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, Depression, psychiatry

Ireland’s academics and pharmaco-wha?

Shane and lucy hand

Today is the 1st of June 2015. Despite the huge strides that Ireland has recently taken, most notably in marriage equality, it seems, at least in medicine, we may have officially reverted to the dark ages. Despite wonderful world-renowned experts like David Healy and Peter Gotzsche making huge strides in making medicines safer for us all, three articles today in the Irish Independent shows just how far behind Ireland trails in pharmacovigilance.

You can make up your own mind –

Article 1. 

Two thirds who died by suicide not taking drugs prescribed for them

Professor Patricia Casey, University College Dublin (UCD) – Among the usual defence of the drugs, drugs, and more drugs, she states “Is non-treatment adherence and ultimately suicide an unintended consequence of the (black box) warning? This question cries out for an answer as life itself is at stake.” Eh, this study that Professor Casey refers to was done in Ireland – Ireland doesn’t have a black boxed warning Patricia!

Article 2.

Polarised public debate about anti-depressants deeply unhelpful

Brendan Kelly, also of UCD, decides to ignore the FDA, EU and HPRA warnings altogether. He states “Public debate about anti-depressants tends to be polarised to a point that is deeply unhelpful, especially for people with depression. The truth is that anti-depressants are not the magic bullets that some people hoped. But neither are they the evil little pills they are sometimes portrayed as”. Have you actually read the (drug company) leaflets Professor Kelly or did this come directly from a conversation you had with your colleague Casey?

Article 3.

Parents can be ‘too nice’ to their children when they’re ill, neurologist warns

Dr Suzanna O’Sullivan, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, this time from University College London, takes the proverbial biscuit. She says that “people shouldn’t pay too much attention to side-effects leaflets or they are likely to start experiencing the conditions psychosomatically” and further “Don’t read the side-effects labels on medication too closely… All these symptoms come from something already existing in your mind and your imagination”.

The dark ages – 

Yep, never mind that the victims and their families are saying otherwise, take that pharmaceutical drug company pill or the sky will fall in (and the experts may be out of a job). Interesting that all 3 articles came out today in the Irish Independent. I might be a little optimistic here but maybe we, the victims and their families, are getting somewhere – the feathers of academia seem unduly ruffled today.

These articles come shortly after Professor David Healy’s ‘Medico-Legal society’ lecture at Dublin’s ‘Kildare St and University Club’, which myself and the bold husband had the pleasure of attending. The lecture concerned the dangers of taking prescription drugs, particularly antidepressants, and the legal implications of same. Following his talk, it seemed that many academics within the medical and legal profession are well aware of the dangers, despite what these articles and so-called ‘experts’ in the Irish Independent are saying today. ‘Independent’ being the definition of irony here.

Incidentally, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) Code, which includes pharmaceutical payments to doctors, will come into effect shortly. Transparency issues are about to get much more interesting.

As I was writing this another study was published, a Finnish-Swedish study that analyzed the link between psychotropic drugs and homicide risk. The study here found “that the use of certain drugs that affect the central nervous system are associated with an increased risk of committing a homicide. The greatest risk was associated with the use of painkillers and tranquillizing benzodiazepines, while anti-depressants were linked only to a slightly elevated risk.”  Yep, harmless, whatever you do, don’t read the leaflet!!

Update 02/June/2015

Professor Casey’s article appears in the Indo today ‘Mind and meaning: Antidepressants work‘. As usual, most likely for fear of legal repercussions by Prof Casey, the Indo never allow opposing arguments. My comment didn’t stay up for long and despite my best efforts at truth, I guess my constitutional right to freedom of expression doesn’t override the Irish media’s fear of another legal action by Casey. Comment below..

Comment on Casey's article

Adverse Reaction to SSRIs, Depression, Newspaper and internet articles

Who, When, Where and How..

60 mins

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,

Why did you do it – choose to die?

 

Last week the Coroner for West Galway, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, conducted nine inquests in one day. What he found deeply disturbing was that seven of the deaths were self-inflicted. He said “Seven deaths, all bunched together. It is very alarming – it is a terrible tragedy … ” Brian McDonald’s excellent article provides an unusual insight into the deaths that were deemed to be suicide.

The Coroner’s findings, while tragic, were not in fact unusual. In December 2011 another Coroner, this time in Wexford, performed inquests into the deaths of eight people. Again these inquests were all performed in one day –  six were deemed to be suicide.

