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:

Our story., Shanes story., TV3

TV3’s BAI Statement.

This is a quickie. For anyone who is contemplating involving themselves with TV3, be advised, their ethics and professionalism are questionable. I took part in a documentary entitled ‘Search For Justice: Death in Bray’ in March 2014. TV3 made numerous promises which were not adhered to.

By the way, I’m not a victim here. My son and the young man whose life he also took in August 2009 are dead; they are the real victims. My only reason for making a complaint to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland was because I had this ridiculous idea that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, even my son and I!

Newspaper and internet articles, Our story., Shanes story., TV3

Hate Mail, TV3 and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

Shane and Henry 2

This week Sallyanne Clarke told how she had received hate mail following her son’s death. Andrew Clarke was 16 when he died by suicide. Toxicology tests showed traces of cocaine and benzodiazepines in his system at the time of his death. One anonymous letter writer said she had obviously abandonded her son and maybe Andrew had just wanted to get away from her. This begs the question, does speaking out publicly by a grieving family give permission for a ‘no holds barred’ debate?

I can empathise with the Clarkes. I have received plenty of hate mail following Shane’s death; I thought I was the only one. I’ve had a fair few Tom, Dick and Harrys who’ve insisted on telling me why I’m delusional  and why they know better than I. One person thought it was for my own good, ‘cruel to be kind’ he said. After all, hadn’t I put myself ‘out there for debate‘. You eventually get used to the nastiness, at least I did, and that awful feeling following each ‘cruel to be kind’ correspondence lessens over time.

Since when did putting yourself out there for debate equate to agreeing to a ‘free for all’ though? I can honestly say that the worst experience I’ve had was with TV3 Television Network Ltd, when I agreed to take part in a documentary concerning my son’s death. I felt trampled on, exploited and further traumatised by TV3’s callous attitude and blatant lies.

The documentary itself wasn’t an issue, I was happy enough once Professor David Healy was given the opportunity to speak. Despite his opinion that we were marching into a stitch-up, he did the interview and has since said that he ‘remains happy to engage with Vincent Browne properly‘. My main issue was the promises I was given all the way through, that we would be fully informed. While I tentatively agreed to take part, it was on the condition that I could see the documentary before it aired and retract ‘all or part’ of my participation if I felt it necessary. When I saw a TV3 tweet publicising the upcoming documentary, which showed footage of my son that I had never seen, I retracted my permission and said I wanted my part taken out. The idea that footage of my son’s last night alive (which I didn’t know existed) could be shown for the amusement of viewers without warning or showing me first, still astounds me. TV3 went ahead and aired the documentary, ignoring my retraction.

Following the documentary I wrote to TV3 and Vincent Browne expressing my disappointment, which they ignored. I then contacted the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), using the complaints procedure. The BAI, as is usual, referred my complaint back to TV3. The initial niceties and pretence at sympathy by TV3 quickly turned into what I can only describe as a bitter tirade of vitriol, attacking me personally. It seemed I deserved everything I got and sure shouldn’t I be thankful that TV3 didn’t do a reconstruction with ‘knives and blood’ (TV3’s words, not mine).

This week I received the BAI decision which upheld the majority of my complaint. It states that TV3 will now be requested ‘to air the BAI committee’s statement’ – an apology of sorts. Was it worth it? Hell no! It still amazes me that I had to go to all that effort to squeeze it out of them, to acknowledge wrongdoing. TV3 are supposed to be professional, with legal teams employed to go over every minute detail, and yet they thought they were perfectly entitled to trample all over my family’s feelings.

The BAI committee found that TV3 did not demonstrate due care towards me, did not sufficiently inform me of the contents of the programme, did not fully meet the terms agreed beforehand and potentially misled viewers by referring to my son’s letters as a journal.

