Newspaper and internet articles, Random

The Sherif Sultan Saga

Mr ForgetfulThere’s been an interesting development today in the ‘Sherif Sultan’ Saga.

Remember, Mr Sultan is the consultant in Galway who received an official warning from the HSE for speaking out on the dangers of taking statin drugs? This followed the publication of his paper here-The ugly side of Statins. He 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.”

The picture you may think is a random one, but no, it’s a reminder (no pun intended) that the FDA have recently added ‘memory loss’ to the ever growing list of serious statin adverse effects.

So Mr Sultan was slapped with a gagging order (aka ‘STFU’ order) by the HSE. Did he accept this lying down? No he didn’t! Was he willing to keep taking the paycheck and stop warning his patients that statins are dangerous and usually unnecessary? Nope! What he did say was “Odds are greater than 100 to 1 that if you’re taking a statin, you don’t really need it” and further “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.” 

Thankfully the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) have stepped in. Replying to the 2 senior executives, the IHCA have asked for the gagging order to be revoked. According to the Irish Independent, the reply states that there is “no provision in a hospital consultant’s contract to check with their employer the content of any comment they want to make to the public” and further that consultants have an “ethical, legal and moral obligation to advocate on behalf of their patients”.

Are we seeing the start of a revolt, an ethical army led by Mr Sultan? I sure hope so. The pharmaceutical influence in the ‘illness’ profession has reigned and dictated for long enough. It’s about time that someone stood up to Goliath. Will it be David again, or Sherif, or hopefully both? Who could have foreseen that the revolution would start in Ireland?

So the next time your doctor insists that you need that box of Pfizer pills or Lilly drug, ask him/her what he thinks of that surgeon in Galway who said “in Healthy patients with no cardiovascular history, statins have no proven benefit – in medical terms no scientific evidence for the use of statin in primary prevention.”

Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Dr Sherif (Hippocrates) Sultan.


Remember Hippocrates?

Primum non nocere  – “first, do no harm.”

An article in today’s Irish Independent entitled ‘HSE Gags Surgeon After Cholesterol Drug Claims’ has truly shocked me to the core. The article tells the sorry tale of a leading surgeon who is gagged for giving his informed opinion. The HSE is Irelands’ Health Service Executive. Its Code of Governance states:

“The Health Service Executive (HSE) was established under the Health Act 2004 as the single body with statutory responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services in the Republic of Ireland. As outlined in the Health Act, 2004 the objective of the Executive is to use the resources available to it in the most beneficial, effective and efficient manner to improve, promote and protect the health and welfare of the public.”

Dr Sherif Sultan, a leading vascular surgeon at University College Hospital Galway, researched a number of statin studies and concluded that they may do more harm than good in healthy people. He found there was a lack of evidence to show they should be given to healthy people and therefore avoiding the risk of statins’ side effects. Commenting in the Independent, Dr Sultan said: “I have received an official warning from the HSE and have been instructed not to liaise directly with the press in my capacity as a HSE consultant.” Today is a bad day for human rights in Ireland. Surely the HSE is violating this man’s Constitutional right to ‘freedom of expression’, not to mention Irish Citizens right to ‘Bodily Integrity’?

Statins adverse effects can include increased risk of Diabetes, Impotence, Acute Renal Failure, Myalgia and Severe Memory Loss. Last year the FDA (US Medicines Regulator) added diabetes and memory loss warnings to all statins. So Dr Sultan is right to be concerned. It begs the question; is our Government running the HSE or is Big Pharma pulling the strings once again? He further stated that analysis by the ‘British Medical Journal’ showed the superiority of exercise over drug therapy. Imagine saying exercise was superior to a possibly dangerous drug? Put him in the stocks; seriously gag the man, he’s lost the plot!

Statins are the most prescribed medications drugs globally, meaning Dr Sultan is going up against a multi billion dollar industry. A quick search through David Healy’s RxISK website reveals, among other things: 6264 cases of Myalgia, 1879 deaths, 783 cases of Acute Renal failure, 908 cases of Depression and 653 cases of Memory impairment, all reported as an adverse effect of taking Pfizers’ Lipitor. It is common knowledge that the numbers of adverse effects is seriously under-reported and the above numbers are for just one of the Statin drugs.

