5/01/2001 – World Health Organization – SSRI Addiction

“A league table of withdrawal and dependency side-effects, published by the
WHO, shows that drugs including Prozac and Seroxat [Paxil] have produced far
more complaints from patients than old-fashioned tranquillisers . . . SSRIs
(selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), including Prozac, are more
addictive than tranquillisers such as Valium.”

Yesterday, in several major newspapers Lilly placed full page ads offering a
coupon for a month of free Prozac. Do you think they warned the consumer in
those ads that these free pills were addictive? Because so few doctors are
aware of this withdrawal and do not know how to withdraw patients from SSRIs,
after the month on the “free” pills the patient would have to continue to
purchase the drug until they could find my tape on how to get off Prozac
safely.

If you had told me ten years ago, shortly after I began researching the SSRIs
and dealing with patients going through horrific withdrawal from Prozac, that
it would take TEN years for the World Health Organization to finally see what
I was seeing, I would not have believed it. It was so obvious! But I have
waited and waited and waited as I have warned and warned and warned of this
addiction and withdrawal and finally today we see the WHO admit it.

At least the WHO have warned the public now, but where is the FDA? Will they
finally at least admit this much about SSRIs? All of these organizations that
society thinks are there to protect them – where were they as millions
suffered needlessly? How many times do we need to see this repeated with one
drug after another before we realize that there is no protection to the
consumer via these agencies? Obviously “buyer beware” most definitely applies
in this arena of prescription drug use. This is why I feel it is so important
to educate the public about these drugs.

You can mark my words when I say that this is only one of MANY more
admissions that will continue to come confirming all the warnings that I gave
in my book about the SSRI antidepressants, Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org and author of
Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? ()

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health/story.jsp?story=69366

01 May 2001
Home > News > UK > Health

World health watchdog warns of addiction risk for Prozac users

By Robert Mendick

29 April 2001

Prozac, billed for years as a harmless wonder drug, often creates more
problems than the depression it is supposed to be treating, warns the head of
the World Health Organisation’s unit monitoring drug side-effects.

Professor Ralph Edwards says Prozac and drugs similar to it are
overprescribed. A league table of withdrawal and dependency side-effects,
published by the WHO, shows that drugs including Prozac and Seroxat [Paxil]
have produced far more complaints from patients than old-fashioned
tranquillisers prescribed by doctors in the 1970s. Campaigners say this
proves that the drugs called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors),
including Prozac, are more addictive than tranquillisers such as Valium.

“SSRIs are probably over-used,” says Professor Edwards. “They are used for
relatively minor psychiatric problems, and the issue of dependence and
withdrawal has become much more serious. You risk creating a greater problem.
For serious psychiatric problems, it is worth the risk. But if you are just
tired or going through a bad patch, well, people get over that without
medication.”

A spokeswoman for Eli Lilly, makers of Prozac, accepted there are potential
side-effects including head-aches, dizziness, sleeplessness and nausea but
added: “The benefits of Prozac far outweigh the downsides. Extensive
scientific and medical experience has demonstrated that Prozac is a safe,
effective antidepressant that is well-tolerated by most patients.”

Prozac has been taken by an estimated 35 million people worldwide since its
launch a decade ago. But the reputation of SSRIs as wonder drugs is being
questioned. Research by Dr David Healy, at the University of Wales, appeared
to show that two people in a trial group of 20 became violent after taking an
SSRI.

Dr Healy’s research may be presented as evidence in a High Court case being
brought by the family of Reginald Payne, a retired teacher who was taking
Prozac when he killed his wife then jumped off a cliff. The family is suing
Eli Lilly, claiming negligence and saying the pharmaceutical firm failed to
warn Mr Payne of side-effects, which they say include suicidal and violent
behaviour.

The experiences of Ramo Kabbani on Prozac prompted her to set up the Prozac
Survivors Support Group. In two years, it has taken 2,000 calls. Ms Kabbani
claims SSRI withdrawal causes side-effects ranging from flu-like symptoms
such as dizziness and aching muscles to suicidal tendencies. She began taking
Prozac to combat depression after the death of her 27-year-old fiance from a
heart attack.

“The medication stopped me working through the feelings of grief which had
caused the depression.” she says. “When I came off Prozac I became
super-sensitive and very emotional. I found it worse going through withdrawal
than going through the depression.”

Council for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction 0151 949 0102; Prozac
Survivors Support Group 0161 682 3296.

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4/30/2001 – Brain Death in Carbon Dioxide Treatment for Depression

Every time I think it can’t get much worse, it does! And every time I think I
have finally heard it all, I hear something like this case reported in the NY
Post as brain dead from carbon dioxide treatment.

ANYONE should know that depriving the brain of oxygen kills brain cells. So,
why would one think, especially one who calls himself a doctor, that would be
beneficial to someone suffering emotional trauma of any kind to give them
carbon dioxide? Will we hear next that they will be holding patient’s heads
under water for 10 minutes to see of what benefit it might be?

Even more alarming is the fact that this man pawned himself off as one who
specializes in environmental medicine and homeopathy. You would think that
someone who is suppose to know anything about environmental medicine would be
well aware of the damage caused by carbon dioxide – one of the greatest
concerns of environmental medicine. And since when did homeopathy include
anything like treating someone with carbon dioxide? Perhaps the problem here
was that the good doc had spent too much time in the same room where he was
treating his patients with the carbon dioxide? 🙂

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org and author of
Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? ()

CIRCARE:
Citizens for Responsible Care & Research
A Human Rights Organization
Tel-212-595-8974 FAX: 212-595-9086
veracare@…

FYI
According to The NY Post, a licensed psychiatrist, James Watt, used carbon
dioxide as a “treatment” for depression. Result: patient is brain dead in a
coma at Bellevue Hospital.

Could it be that James Watt is related to the notorious neurosurgeon, James
Watt, who teamed up with neurologist Walter Freeman, performing 40,000
lobotomies (by 1955) on American men, women, and children ??
[see excerpt, below, from the book Medical Blunders, by Robert Youngson and
Ian Schott.]

The National Institutive of Mental Health sponsors Carbon dioxide
“challenge’ experiments that are being conducted on patients–including
adolescents–who have been diagnosed with panic disorder. Is it ethical to
induce panic attacks (with carbon dioxide or other such non-therapeutic,
dangerous procedures) in order to study panic disorder? Or, do these
experiments demonstrate current “medical blunders” ?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New York Post
Friday April 27, 2001, page 8

GEAR SEIZED FROM COMA WOMAN’S DOC

By MURRAY WEISS and DAVID K. LI

April 27, 2001 — Authorities seized equipment from the office of a
Manhattan psychiatrist yesterday – after one of his patients wound up brain
dead following a session, cops said.

Leah Grove, 38, is in intensive care at Bellevue Hospital, where she was
taken April 19 after something went wrong during “carbon dioxide” therapy at
Dr. James Watt’s office on East 46th Street.

Watt was treating the Queens woman for depression with a combination of
gases, including carbon dioxide, cops said.

Investigators said it was unlikely charges would filed.
_________________________________________________________________

New York Post
Sunday April 29, 2001

CO2-THERAPY VICTIM’S SHATTERED DREAMS

By DAVID K. LI, ANGELA C. ALLEN, MURRY WEISS and DAN MANGAN

April 28, 2001 — The woman left brain-dead after a psychiatric session
involving an unusual gas therapy had been looking forward to a new job in
California, her landlady said yesterday.

Leah Grove, 38, already had moved out of the Sunnyside, Queens,
apartment she had been sharing with a friend in anticipation of her move
west, said landlady Edith Giron.

Grove, a computer saleswoman, remained in a coma yesterday at Bellevue
Hospital with her grief-stricken mother at her bedside.

“Everything is about as can be expected,” said her mother, Lynn Grove,
who was so upset she could barely speak.

Grove was taken to the hospital April 19 after a mishap during
“carbon-dioxide therapy” at Dr. James Watt’s Manhattan office, police said.
She was being treated for stress and mild depression, cops said.

Watt has not been charged, but police and prosecutors searched his East
46th Street office and seized equipment Thursday.

Questions remained yesterday about the nature and purpose of the
therapy by Watt, who could not be reached for comment. Carbon dioxide can
suffocate a person.

Watt, 73, is a licensed psychiatrist whose business card says
he specializes in homeopathic care, including “environmental
detoxification, hormonal replacement, intravenous nutritional
infusions, and anti-aging therapy.”

Originally from New York, he spent time in California, and
returned to New York several years ago, police said.

In addition to carbon dioxide, police said Watt was giving a
mixture including oxygen and nitrous oxide – laughing gas – to Grove as
treatment.