I have to admit I was shocked and disgusted by the way I was treated by TV3 and by Vincent Browne’s producer. Having survived Shane’s death, albeit through 5 years of shellshock, I feel I’ve been fairly toughened up. From Jim Cusack (a week after my son’s death) writing in the Independent that Shane was a working class boy trying to ingratiate himself into the ‘middle classes’ with a girlfriend ‘above his station’, to (on the day of his funeral) Catholic priest Father Fergus O’Donoghue who said he was just ‘plain evil’.

So yes, I’m fairly used to ignorant bullies being ‘cruel to be kind’ but some things are just plain wrong, and I never agreed to a ‘free for all’, particulary not with TV3.

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)

 

Our story., Random, Shanes story.

The Bishop, The Pope and The 3 Sinners

Message From Pope Francis

Pope 11

Myself, Maria and our friend Stephanie decided that we needed to approach a major celebrity in order to publicise the dangerous side-effects of prescription drugs and the overprescribing of same. Maria came up with a bright idea, ‘what about Pope Francis’? I knew my friend in the UK had approached the Archbishop of Canterbury with the same intent and was politely but firmly brushed off. So ignoring my inner scepticism, knowing that once Maria gets a notion in her head it’s better to go with the flow, contacting the Pope it was. I did ignore her though when she started spouting something about donkeys and the Vatican! Maybe we’d have better luck than our English counterparts?

We initially contacted Archbishop Diarmuid Martin who agreed to meet with us. We met with the Archbishop and Monsignor Paul Callan who had organised the meeting. Both men were surprisingly open, honest and were perfect gentlemen; far too nice for us three irreverent sinners. Having had previous experience with a very callous priest following Shane’s death, I have learned that some priests can be extremely unchristian. I wouldn’t be a fan of Ireland’s Catholic think-tank ‘the Iona Institute’ either. We were pleasantly surprised by the Archbishop though and we all enjoyed our meetings.

My one previous Papal experience consisted of an excursion to the phoenix park for Pope John Paul’s visit in 1979. I was 14 and assigned to accompany my grandmother on the bus which was leaving from Sallynoggin at some ungodly hour; pardon the pun. The rest of my family on the other hand,  promptly went off in a different direction, leaving myself and my granny to our own devices. She was actually great fun and I loved her dearly. She had a fondness for a glass of sherry though and for high shoes, which didn’t always go together it has to be said.

Being the original Imelda Marcos, with shoe sizes and walking being minor issues, my granny’s poor feet were crippled with corns. Needless to say, the papal visit was memorable for all the wrong reasons: a ‘shortcut’ I brought her on to save her poor toes, getting lost, missing the return bus, a tad too much sherry, an unfortunate trip to the men’s toilets and an annoyed and very drunk taxi man we had to drag from the pub and beg to take us home. I kid you not!

So, although religion is not normally uppermost on my mind, I agreed once again to some papal interaction. We, that is myself, Maria and Stephanie, sent a letter off to Pope Francis explaining what we wanted and asking if he was willing to do something about it. Archbishop Dermot was also on the case, having agreed to meet with Professor David Healy whom we railroaded into the archbishop’s house. I honestly believe that the Catholic church cannot ignore experts who are saying that these drugs can cause so much death and destruction. This remains to be seen.

This week we got a short reply from the Pope. Whether it’s a good reply or not is anyone’s guess, but he is now aware. Maybe the fact that he knows what an ‘iatrogenic death’ is, is a good thing?

Watch this space.

Papal Reply below:

 

Pope Francis

 

Cases, Our story., Random

My husband’s deaf, not dumb

Tony going deafWhat is it with my family and doctors? Admittedly I have a deep distrust of the medical profession following Shane’s death and my family and I would have to be at death’s door before consulting a doctor. I can’t say I dislike doctors as I think they usually mean well, I assume they don’t get up in the morning and think “who will I harm today?”.