I would argue, taking lunchtime and tea breaks into consideration, exactly how much investigation goes into finding ‘who, when, where and how’ a person has died? Would approximately an hour for each individual serve to bring justice for his/her death, or provide answers for the families left behind? The opportunity to find the common denominator in both of these Coroner’s courts was sadly overlooked. If, in the 13 ‘deaths by suicide’ recorded by these two Coroners, there is no common denominator, then we will probably never reduce the suicide rate. The millions earned and spent on suicide prevention and ‘mental health’ in this country might as well be turfed into the Liffey. Be under no illusion, suicide generates a lot of money worldwide and that includes Ireland.

I suggest that answers will be found once bereaved families are asked to participate in suicide prevention. They could be asked to provide details of the deceased’s life, particularly of their final year. What events could explain their choice to die? Is it possible that Swedish medical writer Janne Larsson is correct, that the majority of suicide victims had been prescribed psychiatric drugs, known (despite the denial by Irish psychiatry) to double the risk of suicide? Is Declan Gilsenan (retired Irish Pathologist) right in saying that he believes that these drugs are causing suicides? He has said, of the last five autopsies he performed on suicide victims, 4 had been recently introduced to an ssri antidepressant. Is Professor David Healy (Irish psychopharmacologist and world-leading expert on these drugs) right when he says that these drugs are causing hundreds of Irish people to feel so desperate, that they choose death as the only way to escape the adverse effects of same?

One thing is for sure, one miserable hour is not going to get to the bottom of why a person chose death instead of life. Is 60 minutes of a Coroner’s attention all that the family’s beloved one was worth?

Is 60 minutes enough to determine whether akathisia played a part in a person’s demise? Nope, not a chance of it. It does beg the question though – if these inquests had a jury, along with a medical expert, would their deaths have been determined as suicide? Would the juries instead, as in my son’s inquest, have rejected a sucide verdict on account of the prescribed drug in his/her system? One thing is for sure, an hour to determine ‘who, when, where and how’ is, in my opinion, just adding insult to injury.

Depression, Newspaper and internet articles

Knock Yourself Out!

Hugh Laurie

Don’t say I never told you so!

Last week we had yet another ‘mental health’ discussion on Irish TV which portrayed antidepressants as a cure-all for depression. The programme’s presenters stated that ‘it’s not a shameful thing anymore, to take antidepressants’. In fact it’s not actually a big deal to admit being on antidepressants because so many people of the ‘enlightened’ western world have a chemical defect, which only happy pills can fix; ah bless. In attempting to seem enlightened, one would be forgiven for believing that these Irish presenters were talking about the harmless Smartie. Not a mention of silly side effects for the dimwitted public either – much too complicated. Sure what’s informed consent between friends? My silly Tweet ‘for balance don’t you know’ went unanswered.

Coincidentally, last week I had the pleasure of reading ‘The Woman Who Stole My Life’ by Marian Keyes. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a weekend with your face stuck into the latest Marian Keyes. I was a tad surprised though to read a somewhat flippant thread of prescription drugs running through the book, with the two main characters taking Xanax and antidepressants. I should point out that they had a great sex life, which in reality is highly unlikely when taking antidepressants. Ah well, sure it’s only fiction and they are only Smarties after all. No mention of the factual antidepressant induced PSSD (persistent post-SSRI sexual dysfunction) to dampen the spirits (or sexual desires) of Marian’s readers; and indeed who could blame her?

Knock yourself out –

While many will say ‘these drugs saved my life’, there are many others who sadly can no longer speak. For every one person these drugs have helped, how many have they killed? The dangers of these drugs are widely known. The effects of taking antidepressants can include: suicide ideation, homicide ideation, violence, mania, worsening depression, akathisia, abnormal bleeding, discontinuation syndrome (withdrawal), anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness and impulsivity. Hyponatremia – signs include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe and/or acute cases have included hallucination, syncompe, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death. Despite the large scale use in pregnancy, antidepressants can be harmful to unborn babies. The teratogenic effect is believed by some experts to double the rate of autism in children and increase the risk of lung, heart and bowel diseases. Tragically the latter is not an exhaustive list! Dr Urato of Tufts University, stated “Doctors are putting thousands of pregnant women and their unborn children at serious risk of harm by prescribing them anti-depressants.. amounting to a large scale human experiment”.