Cardiologist Pat Nash of the ‘National University of Galway’ contradicted Dr Sultans position and was quick to ‘reassure patients that statins are safe’. 1879 deaths is not what I’d call safe Dr Nash. I’m sure his argument has nothing to do with the support that NUIG receives from Pfizer, Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline and MSD pharmaceuticals, or its research links with Lundbeck!

I wonder what our grandparents would have thought about doctors medicating healthy people, and that we were buying into it? I know what mine would have said. ‘Cyclafeetis!’ I think it is we who have lost the plot! Good on ye Dr Sultan.

Philippe Pinel 1745-1826 (Plagurised from “there is an art in medicine in knowing when to treat but an even greater art in knowing when not to treat.”

Independent Article.

HSE Code Of Governance.

Statin Induced Amnesia;

Reported Adverse Effects.

Newspaper and internet articles, Our story.

Officially Knackered

Knackered 1That’s it, I’m officially wrecked; as in knackered, exhausted, on the scrapheap, whatever you want to call it. I have spent the last few years, since Shane died in 2009, trying to change the world and put right the indefensible.

Ireland is such a small country that a little misinformation goes a long way and the misinformation surrounding prescribed drugs, whether intentional or not, has given the impression that most prescription drugs are safe. They’re not. My son is dead because of misinformation and our belief that doctor’s knew best. Sadly and increasingly, that is not always the case. Antidepressants can kill. They can cause suicide, homicide, violence, mania, worsening depression and akathisia, etc, etc. Here’s a few examples of very recent misinformation still being dished out in Irish Media:

1. This week in an Irish Independent article “GPs advised on options of medication and therapy“, the author wrote “Doctors were advised to prescribe benzodiazepine – anti-depressants that are addictive – if the patient developed increased agitation and only for a short period”. Now it doesn’t take a genius to tell you that benzodiazepines are not an antidepressant. I felt I had to comment, which the Indo duly published.

2. Following Niamh Drohan’s investigation into the over-prescribing of antidpressants (see last post), yesterday’s ‘Midday’ on TV3 did a segment on whether doctors were indeed over-prescribing. Some good points were made and I think the overall impression was that yes, GPs were over-prescribing. Then near the end Fiona Looney (a TV and radio personality) said “No-one of them (GPs) over-prescribed”. Seriously Fiona? Despite the doctor’s diagnosing this girl with mild depression which antidepressants are not recommended for, therefore all arguably over-prescribed, you don’t think a prescription for a lethal dose of 1 month, 2 months, 3 months and 6 months is over-prescribing? My son took 39 Cipramil in 17 days and his toxicology report showed a ‘toxic to fatal’ amount in his system. You may want to re-visit your argument Fiona. The show can be viewed here and this comment is around 15 mins. Again I felt compelled to comment, but they didn’t read that one out!

3. Again following Niamh’s investigation, George Hook had an expert on his Newstalk radio show, a Dr Ciara Kelly from Greystones, who wrongly pointed out that “the drugs themselves are not dangerous, they’re not addictive, they’re not even dangerous at high levels of overdose.” While patients suffering terrible withdrawal symptoms would argue the addictive point, the other point she made was far more dangerous. Not dangerous at high levels? Referring to the toxicity of SSRIs, George asked Dr Kelly: “What would happen if I took 55 of them (antidepressants) with my cup of tea?” Doctor Kelly answered “One of the reasons that the SSRI tablets are as popular as they are, is that compared to older type of antidepressants, is that they are safer in overdose. So there are not the same levels as Cardio Toxicity …” She never once said that 55 pills could certainly be fatal. Neither did she mention that some SSRIs, including Citalopram AKA Escitalopram are actually associated with Cardio Toxicity. You sure need to be worried when even the IMB send out a warning letter. Again I felt I had to comment and sent off an e-mail to George which will be followed up shortly. I’ll keep you posted. The show can be found here. Scroll to the ‘Right Hook’ for Wed 3rd April and click on number 3.