Carbon-dioxide therapy was used in the 1940s and 1950s to
trigger near-death experiences.
_________________________________________________________________

http://www.scc.net/~lkcmn/lobotomy/lobo/brief.html

“the “Freeman-Watts standard lobotomy”; or, as they called it, the
“precision method”. After hand-drilling holes on either side of the head
which were widened by manually breaking away further bits of the skull, the
way would be paved for the knife by the preliminary insertion of a 6 inch
cannula, the tubing from a heavy-gauge hypodermic needle. Put in one hole,
this would be aimed at the other, on the opposite side of the head. Then the
blunt knife would be inserted in the path initially carved by the cannula.
Once inside the brain, the blade would be swung in two cutting arcs,
destroying the targeted nerve matter. “It goes through just like soft
butter,” said Watts. The operation was repeated on the other side of the
head.

Because the technique was “blind” — they could not see what they were
doing — it required both men. Watts manipulated the cannula and blade while
Freeman crouched in front of the patient, like a baseball catcher, using his
knowledge of the internal map of the brain to give Watts instructions such
as “up a bit”, “down a fraction”, or “straight ahead”. Watts enjoyed “flying
on instruments only”, as he put it, and became so expert that, as a special
trick, he could insert a cannula through a 2 millimeter hole in one side of
a patient’s head and thread it through the brain and out of the opposing
hole like a shoelace. “That’s pretty damn dramatic, you know,” he once said.
“And of course it always impressed spectators.”

The best was yet to come. Having observed that the optimum results were
achieved when the lobotomy induced drowsiness and disorientation, Freeman
and Watts decided to see if they could use this information to judge how an
operation was proceeding; they began to perform lobotomies under local
anesthetic. Now they could speak to the patient while cutting the lobe
connections and gauge whether they were being successful. They asked
patients to sing a song, or to perform arithmetic, and if they could see no
signs of disorientation, they chopped away some more until they could.

Initial professional reaction to the 1936 operations was not promising.
Although, privately, the technique aroused great interest, it drew outraged
responses from psychoanalysts and many psychiatrists, though, in keeping
with the medical tradition of discretion, these reservations were not voiced
to the public at the time. Ten years later, everybody would declare that
they had always opposed the lobotomy.” …………..

