Our story., Random, Shanes story.

Christmas 2012

Santa 2Merry Christmas.

This Christmas blog is another of my ‘mad mother’ ramblings and done particularly with Shane’s friends and family in mind.

For those of you who think of us, feel sorry for us, and are there for us; I know that my obsession with  corrupt Lundbeck and ‘dodgy’ psychiatrists, must make it seem like we live a miserable existence. That is sometimes true but not always, and increasingly, some days are happy days. I love my son as much as I have always loved him; that’s it, nothing to add to that. Thank goodness for my ‘mad’ family, who (never a family to pussyfoot around the elephant in the room), tell it like it is, whether we like it or not, and keep us grounded.

Stuff that makes me happy…

Christmas 2012

This year is the third year without Shane. The fourth Christmas where we don’t have to wait for him to come home from handing out dinners to the homeless of Dublin. Instead we are jumping into the freezing cold Irish waters doing a charity swim in his honour (actually, if he was here now, I’d strangle him myself!). The feeling of dread which now accompanies the word ‘Christmas’, is not because Shane is not around but because it reminds me Santa 1that I have to do ‘that’ swim. I can imagine him laughing at us while we struggle to get the courage to jump in and then struggle to get dressed, with fingers and toes blue and numb from the cold. Even his poor granny braves the freezing Irish seas in honour of her much loved grandchild. His grandad, although he loved him just as much, will have the blazing fire lit and sausages on the pan, but will claim a dicky heart once a year (on Christmas day). His uncles, aunts, cousins, along with his younger brothers, will all brave the freezing waters on Christmas day in remembrance of Shane. Tony uses the excuse that he wouldn’t want to embarrass himself with an inflatable ring…HA!

We are/were Christmas lovers, from the gaudy decorations, the multiple tacky santas and the funny presents; Christmas could never come soon enough! I will always miss the ‘Mac’ lipstick and my yearly notebook from Shane, but wherever he is, I’m quite sure he’s okay. Maybe there is no reason for that feeling but it’s there all the same. He appears to me in my dreams, the same Shane, always laughing, and probably as per usual, not with me but at me. That makes me happy. I will even miss him waking the younger ones up at 2 AM, because he was more excited than they were!

Santa

We went to see Santa in Bridgewater and I couldn’t believe it; he wasn’t an impersonator but was the real Santa. Henry and Lucy were fascinated, he gave them lots of time and assured them that their presents were already in his sack. He said he used to live near Redcross (where we live) and named lots of  people Santa 3that they both knew. This, of course, must have been before he emigrated to the North Pole.

Liam, their older brother, came with us because the two smaller ones insisted, so he stood at the sideline, hoping nobody he knew would spot him at Santa. Well, Lucy (5) decided to tell Santa that Liam had said a ‘bold word’ when we were in Berlin. Santa was not impressed and told Liam so! He wagged his finger and told him he was putting him in his ‘naughty boy’ notebook. It was good to see Liam going purple while we all laughed, including the crowd in the ‘very large’ queue. Shane would have loved it, in particular Liam’s discomfort!

That was a good day.

Santa still has the power to make me happy!

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IMB; Ireland’s Grunewald?

Checkpoint Charlie

Forgive my ramblings here; it may be attributed to another of my ‘bereaved mother’ episodes.

In his latest post, Professor David Healy stated that in the two months since RxISK was set up, it has had more patients report effects than the ‘Pharma funded’ Irish Medicine’s Board (IMB) has had in the last three years. Now a cynic such as I would believe that the huge discrepancy here, is precisely because the IMB is funded by the Pharmaceutical industry. There is no incentive to encourage adverse reaction reporting; why bite the hand that feeds you?

The IMB are letting people down; I know the IMB let my son down. Where is the information that SSRI drugs can cause worsening depression, suicide, aggression, mania and birth defects? How many deaths could have been saved if this information was made public, to the public, by the IMB?

It has been a strange few weeks for us. We went to Berlin last week as I thought it would be a good idea to introduce my children to Germany and it’s tragic history. Despite it’s history, maybe because of it’s history, it really is an amazing City and they had a great time. The Germans we met were lovely, helpful and loved chatting to the smaller ones. One of the most profound and weird experiences was our trip to Grunewald station. Tony and I went with Lucy, 5, as the lads wanted to go elsewhere; the ‘Trabant’ museum.