I’ve been banging this well-worn drum for over 5 years, ever since my son Shane died from an antidepressant induced death. So please, by all means, feel free to take as many prescription drugs as you please. Genuflect reverently to your friendly GP who’s ready to pen that prescription quicker than you can say ‘quick draw McGraw’ if the mood takes you. ‘Knock yourself out’ in the numerous pharmacies if you feel the need, but let me say one thing – Don’t ever say that I didn’t warn you. I’m not at all adverse to saying ‘I told you so’!

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, Depression, psychiatry, Random

How Many Coroners to turn on that lightbulb?

Coroners Reports

Robin Williams’ close friends have expressed the opinion that the drugs he was prescribed caused his suicide. Following his death, the media frenzy has once again brought ‘mental illness’ to the forefront of peoples’ minds. Opinions have varied hugely, ranging from the unfounded – “vastly underdiagnosed ‘chemical’ depression” to the over-simplification “if [suicide victims] could see the impact their death has had on those left behind, they’d know that their life had value and meaning”.

Despite the opinions of Robin Williams’ close friends, his death has been used to promote the unfounded ‘chemical imbalance’ puffery and push pills to correct this said ‘imbalance’ – a travesty in my opinion. One article quoted Dr David Husted of the JFK Medical Centre psychiatry program, who said “..the general public often doesn’t understand about depression: It’s all connected to brain chemistry. Essentially, there’s a ‘glitch’…”. He went on to state that “depression is treatable if people are willing to give treatments — which include therapy and antidepressant medications – a chance”.

So what if Robin Williams’ friends are right and the drugs are killing people? This March two different coroners, one in the UK and one in Ireland, expressed concerns regarding antidepressants and their ability to induce suicide. It seems that more and more coroners are willing to speak out about prescription drug-induced suicide. Recently, Jacqueline Lake (a UK coroner), sent a report to the NHS regarding the death and subsequent inquest of Susan Poore, aged 65, from Norfolk. This report has been released online.

A regulation 28 report can be filed by a UK coroner, if, following an inquest, he/she perceives a risk of future similar deaths. A coroner has a duty to write a report under regulation 28 of the Coroners (Inquests) Regulations 2013, where there is a risk of further deaths occurring in similar circumstances as the deceased.

In Mrs Poore’s inquest report, the coroner raised concerns over the effect that the prescription drugs had on her.  Mrs Poore was prescribed Mirtazapine on 29th March 2012. 4 weeks later this antidepressant was stopped and changed to the SSRI Fluoxetine (prozac). 10 days later Mrs Poore walked in front of a train and was killed instantly. The coroner stated in her report that the ‘mode of death’ was out of character for Mrs Poore and that her depression deteriorated following the prescription of antidepressant drugs.

While researching regulation 28 reports, I came across another report which was sent by a different coroner, also to the NHS. Nine weeks before Mrs Poore died, a young man in a young offenders institute also died by suicide. Jordon Anthony Buckton, aged 20, was also prescribed Fluoxetine/Prozac a month before his death. Dorset coroner, Sheriff Stanhope Payne, raised a number of concerns in his report, including that the deceased was never monitored for the emergence of suicidality.

Despite the warnings of increased suicidality with all SSRIs, including Prozac, the GP who prescribed the drug to Jordan never actually met him or even checked to ensure he was doing okay. Despite never seeing Jordan, she stated that she ‘felt he was depressed’. An expert witness also gave evidence at the inquest that the NICE guidlines recommend monitoring following the prescription of antidepressants.

So, two suicides, same drug, same time scale, same steps taken – absolutely none! So I ask again, how many coroners will it take? Will Robin Williams’s death serve as the catalyst for opening peoples’ eyes to the dangers of prescription drugs; a posthumous starring role in ‘awakenings the sequel’? 

Coroner Jacqueline Lake’s Reg 28 Report.

Coroner Sheriff Stanhope Payne’s Reg 28 Report.

Friend’s opinion on Robin Williams’ death here and here.

A list of all the coroners who have raised concerns regarding prescription drugs will be compiled very soon.

Depression

Dr Tom O’Brien – Treating Depression Without Drugs

Tom O'Brien

Tom 1Treating depression without drugs. Prescription drugs and illegal drugs can be highly addictive. For anyone suffering from addiction or just needing help, Dr Tom is a really nice guy. A nice Doctor, willing to help – wish I knew him before Shane died. Check out his blog, contact him here or sign up for his workshop. Details above.