“As early as 1951, even the Soviet Union, where psychiatric abuse was rife,
had stopped performing the lobotomy on ideological grounds: it produced
unresponsive people who were fixed and unchangeable.”

~~~~~~~
The preceding text was adapted from the book Medical Blunders, by Robert
Youngson and Ian Schott. All reprinted materials are copyrighted by the
original authors; unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. The
information presented at this site is intended for educational purposes
only, consult a professional for additional information. The maintainer of
this site and the original authors assume no responsibility of the misuse of
this information. Suggestions, comments, or questions should be sent to:
vestc@…. Last modification: 11 October 1997.

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4/29/2001 – Another antidepressant-induced school shooting

“And school officials have since discovered that in the days before he
brought the gun to school, he was having trouble adjusting to a new
anti-depressant medication.”

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010428/us/tragedy_averted_1.html

Saturday April 28 12:57 PM ET
Wash. School Deals With Gun Incident

By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National Writer

MATTAWA, Wash. (AP) – Apple orchards are blossoming just down the road. But
there is one student in Michelle Hansen’s honors English class who is not
there to see it.

Cory Baadsgaard is, instead, in the county jail, writing letters of apology
to classmates he has known since kindergarten – the same ones he forced into
a classroom corner using a loaded big-game hunting rifle and swear words many
had never heard him use before.

“It’s hard to write when you’re shaking and crying,” the 16-year-old said
in a letter that his friend, Clint Price, read to the class soon after the
April 10 standoff.

“I’m so sorry about what I did. … I never once thought about hurting any
of you.”

No one was hurt, at least not physically, at Wahluke High School. But the
anger and second-guessing linger, and one question continues to echo in the
hallways.

“Why?”

It’s a question without a satisfactory answer here, or any other place where
a student has walked into school with a weapon and a confused mind or bad
intentions.

According to the National School Safety Center, which began tracking school
deaths in 1992, the numbers have dropped in the last decade. Even so,
teen-agers have come of age hearing about rampages so heinous they are now
simply referred to with one word: Jonesboro, Paducah, Columbine and Santee
among them.

The issue has hit especially close to Mattawa, a tiny no-stoplight town
nestled in a valley that the Columbia River has carved through the red rock
and sagebrush of central Washington’s high desert. Five years ago in nearby
Moses Lake, Barry Loukaitis opened fire on his ninth-grade math class,
killing two students and a teacher and seriously injuring another student.

“I go to sporting events in other states and people say, ‘Hey, didn’t you
guys have a shooting there?”’ Justin Workman, the senior class president at
Moses Lake High School, says, sighing. “It’s all we seem to be known for.”

Still, students in Mattawa – many of them children of ranchers or farm hands
– never really believed it would happen to them. And if it did, the gunman
wouldn’t be Baadsgaard, a lanky, baby-faced teen who was quick to give a hug.

“I lay awake at night thinking about it,” Price, who is 17, says. “I wish
he would’ve said something.”

When searching for answers, students in Baadsgaard’s class don’t mention
bullying or teasing. But they do wonder about other factors – among them,
violence in movies and video games and guns that, a few believe, are too
accessible.

“Maybe he was copying what he saw on the news,” 16-year-old classmate
Marcela Negrete says, later adding, “Maybe he just wanted more attention
from us.”

Megan Hyndman, 17, says, “Looking back, I guess I did see signs that he was
having a hard time. He didn’t really have a best friend.”

Several of his classmates knew Baadsgaard was struggling to pass Hansen’s
class (despite posting what Hansen says were the class’s highest standardized
reading scores).

A smaller number also knew he’d been suicidal, one time threatening to jump
off a cliff when he was rock climbing.

And school officials have since discovered that in the days before he brought
the gun to school, he was having trouble adjusting to a new anti-depressant
medication.

Any number of factors could have prompted Baadsgaard to sneak through one of
the school’s side doors with the rifle and burst into his classroom.

But many experts caution against using those factors to lump every kid who
brings a gun to school – even those who end up killing – into the same
category.

“It’s too easy to jump to obvious conclusions about what it is that makes
these kids go off,” says Peter Scales, a developmental psychologist and
senior fellow at Search Institute, a Minneapolis-based youth research center.
“So I think, for me, the lesson is to take a step backward and ask ‘What do
all kids need to be more safe and healthier?”’

At Wahluke High School, principal Bob Webb says he plans to do just that by
assigning an adult mentor to every student. He also wants to set up a hot
line for anonymous tips about students who might be troubled or making
threats.

Webb, who encourages his staff to hug students, says it’s all part of
enhancing the benefits of a small town and a small school.

Students “know you know them,” he says. “You’re going to see them on the
street corner. You’re going to sit next to them in the theater. You’re going
to sit next to them at church.”

Webb says he has little doubt a shooting was averted because of the bonds
that have taken hold in this town of 1,800 people (including outlying areas).

“The whole reason this played out the way it did is because of Cory’s
one-on-one relationship with those kids,” Webb says.

That closeness, he says, showed itself as Hansen and some of her students
made frequent eye contact with Baadsgaard, calmly talking to him as he sat
against a classroom wall and tightly gripped the rifle’s barrel.

Webb and intervention specialist David Garcia then entered the room and
kneeled next to Baadsgaard.

“You don’t want to do this,” Webb said whispering into his ear and touching
his shoulder.

Eventually, Baadsgaard threw the gun aside and was led away by authorities.
He has since pleaded innocent to kidnapping and firearms charges and will
likely be tried as an adult.

Meanwhile, in Hansen’s room, students have placed quotations on the room’s
walls.

“To err is human; to forgive is divine.”

“Hindsight is 20-20.”

They have also turned their desks around to face the door so that – if for no
other purpose – they can see trouble coming.

Realistically, they know the chances of having to deal with another
gun-wielding intruder are slim. Then again, they say, you never know.

Nobody expected another gun incident here after the horror of Moses Lake. And
Santana High School in Santee, Calif., ran programs to prevent violence, yet
two students were killed in a shooting there in March.

“I think it’s just a fact of life,” Gabriel Valladares, the 16-year-old
co-captain of the school’s soccer team, says of violence in schools. “These
days, you have to be prepared for anything.”

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4/29/2001 – NY-CITY AGENCY'S PSYCH DRUGS IMPERIL FOSTER KIDS

About three years ago the Seattle Times or the Seattle PI did a series of
articles on the drugging of foster children and the number of deaths as a
result of that deadly practice. Now the New York Post has given us another
article detailing the same problem in the East. Several years ago I learned
that we too have the problem here in the Rocky Mountain area.

My children are adopted and they have always wanted a younger brother or
sister. We looked for several years for a child we could make a part of our
family. We were not able to find one available that was not being drugged for
a variety of reasons. I asked an agency if they had any children available
who were not on drugs, explaining that drug withdrawal is not where I would
want to begin a relationship with a child.

The woman at the agency lowered her voice and said, “Isn’t it horrible?! We
have a doctor in charge here who is drugging all of these children and there
is nothing we can do about it!”

In my opinion, to do this to the most helpless among us – a child alone with
no family to protect them from the drugging – is the most damning statement
against our society there is.

In the news this past weekend we all heard about tragic death of an adopted
child, little Candace Newmaker, who died during a controversial “rebirthing”
therapy in Colorado. She was being given this “treatment” for the diagnosis
of “attachment disorder.” As you read about her death you learn that the
expert witness in this case could not say if it was the therapy that caused
her death or the drugs – Rispirdol being taken at her death AFTER a long
period of treatment with antidepressants. Because the increase in serotonin
shuts off the bronchial tubes it can produce death by asphyxiation – the
cause of death in Candace’s case. We also know that when the serotonin is
increased to too high a level by these drugs it leads to Serotonin Syndrome
which includes multiple organ failure.

Now I invite you into Candace’s drug-induced world – the same world which you
will see was obviously what produced the symptoms that led her and her
desperate adoptive mother into this controversial therapy. As you read the
list of symptoms of increased serotonin and decreased serotonin metabolism in
the document on our site called The Aftermath
(http://drugawareness.org/Archives/Miscellaneous/MRAfter.html) you will see
everyone of the side effects Candace was having that left her mother reeling
from the experience.

Excerpts from the Denver Rocky Mountain News:

* When the local social services workers contacted her with information
about Candace, she was told the girl had a “strong temperment,” that she was
prone to uncontrollable outbursts. Candace had been through six foster homes
by the time she was five, and her birth family had neglected her, Newmaker
was told.

* One night in the spring of 1999, Newmaker woke at 2:30 a.m. and smelled
smoke, she said. She ran down the hall to Candace’s room, but it was empty.
She opened the next door to the guest room and found her daughter.

* “She was sitting on the bed in the guest room with spent matches all
around her,” Newmaker said, crying. “I’m so frightened for her. She could
have hurt herself, killed herself.”

* Speaking publicly for the first time about Candace’s death during that
therapy, Jeane Newmaker said her daughter’s psychological problems were so
advanced that she started a fire in their home, once sexually assaulted two
children, and would fly into hourlong rages.

* “I thought she was deteriorating before my very eyes,” Newmaker said. “I
was not prepared for the level of dysfunction I saw in Candace.”

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org

http://www.nypost.com/commentary/28629.htm

CITY AGENCY’S PSYCH DRUGS IMPERIL FOSTER KIDS

By DOUGLAS MONTERO
——————————————————————————

MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE:
Erline Kidd, with sons Devon (left) and Von, is fighting to stop the city
from medicating her little girl, who’s in foster care. “My daughter is like a
zombie,” she says.
– Yechiam Gal

April 16, 2001 — ERLINE KIDD doesn’t want her 8-year-old daughter to end up
like a boy named Cecil Reed – a corpse at the city morgue.
Kidd fears for the life of her daughter Shaevonnah – “Shae” – because she’s
in the custody of the city’s Administration for Children’s Services – just
like Cecil was.

And just like Cecil, ACS is allowing doctors to give Shae a cocktail of
psychiatric medications that Kidd feels is harming her baby.

Kidd’s objections are being ignored, just like those of Cecil’s father, who
stopped complaining April 7, 2000, when his 16-year-old son suffered a heart
attack triggered by a combination of four drugs, and died.

“I was begging them to stop,” said Cecil Reed Jr., a city worker who lives in
The Bronx.

“Jesus,” said Dr. Peter Breggin, an author and critic of psychiatric
treatment of children. “They were treating him like you would treat a raving