More than 50,000 Jewish Berliners were transported from Grunewald station, platform 17, to various concentration camps including Auschwitz, mostly to their deaths. To say Grunewald station is an awful, awful place is a terrible understatement for the 50,000 innocent victims. The three of us stood on platform 17, alone, with not another person in sight and thought about the victims and Shane, always thinking of Shane. He is on my mind and in my heart from the minute I wake until my dreams. Our lives have changed irrevocably since he died and we are not the same people that we were before 2009.

Anyway, back to Grunewald; we wondered how this was allowed to happen, not hundreds of years ago, but a short 70 years ago? Lucy of course was too young to understand the enormity of Grunewald but as sometimes happens with the sixth sense of small children, she refused point blank to stand near the track and just wanted to go home.

Tony took this picture when we weren’t looking; I find it really hard to look at. What of all the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who stood on the same track, in the same spot, who were subsequently mass murdered by the Nazis?

I would liken the IMB to an Irish Grunewald, where it has actively allowed innocent and unsuspecting people to be transported to their deaths, not via a train, instead via pills. RxISK having had more adverse reaction reports in 2 months than the IMB has had in 3 years, is an absolute disgrace! The IMB; Protecting the Irish people or protecting the drug industry?

…………

https://leoniefennell.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/conflict-of-interest-in-irelands-drug-regulator-the-imb/

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

Are they mad or what?

I have written an article which appears in the ‘health and living’ section of the Irish Independent today; here.

The writing is all mine this time, so for anyone who doesn’t agree; it’s all my work and I stand by everything I said. There was a paragraph missing to do with antidepressants and miscarriages; I feel this is very important so I’ve left it in here. All stats were verified by Prof David Healy.

Are they mad or what? 
The Irish Independent have asked me to write this article; are they mad or what? ‘Mad’ is a word I am well used to hearing. Having lost my son in the ‘most’ tragic circumstances in 2009, I’m left as most mothers with a dead child are left: in cloud cuckoo land, extremely sad and just a little bit mad. In my case I’d say ‘more than a little mad’ but I don’t want to tar every bereaved mother with my madness brush. What is it with Irish people and their reluctance to talk about death and dead people? I have never heard so many people talk about the ‘dreadful’ weather; whatever you do, don’t mention that big fat elephant in the room. Most of the time I couldn’t tell you what day of the week it is, never mind what the ‘dreadful’ weather is like, but please feel free to talk about that big fat grey thing with the huge trunk; my son. He’s dead, not erased from existence, but don’t upset the ‘mad’ bereaved woman whatever you do! Say the wrong thing, by all means, but don’t pretend he didn’t exist and talk about the ‘dreadful’ weather! I can’t tell you how close some people have come to manual strangulation, simply by saying ‘it’s a lovely day’ or more likely ‘the weather’s terrible, isn’t it?’
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Before I get shot down for using the ‘m’ word, I’d like to say that the so-called ‘mad’ people that I’ve met in the last three years are no madder than most of you, and definitely not I. Some of these people have been told that they have a ‘chemical imbalance’ of the brain; so in order to keep their brain functioning as it’s supposed to, they will need to stay on medication for the rest of their lives. These mad dysfunctional lot could teach the so-called ‘normal’ society a thing or two; mainly about kindness, compassion and a willingness to help others. They are also the ones who are shouting from the rooftops that the chemical imbalance theory is just that; a theory. For decades we were led to believe that depression was caused by low serotonin levels in the brain. There is no way, never has been, to measure serotonin in a person’s brain, and absolutely no evidence that low serotonin levels ever caused depression.
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By way of background; my son killed himself and another young man in 2009. He was prescribed an approved SSRI antidepressant 17 days beforehand. I absolutely believe that these ‘mind altering drugs’ are killing people at an alarming rate. Professor David Healy (a world leading expert on these drugs) has said that the pharmaceutical companies, in a court of law, have no choice but to admit that these drugs can cause suicide. 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.
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The first major Case involving antidepressant induced suicide/homicide was in the US and involved a 60 year old man, Donald Schell. This man was put on Seroxat by his doctor, not for any mental illness, but for anxiety; yet 2 days later he shot and killed his wife, his daughter, his 9 month old granddaughter and then himself. The jury found that the drug had caused him to become suicidal and homicidal and found the pharmaceutical company liable, in that Case GlaxoSmithKline. There have been similar Cases since, the most recent in a Canadian trial where the Judge found that an antidepressant caused a 16 year old to kill his friend. The Judge (Justice Heinrichs) concluded that the teenager was no longer a danger and that at the time of the killing “his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac.”Shane was sad, I know that; was that depression, no! Can these prescription drugs help with a broken heart or some other awful life experience? Can they un-break a heart or un-dead a loved one? No, but they can cause these terrible tragedies.
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From the time Shane was prescribed these drugs, he became very restless, which was very unlike him. He seemed to find it hard to stay in the one place for any length of time. What I didn’t understand until later was that this condition is called ‘akathisia’ and is known to be the precursor to suicide and/or homicide. Akathisia is an adverse effect which can be caused by these drugs and is described as ‘inner restlessness’. People suffering from this condition have described it as ‘a living hell’ and also that they would do anything to stop this feeling, including death as a welcome release. My son went from being well respected and loved by his lecturers, friends and family, to a person capable of destroying his own life and that of another human being in 17 days. Whether people believe me or not, matters little to me, as I cannot win either way. I can tell you this though: I knew my son inside out, and if it could happen to Shane, it could happen to you.
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The level of ‘antidepressant’ prescribing has never been so high and yet the suicide rate is rocketing. Join the dots here if you dare and please don’t argue the recession point; I’ve heard it already. We’ve come through the famine, oppressive English rule, Centuries of emigration and barefoot children; for goodness sake, get a grip! The suicide rate has never been so high and the barefoot children are long gone; presumably dead from old age and natural causes, not by their own hand. Each year there is (at least) one antidepressant prescription per year for every man, woman and child in Ireland. If these drugs actually cure people; how come we once had less than 1 per 1000 of us depressed, and now it’s more than 1 in 10? In the year 2010 the cost of medicines in the health service was €1.9 billion. Have we all gone mad? Why do we need €1.9 billion worth of medication every year; were we all born with inherent defects that only the (billion dollar) pharmaceutical industry can fix? Wake up and smell the pharma coffee when you take that statin this morning! Is that antidepressant you just consumed keeping you happy or can you remember either way? Without doubt the most medicated Country in the world is the US; would it surprise you to know that the life expectancy in the US has fallen below that of Cuba?

