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, lundbeck, psychiatry, Random, Shanes story.

Jake and Shane’s story.

Psychiatric Drugs do More Harm Than Good.

Myself, Stephanie, Kim, Mathy and Wendy spoke at Peter Gotzsche’s Copenhagen Conference ‘psychiatric drugs do more harm than good’ (see the last post for details). I’m very proud to call these women my friends. This video shows Stephanie’s talk followed by mine. I’ll put the others up as we get them. Please be informed of the possible dangers of these drugs. For Jake, Shane and all the many SSRI victims..

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.

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

 

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,, Newspaper and internet articles, Random, Shanes story.

Government apologises to SSRI victims – not yet!

Louise O'Keefe
Louise O’Keefe

This week our Taoiseach Enda Kenny personally apologised to Louise O’Keeffe following the European Court of Human Right’s decision in O’Keeffe v Ireland – that Ireland had violated Article 3 and 13 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Louise had suffered abuse while in National school at the hands of a paedophile teacher. For years the Irish Government had denied responsibility.

RTE News: “Ms O’Keeffe said she did not look for an apology for herself, but for all of the victims of abuse in schools because there are many who have not come forward. ‘I am simply one of hundreds and an apology is for everyone because I wasn’t alone,’ she said. She called on Mr Kenny to now work quickly to bring in legislation to protect school children. Ms O’Keeffe said that had she received an apology 15 years ago, she would not have been forced to bring her case to the ECHR. She said she did not understand why the State had fought her case. “I was an eight-year-old child, abused, a complaint had been made. It wasn’t acted on. If it had been acted on, well, I’d have had a safe childhood. Wrong was done. I think hands should have been held up,” she said. 

The apology is a long time coming for Louise O’Keefe and offered after the ECtHR’s decision, not before. Decision here.

Then there is the HSE apology.

Roisin and Mark Malloy
Roisin and Mark Malloy

Two days ago the Health Service Executive apologised over the deaths of 4 babies in Portlaoise Hospital. Again the ‘unequivocal’ apology came just before a ‘Prime Time’ documentary was aired which exposed the hospital’s shortcomings. A report into a baby’s death in 2008 found numerous failings in the care provided by the hospital to both the mother and her baby – including failing to recognise that the baby was in distress and inappropriate use of a drug used to increase contractions. Following this report numerous recommendations were made to improve safety, yet more babies later died in similar circumstances and once again failings in their care were found.

Again the apology was a long time coming, and again only after the issue was highlighted outside of our ‘caring’ Government.

Apology for SSRI victims

Shane
Shane

Where is the apology for all the people who have been maimed and killed by SSRI drugs? Where is the apology for the baby in the Irish Medicines Board database who died as a result of the mother’s Citalopram use? What of the baby born with a birth defect, also as a result of his/her mother’s Citalopram use? Where is the apology for my son, who died as a result of Citalopram use? Where is the apology for all the parents, children and victims of SSRI antidepressant-induced injury and death?

It’s a long time coming – but we can wait!

Usually when the issue of SSRI-induced death is broached, we are met with – oh but these drugs help many and have saved so many lives. BULLSHIT! Bully for them! Do all teacher abuse children? Did Portlaoise Hospital kill all the babies in their care? No, but it’s okay to kill our children in order that some ‘might feel’ they were saved?

According to Professor Healy, “there are 20 more Irish suicides per year than there would have been and 20 extra Irish cases of violence per year that can be linked back to antidepressants.” So given that the SSRI antidepressants have been on the market for 20 years; that’s 800 extra cases of suicide and violence caused by antidepressants in this country alone.

1 in 10 pregnant Irish women are on antidepressants, leading to about 40 extra babies with significant birth defects and 200 extra miscarriages each year. So going on similar prescribing, in the last 20 years, antidepressants have caused birth defects in 800 Irish babies and 4000 miscarriages.

It’s a long time coming!

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/taoiseach-to-bring-in-new-child-protection-laws-in-weeks-after-louise-okeeffe-apology-29969639.html

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/hse-apologises-over-deaths-of-babies-in-portlaoise-1.1674165

Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry, Shanes story.

Danilo Terrida- another Sertraline victim

Danilo Terrida
Danilo Terrida

Danilo Terrida

Something is slightly less rotten in the state of Denmark!