psychotic.”

ACS says it doesn’t know how many of its 31,000 children are on psychiatric
medication, but advocacy groups say complaints from parents arrive at their
offices on a “regular basis.”

A state audit of 401 randomly selected kids last year found that more than
half were being treated for mental problems – and that most likely means
medication.

Some advocates charge the foster-care agencies contracted to care for nearly
90 percent of ACS’s children use medication to “control” the emotionally
troubled kids.

Parents like those of Tariq Mohammad, 16, face medical-neglect charges in
Family Court if they object too vigorously.

Tariq was on medication for schizophrenia, an illness he says he never had,
and its side effects made him violently ill. The family sued ACS in civil
court and won after a court-appointed psychiatrist determined Tariq didn’t
need any medication.

“I am outraged, not just for me, but for many kids that are being medicated,”
Tariq said. “It really screwed me up. I guess they do it because they don’t
want to deal with us.”

Tariq, who lived in the foster system since he was 11, says his pleas for an
alternative treatment were summarily ignored.

The ACS says parents are entitled to get a second medical opinion or hire a
lawyer to fight the case in court.

The mad rush to medicate, a nationwide phenomenon, is especially delicate
with foster kids. The ACS relies on the judgment of doctors subcontracted by
its 60 foster agencies to evaluate and treat children, agency spokeswoman
Jennifer Faulk said.

The ACS is supposed to monitor the treatment, but overworked caseworkers
can’t – or don’t – micromanage each kid, so they defer to doctors.

Hank Orenstein, the director of the advocacy agency C-Plan, said the ACS
exhibits a “naivete” in mental-health services.

“It’s a relief to have other professions make the decision but as you can see
some children are not always best served with medication,” said Orenstein,
whose group is part of Public Advocate Mark Green’s office.

Parents end up becoming helpless watchdogs handcuffed by bureaucracy and
poverty.

“I hated it,” said Cecil Reed’s father, a Baptist church deacon, describing
the slow medication death of his son at the Bronx Children’s Psychiatric
Center.

Reed began noticing a problem with Cecil’s treatment three years before his
son died. Reed, who was threatened with medical-neglect charges, said Cecil
was “sleepwalking” after the hospital began serving the boy cocktails.

Doctors said Cecil had schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress
disorder but his father claims his son wasn’t insane, just a strong-willed
kid who like any youngster would lash out after being separated from family
and friends.

“Daddy, I don’t want to take medicine anymore . . . They are just using me as
a guinea pig,” Reed remembers his son saying.

When the usually cooperative Reed questioned the medication in late 1999, the
hospital simply got consent from the ACS behind the father’s back, he
charged. Faulk didn’t respond to the allegation.

He learned about the deadly cocktail the day after his son died.

The autopsy report notes Cecil’s body contained “potentially toxic” levels of
pindolol, a heart-damaging drug never tested or recommended for children.

Breggin said serving these cocktails to children is “so dangerous and
experimental that it wouldn’t be permitted under any legitimate rule of
research.”

The ACS, the state’s Office of Children and Family Services and the state
Office of Mental Health, which runs the Bronx facility where Cecil died,
refused to comment because the family plans to sue.

Erline Kidd’s face sunk when she was told about Cecil. Kidd charged she
always learns about the drug cocktails her daughter gets after the fact. All
contact with her daughter’s doctor is arranged by the ACS.

Kidd, a reformed cocaine addict, is fighting two wars: to get her daughter
back from the ACS, like she did with her two sons, ages 12 and 9, in January,
and to stop the drugging of the girl.

Little Shae is on Seroquel and Thorazine for psychosis, and four other drugs.

“I just know it’s too much – my daughter is like a zombie,” the mother said.
“One time I saw her and I wanted to grab her and run.”

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4/29/2001 – Infants at [greater] risk from hospital drug errors

“In a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical
Association, U.S. researchers found that potentially harmful medication
errors are three times more likely to occur among hospitalized children than
in adults.”

http://www.nationalpost.com/

April 28, 2001

Infants at risk from hospital drug errors
Study of medication use

Sharon Kirkey, National Post
Peter J. Thompson, National Post

David U, president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Canada,
says most mistakes in medication stem from “system error.”

Cathy Landry hovered over her son’s hospital bed, trying to comfort him as he
recovered from minor foot surgery. She picked him up, held him, put him down
again. “Please fall asleep,” she whispered to her second-born. “Mommy’s
tired.”

Hours later, brights lights and commotion roused Mrs. Landry from the
mattress on the floor where she had been sleeping next to the 11-month-old’s
bed. “Is he OK?” she asked the nurses leaning over her baby’s bed. No one
answered.

Trevor Landry was dead.

Sometime the evening before, a nurse at the hospital in Brampton, had
mistakenly injected Trevor with two five-milligram shots of morphine. His
doctor had prescribed Demerol. The morphine shut the boy’s respiratory system
down. He died of cardiac arrest. Jurors at his three-week inquest ruled
Trevor’s death a homicide.

Every year in Canada, an estimated 500 to 700 people die from medication
errors while in hospital.

No one knows how many of those deaths – or how many near misses — occur in
children. But a new study suggests it happens more often than people had
believed.

In a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical
Association, U.S. researchers found that potentially harmful medication
errors are three times more likely to occur among hospitalized children than
in adults.

The researchers detected 616 medication mistakes out of 10,778 orders written
over a six-week period at two large teaching hospitals — Children’s Hospital
Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.

The overall error rate of 5.7% was similar to what has been found in studies
of adults, but the number of errors that had the potential to harm was three
times higher, and they most often occurred in the youngest, most vulnerable
patients — newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“These potential adverse drug events are best thought of as near misses or
close calls,” says the study’s lead author, Rainu Kaushal, an internist and
pediatrician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Either the system
intercepts them before they reach the patient, or we’re just fortunate the
patient doesn’t suffer any [harm] to them.”

While the study involved American hospitals, there is no reason to believe
the findings would be any different had the hospitals been in Canada, experts
say.

“We don’t have any reason to believe we’re any safer,” says David U,
president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Canada, an
independent group that is pushing for a national reporting system for
medication errors.

The Boston researchers believe nine out of 10 medication errors could be
prevented with simple reforms, such as computerized ordering systems that not
only eliminate one of the leading causes of mistakes — a doctor’s often
indecipherable handwritten scrawl — but alert doctors if, for example, the
dose being prescribed is too high or too low based on the child’s weight, or
if there is a risk the drug will interact dangerously with another medication
the child is taking.

The report is the latest to highlight a problem critics say has been kept
hidden too long. Two years ago, a landmark report by the U.S. Institute of
Medicine put the human toll of medical mistakes in hospitals at 98,000 deaths
a year. Extrapolated to Canada, that means about 10,000 people a year may die
as a result of care provided to them in a hospital.

But for years the attitude has been, “hide it, suppress it, don’t tell
anybody,” says Dr. John Millar, vice-president of research and population
health at the Canadian Institute for Health Information in Ottawa. That
culture was driven by fear of lawsuits and a closed profession, Dr. Millar
says, in which “doctor knows best and the doctors will review [mistakes]
themselves and take whatever necessary action to fix it.”

While the culture is changing — “fast,” Dr. Millar says — the result is
that no one can say with any certainty just how often medication errors occur.

And children, especially critically ill children, are the most vulnerable.

Children do not have the same internal reserves an adult does to absorb the
impact of a medication error. Take a premature baby in the neonatal intensive
care unit, Dr. Kaushal says. “Their kidneys and livers aren’t as well
developed, so if there’s even a small overdose, they can’t deal with it in
the same way” as a healthy baby. And babies can’t communicate. “So if a small
child has a side effect, for example, they’re itching [because] of a drug,
they can’t tell us.”

If Dr. Kaushal sees an adult with an ear infection, she prescribes 500
milligrams of a penicillin drug. “When I see a child, I have to take their
weight in pounds, convert it to kilograms, calculate a milligram per kilogram
dose for 24 hours, divide that by the frequency, and then I have the dose.”

Pharmacists have to dilute stock solutions or divide pills. The same drug can
be available in three different concentrations. Something as simple as poor
lighting can lead to labels being misread.

Potentially lethal mistakes are often discovered before the drug can be
given, but not always. Last week, a nine-month-old girl died in a Washington
children’s hospital because of a misplaced decimal point. Instead of
receiving two 0.5 milligram doses of morphine, the child was given two doses
of 5 milligrams each, or 10 times what the doctor had intended. According to
newspaper reports, the doctor had failed to follow hospital procedures
requiring him to put a zero before the decimal point.

In the study published this week, 18 of the mistakes that were detected
before the drug was administered were potentially life-threatening.

The researchers studied medication order sheets, drug administration records
and patient charts from 1,120 children admitted to the two hospitals during a
six-week period in April and May of 1999. They found 115 potential adverse
drug events (or “near misses”), and 26 adverse drug events. None of them was
fatal.

In many cases, errors were minor, such as a doctor’s failure to date a
prescription. But the most serious errors, such as prescribing the wrong
dose, occurred most often in the neonatal intensive care unit, where a baby’s
weight changes rapidly, making appropriate dosing particularly difficult, the
authors said. In addition, many of the drugs used in the ICU are not supplied
in dosages suitable for newborns and have to be diluted.

While the “near misses” accounted for only 1.1% of all errors detected, the
researchers say it was still three times higher than among adults. Most
involved incorrect doses. Others involved not specifying how a drug should be
administered, or a patient with an allergy to a drug, for example,
penicillin, being prescribed a penicillin-based medication.

The researcher said 93% of the errors could have been prevented with
computerized order entry systems and having pharmacists work full-time on
hospital wards. “The idea is to take pharmacists out of the pharmacy and
place them on wards so that they’re involved in rounds, they are involved in
decisions when they’re being made about what medicine to use and what dose
and what route” to give the drug, Dr. Kaushal said.

Some hospitals in Canada, including the Hospital for Sick Children in
Toronto, now use computer order entry systems and pharmacists on many units.
Still, it is estimated that fewer than 5% of hospitals in Canada do so.

Dr. Kaushal says he does not want parents to be alarmed. “These were two of
the finest pediatric hospitals in the country,” she said of the hospitals in