Yesterday I sent the poor long-suffering husband off to see the doctor. He was driving us all demented with his dodgy ears; he was becoming as deaf as a post ye see. Surely that’s grounds for divorce? Most mornings we ALL awakened at 6am to the sound of his alarm shrieking continuously, while he slept like a baby. I think he was beginning to enjoy the benefits of oblivion. We on the other hand might as well have been taking to the wall. 

Although I have a deep distrust of doctors, I knew that they couldn’t do much harm just having a look at his ears. In fairness to the doctor, he did a great job with the husband’s ears, using some newfangled contraption. He was very thorough and also took his blood pressure, which was fine. The doctor then gave him a clean bill of health but understandably said he should give up smoking. The bold husband agreed, having absolutely no intention as he’s totally addicted to nicotine. That’s when the doctor recommended this ‘new’ drug – Chantix (aka Varenicline). Coincidentally David Healy had written a blog on Chantix yesterday here.

Well Tony (the poor husband) of course was well aware of the dangers of this particular drug and said an emphatic NO! The doctor looked bemused and said, and I quote – ‘but this is a new wonder drug’. Tony told him that he would be very concerned about the side effects of chantix whereupon the doctor said “no, no this is only a new drug, it’s a good drug and less risky than the patches”. Needless to say he left without the prescription, having muttered something about informed consent and probably had a smoke outside to calm his nerves.

Chantix come with a range of warnings, including heart risks, suicide and violence, which this doctor clearly knew nothing about. Even the pharma funded Irish Medicines Board recommend:

Patients should be advised of the possibility of psychiatric adverse effects when taking varenicline and to contact their doctor immediately if they develop suicidal thoughts or behaviour. Patients should be closely monitored during use of varenicline and it should be discontinued immediately if agitation, depressed mood, or changes in behaviour are observed that are of concern for the doctor, patient, family, or caregiver”.

The strange thing is that he only went in with a blocked ear and if he wasn’t aware of the dangers, would have left with a prescription for a drug that potentially could have killed him.

Tony was frogmarched back down to the practice with a RxISK report and this PLOS ONE study showing that Chantix has the worst record for iatrogenic violence. He’s waiting for a call back as the doctor was busy when he went back. I’m not mentioning names as we’ll be barred from every practice from here to County Cork. If it wasn’t so tragic, it would be funny. I’m just glad my husband was only deaf, not blind or stupid. The doc on the other hand… 

IMB Warning

FDA Chantix warning 

Fatality Reports on Chantix

 

lundbeck, Our story., psychiatry, Random, Shanes story.

TV3 Documentary

Shane and the lads.

On Monday 10th March, TV3 will air a documentary covering the events surrounding the death of my son Shane and his killing of Sebastian Creane.

We decided to participate in this programme because it provided others with the opportunity to hear about the role that SSRI antidepressants played in the tragic deaths of both young men. This is information we wish we had known before Shane’s death and which we believe may prevent other families suffering the pain we all now live with. Vincent Browne and Lisa-Marie Berry (the Producer) assured us that the programme will be well balanced to all concerned and that we will be kept informed of everything. This TV3 Tweet shows the last recording of my son before his death, something I wasn’t aware existed and certainly wasn’t informed of.  I was assured that Shane’s friends would be interviewed for the programme. One of his friends was indeed approached by Vincent Brown; he agreed to do it but is still waiting for the call. As the programme, which I haven’t yet seen, airs in 2 days; I have concerns that I should have gone with my initial decision – to leave the other familes to it.

Maybe the documentary will be as objective as promised. Either way, I feel there are some relevant issues which I should clarify before the airing of this programme.

 

The Late Late Show:

When we were approached to do the Late Late Show some weeks after Shane died, we were absolutely terrified. The initial feeling was to run, stay away from it – I had no idea how to deal with something like that and we were still deeply in shock – we still are. Our over-riding feeling, from the very beginning, has been that if this can happen to Shane it could happen to anyone – people needed to be warned. That was the deciding factor. I informed the other families that we were appearing on the show and assumed they were asked also. We were then told that Sebastian’s family didn’t want us to do it as his month’s mind was on that weekend, so we arranged with RTE to do it the following week instead. I have never felt anything other than thankful to Ryan Tubridy and his team for allowing us (as Shane’s family) to tell our story and also for allowing Dr Michael Corry to inform the public of the dangers that these drugs can pose. It was never our intention to hurt anyone by doing this show. We felt that the only way to stop more tragedies like ours was to make the public aware of the dangers too.

