Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Why would anyone defend the use of Lariam?

Sgt. Robert BalesRTE’s Prime-time (Irish National Broadcaster) tackled the issue of Lariam-induced suicides within the Irish army on May 23rd. The programme can be viewed here.

For those who are not aware of Lariam (aka Mefloquine), it is a highly controversial anti-malaria drug used within the defense forces when deployed overseas. The drug can cause many serious adverse effects and numerous families have blamed it for their loved one’s suicide. Interestingly, it comes 5th in the PLOS ONE ‘Prescription Drugs associated with violence’ study (after Champix and Seroxat). The US army stopped the use of Lariam following numerous suicides and severe psychiatric reactions associated with its use. Tragically, for all concerned, this drug has been implicated in the massacre of 17 Afghan citizens including children by Sgt. Robert Bales (pictured) on March 11, 2012. His wife said “I have no idea what happened, but he would not – he loves children. He would not do that.

A few weeks after the Prime-time programme (which included grieving families and their harrowing testimonies), I was disappointed to see the Minister for Defence, Alan Shatter, defending Lariam in the media. He defended the use of the drug, disputing its links to suicide and said “There is no evidence in any of the coroners’ inquests linking any deaths to Lariam.” He seemed to have completely undermined the Prime-time programme and it made no sense to me. Why would he do that?

Sorry but I have no answers to Minister Shatter’s involvement but I do have a very recent warning (8th July 2013) from Roche Pharmaceuticals which the Minister might find embarrassing. The link can be found here but Minister Shatter might find the excerpt below interesting.


Minister Shatter said of the nine cases of lariam suicides” “given the limited period of time during which Lariam remains in the bloodstream, according to our expert advice, it is extremely unlikely that the product could have been a contributory factor in practically all of these cases”. Irish Times June 19th. The following excerpt may help him a little bit with that one:

Lariam 1

Roche, who originally marketed Lariam, is no stranger to controversy, having also invented the notorious acne drug Accutane. This drug is also widely linked to suicide and following numerous lawsuits in 2009 Roche pulled the drug from the US market. The Irish Medicine’s Board still allow it though despite a high profile court case involving a courageous Irish father here. Roche’s corruption and intimidation tactics were subsequently captured in Doug Bremner’s ‘Before You Take That Pill’.

What I do find interesting is why Roche came out with the warning now. Was it pressure from the Prime-time documentary? Was it pressure from the pharma-funded Irish Medicine’s Board? I doubt it! But one thing is for sure, it was not out of the goodness of Roche’s pharma heart.

Lariam 2


Army reviews notorious drug after Afghan massacre

PLOS ONE ‘Prescription Drugs associated with violence’ 

US Army curbs Lariam

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

Citalopram aggression, how much evidence do we need?

How much evidence do the regulators need?

More evidence has emerged today that Citalopram can cause violence. Professor Healy’s blog today tells of his experience with an 8o year old man who had a stroke and was subsequently prescribed Citalopram. Here he states that in his opinion the man did not need an antidepressant….

I stopped his SSRI and said I would come back in a week to see how things looked – perhaps his depression would be more obvious then.

A week later, Jeff seemed much better than he had been on citalopram. He clearly didn’t need an antidepressant – if he wasn’t rehabilitating it was because of where his stroke had struck.

I got up to leave just as his family came in. He grabbed my arm. ‘I’ve something to tell you before you go. You see the man across the room’. There was another older man confined to his bed.

‘Well while on those pills you know I had a terrible urge to get up from my bed in the night and go over and strangle him. I don’t know why. I’ve never seen him before. Those feelings have gone since you stopped my pills.’ Full post here.


What about Lundbeck, who are under investigation by the European Commission? Even they have admitted that their drug can cause suicide.

AC: Do you believe that citalopram can cause somebody who would not otherwise take their own life to do so?

CM (Lundbeck Doctor) : Yes.

What about 1boringoldman, another psychiatrist with a terrible experience of Citalopram….

He got called for an interview at the school, and I was afraid that he was so depressed that he wouldn’t be able to rise to the occasion, so I put him on Citalopram [$4/month at Kroger]. After just a few days, he became “crazy” and like a “madman.” He couldn’t sleep and progressed to delirium. It cleared in a day and a half off the medication. “I was jumping out of my skin. I wanted to kill, me or someone else,” he said later. I learned my lesson.

What about all the other Coroner’s who have expressed concerns about this depressant, excuse me for my choice of word but these concerns have been raised at people’s Inquests, so Citalopram certainly wasn’t an anti-depressant; Magistrate Jacqueline M. Milledge, Aus, Coroner Ian Smith Cumbria, U.K, Birmingham coroner Aiden Cotter U.K, Brecon coroner Geraint Williams, and our own ex-pathologist Declan Gilsenan.

This post is only about Citalopram. I haven’t even started on Escitalopram (same product, different label) or any other SSRI. It seems they all have similar effects and can cause suicide, homicide, aggression, Depression, and Birth defects.

So tell me, how much evidence is needed before people are allowed to get a fair warning? How long will the College of psychiatry of Ireland get away with denying the side-effects? How many Shanes will there be before then? How many more Coroners and psychiatrists will it take to raise their concerns, before the IMB or the EMA will do the job that they are paid to do?

And lastly, will Lundbeck ever decide to do the decent thing and slap the warnings on these drugs? Or will the European Commission expose more of their corruption and fraud? Or maybe Lundbeck’s pharmacovigilence department will publish the number of reported deaths? As Shane would have said, Meh!

I should mention that Citalopram and Escitalopram came 14th and 16th in the PLoS ONE study “Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others”. Link, 31 drugs were identified; 11 were antidepressants. Still not enough evidence?

Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Varenicline….Chantix/Champix, yet more side effects!

This article here, was published in the Metroherald this morning. Finally, a newspaper reporting on side-effects of medication. Usually the only newspaper that reports on medication issues is “The Irish examiner“, and previously “The Tribune”, so it’s highly unusual to read something like this in Ireland.

Besides the latest heart problems and stroke risks with this drug, Chantix is suspected of causing other conditions, including serious accidents and falls, seizures, diabetes, psychosis, aggression and suicide. The findings prompted the Federal Aviation Adminstration in America to ban pilots, air traffic controllers and Truck drivers from using this drug.

The drug’s more serious side-effects, along with ssri’s, have been linked to suicice and homicide…previous post. 

Pharmalot, Ed Silverman…(Chantix) In recent weeks, there was controversy over whether Pfizer correctly reported side effects to the FDA, which required the drugmaker to alter its methods for submitting the data (look here) and France removed from its register of medicines for which patients can be reimbursed from government funds (see this).

Pfizer left out Hundreds of reports of suicides and violent reactions tied to the stop-smoking drug Chantix in a crucial government safety review. The reports were missing because the drug’s manufacturer Pfizer Inc. submitted years of data through ‘improper channels’, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The Daily Mail.

But the saddest report of all, is the Sky Sports executive, with no history of mental illness, who stabbed himself to death after only a few weeks on this drug. Mail on Sunday. 

Other Chantix stories….Chantix ruined my life.               

PloS one study of Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others, Chantix came out on top! PLoS one

In 2009, Pfizer agreed to pay $70m after the deaths of Nigerian children in drug trial experiment. Also in 2009, Pfizer through its subsidiary Pharmacia and Upjohn Company, was hit with a 2.3 billion dollar fine with the “intent” to mislead and defraud the public.

Ghostwriting, Pfizer and their antidepressant sertraline/Zoloft published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.