In the latest revelation within the mental health arena (Oct 2012), the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a paper which showed that the risk of suicide (in the first year of treatment) for schizophrenia is extraordinarily high. For schizophrenia generally, you are 10 times more likely to be dead at the end of the first year of treatment than you were 100 years ago. Did you read that? 10 TIMES MORE THAN 100 YEARS AGO! Professor Healy (one of the authors) said “the actual risks of suicide (in the first year of treatment) were 100 times greater than those of the general population.”
Also this week, to much fanfare it has to be said, Minister Reilly said a “very good deal” was made with the Pharmaceutical Industry, to cut the State’s drugs bill by up to €400 million. This he said would benefit patients and the taxpayer. Right; excuse the cynicism here but that’s €400 million over 3 years, which is equivalent to a saving of €133 million a year. What’s €1.9 billion divided by €133 million? The Pharmaceutical industry may find this as amusing as I do; laughing all the way to the bank.

It amazes me that drugs with adverse effects such as suicide, depression, aggression and birth defects can be licenced by the Irish Medicines Board and yet the ‘free will’ of the pubic to medicate themselves is taken away by the banning of herbal remedies. I doubt if my son would be dead as a result of consuming a large dose of ‘Echinacea’. While I realise that all prescribed medications come with side-effects, we in Ireland are not afforded the same level of warning that other countries are. For example, all antidepressants come with a black-box warning in the US which signify that these drugs can have serious or even life-threatening adverse effects.
Of course herbal medicines are not without controversy either; St John’s wort, which has similar properties to an antidepressant, was widely known in the farming community to cause miscarriage and birth defects in cattle. Farmers took steps to prevent this drug from coming into contact with their animals; yet pregnant women are afforded no such warning. 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 in the last 20 years, antidepressants have caused birth defects in 800 Irish babies and 4000 miscarriages.

I’m not entirely stupid; I know that some drugs can save lives and there will be people who say “the drugs have saved my life”. Who will speak for the dead people though, do they have a voice? €1.9 billion worth of drugs? Surely I’m not the only one who thinks that this is the biggest wheeze of the 21th Century. The number of people requiring medication is increasing every year. Will we eventually face a world where the majority of the human race will be ‘a bit mad ted’ and will therefore be the new class of norm? It could be seen as ‘the’ miracle of the 21th Century, where the meds are cast aside as the now normal ‘mad’ people don’t need them anymore; let’s all embrace the madness. It would surely be interesting to see what subsequently happens to the pharmaceutical industry; spontaneous combustion? Or just a frantic scrambling to find a way to convince people that medicating the ‘normal’ is actually now in Vogue? The old tale of ‘be careful what you wish for’ springs to mind. Dreadful weather, isn’t it?