How could these people and in particularly a doctor, whom George Hook described as an ‘expert’, be allowed to misinform the public on such an important and life-threatening’ subject? Where is the medical body or ethical committee which stops Irish people being misinformed on such a large scale?

I’m off for a few days to do some much-needed studying and maybe make/burn some fairy cakes; anything which doesn’t include commenting or arguing. Incidentally, here’s a segment (3 mins) from Professor Healy’s ‘Chicago-Kent School of Law’ lecture which involves Shane. Regarding the mention of any other names; I apologise, this is outside of my control.

The full Full video can be viewed here:  Brian’s take on Niamh’s article here.

cipramil (celexa) stories,, lundbeck, Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry

Are Newspaper articles doing more harm than good?

Céad Mile FailteIn a week where Ireland has seen several young people die by suicide, we had the usual rush for answers to a growing problem, which it seems, no-one can fix. Certainly the Government are pretty useless at tackling the suicide ‘issue’ and numerous newspaper articles, however well-meaning, are not helping. An ‘Irish Independent’ article this week regarding depression in teenagers states: “Most experts are in agreement that for young people in crisis, medication, in the form of Prozac-type drugs from the SSRI family, prescribed by a GP, can be helpful.” What? Which experts? I would like to know precisely who is recommending SSRIs for use in teenagers? Why are they not named and shamed in the article? Actually, why would any well-researched article not refer to the black-box warning or the EU recommendations regarding the prescribing of these drugs to teenagers?

Ten years ago the Irish Medicines Board put out a fairly stark warning regarding the prescribing of SSRIs in children: “The Irish Medicines Board today confirmed that Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, (SSRIs) are not and have never been licensed for use in children (under 18 yrs) in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in Ireland. The IMB is fully aware of the review undertaken by the UK expert group, details of which were announced today and wishes to re-emphasise that SSRIs are not recommended for use in the treatment of MDD in children in Ireland, as the risks of treatment with certain SSRIs are considered to outweigh the benefits of treatment in this condition.”

Photo courtesy of USF Health News

In 2008 the Psychopharmacological Drug Advisory Committee (PDAC) voted 6:2 that the warnings of SSRI induced suicidality be upped from under 18s to age 25. It also advised that labelling needed to address the 25-30 age group. The PDAC concluded: “Overall the conclusions reached by the FDA in its review were consistent with that of the UK/EU review. Both reviews concluded that young adults may be at an increased risk of suicidal behaviour when treated with antidepressants. The FDA discussions on an explanatory hypothesis highlighted that even in older adults the possibility that in SSRIs may increase risk of suicidal behaviour cannot be ruled out.” The Eu recommendations can be viewed here, which includes the different drug induced suicidality risk where Citalopram fares worst, doubling the suicide risk.

The same ‘Indo’ article heavily relies on quotations from Dr Tony Bates of ‘Headstrong’. On the Headstrong website Dr Bates pays tribute to his ‘good Psychiatry pharmacolleague, ally and friend’ Patrick McGorry, who recently resigned as a Headstrong board member. McGorry (born in Ireland) is an Australian psychiatrist who will retain an ‘advisory’ role within Headstrong. He is well known for his ‘early intervention’ trials, which have been fiercely criticised by mental health experts. His many conflicts of interest, including financial support from various pharmaceutical companies, such as Astra Zeneca, Janssen Cilag, Lilly, Pfizer and of course Lundbeck, certainly didn’t help McGorry’s cause. American mental health lobbyist David Oaks stated in a Time magazine article ‘Drugs before diagnosis‘, that McGorry’s trial was ‘one of the most bizarre and counterproductive human experiments on young people I know about’.

