to suicide or violence. They further stated that “Antidepressants do not cause violence. Neither are they, nor can they be expected to be, an inoculation against violence.”

Professor Timothy Dinan also spoke to the media afterwards. He said that he could say with “100 per cent certainty, without any fear of contradiction, that modern anti-depressants such as the drug Citalopram … do not cause people to commit murder”. He also added that there was no evidence that the drugs can cause suicide[23].

It should be noted that professors Casey and Dinan both received numerous honoraria from Lundbeck, the implicated drug company. Professor Dinan has received honoraria from and is a member of the speakers’/advisory board for Lilly, Lundbeck, Organon and Pfizer the inventor of Sertraline, the same SSRI he defended following Mr Maguire’s inquest. Despite being in attendance at the inquest, Lundbeck’s representative remained silent. I later discovered through a Freedom of Information request that the college statement regarding my son was forwarded, via internal college email, to the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck. The ethicality of Irish psychiatry’s involvement in my son’s inquest is questionable. Individual psychiatrists defending a drug while simultaneously working for the same drug company is surely a bias too far?

Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball?

 

References

[1] L. White, G. Duncan, and W. Baumle, Medical Surgical Nursing: An Integrated Approach, 3rd edn., Delmar, 2012, p. 1286.

[2] P. Casey Sometimes words are not enough to lift depression, Irish Independent, 08/01/2010 http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/sometimes-words-are-not-enough-to-lift-depression-(accessed 30/June/2014).

[3]ibid

[4]D. Healy  ‘Prozac and SSRIs: Twenty-fifth Anniversary’ 6 February 2013 http://davidhealy.org/prozac-and-ssris-twenty-fifth-anniversary/  (accessed 30/June/2014)

[5]M. Loudon  30 August 2005 The FDA Exposed: An Interview With DrDavid Graham, the Vioxx Whistleblower’ (accessed 30/June/2014)

[6]J. Virapen J ‘Side Effects Death’ Virtualbookworm.com Publishing Inc. 2010 Introduction p. ix

[7]D. Healy ‘Guilty’ 15 January 2014 http://davidhealy.org/guilty-2/

(accessed 30/June/2014)

[8] Peter C. Gotzsche Deadly Medicines and Organised CrimeRadcliffe Publishing Ltd 2013P.224

[9]D. Walsh ‘Antidepressants and suicide in Ireland’ BMJ Rapid Response 21 July 2004 http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/30/antidepressants-and-suicide-ireland (accessed 1/July/2014)

[10]Youtube. (12th March 2012) ‘Kim Witczak’s Testimony to the FDA Advisory Committee’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIjy4p9-LDY&list=UUh_XlTLw71KOqlM_ELnAu8w

[11]E. English ‘Family calls for more research into anti-depressants’ Irish Examiner 06 May 2011 http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/health/family-calls-for-more-research-into-anti-depressants-153706.html (accessed 30/June/2014)

[12]Kirsch I, Deacon BJ, Huedo-Medina TB, Scoboria A, Moore TJ, et al. (2008) Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLoS Med 5(2): e45. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045

[13]Whitaker R Medical Hypotheses (2004) ‘The case against antipsychotic drugs: a 50-year record of doing more harm than good’ Medical Hypotheses (2004) 62, 5–13

[14] [1893] Q.B. 256

[15]Healy D, Herxheimer A, Menkes DB (2006) ‘Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law’. PLoS Med 3(9): e372. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030372

[16]M. McIntrye(17 September 2011). “Judge Agrees Prozac Made Teen a Killer,” Winnipeg Free Press.http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/judge-agrees-prozac-made-teen-a-killer-130010278.html (accessed 30/June/2014)

[17]P Breggin ‘Psychiatric Drug Facts’ http://breggin.com/ (accessed 30/June/2014)

[18]Suicidality, violence and mania caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): A review and analysis∗ IOS Press International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine 16 (2003/2004) 31–49 31

[19] Herxheimer et al ‘Case histories as evidence’ Int J Risk Saf Med. 2012; 24(1):23-9.

[20]Moore et al. Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others. PLoS ONE 5(12): e15337.

[21]M Cross. Book Reviews: A broadside at censorship in a liberal age – (2012) LS Gaz, 8 Mar, 17 (2)

[22] The College of Psychiatry of Ireland13 May 2010 ‘Antidepressant Medication – Clarification13 May 2010’

http://www.irishpsychiatry.ie/Libraries/External_Affairs/CPsychI_Press_statement_antidressant_medicaiton_clarification_13_05_10_NO_Mobiles.sflb.ashx (accessed 30/June/2014)

[23] R. McGreevy Violence link to medication rejected by psychiatrist 27 April 2010 Irish Times http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-21922198.html (accessed 30/June/2014)