The Irish Medicines Board declined to comment.
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Link to article. (Courtesy of Mike)
Newspaper and internet articles, Our story., Random, Shanes story.

Me a cynic? Absolutely!


Cynical: Believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity. Me a cynic? Absolutely!

Isn’t it strange how ‘professionals’ are nice as long as you go with the flow and until you step away from the ‘norm’? As long as I accept that Shane was a homicidal/suicidal maniac and was just extremely good at hiding it for 22 years, I could be tolerated. As long as I accept that the drugs he was prescribed in his last 17 days were coincidental and accept what the Irish College of Psychiatry say ‘that the drugs do not cause suicide or violence’, that’s ok. As long as I don’t believe what the other experts say ‘that the drugs CAN cause suicide and Homicide’; then I’ll get the sympathy vote. That’s nice! Shane attended 2 doctor’s surgeries in the last few weeks of his life and there is a few points I would like to make that just don’t sit well:

i. When I first rang the Carlton Clinic in Bray after Shane’s death, I spoke to the doctor who prescribed Shane the drug (John McManus). He couldn’t have been nicer and said if I had any queries that we could arrange a meeting with him. When it became clear that I was bringing the issue of the adverse effects of antidepressants into the public domain, his attitude changed; he said if I had any queries, it would be advisable to put them in writing.

ii. I then spoke to our family GP in Ashford (husband and wife team, Dan McCarthy and Orla McAndrews). Shane’s last doctor’s visit was with their locum (Dr Buys/aka Dr Coatzee). Firstly, a few weeks after my son’s death I went to collect his medical records; Dr Orla came out with the envelope and said (and I quote) “there’s not much here as he was only here once.” (He only died once too.) That’s it! No “sorry for your loss” Nothing! I spoke to her husband Dan by telephone a few times and he seemed to be a tad more understanding. He assured me that the Inquest would ‘find’ whether the antidepressant Cipramil (which his locum prescribed) was involved in Shane’s death and he would talk to me then; It did and he didn’t!

iii. It also appears that their locum Dr Coatzee was in a bit of a hurry to hightail it back to her homeland of South Africa. Wonder was it something I said? Furniture for sale, urgent.

Our story., Random, Shanes story.

Me dear darling Leonie

It has always amazed me that three years after Shane died, I still get lovely letters from his friends. This one is a bit different; it’s from my friend. For background and clarity; he works as an actor and is currently masquerading as a viking (in a film being shot around Dublin and Wicklow).

 

Me dear darling Leonie, I have to let you know about a special moment in time but have to ask you to try and imagine the scene…………..

We were asked to do a scene on Friday. The setting was in a Viking family house which had 3 or 4 open fires inside it, as it was minus 20 outside the animals were brought in too, goats hens sheep all happily sitting on the floor, and around each fire were 4/5 village members wives and children of the Vikings, the huge room was smokey but not uncomfortable and we drank and talked of all things while keeping warm by the fire.

At my family group I brought up your lovely son Shane and out of us all, everybody knew of him and spoke in the most beautiful way about him. They had never met him but were aware (in amazing detail) of all things relevant and there were tears by the fire that day. I just wanted you to know that, bloody choked me up the whole way home, but to listen to and be part of his legacy was so beautiful. It meant the amazing work you’re doing, has people not only aware of ssri’s, but also has folk sending positive messages out about Shane, missed by many who didn’t know him, but would have loved to have met him.

Your friend x

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That’s nice! Now F**k off!

I suppose I should explain myself here. We Irish (for the most part) are notorious for using bad language. We rarely find bad language offensive and (more often than not) find it a source of amusement. I don’t know if people in other countries are aware of commedian Brendan O’Carroll? His TV series ‘Mrs Brown’ is a huge hit over here and in the UK. His irreverance is classic. In the (1 min) segment above, Mrs Brown refers to her ‘elocution lessons’ and says “I used to say ‘F**k Off!’ but now I say ‘That’s Nice’.