As recently as 2011, according to the ‘Sydney Morning Herald‘ McGorry “aborted a controversial trial of anti-psychotic drugs on children as young as 15 who are ”at risk” of psychosis, amid complaints the study was unethical. 13 international health experts lodged a formal complaint calling for the trial not to go ahead. They were concerned children who had not yet been diagnosed with a psychotic illness would be unnecessarily given drugs with potentially dangerous side effects.” 

It seems to me that ‘Headstrong’ should clarify its position regarding McGorry’s drugging ‘early intervention’ programme. It also seems to me that while the writer is entitled to her opinion, the indo article is highly dangerous, and quite possibly negligent, to advocate for the use of SSRIs in children without addressing the EU suicide warning. While the writer asks some good questions, such as, “How would we know if a teenager was feeling overwhelmed by academic expectation, online bullying, family breakdown, pressures at home, or simply the everyday drama of growing up?”, a pill which can double the risk of suicide, is not the answer. Extreme caution should be advised when even the Irish Medicines Board admit (albeit with ‘certain’ SSRIs) that the risks when prescribing SSRIs in children, outweigh the benefits.

If this article is factual and ‘Most Experts’ are truly recommending the use of SSRIs in children, the European Medicines Agency and the Irish Medicines Board are not doing their job properly.

More on Patrick McGorry by Bobby Fiddaman.

Professor Patrick McGorry – too influential and too much influenced?


Newspaper and internet articles

Is Minister Kathleen Lynch responsible for two more deaths?

Trust me Does Kathleen Lynch’s inaction make her partly responsible for the recent deaths of John Deegan and Deirdre Keenan?

This week the Irish Independent reported that John Deegan, a 53 year old farmer had shot and killed himself and his 51 year old partner Deidre Keegan. Both families are said to be ‘very shocked by what had happened’. It seems that this is another Irish case of murder/suicide, one in a long list of awful tragedies, and happening with increasing regularity.

Today the Independent reported that Mr Deegan had been suffering from depression and more importantly: “It is understood that Mr Deegan had been on medication prescribed by a doctor during the past couple of months.” The experts will say that incidents like this are enormously complex and that no-one knows the complexities or intent behind the perpetrator’s reasoning. What the experts won’t say is that these drugs can cause suicide, homicide, aggression, mania and akathisia (a known precursor to suicide and/or homicide). The dangerous period is upon starting, discontinuing and changing dosage (up or down). These are adverse effects of prescription drugs which are not widely known but the truth is, Minister Lynch, the person with responsibility for mental health, does know. She is well aware of the side-effects of prescription drugs.

The facts: Two experts met with Minister Lynch in Leinster House last May. Professor David Healy told Minister Lynch that SSRIs were causing people to kill themselves and kill others. He said that drug induced death ‘is the leading cause of death Minister Kathleen Lynch. Picture courtesy of Irish Election Literaturewithin the mental health field‘. Declan Gilsenan, assistant State Pathologist for over 30 years, told her of his ‘intuition’ that SSRI’s are causing suicides and that more people have died by suicide as a direct result of seeking help, than those who didn’t. He said in his 30-year experience carrying out post-mortems, he had seen way too many suicides of people who had just started on SSRI antidepressants. So you would think that Minister Lynch would have acted immediately in order to stop any more unnecessary deaths; nope, it doesn’t seem so! Despite both experts offering their services to stop the rising deaths, nothing has been done. It seems that upsetting psychiatry’s ‘medical model’ or pharma’s ‘apple cart’ isn’t an option.

Another issue is whether Mr Deegan was monitored when first prescribed these drugs. Was he warned of the risks/side-effects of SSRI’s in advance of prescription? These are two simple recommendations, among others, set down by the Irish Commission of Human Rights last year.

Co-incidentally, a few days before this latest tragedy happened, Prof Healy published this blog: Prescription-only Homicide and Violence. He also did a report for Shane’s Inquest which might be of interest, here. The Irish Government cannot cry foul at this stage, or say they were not aware, as the information below proves otherwise:

The Dáil; Here

The Seanad (Senate); Here

Leinster House; Here

IHRC RecommendationsHere

As for Kathleen Lynch, James Reilly and the latest Irish Government: In my opinion they are putting the pharmaceutical industry’s interests before the interests of the people they purport to serve.


cipramil (celexa) stories,, Newspaper and internet articles, Our story., psychiatry, Shanes story.