The inquest:

I was happy with how the inquest went. James McGuill and David Healy were great – despite the fact that Shane died from self-inflicted wounds, the jury rejected a suicide verdict. As for Professor Patricia Casey, who attended Shane’s inquest on behalf of of the Irish College of Psychiatry and who directly afterwards spoke to the media of her ‘issues’ with the evidence – Professor David healy is a psychopharmacologist, scientist and the world-leading expert on the effects of psychiatric medication; Professor Patricia Casey is not. There was no issue. It is my opinion that Professor Casey undermined the inquest process and the jury’s verdict. As a direct consequence of that, the other families involved were led to believe that the process was defective and thus prevented from getting the answers they needed. We fought very hard to get answers following  the death of our son; we got those answers. Again, it was never our intention to upset the other families in doing so. At the time I was not aware that the Creane and Hannigan families had met with the Coroner Cahal Louth before Shane’s inquest. It is my opinion, held with respect for both families, that their involvement in my son’s case, along with the involvement of Professor Casey, was inherently wrong.

The jury took on board Professor Healy’s testimony on the role the prescribed drug played that night – the effect it had on my son. They returned the only other option available to them, an open verdict. This is the part which could have helped others – a change in the law to allow a verdict of ‘Iatrogenic Death’ may be more suitable. This is currently being discussed in the Seanad by another bereaved family, also SSRI drug induced. A rider would have been useful, where an investigation into this medication (or all SSRIs) could have been recommended – or at the very least caution advised. The fact is that Coroners have ordered investigations into this drug before. It comes with a black box warning in the US. In Canada the same drug company has warned clinicians of reports of ‘self harm and harm to others’. The inquest could have played a role in informing Irish people of this.

The Role the Drugs Played:

Professor  Healy said that what happened that night was caused by Shane taking the prescribed drug Citalopram. I believe if Shane had not been prescribed Citalopram, both young men would still be alive today. One issue that sometimes comes up, usually from psychiatry protecting their medical model, is that I might be doing more harm than good – possibly stopping people from taking drugs which are perfectly suited to them. These drugs are being prescribed to our children without warning that they can cause cause suicide, violence, worsening depression, mania, akathisia, birth defects and sexual dysfunction. People need to be informed – informed consent is the issue here/or lack of;  the choice is then theirs to make. I have never advised anyone not to take medication or to stop taking it – I have, if asked, given all the facts, not just the harmless effects. Irish citizens have the right to the same level of protection and informed consent as Americans and Canadians.

 

What Can The Irish Government Do?

I have been part of a delegation which met with Kathleen Lynch in Leinster House. This included Professor David Healy, Dr Declan Gilsenan and Tim O’Malley. Each one told her of their concerns that these drugs are harming people. Prof Healy told her these drugs are the leading cause of death within the mental health field while Dr Gilsenan told her that his experience as a pathologist led him to believe that the majority of suicide victims had been ‘recently introduced’ to SSRIs. Both Kathleen Lynch and Tim O’Malley acknowledged that these dangerous drugs are widely over-prescribed.

As a country we need to urgently address our high rates of suicide.  The Irish government need to start by gathering and publishing data showing how many suicides and homicides were caused by SSRIs. The investigation into the practices at Portlaoise Hospital was initiated after the death of 4 babies. Ireland has had 525 deaths by suicide last year. Preventing further deaths requires understanding the drivers behind them.