her study. But there are things parents can do, she said, to reduce the risk
of their children suffering a medication error while in hospital.

“Know why your child is on the medicines they’re on. Be a strong advocate for
your child. If you notice that one day your child is given a specific
medication twice and the next day they’re given that medication four times,
ask someone why that’s happening.

“If you think your child is having a side effect to a medicine, tell someone.
Often a parent is the first one who can pick up on something like that. If
your child seems to be a little itchy or seems to be irritable after getting
a medicine, let somebody know.”

David U, of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, says in most cases
medication errors result from a “system error,” not any one individual’s
mistake. But he said hospitals need to take their cue from the airline
industry and encourage people to report when an error has been made without
fear of being punished and challenge authority when they see potential
mistakes occurring.

“In the airline industry, the pilot used to call the shots on everything. Now
the co-pilot or first officer has the right to stop the plane from flying or
landing if they find one of the conditions is not right. It should be the
same thing for health care, and it is starting to change.”

While hospitals have their own system for tracking and recording errors, “by
and large the reporting is done for statistical purposes,” he says. And the
information isn’t usually shared with other hospitals, “so next week you can
have a hospital one mile away have the same event happen.

“We need to set up a voluntary reporting system so that people can let us
know what’s happening out there, we can analyze the information, send it back
to the hospitals and learn from it so we can prevent these problems from
happening.”

Not a day, “not a second,” goes by that Cathy Landry and her husband,
Michael, do not think of Trevor, who would have started junior kindergarten
in September.

“I’m trying to say, ‘to err is human.’ But it’s very frustrating. It’s
maddening. It’s hurtful to know it happens every day to so many children,”
Mrs. Landry says.

Although her baby’s death in a Brampton hospital in June, 1998, was declared
a homicide, the verdict did not imply blame or intent on the part of the
nurse. According to reports, stress and fatigue may have played a role. The
inquest heard that at one stage two nurses were caring for 18 children on the
ward.

Trevor had been admitted for elective surgery to correct his club feet. “It
was routine surgery. We were supposed to be in and out,” his mother said. The
night before he died, she remembers how her normally verbal, active baby
wasn’t himself. “He was very quiet, kind of fussing.” When the nurses woke
her up and she looked down at her son, he was blue. “He looked choked. He was
on his back. It was awful.” The doctors and nurses spent 30 minutes trying to
get Trevor’s heart beating again.

“Every day we mention his name. Every day we talk about him. Everything
reminds me of him; everything connects with him,” Mrs. Landry says.

She believes every hospital should have to make public its rate of medication
errors. “I should be able to look at two or three hospitals’ records,” she
says.

“That should be handed to me: ‘Here, you decide.’ “

651 total views, 2 views today

4/28/2001 – A Prescription for Violence? (School Shootings)

Kelly O’Meara of Insight Magazine has once again given us another incredible
article on this issue of drug-induced violence leading to the school
shootings.

… James E. Copple, vice president of the National Crime Prevention
Council and former principal and superintendent of schools in Wichita, Kan.
says: I tend to lean on the side of doing everything possible to protect the
student’s right to privacy, he says, but when they commit an act of violence
all the factors involved in the crime including medications need to be
known by that community.

… Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety
Center says: Its the thought that if youre going to put Charlie Manson in my
class I have a right to know that. . . We have kids so medicated its
incredible. I dont see parents asking the question about the numbers of
children on psychotropic drugs as being all that invasive. The public would
be shocked at the number of file drawers of prescription drugs that teachers
are asked to dispense. . . . it would be a great study for someone to go back
and see how many of the kids who committed these violent acts were on these
drugs.

I certainly do agree with Mr. Stephens when he says that it would be a great
study to go back and find out how many of these children were on medications
at the time of the shooting. I agree because that is what I have been doing
for the last decade. This type of disclosure is what I have been pleading for
with every new school shooting.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? But discovering which medications these
children were on, has been FAR FROM easy! It involves a lot of detective
work. The question must be asked over and over and over again. First it makes
a big difference if the shooter survived or committed suicide. That
determines whether you have a good defense attorney to work with. Then you
must contact everyone involved – everyone who knew them – in order to find
the information about medication. It can take a very long time to track
everyone down and find the answer.

I must commend Bill Trainor for coming forward publicly with the information
about the medications Jason was on at the time of the shooting. When we have
had two school shootings within weeks of one another with both shooters on an
SSRI antidepressant, the public has the right to know! Yet here we are at the
two year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting still waiting to
learn what Dylan Kleebold was on that day. That information has never yet
been released to the public. WHY has that been kept from us?!!! I have a
pretty good idea, but it will be good to have the truth come out via the
lawsuit that is about to be filed against the makers of Luvox and the one
that has been filed against Eric Harris’ doctors.

Had it not been for the attorneys in the latest school shootings agreeing to
go public with the information on the drugs involved in these shootings, we
would still be waiting for answers and more children would die. It has been
an honor to work with these men of integrity.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org and author of
Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? ()
________________________________

http://www.insightmag.com/archive/200105217.shtml

A Prescription for Violence?
——————————————————————————


By Kelly Patricia OMeara
komeara@…
——————————————————————————

The recent wave of school-shooting incidents has some concerned parents
demanding that the medical records of students taking psychotropic drugs be
made public.

In the last 10 shooting incidents at schools, a total of 105 students,
teachers and administrators were killed or wounded. Beginning in March 1998
with the shooting at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., and ending
with the March 22, 2001, shootings at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon,
Calif., six of the 12 juvenile shooters are reported to have been on
prescribed mind-altering drugs.

San Diego Deputy Public Defender William Trainor announced last week
that his client, 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, who is charged with the shooting
of five students and teachers at Granite Hills High School, had been
prescribed the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor. Whether Trainor intends to
use this medical information as part of his clients defense is unclear,
though he said that the drugs [Hoffman] was prescribed may help explain his
actions. He adds that research indicates that the drugs that were prescribed
are extremely powerful antidepressants with the most dangerous side effects.

According to Loren Mosher, professor of psychiatry at the University of
California at San Diego, Celexa and Effexor are selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors [SSRIs] in a class with Prozac, Paxil and Luvox the same drug
prescribed to Columbine shooter Eric Harris.

It appears Trainor believes there is a correlation between the drugs
and the shootings. Although he could not provide specific information about
his client, he tells Insight that this is a hot-button issue and there are
many people who dont want to look at the connection. If you say those drugs
may be involved, says Trainor, youll be labeled a kook. But with the history
of these drugs there is a huge unpredictability factor. When someone goes off
while on these drugs it should raise some eyebrows in the community. Im
starting to wonder when the public has the right to this information. What is
the balance of rights? Its his medical rec-ords versus the public right to be
safe. Which one has the trump card? It is a legitimate question.

Although Trainor is not the only public official to consider the
possibility that widely prescribed mind-altering drugs may play a role in
much-publicized school violence, he is among the few to make public the issue
of medical records generally being protected and put off-limits. The privacy
of medical records, including mental-health information, is protected by law.
The information about the prescription-drug history of an accused perpetrator
is only made public when the information is released by the family, school
officials, friends and, sometimes, law-enforcement officers and attorneys.

And, of course, such information seems to be of interest to the public
only in the wave of concern after a violent event, making it difficult even
to consider whether prescribed psychotropic drugs are a chronic cause of
otherwise senseless violence.

In fact, so little information has been made public about these
mind-altering drugs and their connection to shootings and other school
violence that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) isnt even looking at the
possibility. When asked about a communitys right to know if an alleged
shooter has been prescribed a psychotropic drug, Reagan Dunn, a spokesman for
the DOJ, tells Insight: There are two issues that youve raised
medical-record privacy and criminal records of juveniles. These records are
sealed by statute in all states. It [the connection between psychotropic
drugs and school shooters] isnt an issue were looking at there are other
priorities were focusing on, such as school-resource officers [safety
officers] and other programs to reduce school violence.

But two other federal law-enforcement agencies, the FBI and the
U.S. Secret Service, appear to be concerned about the increasing number of
school shootings and have invested a great deal of time and effort to look
into the possible reasons for them. The FBI published a report last year
called The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective. The 41-page
report was the result of a joint effort by the National Center for the
Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) and teachers, school administrators and
law-enforcement officers involved in investigating each of the school
shootings. They were assisted by experts in adolescent violence, mental
health, suicidology and school dynamics. Eighteen school-shooting cases were
reviewed for the report.

Although topics such as family relationships, school dynamics, social
problems, personality traits and behavior, threat management in schools and
the role of law enforcement are discussed, there is no mention in the report
of increased prescription-drug use by juveniles.

Dewey Carroll of the Clinical and Forensic Psychology Department at
the University of Virginia participated in a threat-assessment conference
last year during which he was asked if, based on the correlation between
psychotropic drugs and the school shooters, this information should be made
public. Carroll argued that there was no correlation. Six out of 12 [school
shooters] being on psychotropic drugs is not a correlation, it is an
observation, he said.

A correlation, explained Carroll, would be taking a sample of children
on medication and those not on medication and then making the comparison.