My ‘Mad in America’ article…

Mad in AmericaToday my article was published on Robert Whitaker’s ‘Mad in America’ website, here.

This follows the publication of my November article in the Irish Independent, here. I really appreciate the publication of my work/views, particularly as it might just warn somebody, or give an insight into the corrupt pharmaceutical industry. The most telling sentence in the Independent article is the last one “The Irish Medicines Board declined to comment.” It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. The body entrusted with the safety of Irish medicine couldn’t or wouldn’t clarify the situation?

I have previously quoted John Le Carré; speaking of his fictional writings of the pharma industry, he said “…But I can tell you this. As my journey through the pharmaceutical jungle progressed, I came to realise that, by comparison with the reality, my story was as tame as a holiday postcard.” From my experiences since Shane died in 2009, I think even John Le Carré may have underestimated the extent of the corruption within the pharmaceutical industry, which tapers all the way down to your friendly, or not so friendly, GP.

The pharma corruption is then firmly established by psychiatry’s active and frantic denials of any problems with the pills they prescribe. Even our KOPs (Key Opinion Leader’s) in Irish psychiatry will attend inquests in order to argue that the victims death was due to his/her own fault and not the fault of the drug itself. They will trample over the dead bodies and grieving relatives in order that the defense of the drug be heard.

In case I sound like a ‘conspiracy theorist’ here, let me clarify that one. I believe that antidepressants (SSRIs in particular) cause suicide and cause homicide, among other terrible reactions. I believe that that is what happened in the case of Shane, my son. I firmly believe that psychiatry worldwide know full well that these drugs are very dangerous, but are protecting their own monetary interests. People say that these drugs save lives, and maybe that is the case, BUT, that has nothing to do with the fact that they can also kill. My son never offered to be a number in the carcrash of collateral damage left behind.

So, that’s why I appreciate the publication of my work.  If you are reading this, maybe you will be pre-warned of the possible dangers, when you or a loved-one are prescribed these drugs.


Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Justice for one, Injustice for Gerry Ryan

There’s an interesting article in the Irish Independent today entitled ‘Passenger who tried to headbutt captain during flight walks free.’ Businessman, Damian Kington, 35, was on an exclusive business class flight from New York to London when he seemingly went berserk. He abused 2 passengers and subsequently swore at the captain, pushed him and then tried to headbutt him. Mr Kington had to be restrained and the flight was diverted to Shannon.

Mr Kington said he had no recollection of the events due to the fact that he had consumed a Xanax and an Ambien tablet with alcohol. He apologised to all concerned, stating: “It is extremely out of character and I am very remorseful. I was on new medication and it was irresponsible of me not to check.”

Striking out the charge, Judge Durcan at Ennis District Court agreed and said “Mr Kington suffered a huge change in character by virtue of the unfortunate combination of drugs and alcohol.” He further stated “the Damian Kington that is reflected so well in the references and testimonials before me ceased to exist and that for a period on the aeroplane a different person was wearing his clothes and was occupying his skin and physical person”.

Gerry Ryan and Melanie VerwoerdThe strange thing is that this is exactly the combination of medication that Gerry Ryan was prescribed a few days before he died. Why does nobody except me think this is an important issue which was overlooked? If a Judge can see that this combination of drugs can alter a person’s thinking to such an extreme that ‘a different person was occupying his skin and physical person’; surely the same thing could have happened in Gerry Ryan’s case?