I have decided that, following Shane’s death, 3 years is long enough to be miserable. Rather than holding my tongue about the ‘experts’ who have involved themselves in Shane’s case, I have decided as Oprah would say, to find closure. I am dismissing these people with Mrs Browns ‘expert’ advice and in this instance, it’s definitely not a term of endearment.

(1) To Professor Patricia Casey, UCD, who attended Shane’s Inquest on behalf of the Irish College of Psychiatry, and who, coincidentally, has links to Lundbeck. For your opinion (directly after my son’s Inquest) that there were ‘aspects’ of the evidence with which the ‘College’ took issue. For your subsequent denials that SSRI’s can cause suicide and for the two solicitors letters that you sent me; That’s Nice!

(2) To Professor Timothy Dinan, UCC, who was very vocal in the media defending these drugs. For denying that these drugs can cause suicide or homicide and for also having links to Lundbeck and other drug companies. For stating (after Nicolas Maguire’s Inquest) that he was not aware of any convincing evidence linking Sertraline to suicidal behaviour; That’s Nice!

(3) To (Catholic priest) Fergus O’Donoghue who said (on the day of Shane’s funeral) that his actions were ‘pure evil’ and could not be explained away by ‘mental illness’. Bless me not father! Your God is obviously not the same as mine; That’s Nice!

(4) To Dr Justin Brophy (President of the Irish College of Psychiatry), for your statement concerning my son, including “A high volume of research in recent years has failed to establish a causal link between antidepressant use and suicide”; That’s Nice!

(5) To Ciaran Craven (Barrister), for the Irish college of psychiatry, who said, that there were “concerns about linking SSRIs to suicidal and homicidal behaviour.” Mr Craven said he was worried that without expert testimony from the college, people could be discouraged from taking medication perfectly suited to them; That’s Nice!

(6) To Lundbeck, for lying in their statment to RTE, stating “that there is no evidence linking citalopram to violent behaviour”; That’s nice!

(7) To all the ‘experts’ who are ignoring the huge amount of evidence (see Prof Healy’s blog) to the contrary; That’s Nice!

PHEW…That sure feels good. Maybe Oprah has a point! 

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

How many Coroners does it take?

Here’s one I missed. This was sent to me by my English friends who also lost their son to a Citalopram Induced death. Their son, having never suffered from depression, was put on this dangerous drug for ‘stress at work’. A few days later he was dead.

There have been numerous Coroners around the world that have voiced their concerns that SSRI’s are causing people to become suicidal. You can see some of them here (although only the Coroners concerned with Citalopram).

In 2006 Coroner David Osborne voiced his concerns at the Inquest of John Rudd, 62, who just days before his death had started taking Citalopram. Mr Rudd, a retired lorry-driver, died after being hit by a train. His wife said that her husband “had never thought about committing suicide or had been depressed.”

Mr. Osborne said there was no evidence that Mr. Rudd intended to commit suicide, but since Christmas he had dealt with the cases of six people who died shortly after being prescribed Citalopram. The Inquest was in April which meant that, in the previous 4 months, SIX cases had come before him relating to a Citalopram Induced death. That’s one Coroner, in one district! How many other cases have come before other Coroners? How many Citalopram Induced deaths have there been since? Shane and my friend’s son and countless others I could mention, are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Coroner also said ““We have no evidence of intent to commit suicide so I think the proper course of action for me in this case is to record an open verdict” and “In most cases the people had been prescribed that medication (Citalopram) for a short period of time – days or weeks – and then they took their own life usually totally out of the blue”.

Even now the ‘Irish College of Psychiatry’ deny that these drugs can cause suicide. Up until today, despite Prof Healy and Declan Gilsenan informing the Irish Government of the dangers of these drugs, Kathleen Lynch and James Reilly have done nothing. How many Coroners does it take before these people will do the job they are paid to do? This is not the first time that this was brought to the attention of the Irish Government. In 2006, three members of ‘mind freedom Ireland’, along with Dr Michael Corry and John Mc Carthy testified about the dangers of psychiatric drugs in ‘The Dáil’ (Irish Parliament). Link. The previous Government did nothing about it either. I wonder if they could be found guilty of manslaughter?

James Torlakson, whose daughter Elizabeth also died by walking in front of a train, also believes her death was as a result of Citalopram. Her autopsy report stated that the presence of Citalopram (Celexa) in her body was the other significant factor contributing to her death (the first being the train).