There are a lot of kids who take these medications who do not commit
violence. If you want to look at people that have risk factors, you have to
do scientific studies.

Few professionals who are familiar with the data would argue with that
criticism, but one may question how such a study can be conducted, as
suggested by Carroll, if the information about whether a student is on
prescribed mind-altering drugs is regarded as a state secret. And, even when
such information is made available for study, it appears that little use is
made of it.

Take, for instance, the Secret Service, which in collaboration with the
U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Justice last year
produced a report on how to prevent school violence. The Interim Report on
the Prevention of Targeted Violence in Schools was made public in October
2000, involving systematic analysis of investigative, judicial, educational
and other files and interviews with 10 school shooters.

Although researchers reviewed primary-source materials such as
investigative, school, court and mental-health records and conducted
supplemental interviews with 10 of the attackers, no mention was made in the
report about prescription medications of the kind that Insight has collected.
Nor did the Secret Service respond to Insights questions about why that issue
was not addressed at the conference or made part of the report.

Despite the fact that two federal law-enforcement agencies had the
opportunity to view the personal files of many of the school shooters,
important medical data gleaned from those files apparently was ignored. This
has caused many interested in this issue to wonder, like San Diegos public
defender, when the public has the right to know such information.

Not surprisingly, while every professional interviewed for this article
expressed concern about the privacy rights of children, there also was
concern about the use of mind-altering prescription drugs. Most are beginning
to wonder at what point communities into which disturbed children are sent
while on psychotropic drugs should be alerted to a potential problem.

JoAnne McDaniels, acting director for the Center for the Prevention of
School Violence, an organization focusing on keeping schools safe and secure,
tells Insight, There is concern on the part of some in the education
community that we are overmedicating our youngsters that it is easier to
drug them into appropriate behavior.

It is important to recognize that the schools today have children that
are being medicated in ways that children were not years ago. We shouldnt be
too quick to isolate psychotropic drugs as a causal factor, but it is an
important factor in trying to understand what is taking place. In a general
sense, in a school population, parents should be able to see this
information, McDaniels says. If a parent moves to a community and wants to
know the numbers of children who are on these drugs, making such numbers
available would not necessarily violate confidentiality of children. I think
as long as the information is not individualized it should be information a
principal is comfortable providing. It may force the principal to explain how
the school handles the entire violence issue and the use of medication to
control behavior in the school. Its reasonable for a school to share that
information and a parent to ask for it. Its part of the school community and
part of the schools fabric.

The message, concludes McDaniels, is that we need to develop
youngsters without stimulants and other foreign substances. Too often we are
opting for a way of treatment that is a lot easier to implement than sitting
down and working out the problems. This is a public-health issue and it seems
reasonable to look at it.

James E. Copple is vice president of the National Crime Prevention
Council, a nonprofit organization that focuses on creating safer communities
by addressing the causes of crime and violence and reducing the opportunities
for crime to occur. He is a former principal and superintendent of schools in
Wichita, Kan., and sees the merits of both sides of the issue. I tend to lean
on the side of doing everything possible to protect the students right to
privacy, he says, but when they commit an act of violence all the factors
involved in the crime including medications need to be known by that
community.

As Copple sees it, Communities need to know if large numbers of
children are on psychotropic medications. It is increasingly being talked
about by educators, and it has put schools in the position of creating mini
health clinics for drug management on top of having to teach the children and
all the other responsibilities. Why all of a sudden do we have to be a
pharmacy? Principals are forced to choose between hiring another much-needed
teacher or another nurse to dispense drugs.

The executive director of the National School Safety Center, Ronald
Stephens, isnt convinced that releasing information about the number of
students being prescribed mind-altering drugs necessarily is a violation of a
childs rights. Its legal and its become common practice to search lockers
whenever the student is involved in an incident, and there are some states
now mandating that teachers be given information about the reasons behind a
student who is returned to school on probation. Its the thought that if youre
going to put Charlie Manson in my class I have a right to know that.

According to Stephens, We tend to get what we measure. But if we dont
ask were not going to get real answers. We have kids so medicated its
incredible. I dont see parents asking the question about the numbers of
children on psychotropic drugs as being all that invasive. The public would
be shocked at the number of file drawers of prescription drugs that teachers
are asked to dispense. Stephens says he thinks it would be a great study for
someone to go back and see how many of the kids who committed these violent
acts were on these drugs. The community should know who is taking them, and I
think teachers will want to know which kids are on these drugs. Knowing what
I know about school violence, I would support having that information shared.
Of course, there will be a huge outcry that someones rights are being
violated, but at what point do they lose those rights?

That is of course the question, and with 6 million to 8 million
children already taking Ritalin, and unknown millions being prescribed the
much stronger mind-altering SSRIs, many are starting to ask it.

531 total views, 1 views today

6/26/2001 – Part 1 – Creating an Epidemic of Columbine Shooters!!!

This week I was interviewed on CNN about new “research” on treating anxiety
in children with the SSRI, Luvox.

[I will first send you research out of Australia about anxiety and serotonin
levels along with an e-mail that just came in from a mother whose son had his
life ruined by Luvox and then I will send the Washington Post article next on
the study.]

I must say that we have taken insanity to an all new height with this recent
study out on anxiety in children. The same drug Eric Harris was on in the
Columbine High School shooting, Luvox, is the drug that was used in this
study to treat anxiety in children. But look at what behavior was considered
to be abnormal enough to give this drug that has “psychosis” listed as a
“frequent” side effect!

“Extreme separation anxiety disorder, he said, would be displayed in a child
who avoided birthday parties and sleepovers. A medium-grade example would be
children who refused to sleep in their own rooms and wanted to get into bed
with their parents.”

Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but I had a child that often jumped
in bed with mom and did not like birthday parties very much. Given a choice
between waiting for children to grow out of that as opposed to drugging them
into psychosis, should not be a difficult choice at all!

We don’t get to enjoy these little children in our lives for very long.
Before we know it they are grown and gone. Why not enjoy the short time they
want to crawl into bed with mom and dad to be cuddled and reassured that
everything is okay? But to look at this as a serious mental disorder for
which they need to be drugged?!! This is greed beyond anything imaginable!

When we look at the science behind anxiety disorders the insanity grows by
leaps and bounds because medical research over the last several decades has
continued to show (as documented in Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?) that
anxiety, along with other mood disorders, is associated with ELEVATED levels
of serotonin, rather than decreased levels of serotonin. So in a patient
suffering from anxiety, WHY would we want to increase already elevated levels
of serotonin with an SSRI?

Dr. Murray Ellis at the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne,
Australia found last year that 75% of those suffering from various anxiety
disorders had EIGHT times higher levels of serotonin even on days when they
did not demonstrate anxiety symptoms.

So, as I asked on CNN, I once again ask, “Why on earth would we want to do
anything to increase serotonin in those who already demonstrate symptoms of
ELEVATED serotonin?”

My heart aches for these children who were tortured and maimed as guinea
pigs, given this deadly drug for the sole purpose of increasing the profits
of those who still have their hands dripping with the blood of all the
Columbine victims.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org
____________________________

http://theage.com.au/news/20000514/A59189-2000May13.html

Dramatic reversal in research on anxiety

By STEVE DOW
Sunday 14 May 2000

Startling and unexpected findings on panic disorder patients could
fundamentally change the way anxiety and anxiety-related depression are
treated.

The findings by Melbourne’s Baker Medical Research Institute, presented to a
recent scientific meeting and soon to be submitted to the medical journal The
Lancet, have unsettled scientists and turned upside down their ideas on brain
chemistry among the anxious.

But the evidence from the work by cardiologist Professor Murray Esler and
colleagues is so strong that it is being taken seriously.

The scientists tested the levels of the mood-regulating chemical serotonin in
20 patients who suffer panic attacks and found that, even on a good day, the
average levels of the chemical in the brains of at least 15 of the patients
were eight times higher than normal.

Until now, the theory has been that anxiety, panic and anxiety-related
depression are caused by a lack or underactivity of serotonin in the brain.
Based on this theory, the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI)
wonder drugs that emerged in the ’90s – marketed as Prozac, Aropax and Zoloft
– are intended to increase serotonin around the brain neurons involved in
anxiety.

Professor Esler emphasised that the SSRIs were “great drugs” and should
remain worldwide bestsellers.

However, there were two important implications of the new research, he said.

First, the conventional view of how SSRIs operate has been challenged. It
would appear that the drugs are effective because, over time, they somehow
decrease, rather than increase, serotonin as originally thought.

Second, the new findings could spark drug companies to create drugs that stop
serotonin directly. Such a response might stop the common problem of
“serotonin agitation” experienced by many patients on SSRIs. These patients
experience increased anxiety in their first weeks of treatment on drugs such
as Prozac, Aropax and Zoloft; the drugs making the problem “worse before they
make it better”, Professor Esler said.

He said there was now compelling evidence that panic disorder and depression
were on a par with high blood pressure and smoking as risk factors for heart
disease. A study of several panic disorder patients had shown a spasm of
coronary arteries was common after an attack. One patient, a woman of 40,
suffered a clot and subsequent heart attack because of her panic disorder.

The Baker Institute wishes to recruit patients who suffer panic disorders and
depression for future studies. Contact the institute on 95224212.

NEWS 14: The Health Report
_____________________________________

Teenager on Luvox – aggressive, homicidal
3/26/01

This letter is for your feedback section on the net. In July of 1999 our son,