Currently those who provide us with data on the role of SSRIs in suicide and homicide have financial links with pharmaceutical companies like Lundbeck, who exert significant influence over psychiatrists, academia and our Government. Patricia Casey, who has up until this documentary rejected any claims that SSRIs can cause suicide and who has attempted to influence and discredit the verdict of the jury at Shane’s Inquest, has received payment from Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals. She is not alone.  Many of the most published academics from Irish universities and the Irish government also have financial ties to pharmaceutical companies. Sadly, the Irish College of Psychiatrists and the government are in denial about the issue of prescription drug induced suicide. For this reason, we need a fully independent inquiry into this issue, one which is not influenced by the pharmaceutical industry or conducted by those who have a vested interest in the outcome.

Lundbeck Healthcare Professionals’ Warning Letter.

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

The Pharmaceutical Industry’s Influence in Irish Politics and Medicine.

Enda and James

The pharmaceutical industry has a long and tangled involvement within Irish politics. Besides politics, our medical ‘experts’ have built up their training and expertise while simultaneously having a fundamental collegial relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma politics may not be news to Americans, Latvians or our British neighbours – but as Ireland is my Country of birth, I claim poetic licence in focusing on my specific geographical area. Corruption within this industry has been widely publicised elsewhere but there seems to be a reticence within the Irish media to report on pharma wrongdoing or the objectivity of the psychiatric expert. My son, a young Irishman, died under the influence of 17 days of Citalopram (an SSRI antidepressant) – manufactured by Lundbeck, prescribed by a doctor, licensed by the Irish Medicine’s Board (henceforth IMB) and protected by the Irish College of Psychiatry (henceforth the College).

Despite much evidence to the contrary, our health Minister James Reilly has been quoted in the media as saying that “SSRIs aren’t addictive and treat depression effectively”. He also denied that GPs are systematically over-prescribing SSRIs.[1] He subsequently managed to ignore two medical experts (David Healy and Declan Gilsenan) who gave testimony in Leinster House that antidepressants were the leading cause of death within the mental health field and were in fact causing hundreds of Irish deaths each year. According to the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association there are approximately 120 pharmaceutical companies that have plants in Ireland – including 9 of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.[2]

Last year the Irish Times reported that the Irish Government ‘came under pressure’ from the larger pharmaceutical firms over the Health Service Executives’ (HSE) decision not to approve new drugs for payment. There was an implied threat that this could ‘have implications for 25,000 jobs and future investment’ – so not surprisingly Enda Kenny and James Reilly backed down. The Times further reported that both had meetings with Abbott Laboratories and Eli Lilly, and further that Enda Kenny attended Eli Lilly’s board dinner at the Old Kinsale golf club in 2011. It is submitted that this relationship is much too close for comfort and therefore not conducive to having the Nation’s best interests at heart. Backing down under pressure from a bullying industry is never a good move, particularly when as a Nation we naturally assume that our Government is in control.

According to Dr David Healy who is regarded as the world leading expert on prescription drugs, antidepressants double the risk of suicide and violence, particularly upon starting, discontinuing and dosage change (up or down). He further stated that “antidepressants now come with black box warnings of suicide and in some jurisdictions such as Canada they come with warnings of violence also. Exactly the same mechanisms that lead to suicides lead to violence. In one case you have violence directed inward and in the other directed outwards. These mechanisms are akathisia, emotional blunting and psychosis.”[3]