Excerpt from Melanie Verwoerd’s book: “My heart ached for him. I hated seeing Gerry like this. In bed he held me so tight I could barely breathe, and when he eventually relaxed a bit and fell asleep I carefully crawled from under his arms and out of bed. I quietly took his phone, left the room and called Dr Crosby, hoping that he would pick up if he saw Gerry’s number. He did. I explained that Gerry had been very unwell and told him how worried I was. He said that Gerry had spoken to him and that he felt it was stress, for which he would prescribe Xanex (a sedative) and Stilnoct (a light sleeping pill) for him. I asked him whether he thought he should see Gerry, but Dr Crosby said to call back if he got worse, or else to tell Gerry to phone him if he was worried. A few minutes later, he texted to say he had phoned the prescription through to boots in Donnybrook.”

In my opinion, the scramble to report on the ‘trace amount of cocaine’ found in Gerry Ryan’s body, meant that the ‘prescribed’ drugs were tragically overlooked. The Coroner found that Gerry died of an irregular heartbeat and repeatedly stated that he could not say for certain what caused it. Despite this, Gerry Ryan’s death is always attributed to ‘death by cocaine’. Why was Gerry’s prescribed drugs not investigated? I think Gerry got a raw deal and deserves to be remembered as the great man that he was, with the big heart and even bigger personality. Will there ever be Justice for Gerry?


Melanie Verwoerd, When We Dance, Page 297/298

Melanie Verwoerd; tarred and feathered.

Passenger who tried to headbutt captain during flight walks free

Xanax and Stilnoct‘.

lundbeck, Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Dr No: No, doctors don’t Know…

Depressed DoctorToday’s Irish Independent reported on the tragic deaths of two young doctors from Tallaght Hospital. The two junior doctors had died by ‘their own hand’ in the past six months.

The article raises concerns about the ‘high-pressure and stressful work environments in the country’s hospitals’. The article states that ‘doctor support services’ have warned that the deaths are not isolated incidents and urged medics to seek help rather than self-treat when they are sick. Dr Ide Delargy, said: “Doctors don’t tend to come forward for treatment at the moment. They tend to self-treat and self-medicate…”

Is anyone, apart from me, seeing a totally different perspective here? Doctors are bombarded from a early stage in their training with pharmaceutical company funding and drug company spiel. Medical students and young doctors are more likely to believe what the ‘friendly’ drug company sales rep is saying; the sales rep’s objective is to convince the medical professionals that their drugs are ‘safe and effective’. As we all know, that’s not always true; perhaps more often than not, untrue and a downright lie.

As we now know, most of the large pharmaceutical companies have been slapped with hefty fines for wrongdoing and fraudulent marketing, some amounting to billions; take a bow GSK, Pfizer, Abbott, Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly. John Virapen, who worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 35 years, mostly for Eli Lilly, but with various others including Lundbeck, has said the sales reps are taught to persuade, bribe and use whatever it takes to get these (often dangerous) drugs prescribed. He readily admitted to bribing the Swedish government in order to get Eli Lilly’s Prozac past the licencing process. He also said, in the case of SSRIs, that reps were aware that these drugs were causing people to kill themselves and others but they were told to keep quiet.

My point is that these young doctors are victims of pharmaceutical industry propaganda. They believe that these so called ANTIdepressants will do exactly what it says on the tin. Yes, I’m aware that these drugs work for some people, and whether or not that’s because of the placebo effect hardly matters; If they work for you, that’s great. In many, many cases though, the word ‘ANTIdepressant’ is false advertising at its very worst, as these drugs at least double the risk of suicide upon starting, discontinuing and change of dosage (up or down). In the US, after accidents, suicide is the most common cause of death among medical students. It seems that there are problems here in Ireland too with self medicating. Unless the media (against the recommended guidelines it has to be said) actively report on the circumstances surrounding a person who has died by their own hand, we might never know if the drugs played a part. From what I have observed in over 3 years of researching, my opinion is that the majority of people who die by suicide have been on one antidepressant or another at the time leading up to their deaths. False advertising? For these people, ‘depressant’ would have been a better word.