Another man who died by walking in front of a train was Ian Fox. Coroner Dr Andrew Reid said he accepted that Mr Fox had jumped in front of the train, adding: “I’m satisfied he did so while the balance of his mind was disturbed while suffering the adverse effects of Citalopram.”

Depressants or antidepressants?

Link to Article.

Another Article on Mr Rudd.

Citalopram, the wonder drug…’wonder how it was approved drug?’

Ian Fox

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

Dr Terry Lynch “100 years of misinformation in Psychiatry”

It’s unusual, to say the least, that a doctor will speak out against psychiatry, especially in Ireland. The College of Psychiatry of Ireland, as previously seen with Shane’s Case here, are staunch defenders of their misinformation and equally staunch defenders of the medical model, antidepressants in particular. Apart from Prof Healy, there are very few Irish medical professionals who are willing to risk the wrath of Irish Psychiatry. There have been some notable exceptions; Irish Psychiatrist Pat Bracken wrote this paper recently “Psychiatric Power: A Personal View” by Pat Bracken. This paper questions, inter alia, psychiatry’s use of dubious drugs. In this paper Pat Bracken questions the power that psychiatry has in Ireland, stating: “the decision-making powers that are currently given to psychiatry cannot be justified on either scientific or moral grounds”.

Then there was the lovely Dr Corry RIP who died on 22/02/2010. He spoke out against antidepressants saying that these drugs could tip someone into suicidal and homicidal behaviour. Dr Corry who was speaking in defense of Shane and against SSRI’s, then became the subject of a medical council complaint initiated by Prof Timothy Dinan of University College Cork. Prof Dinan is an advocate for antidepressants and has worked as a speaker for a lot of pharmaceutical companies, including Lundbeck (the makers of Citalopram, the drug Shane was on). Here is Prof Dinan again, who will be speaking for Lundbeck at the Nov 2012 symposium in Barcelona. Link. Note the nice BIG Cipralex advertisment at the end of the programme.

Another Irish doctor who is becoming increasingly outspoken against the misinformation in mental health and psychiatry is Dr Terry Lynch. He is the author of two books: ‘Beyond Prozac’ and his latest one ‘Selfhood‘. Here he is speaking out against psychiatry on YouTube; It’s 13 minutes long and well worth a watch. I’d be careful if I was you Terry, you know Irish Psychiatry don’t like to be contradicted….

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

Premalex; Corrupt Lundbeck targeting women for profit.

So who will Lundbeck target next and who is going to stop them?

It seems that Lundbeck are getting into trouble again, this time with Doctor Lotte Hvas, a member of the Danish Council of Ethics. She says “It is crazy that the pharmaceutical company is allowed to do so. Giving antidepressants to healthy with all that it entails of medicalisation and side effects.” Here.

She is referring to Lundbeck’s launching of Premalex in Sweden for Pre-menstrual symptoms. Now ‘Premalex’ happens to be another word for Escitalopram/Cipralex/Lexapro, an SSRI anti-depressant or depressant, depending on which percentage of consumers a person happens to fall into. You remember escitalopram, the same drug Brennan Mc’Cartney was on for 4 days when he killed himself, as a result of a drug-induced suicide. Also the same drug as Citalopram, (as found by a Brussels Court) and the same drug that my son Shane was on for 17 days before his death.

I looked up the Patient Information Leaflet here, and was surprised/shocked to see what the idiots in Lundbeck were recommending.

“Cycle 1 +2 The usual starting dose is 10 mg taken on the day of expected ovulation. After 2-3 days, the dose may be increased to 20 mg daily if you do not have troublesome side effects. If you are bothered by side effects, continue taking 10 mg daily. Keep taking the required dose (10 mg or 20 mg daily) until the first menstruation. Then a break before the next expected ovulation, when the same dose repeated.

Cycle 3 onwards You can continue to Premalex under Cycle 1 +2 if this worked for you. If you are not bothered by side effects, you can start with full dose (20 mg daily) was already at the date of estimated ovulation and then take 20 mg daily throughout the treatment cycle until the first menstruation. Then make a break until the next ovulation, when the next treatment period begins.”

Can you believe that? It is widely reported that the suicide risk with ssri’s is most prevalent upon starting, discontinuing, or changing dosage (up or down). Then there is the withdrawal symptoms which can start as early as 8 hours here. Yet, this awful company are recommending that women with pre-menstrual symptoms take this drug for approx 2 weeks, stop for 2 weeks and start this dangerous drug again. Who, in their right mind approved this?? Is Lundbeck being allowed to put women’s lives at risk for profit? Where are the regulators?