The name ‘antidepressant’ itself is pure marketing genius by the pharmaceutical industry. Who would believe that these so-called magic pills can cause death, sometimes self-inflicted and extremely violent? In protecting the medical model, referring to antidepressant-induced suicide, the College stated “Anecdotal cases of suicide sometimes mistakenly attribute these tragic events to the treatment rather than the illness itself”.[4] This is a vastly differing stance compared to the IMB, the European Medicine’s Agency (EMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The American regulator FDA slapped a black-box warning on all antidepressants, informing consumers of the increased risk of suicide.[5] The EMA followed suit requiring labelling changes to all antidepressants, again informing consumers of the increased risk of drug-induced suicidality.[6] The IMB is pretty limited in its capacity of protector of Irish citizens, deferring largely to the EMA. Interestingly, the IMB is almost fully funded by the pharmaceutical industry, so the public protector is funded by the very industry that it is supposed to be protecting the Irish people from. It should be noted that peter gøtzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen recently stated that the IMB banned GlaxoSmithKline from claiming that Paroxetine (Seroxat/Paxil) corrects a chemical imbalance.[7] That depression is caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ is a pharma invention used as a tool to sell antidepressant drugs. That the IMB made an executive decision and actually suppressed GSK or any other pharmaceutical company is the exception rather than the rule.

We don’t have to look too far to see Governmental and pharma influence within the medical industry. The ‘Sherif Sultan Saga’ is a prime example of the bullying and intimidation of a medical professional. Mr Sultan is a consultant in Galway who received an official warning and a gag order from the HSE for speaking out on the dangers of taking statin drugs.[8] This followed the publication of his paper ‘The ugly side of Statins’.[9] Mr Sultan said what David Healy has been saying for a long time, that he and his colleagues “are fed up with trial of organizations to cover up truth about the ugly side of statin because of invested interest and commercial sponsorship.” He also stated that “We are observing the revealing of the ‘utmost medical tragedy’ of all times. It is extraordinary that the healthcare industry has inadvertently induced life-threatening nutrient deficiency in millions of otherwise healthy people.”

Similar to the attempt at suppressing Sherif Sultan, the psychiatric Professors Patricia Casey, University College Dublin, and Ted Dinan, University College Cork, involved themselves not only in my son’s inquest but also with others where antidepressants were implicated. Both had long links to the same pharmaceutical companies who manufactured the implicated drug and both without exception defended the drugs, instead blaming the supposed underlying ‘illnesses’.[10] Both these professors are supposed experts in the psychiatric field and both fiercely defend antidepressants.[11] It is submitted that the objectivity of the expert opinion is paramount, particularly where the law is concerned. As the coronial system is the only Court of law where a deceased’s family can get answers, in cases of drug-induced death, bias or even a perception of bias should automatically render these ‘experts’ excluded from the legal process.

The health of the Irish nation will never be of utmost importance while our medical professionals, the IMB and the Irish Government have a vested interest in upholding the existing ‘pharma funded’ regime. While it seems my son was just a number in the collateral damage of the latter – I urge you to protect your family, start asking questions and stop trusting these dubious so-called professionals.


[7] Peter Gøtzsche ‘Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime’ P. 199

Our story., Random

Psychiatry’s Achilles’ heel; mothers

“Poisons and medicine are oftentimes the same substance given with different intents”  ~Peter Mere Latham

I did say I’d put our Wicklow talk up at some stage didn’t I? The file is too big to put up all together so here’s a ten minute section of me waffling and Maria doing what she does best. She’s an amazing friend. She’s also an inspiration.

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Our story., Random

Westminster Exposé

WestminsterSo myself and the poor long-suffering husband are just back from London, having attended a talk in the House of Commons given by Professor David Healy; ‘Antidepressants and The Politics of Health‘.

The meeting was chaired by MP Jim Dobbins who has previously aired concerns about the pharmaceutical industry and its close involvement within academia, such as the case with Professor David Nuttcase Nutt here. I don’t really have an issue with Professsor Nutt, other than with his false declaration to the Nation (on BBC radio) that ‘it’s impossible to kill yourself with an overdose of SSRI antidepressants‘. Dr Ciara Kelly said the same thing here on Irish radio. Very dangerous propaganda!

