6/14/2000 – Suit Blames Fen-Phen for Murder-Suicide

At times I get so busy with all of these cases that I forget that not all of
you are aware of what is happening. I must apologize for not sending this out
sooner.

This is a case that has been filed against the makers of Fen-Phen in a
murder/suicide situation – another caring mother who took the life of her son
and attempted to kill her other son before killing herself. It happened in
the withdrawal from Fen-Phen.

This company jerked these drugs off the market so quickly leaving so many in
serious “cold turkey” withdrawal situations that were possibly more dangerous
than the possible heart and lung damage. I remain convinced that this case is
one of MANY MANY more cases that went unnoticed as everyone focused on heart
and lung damage with these diet pills and ignored the most alarming reports
of brain damage that occurs within days of using the drugs.

I repeat once again, no matter what substance one is using to increase
serotonin, you can produce psychotic breaks leading to out of character
behavior.

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

APBnews.com April 13, 2000, Thursday

Copyright 2000 APB Online, Inc.
APBnews.com

April 13, 2000, Thursday

Suit Blames Fen-Phen for Murder-Suicide

By Steve Waterstrat

SPOKANE, Wash.

A man who lost his wife and a 6-year-old son in a murder-suicide claims
that the diet drug fen-phen caused the violence that also left another
son wounded.

But Bill Etter, the attorney for the doctor named in the suit, said Debra
Eik stopped taking the combination months before her death and had shown
no negative side effects.

Spokane resident Ed Eik claims that his wife suffered major personality
changes during her treatment. On Nov. 1, 1997, Debra Eik drove to a
remote road in the South Spokane Valley with her sons and shot the boys
before turning the gun on herself. Brandon Eik died, but Brian, 11,
survived and used his mother’s cellular phone to call for help.

The combination fen-phen, or fenfluramine-phentermine, was recalled by
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July 1997, primarily due to its
links to heart-valve damage. Debra Eik was prescribed Pondimin and
Ionamin, brand names for the fen-phen combination.

‘There was something else going on’

While the manufacturers face billions of dollars in claims for deaths and
injuries allegedly caused by fen-phen, Etter said he could find no
precedent in the country for anyone linking the drug combination to such
a drastic psychological reaction.

“This whole situation with the mother and her two boys is an absolute
tragedy,” Etter said. “But it’s a bit of a reach to try to link it to a
diet drug taken months beforehand. There was something else going on.”

The lawsuit, filed in Spokane County Superior Court, seeks unspecified
damages from four drug companies and from Eik’s physician, Dr. Milan
Jeckle.

Etter told APBnews.com that the doctor’s last prescription of fen-phen
for Eik was for a two-week dosage, and it was given six months before the
shooting. Jeckle treated Eik from late March 1997 to May 1997.

Husband: Personality changed

Etter also said that a review of the doctor’s records showed that Eik did
not complain of any bad side effects.

“For her last visit, the doctor’s report said that the patient ‘Feels
great, no side effects.’ There was nothing negative at all,” Etter said.

The lawsuit itself acknowledges that the shooting took place six months
after the final prescription. But in the suit, Ed Eik claims that the
prescribed drugs caused his wife “to sustain mental and emotional
distress and illness leading to major personality and behavioral changes.
These changes resulted in her shooting her sons … and her own death by
suicide.”

Etter said his legal job is not to defend fen-phen itself. But he does
believe that his client did a prudent and responsible job of prescribing
the drug in short-term doses and monitoring his patients. Debra Eik
received three two-week prescriptions.

“This was so he could make sure the drug was working for his patients,
and so he could watch for any potential side effects,” Etter said.

Manufacturers are named

Eik’s attorneys, from the Seattle law firm Chemnick, Moen and
Greenstreet, refused to comment on the lawsuit.

The suit also names American Home Products Corp., Wyeth-Ayers
Laboratories Inc., A.H. Robins Co., and Medeva Pharmaceuticals as
co-defendants. American Home Products was the major producer of fen-phen
and is involved in a nationwide class action suit over the drug.

No dollar amount is mentioned in the lawsuit, in accordance with
Washington state laws on civil suits. Etter said he expects the plaintiff
to ask for several million dollars. No trial date has been set, but Etter
said he expected the trial to be held in the summer of 2001.

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One Comment

  1. If anyone could please help me…….my wife has been acting very strange lately, and has stoped taking her anti depresent in favor of Fen-Phen. can someone point me to some resources I can show her to help?

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