Drugs.com website state, Escitalopram; “Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.” Here. Is anyone under the impression that Lundbeck put this in the patient Information Leaflet for the craic? Bob Fiddaman, author of “The Evidence, However, Is Clear: The Seroxat Scandal” had this to say…”GSK did it with Seroxat too. To give an SSRi to women menstruating is basically adding fuel to a fire.”

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Random, Shanes story.

Dear Leonie

I receive e-mails occasionally from people looking for information on SSRI’s. Usually they’re from people with stories like mine with tragic endings but sometimes, just sometimes, there are nice stories of people who have survived their experience. Here’s one from a reader who would like to share; she wants to address the importance of an informed decision. Sadly, in Ireland, denial of the dangers of SSRI’s by the majority of the medical profession means that most Irish consumers will not be informed. I’m so glad that this one had a better outcome….

Dear Leonie,

I needed to let you know that your blog and Shane’s journey have had a profound effect on me since the moment I read the first post. Knowing depression/anxiety and mental illness has run in my family I was very aware of the subject matter and read your blogs and links with due diligence. Little did I know that the knowledge I was gaining would play a part in saving my own son from the brink of despair and possible great harm. I live in America; my son is 21 and has been away at college for several years. He was doing terrific, grades were great, involved socially in great things, fund-raising for worthy causes, it seemed everyone loved him and he loved life. Then my mother’s instinct kicked in. I knew something had changed, he had broken up with a girlfriend (not a serious relationship), his grades were dropping and he was not as involved in social events as he had been. We lost several close family members and friends in the last few years, he took each loss badly. Then a friend of his died from a combination of illegal drugs. I heard my son break on the phone when I called to tell him the news. I travelled to him regularly, each time worrying more than the last, offering him “options” to leave college, to change his life, any support I could. I hesitated to advise him to take anti-depressions based on Shane’s story, and found lots of natural remedies/ over the counter stress relievers but none seemed to have any long term support. All the time he was a 3 hour drive away from me. It was nerve raking.

To cut a long story short, one day in April I got a heart wrenching call from my son. Thankfully a friend had recognized he needed help and brought him to a hospital. He had voluntarily checked himself in to a clinic to help him with severe anxiety/depression. He had been self-medicating with drink and anything he could to escape his personal pain.

After several conferences with medical/clinical staff and my son, it was highly recommended that he go on an anti-depressant. I spoke to his caregivers (privately) and explained my concerns. Here’s the shocker when I said “I am aware that SSRI’s can heighten anxiety and actually give the patient suicide and homicidal thoughts” the answer was immediate and blunt “ooh that’s only with people who have already had those thoughts before taking them”. I quickly responded with a ton of knowledgeable medical research quotes and cases (thanks to your blog) and told them of Shane’s journey. I could tell by the silence (it was a phone call) and immediate empathy that the social worker had learned something valuable from my words.

That being said, I knew my son needed help beyond hand-holding. His situation was real and serious and I had no doubt from my visits with him at the clinic that he was a suicide risk. So I advised him of the risks to taking SSRI’s, told him I would support him with in whatever he needed but I felt he needed full medical supervision while he started the medications. Thankfully he and his team agreed. To say his first week on the meds was the longest in my life would be an understatement. However I felt comforted by the fact that he was in counselling, being monitored closely and I prayed, crossed my fingers, and even asked Shane to look out for him! Within a week my son was a different young man. He starting talking in a hopeful manner, by week two he was calmer. Months later he is now off the anti-depressant (they had put him on the lowest dose possible), and he attends group therapy and has made changes to take a lot of pressure away from himself. He’s closer geographically now, and my mother’s instinct has relaxed (although I’ll always be on alert!). I knew in my heart he needed help both in meds and support. If it hadn’t been for you sharing Shane’s journey I know I would not have been so insistent he got the level of supervision, the lowest dose possible, nor the full support of follow-up. Depression is a real illness, and it needs more than a ‘happy pill’ to treat it. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me to be an informed Mother, I was scared, and did the best I could with what I knew. Just as you did. That’s all we Mothers can do. Thank you for giving us more information to make more informed decisions/give advice to our young adult children. I’ve already thanked Shane, so now it’s time for me to thank his Mum.

Thanks Leonie.

From one Grateful Mom.