Ex Pharmaceutical Rep John Virapen: “I became the General Manager of Eli Lilly & Company in Sweden and later worked for global players such as Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck from Denmark. As far as the product range goes: sometimes it was wonder pills against arthritis, or the human insulin scandal, or rejuvenating cures (growth hormones), and finally the new psychotropic family of Selective Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are wrongly called mood lifters. These drugs are anything but that. They drive people to suicide or to kill others.” (Preface Page ix) Free download of John Virapen’s brilliant book Side Effects Death’.

BMJ, British Medical Journal: Doctors’ self prescribing.

Dr Janet Wreglesworth was prescribed Cipramil/Celexa in Nov 07. She was dead by Feb 08.

Dr Mark Gradwell diagnosed himself with “full blown clinical depression” and was prescribed anti-depressants. “In the year prior to death, 81% (of suicide victims) had been in contact with their GP or a mental health service. Among those who had been in contact with the GP, the majority (67.4) had done so 4 times or more during the year prior to death.” Link


Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry, Random

Professor David Healy: Time to abandon evidence based medicine?


A talk by Prof David Healy from the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University. The talk was presented at the Cardiff University School of Psychology on 26th November 2012.

Prof Healy makes an interesting point about Sertraline/Zoloft (the drug that Anna Byrne was prescribed in her pregnancy) at 9.40 mins and 48 mins. 80% of Sertraline trials proved negative and yet Sertraline was approved long before it was prescribed to Anna and Nicolas Maguire. So terribly tragic, so very wrong and so avoidable. An article in the Irish Independent regarding Anna’s death stated “Mrs Byrne’s GP had started her on Sertraline – an anti-depressant regularly used during pregnancy – and Dr Sheehan doubled her dosage….” This is the same dangerous drug that the NIMH deem fit to be trialed in children as young as seven…Link.

Anway, for those of you with an attention span like mine, I’ve gone through the video and put the time to the important bits:

Ghostwriting at 4 mins

Study 329 at 5.30 mins & 10.45 mins

Pfizer’s Zoloft/Sertraline worst antidepressant (80% of trials proved negative) at 9.40 mins and 48 mins

The truth behind GlaxoSmithKline’s proposal to make data available at 24.30 mins

‘It’s the disease, not the drug’. Heard that one before anyone? at 38 mins

For the seriously depressed, Antidepressants don’t work at 38.10 mins

GSK Seroxat suicide; the way around the problem of Paroxetine/ Paxil/ Seroxat causing suicide at 42.30 mins

Antidepressants in pregnancy at 51.10 mins

Sex in a spray at 51.40 mins

(Shocking) Sacked for not taking flu-vaccine at 54.35 mins

Discussion at 58.12 mins

Weight-gain on Zyprexa at 59 mins

ECT at 62.19

Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry, Random

Was Anna Byrne another Sertraline (Zoloft) victim?

There is a very public debate raging in Ireland at the moment regarding the tragic death of a young woman who died while suffering a miscarriage at Galway University Hospital. An estimated two thousand people protested outside Leinster House (Irish Parliment) in memory of Savita Halappanavar, who died of septicaemia as a consequence of the Irish Government’s reluctance/cowardice to legislate in this area. My heart goes out to her family and indeed to the woman and her child. The country is in uproar and rightly so.

There was another young woman who also died this year (March) but on this occasion there was no public outcry or no protest outside Leinster House (Irish Parliment). Anna Byrne was Carrying twins (almost full term) when she died by jumping off Howth head. Her inquest was held last week and was reported in the Irish independent (among other more sensationalist newspapers). Given the sensitivities surrounding this case and the fact that the family are (and will always be) grieving, I debated long and hard about writing about Anna. I was away with my family in Berlin when this report came out and Anna was never far from my thoughts; she and her two sons deserved more.

The really surprising thing was that the ‘Independent’ reported on the details of this unfortunate woman’s treatment. She was being treated by her doctor and subsequently a psychiatrist. Irish media, in cases where a person has died by suicide (unlike the UK and the US) rarely report on a person’s Inquest due to the fear of ‘copycat suicides’ and ‘social contagion’. There are strict media guidelines with the reporting of these cases; how’s that working in Ireland you might ask? Not too good!