then 14 years old, was started on Luvox by a psychiatrist for treatment of
his compulsive behavior. We had actually taken him there for treatment of
depression, but the doctor said he was depressed because of his compulsive
disorder. As our son was 6 foot tall and 300+ pounds, the doctor eventually
had him on a dose up to 300 mg a day. Our son started to act very aloof and
irritable. When he was depressed he talked about killing himself, he would
sleep a lot, and he drew pictures of guns. But once on the Luvox, he became
aggressive towards us and would swing at us at the least provocation.

Just before Christmas he came up to me, his mother, and said, “Something is
wrong with me,” but he couldn’t explain it. I didn’t realize at all what he
meant. On Christmas he opened his gifts methodically with no expression on
his face. He had always loved this holiday and now he was acting like a
zombie.

In the winter of 2000, we got a call from his school that he had threatened
some people. The police were called. Apparently our son, who had never done
anything wrong in school or out, had been talking in the cafeteria about
killing the family of a girl he knew, then killing her. He went into graphic
detail and then looked at two boys who were sitting nearby listening and said
to them, “If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you”. The boys turned him in.

We found out through interviews the police had with other kids in the school
that our son had also plotted the same demise for another family of a girl he
knew. He had told this girl to her face. She and her family, however, knew
our son and knew this was not his normal behavior. They therefore did nothing
about it.

To make a long story short, he was arrested but not taken to jail
immediately because we begged to take him home and watch him 24 hours a day.
He had to be drug tested. He had to go to a partial program for troubled kids
for two weeks. He was given 10 days out of school suspension and the story,
of course, went all over the school. He lost his best friend because the
mother would not let him hang around with our son anymore. No one called to
support him or us. We were isolated from the community. We had to hire a
lawyer because the local police wanted to put him in jail. They had written
up a report that made our son look like he was insane. The report went to the
juvenile court and Children’s Services. We were visited by Children’s
Services and interviewed. Our son went through approximately three different
psychiatric evaluations; however, all of these were done after he was taken
off the Luvox. We had taken him off the drug after this all happened because
we were afraid it might have caused his behavior problem. I had read about
Columbine and knew the boy involved had been on Luvox too. The psychologists
who evaluated him found him to be fine except for depression; again, these
evaluations were after he was taken off the Luvox. Everyone who interviewed
him after he was off the Luvox could not believe he had threatened people
the way he did, he was not the same person.

We were lucky enough to have the case dismissed as it was our son’s first
offense as a juvenile and our state allows one mistake. They supposedly
closed the file, but the local police will have it open until our son is 18.
In the meantime, if he gets into any trouble, they will use it against him.

We pulled our son out of school and homeschooled him to keep him away from
the cruelty of the kids at school. We had to have him tutored and sent him to
summer school so that he could keep up with his class. He is now called a
“Sophomore” instead of a “Junior” because he was short 3/4ths of a credit,
even with all of our effort; although he will graduate with his class as a
Senior next year. The school told us he just won’t ever be a “Junior”. Our
son faces taunting to this day, not as bad as when he first went back to
school in the fall. A boy said “rape” next to him in class and a girl in the
class told her mother and the mother called the police about our son because
she had heard the story and thought he was the one talking about rape. The
guidance counselor told him this year that he has to watch everything that he
says. He cannot say certain words at school, like “gun”, “shoot”, “murder”,
etc because he could get in trouble.

This child will never be the same because of Luvox. His high school years are
a nightmare now and people in this small town will know him as being
“dangerous”. On the bright side, the families of the two girls that he
threatened refused to file any charges against our son because they knew this
was not his usual behavior and that something was “obviously wrong”.

The psychiatrist who gave our son the Luvox became very defensive immediately
after the episode and said that it was not the Luvox, it was our son. He said
that no cases had ever been won against SSRIs. He also told our son that what
he did was horrible, that nobody would ever forget it or forgive him and that
even if he went to another school, they would find out about it.

Can you imagine a psychiatrist saying this to a patient? Needless
to say, we left him after the legal aspect of the case was closed.

My son told me later that when he was on Luvox, he wasn’t afraid to do
anything. He said he had “no fear”.

We hope this will help make people aware of the dangers of Luvox and the
other SSRI drugs. I only wish there was some way to help the people like my
son who have lost so much to this drug.

Please do not print our name or our e-mail address.

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4/26/2001 – Part 2 – Luvox study on anxiety

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A2512-2001Apr25?language=printer

Drug Found to Curb Kids’ Debilitating Social Anxiety

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 26, 2001; Page A01

Children who are so shy or so attached to their parents that they are afraid
to go to school or sleep alone do much better when given a psychiatric drug,
according to a major study with profound — and controversial —
ramifications for millions of children.

The study of 128 children ages 6 to 17 found that the drug Luvox, widely
prescribed for adults with depression, alleviated the debilitating symptoms
of social phobia, separation anxiety and generalized anxiety — psychiatric
illnesses that afflict as many as 1 in 10 U.S. children.

The effects of the medicine were dramatic, but experts were divided about its
appropriateness: The medicine can help children with severe emotional
problems, but it might also be abused as a chemical quick fix for normal
anxiousness, with lasting effects on growing brains.

“Although the results seem impressive, they nevertheless raise some very
important questions about the use of psychotropic medications in children,”
said Joseph Coyle, chairman of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in an
article accompanying the findings in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.

“Any drug that is effective is not going to be innocuous,” he said in an
interview. Children and adolescents diagnosed with these disorders should
first try a form of therapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy, and turn
to medication only if that fails, he said.

An estimated 575,000 children nationwide were diagnosed with anxiety
disorders in the 12 months ending in March, including 136,000 under age 10.
Doctors recommended 390,000 children be put on medicines such as Zoloft,
Paxil and Prozac. Of these, 89,000 were under age 10, according to IMS
Health, a private company that tracks the pharmaceutical industry.

Such vast numbers leave critics aghast. Too many children are being put on
powerful brain-altering drugs for behaviors that may be merely troublesome,
critics say. But other experts point out that many children suffer from
distress that, left untreated, can cause impairment well into adulthood.

“Researchers found that anxiety was among the most common problems that kids
have,” said Daniel Pine of the National Institute of Mental Health. He led
the study. “When researchers follow children with anxiety over time,
sometimes anxiety developed into more chronic problems. It could be the
harbinger of problems with depression, panic attacks and all different kinds
of problems.”

The study, the first large, well-designed survey to examine the effectiveness
of a psychiatric drug for a wide range of anxiety disorders in children, was
partly funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and by Solvay
Pharmaceuticals, which sells Luvox. The drug, which like Prozac increases
levels of the brain chemical serotonin, has been approved for the treatment
of obsessive compulsive disorder in children. Luvox sales were more than $2
billion in the United States last year, according to IMS Health.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, New York
University, Duke University and the University of California at Los Angeles
studied the drug over eight weeks in children with anxiety disorders.

An example of a child with severe social phobia would be one who refused to
go to school for two weeks, said Mark Riddle of the Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine, one of the study’s authors. A milder example, he said,
would be a child who went to school and participated in clubs and group
events, but with intense discomfort.

Extreme separation anxiety disorder, he said, would be displayed in a child
who avoided birthday parties and sleepovers. A medium-grade example would be
children who refused to sleep in their own rooms and wanted to get into bed
with their parents.

Generalized anxiety disorder, Riddle said, were “the worrywarts.”

“A lot of it would be about performance — getting very preoccupied with a
test at school, a lot of fussing about day-to-day things,” he said.

“We don’t want a Prozac nation,” he said about the medication of children.
“We want to make sure we are not doing anything to harm youngsters. On the
other hand, it can be a huge disservice to children to minimize the true
significance of psychiatric impairments that do require treatments. It’s the
latter that can get lost in the very easy and popular position to take, which
is ‘Don’t drug our kids.’ ”

Richard Harding, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association,
said clinicians should carefully evaluate anxious children to find out
whether their fears are caused by an underlying personality problem — which
would merit psychotherapy or medication — or by a social problem, such as a
bully in school or child abuse at home, in which case medication would be
inappropriate.

“A good clinician will not commit a child to a life sentence on medicine,”
said Riddle. “A good clinician will look to stop medication after the
youngster has had a chance to regroup. You want to work with a clinician who
says we are going to get John off this medication.”

It is unclear what impact this study will have in clinical practice, where
doctors are prescribing children such medicines “off-label” — meaning they
have not been approved for such uses by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Given our current medical-economic system in practice, I suspect both
doctors and parents will be strongly attracted to the quick-fix nature of
this intervention,” said Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut
Creek, Calif., and the author of “Running on Ritalin.”

“We have highly effective psychosocial interventions for these problems,” he
said. But “they are more expensive and take longer.”

He said that helping families come up with parenting strategies could ease
children’s anxieties. “Children are highly responsive to their environments,
and the home is the practice arena to deal with life,” he said. “This is not
parent-blaming — children are difficult to raise. But when the parent makes
changes, you see very rapid changes in the child.”

“It doesn’t negate the value of the medications,” he added. But “with
uncertainty on both sides, effective psychosocial treatments — first do no
harm — take preference.”

More extreme critics, such as Bethesda psychiatrist Peter Breggin, said the
study was produced by scientists who are part of an “old boys’ network of
drug pushers.” He said the psychiatric drugs cause harm — some data have
shown that the drugs cause lasting alterations in the brains of young animals.