I challenged Prof Nutt on his statement (via Twitter) where he changed his story slightly and said ‘ALMOST impossibly’. Tell that to all the people who have died by an SSRI overdose of these ‘safe’ drugs Prof Nutt! Brian at ‘AntiDepAware‘ has a list of some SSRI victims here; Karen Gloster (2005), Barbara BerryDeborah Owens (2006), Rhian Evans (2007), Rodney Harrop (2008), Philip Bromley (2009), Belinda KellyMichael MillerNatalie CashinSusan Mealing (2010), Patrick Carroll (2011), Malcolm AverissRobert Lennon (2012) Donna ChaseMark Cain (2003), Christine ByrneDianne Pickersgill (2008) Dale Pashley (2007), Brian Elder (2010), Afsheen Khan (2011)

Anyway, I’m rambling off the point again this morning. Suffice to say,  as is usual, our trip did not always go as planned. We decided, as we were going to London for this talk, to bring the kids with us and maybe go to Legoland the following day. We had plenty of time as the flight was an early one and the talk wasn’t on until 2pm in Westminster. The Ryanair plane sounded decidedly dodgy, as if it was running on dirty fuel (haha, Tony will tell you I have a good mechanical ear) and unsurprisingly the pilot decided that we would have to change planes. This left us two hours behind schedule so the pressure was on, the kids were happily oblivious but the odds at arriving on time were stacked against us. In stepped my brother-in-law in his superman underpants in order to save the day and meet us in London Bridge. He took the kids to my sisters in Kent (where we were staying with 3 cousins, all girls and under the age of 3). This left us plenty of time to head to Westminster for the talk. Back on track.

There was nothing I could do about the frizzy hair at that stage but I thought I’d better change out of the tracksuit bottoms. I decided I would have to change into my ‘Westminster’ clothes in the toilet on the train. Yep, that sounds like a good idea you think? Thanks, I thought so too. The toilet doors were of the circular kind which we have here in Ireland too. There was a nice man sitting outside the toilet when I went in, who smiled at me and said hello; the English are so polite aren’t they? So I took the boots and tracksuit bottoms off and was standing in my underwear (thank God for small mercies) when the train jolted and I leaned backwards, for balance you understand. I leaned on the open-door button, which promptly left me standing in my knickers exposing myself to the poor man sitting outside. Frantic pressing on the buttons failed to close the doors for a lifetime of seconds, until the doors finally closed on the man’s shocked expression. I debated whether I could stay in the toilets until the man either got off or died from old age, whichever came first, but eventually braved the situation and departed from the toilet where I grinned at him in a stupid fashion. He couldn’t look me in the face and glanced quickly out the window. Oh well, nobody was arrested and Tony’s well used to my little accidents/incidences.

So having laughed our heads off all the way to Westminster, we finally made it with a half an hour to spare. After the talk was over, we retired to another room where a question and answer session took place. Jim Dobbins actually voiced what we all knew all along, that the pharmaceutical industry has the Government over a barrel and if the Govt were to sanction ‘industry’, they would threaten to take their business elsewhere, hence GSK et al having control in the UK. This is no doubt the case in Ireland where industries influence is palpable everywhere. If pharma can have such a huge influence over the UK Government, what chance do we have over here in our small country with a population of 4.5 million citizens and with a proven history of unscrupulously corrupt Ministers? You would have to wonder why Kathleen Lynch and James Reilly have done nothing about SSRI-induced deaths.

LegolandDavid Healy’s talk was brilliant as always. We also had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Brian of AntiDepAware and his equally gorgeous wife. We met with Bobby Fidd which is always a pleasure but who missed the chat afterwards having commandeered my poor husband to go outside for a smoke, and who subsequently both got lost.

The 3 gorgeous girlies under the age of 3 were hilarious, funny and little dotes. I don’t know how any household survives them, but I actually miss them already!

PS. The LegoLand experience was amazing and went without any major incident thankfully. All children accounted for, happy and alive, which is more than I can say for my eldest son’s involvement with Lundbeck pharmaceuticals and some uninformed Irish doctors.

Bob Fiddaman’s account of the meeting can be read here, while Brian’s can be read here.