Anna Byrne who was 35 and heavily pregnant with twins, had been on Seroxat for a number of years. This drug was discontinued earlier in her pregnancy. She was then put on Sertraline by her GP who described it as a commonly used antidepressant during pregnancy; seriously? Sertraline aka Lustral (Ireland) and Zoloft (US) commonly prescribed during pregnancy? Did this doctor not know of the birth defects associated with this family of drugs? Was this woman warned that this drug can cause suicide, depression, aggression, manic behaviour and serious birth defects? Adam Urato, assistant professor of maternal-fetal medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and a co-author of a recent paper on this very issue, said:

“The truth of the matter is that we are currently witnessing a large-scale human experiment. Never before in human history have we chemically altered human foetal development on such a large scale… As I am telling you this right now, there is a doctor somewhere in the world counselling a pregnant woman that if she stays on her antidepressant medication she will help control her mood and that will lead to a better pregnancy result – and there really is not a shred of evidence to support that.”

Was Anna told that these drugs can, at the very least, double the suicide risk? Was she told that the  danger period is upon starting, discontinuing, or changing dosage (up or down)? This woman’s dose was doubled 6 days before her death by psychiatrist John Sheehan. C’mon, join the dots here. Does this woman and her two children not deserve every woman in this country to protest outside government buildings?

I looked up the psychiatrist ‘Dr John Sheehan’ and found him here, speaking at a conference supported by Pfizer (makers of Sertraline/Zoloft), Eli Lilly and Jansen. The speakers also included Timothy Dinan of UCC who last year denied any knowledge that Zoloft can cause suicide following Nicolas Maguire’s inquest in May 2011. Mr Maguire died by suicide shortly after being prescribed Zoloft for anxiety. Similar to most psychiatrists and medical professionals who publicly deny problems with these drugs, Timothy does a lot of work for pharmaceutical companies. This, unlike in the US, is not seen as a serious conflict of interest.

The body entrusted with the expertise in this area ‘The Irish College of Psychiatry’ (who have collectively denied that antidepressants can cause suicide) will defend their ‘medical model/drugs’ till the end, as in the recent debate with Professor Healy and Professor Veronica O’ Keane here. They will spout that the ‘benefits outweigh the risks’ till they actually convince themselves. This is despite the EMA warnings and despite the fact that the drug companies have admitted that the drugs can cause suicide. Notice the difference in Zoloft’s Patient Information Leaflet from Ireland and the US; Criminal.

I would remind medical professions that they are walking on thin ice, as was shown in the the case of Dunne (an inf.) v. National Maternity Hospital [1989] IR 91. Here it was found:

“A medical practitioner who establishes that he followed a practice which was general and approved by his colleagues of similar specialisation and skill is nevertheless negligent if the plaintiff thereupon establishes that such practice has inherent defects which ought to be obvious to any person giving the matter due consideration.”

Given that ex-Seroxat users have declared that the adverse discontuation effects can last for months and sometimes years, the introduction of Sertraline and the subsequent doubling of dosage can all cause a person to act on suicide ideation, it is entirely plausible that the medication caused Anna and her babies’ deaths. Considering Anna is dead, the benefits did not outweigh the risks in this case.

Where is the public outcry for Anna and her babies? The Irish Government have been informed by Professor David Healy that these drugs are causing suicide, that these drugs are the leading cause of death within the mental health field and that the same drugs are causing misciarrages and birth defects. At the same meeting Dr Declan Gilsenan said he had serious concerns that more people are taking their own lives as a direct result of seeking help (and subsequently prescribed mind altering drugs), than those who have not. The Government’s inaction on this issue is a bloody disgrace!


UPDATE REGARDING SEROXAT; Syracuse, N.Y. — Joe Mazella, Basketball coach, died by suicide in Sept 09 while on Seroxat. His widow, Janice Mazella has just won a $1.6 million medical malpractice verdict on Tuesday Nov. 20, 2012 against two psychiatrists who had treated the coach before he committed suicide. Here.