Researchers involved in the new study said the drug was well tolerated and
safe.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company

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4/23/2001 – Matt Miller's Zoloft tragedy featured in UK article

When Depression Turns Deadly:
Can Antidepressants Transform Despair into Suicide?

ANNE McILROY
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Saturday, April 21, 2001

www.globeandmail.com

When Matt Miller’s family moved to a bigger house in a new neighbourhood in
Kansas City, Mo., the athletic 13-year-old with thick blond hair found that
he couldn’t penetrate the cliques at his new school. He was a nobody, an
outsider.

“He was angry at us, he was angry at the school, his grades suffered. He
wasn’t himself,” said his father, Mark Miller.

The boy’s teachers recommended that he see a psychiatrist, who prescribed
Zoloft, an antidepressant in the same chemical family as Prozac.
The doctor said it would help Matt’s mood, make him feel better about
himself. The boy started taking the pills and seemed to be in good spirits
for a few days.

But then he began showing signs of intense nervousness and agitation. He
couldn’t sit still, his father remembers. He kept kicking people under the
table. His eyes were sunken and he couldn’t sleep, yet he had a restless
energy.

After six days on the drug, on July 28, 1997, Matt hanged himself in his
bedroom closet.

“Suicide always takes you by surprise, but no one could have imagined that
Matt would have done that,” Miller said in an interview. “There was no
previous attempt, no serious threat of it, no note, no premeditation.
“It was a very impulsive act I am convinced was brought about by the
stimulant nature of the drug.”

Miller has launched a lawsuit against Pfizer Inc., which makes Zoloft. He is
one of about 200 people who have sued — so far unsuccessfully — the makers
of Prozac and similar products. The plaintiffs contend that the drugs, known
as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, caused their loved ones to kill
themselves and, in some cases, hurt or kill others as well.
One of the few cases to go to trial so far was that of William Forsyth, a
63-year-old wealthy Hawaii businessman who stabbed to death his wife of 37
years and then killed himself in 1993. At the time, he had been taking
Prozac for 11 days for panic attacks.

In 1999, a jury in the civil lawsuit cleared Prozac of liability in the
deaths. Forsyth’s adult children began another suit last year accusing Eli
Lilly and Co., the maker of the drug, of covering up damaging details about
the antidepressant.

Chief among the scientific experts who have given people, including Miller
and Forsyth’s children, reason to believe that a link may exist between
antidepressants and suicide is Dr. David Healy, whom Miller has engaged as
an expert witness in his suit.

Healy is a well-known British psychiatrist who argues that Prozac and
similar drugs may trigger suicide in some patients, and that there should be
warning labels on the products.

To Miller, Healy is a hero, a crusading scientist with the guts and
credibility to challenge the powerful, multinational drug companies in an
era in which many researchers and institutions depend on them for funding.
But discussing the down side of Prozac does not appear to have been a good
career move. Healy’s blunt expression of his views may have cost him a job
at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, a teaching hospital
associated with the University of Toronto. The centre had been recruiting
him for months, but last year rescinded his written job offer after he gave
a speech warning that Prozac may trigger suicide in some patients.

Eli Lilly Canada Inc. is a major corporate donor to the centre, but
university and hospital officials say their decision had nothing to do with
wanting to please the drug company or to avoid damaging future fundraising
efforts. They say their reasons are confidential.
Healy says the only explanation he was offered was that his lecture
“solidified” the view that he was not a good fit.

For Eli Lilly’s part, it points out that a U.S. Food and Drug Administration
panel of experts voted six to three against requiring Prozac to carry a
suicide-risk warning label. In September of 1991, the FDA concluded that
there was no credible evidence of a causal link between the use of
antidepressant drugs, including Prozac, and suicides or violent behaviour.
And a paper published in March of 1991 by Jerrold Rosenbaum of Massachusetts
General Hospital found that patients on Prozac were not prone to suicide any
more than patients on other medication.

Eli Lilly said, in a written response to questions from The Globe and Mail:
“There is, to the contrary, published scientific evidence showing that
Prozac and medicines like it actually protect against such behaviour —
reducing aggressive and suicidal thoughts and behaviour.”

When Prozac was introduced in the late 1980s, it was billed as a wonder drug
that could combat depression with far fewer risks than previous medications,
including the danger of an overdose or problems when mixed with alcohol.
Prozac and drugs like it — Zoloft, Paxil and Luvox — were said to help
with emotional limitations such as low self-esteem and fear of rejection.
Prozac was a commercial as well as a medical miracle, sold to an estimated
40 million people worldwide since it hit the market.

The drug boosts levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which seems to
improve the mood of patients. But within a few years of Prozac’s launch came
hints that it brought out a dark side in a small fraction of users.
Martin Teicher, a researcher at Harvard University, published an article in
the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1990 that discussed six cases in which
patients became intensely preoccupied with suicide after taking the drug.
Other scientists also found a potential link between Prozac and suicide.

Healy says in one of his published papers that Eli Lilly scientists
collaborated with the FDA on designing an experiment that would measure how
serious the problem was, but they then decided against conducting it.
Instead, in 1991, Eli Lilly published an analysis of data taken from
existing trials. Its conclusion? There was no increase of suicidal thoughts
or suicide among depressed patients taking Prozac.

But Healy says in the paper that data from only about one-eighth of the
patients in the clinical trials were included. No mention was made that some
had been prescribed a sedative that may have alleviated an intense nervous
state that can lead to suicide, which is called akathisia, he says.
The analysis also did not point out that 5 per cent of patients dropped out
of the studies because they were anxious and agitated and may have been
suffering from akathisia, Healy says.

Another document, dated Nov. 13, 1990, shows that company scientists were
pressured by executives to soften physicians’ reports of suicidal thoughts
or suicide attempts, according to Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen,
who obtained the document and is author of the book Prozac Backlash.
Additional evidence about the potential risks can be found in the patent for
a second-generation Prozac pill, which Eli Lilly has licensed. The patent
says the new and improved Prozac would decrease side effects including:
“nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia,” as well as “inner restlessness
(akathisia), suicidal thoughts and self-mutilation.”

But at the same time, Eli Lilly says these symptoms are not associated in
any significant way with taking the current version of Prozac.
The new Prozac — which incidentally was co-developed by Teicher, one of the
drug’s early critics — isn’t yet on the market, Last year, Healy published a
study in the journal Primary Care Psychiatry that said two of 20 healthy
volunteers taking an antidepressant in the same family as Prozac reported
feeling suicidal.

But by his calculations, probably 40,000 people have committed suicide while
on Prozac since its launch, above and beyond the number who would have taken
their own lives if their condition had been left untreated.

The German government now requires warning labels, and Britain is
considering them. Canada and the United States do not.
Healy says he is not opposed to Prozac and thinks that it can do a lot of
good. But he says it is unethical and irresponsible not to warn doctors
about the potential dangers, and believes Eli Lilly chose not to do so to
maximize profits.

He says family doctors seem to be increasingly prescribing Prozac and other
antidepressants to children and now to women complaining of severe
premenstrual symptoms, yet patients in North America do not have to be told
about the potential risks.

Eli Lilly and the other drug companies argue that depression, not
antidepressants, are to blame for suicides. Pfizer is trying to have Healy
barred from testifying in the Miller case, questioning his credibility as an
expert witness.

So what are Canadian consumers to think? Jacques Bradwejn, chairman of the
psychiatry department at the University of Ottawa, says he has reviewed the
literature and agrees with the FDA and Eli Lilly that there is no evidence
that Prozac and similar drugs cause more suicides than would have occurred
if patients had not been treated.

But a small number of patients — even as many as 1 per cent — may fall
into a nervous state that could trigger suicide, he said, adding that more
research is needed to better understand the problem.

While Prozac may be overprescribed for patients who are not truly ill,
Bradwejn worries that the message that the Prozac is dangerous will do more
harm than good for those who are moderately to severely depressed.
“If the message is too alarmist, it could have a very negative effect on
Canadians.”

DEPTHS OF DESPAIR

A study by Dr. David Healy found that two of 20 healthy volunteers taking a
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor in the same family as Prozac reported
suicidal feelings. This is the story of one of those people, a 30-year-old
woman who didn’t know what drug she was taking, as recorded in the study.
“On the Friday she telephoned early in the morning, distressed and tearful
from the previous night. Her conversation was garbled. She described almost
going out and killing herself. . .

“The night previously she had felt complete blackness all around her. . . .
She felt hopeless and alone. It seemed that all she could do was to follow a
thought that had been planted in her brain by some alien force.
“She suddenly decided she should go and throw herself in front of a car,
that this was the only answer. It was as if there was nothing out there
apart from the car. . . . She didn’t think of her partner or child. She was
walking out the door when the phone went. This stopped the tunnel of
suicidal ideation.

“She later became distraught at what she had nearly done and guilty that she
had not thought of her family.”

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4/19/2001 – Ann Blake-Tracy on the air with Columbine victims

* Before I give you this information on the Columbine shooting victims, you
should know that it was announced today in San Diego that Jason Hoffman, the
school shooter in El Cajon, had taken two different antidepressants.

Now for a little over a month I have been working with the victims of
Columbine shot by Eric Harris, and the Harris family attorney, as they have
prepared their lawsuits against Solvay, the makers of Luvox. We have been
invited by the largest talk radio station in Utah, KSL, to do a show with
Doug Wright. It will air Friday, April 20, (the anniversary of the Columbine
tragedy) at 10:00AM Mountain Time.

Another show will air Monday morning on KIQ 1010 in Salt Lake City with Joe
Jackson at 8:00AM Mountain time.

You can find the particulars on how to listen to these shows online or you
can find information on any other upcoming shows by going to:
http://members.aol.com/atracyphd/appear.htm

Check this site regularly for upcoming shows you can listen to online. If you
would like a show in your area contact your local station and tell them to
log on to www.drugawareness.org and let us know when they would like us on
the air.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org

627 total views, 1 views today