Have a look at Danilo Terrida, pictured above – handsome isn’t he? Tragically Danilo, age 20, is one more person to add to the long, long list of antidepressant deaths. One more family fighting for justice for their son, BUT, Danilo’s family has managed to make a difference, at least in Denmark.

The Danish medical regulator ‘Sundhedsstyrelsen’ has decided to restrict the prescribing of dangerous antidepressants to 18-24 year olds, due to the increased risk of drug-induced suicide.

This follows a number of ‘cases of concern’, including the death of Danilo. Danilo was prescribed antidepressants 11 days before his drug-induced suicide/iatrogenic death. He was prescribed an antidepressant following an 8 minute conversation with his doctor, with no follow-up plan. The Danish ‘National Agency for Patients’ Rights and Complaints’ has found that the doctor was directly responsible for Danilo’s death. Following this decision, young Danish patients will now have an assessment and an ‘in-depth’ conversation with a doctor before these dangerous drugs can be prescribed.

Danilo’s mother, Marianne Terrida said “It doesn’t change the fact that we have lost our son,” and further “The fact that it’s a dangerous drug is not new, it’s been known a long time”.

Danilo’s case has once again sparked a debate in Denmark about the dangers of antidepressant drugs. Last year myself and some of Shane’s friends, along with other families whose children have died from an antidepressant-induced death, took part in the news programme ‘Søndag’ on DR.DK (The Danish National Broadcaster). The programme concerned the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck and Citalopram-induced suicide.

It seems Danilo was prescribed a generic version of the antidepressant Sertraline made by Orion. Sertraline is also known as Zoloft in the U.S. and Lustral in Ireland. Remember, Sertraline is the drug which (following the death of Nicolas Maguire, Cork) Irish psychiatrist Ted Dinan proclaimed ‘The use of Sertraline helps to reduce suicidality and reduce depression. The public should have no concerns about these drugs’. He also said he was ‘not aware of any convincing evidence that taking Sertraline actually leads to suicidal behaviour’. Wrong!! Oh yes, he has also previously declared links to Pfizer, the makers of Sertraline- not in the latter article though.

Has age got anything to do with drug-induced suicide? Professor David Healy says not. He says the antidepressant class of drugs kill more people than they help. Nicolas Maguire was 52 and died after 3 weeks of Sertraline. Kim Witczak’s husband Woody died from a Sertraline-induced suicide at 37. Anna Byrne was also 37. She was 8 months pregnant when she died following a prescription (during pregnancy) of Sertraline. Her dose was doubled 6 days before she jumped off Howth Head (Dublin) – resulting in Anna’s death and the death of her babies. Peter Needham was 40 when he died 5 days after a prescription for Sertraline. Elaine’s son Tommy Fort Jr. was 42 when he died of a Sertraline-induced suicide.

Sertraline is the same drug which Leeds law firm, Ison Harrison, successfully argued was wrongly dispensed to a client instead of her usual migraine medication. What is interesting is that the woman, upon starting Sertraline, immediately became uncoordinated and suicidal. This is a clear indication that Sertraline, not depression (which she didn’t have) can induce a person to become suicidal.

A Danish article quoted Professor Peter Gøtzche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, who said:

“I have been following the case, and I think the decision is correct. I hope it will be of great importance because both Lundbeck and other companies for years have denied that these preparations can lead to suicide. It is contrary to what is known scientifically true. It is very important that there is now a case where the Patient Injury Board recognizes that the pill is the reason for the suicide. It can be a battering ram in the perception of happy pills. Generally one can say that the widespread use of happiness pills do more harm than good”.

On Sertraline, Professor  Gøtzche said;

“About 10 percent have a strange ‘activation syndrome’, which can lead to extreme restlessness, where you want to jump out of his own body. It is the syndrome that can lead to violent actions – for example, school shootings or suicide”.

So again, how much evidence do we need?

Will the pharma-funded Irish Medicines Board follow suit?

Will Ted Dinan and Irish psychiatry ever admit that these drugs can kill, or will they keep defending them, despite so much evidence to the contrary?

Did Danilo’s family know that 80% of Pfizer’s Sertraline trials proved negative?

http://cphpost.dk/news/antidepressant-regulations-tightened-following-suicide.8243.html

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/family-calls-for-more-research-into-anti-depressants-153706.html

http://tosommerfugle.blogspot.ie/2014/01/danilo-terrida-endnu-et-selvmord-paa.html

http://www.woodymatters.com/story.html