The Aftermath of Antidepressants

The Aftermath Of Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Fen-Phen, & Many Other Serotonergic Drugs

By Ann Blake-Tracy – Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness

Ann Blake-Tracy has specialized for 10 years in adverse reactions to serotonergic medications. She is the executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness (www.drugawareness.org) and author of the book PROZAC:PANACEA OR PANDORA?

WARNING: IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT A GRADUAL TAPERING OFF OF MEDICATIONS IS SAFEST WITHDRAWAL METHOD TO AVOID SERIOUS WITHDRAWAL EFFECTS

Often there is the terrible withdrawal associated with the SSRIs. Unless patients are warned to come very slowly off these drugs by shaving minuscule amounts off their pills each day, as opposed to cutting them in half or taking a pill every other day, they can go into terrible withdrawal which is generally delayed several months. This withdrawal includes bouts of overwhelming depression, terrible insomnia and fatigue, and can include life-threatening physical effects, psychosis, or violent outbursts.

Note: Keep in mind that these drugs are all serotonergic agents and clones or “copy cat” drugs of Prozac – the first SSRI antidepressant introduced to the market in America. Basically what applies to one, applies to the others. For instance we have more data out on Prozac because it has been around longer, but as the mode of action is the same for all of these meds the effects will be the same for the other drugs on this list as it is for Prozac. If we are discussing one drug, similar effects would be expected from any other company’s version of the drug. In fact it would be more honest to give them the titles of Prozac #1, Prozac #2,Prozac #3, etc. rather than the brand names they have been given, from the second clone, Zoloft, to the latest Prozac clone, Celexa.

My concern is that each new SSRI introduced seems to be a little stronger on serotonin reuptake and therefore potentially more dangerous. And the all too common practice of going from one SSRI to another blocks additional receptors and magnifies the harmful effects of these medications. It is crucial to learn that according to medical research the theory behind this group of drugs is invalid. Known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors. They are designed to block serotonin in the brain, thereby increasing brain levels of this neurotransmitter. Yet for three decades researchers have been intensely interested in serotonin because LSD and PCP produce their psychedelic effects by mimicking serotonin. Elevated serotonin is found in: psychosis or schizophrenia, mood disorders, organic brain disease, mental retardation, autism and Alzheimer’s. While low levels of the metabolism of serotonin (which also produces high serotonin), are found in those with: depression, anxiety, suicide, violence, arson, substance abuse, insomnia, violent nightmares, impulsive behavior, reckless driving, exhibitionism, hostility, argumentative behavior, etc. The drugs increase serotonin and decrease the metabolism of serotonin leading to any and all of the above results. This information is extremely crucial for patients and physicians to learn as soon as possible. We have a high rate of use of these drugs nationwide. Raising serotonin and lowering the metabolism of serotonin in such a large number of people can produce very serious, widespread and long term problems for all of society.

So why are we now in the 90’s being told that increased serotonin is good for us? Is it because it is good for the pocketbooks of the manufacturers? One manufacturer is running full page newspaper and magazine ads and half hour TV infomercials to bring in over $7 million daily, while on the other hand they are settling Prozac suicide cases for huge amounts of money in exchange for silence from victim’s families on the details of those settlements. The silence in the court cases insures that the drug will be allowed to finish out its patent time, thus bringing in the highest possible profits for the company. They know that with $7 million coming in daily, they can afford to settle a large number of lawsuits and still come out “smelling like a rose” financially.

Eli Lilly has been sued for Prozac related deaths in numerous state and federal courts with most of these cases being settled or dismissed – many were dismissed due to the unethical manipulation of the Wesbecker verdict
(see time line for details).

We have witnessed no decrease in suicide, but increases in murder/suicide, suicide, unwed pregnancies, domestic violence, manic-depression, MS, hypoglycemia, diabetes, bankruptcies, divorce, mothers (parents) killing children, road rage, school shootings, cancer, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia since these serotonergic drugs have become so popular and I relate it directly to the effects of these drugs.

The death toll has continued to climb drastically since I wrote PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? Some of the cases you may be familiar with are:

1. Mr. and Mrs. Phil Hartman (Zoloft), Prozac was found in the van of Mark Barton, the Atlanta day trader, who recently killed his family and others in a shooting spree before taking his own life;
2. Neal Furrow, in LA Jewish school shooting was reported to have been court ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications;
3. The Salt Lake Family History Library shooting;
4. School shootings in Littleton, Colorado (Luvox), Atlanta, Georgia, Springfield, Oregon (Prozac), and Caldwell, Idaho;
5. Another boy in Pocatello, ID in 1998 who in seizure activity from Zoloft had a stand off at the school;
6. 15 year old Chris Shanahan (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman;
7. The shooting at the lottery in Connecticut last spring by Matthew Beck (Luvox) that left five dead in a murder/suicide;
8. The New York City Subway bombing by Edward Leary (Prozac);
9. Nick Mansies (Paxil) in New Jersey who was convicted of killing a little boy who was selling cookies door to door;
10. In Orange County, CA Dana Sue Gray (Paxil) who co-workers described as a very caring nurse killed several elderly people;
11. Officer Stephen Christian (Prozac) one of the finest officers on the Dallas Police force, who ran into a police substation shooting at fellow officers and was killed;
12. 13 year old Chris Fetters (Prozac) in Iowa who killed her favorite aunt;
13. David Rothman (Prozac) killed two co-workers and himself at the Dept. of Agriculture in Ingelwood, CA;
14. Williams Evans (Zoloft) shot one co-worker at the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services before shooting himself in Columbus, OH;
15. Winatchee, WA where 43 people were wrongfully imprisoned in a false accusation of sexual abuse “witch hunt” fury started by a child under the influence of Prozac and Paxil;
16. Christopher Vasquez (Zoloft) killed Michael Morrow in Central Park;
17. Megan Hogg (Prozac) duct taped the mouths and noses of her three little girls and took a handful of pills; Vera Espinoza (Prozac) in Randolph, VT shot her small son and daughter before shooting herself;
18. An elderly man (Prozac) in Layton, UT axed his wife and daughter to death;
19. Margaret Kastanis (Prozac) used a knife and hammer to kill her three children before stabbing herself to death;
20. An elderly man (Paxil) in Dallas, TX strangled his wife before shooting himself twice in the chest;
21. Larramie Huntzinger (Zoloft) blacked out and ran his car into three young girls killing two in Salt Lake City, UT;
22. Mary Hinkelman (Prozac), a nurse in Baroda, MI shot her two small daughters and her sister before shooting herself;
23. Lisa Fox (Prozac) shot her small son and her dog before shooting herself in Brighton, MI;
24. Debi Louselle (Zoloft) shot daughter and then herself in Salt Lake City, UT;
25. A father in Wyoming shot his wife, daughter and baby grand-daughter then himself after only days on Paxil;
26. A mother (Prozac) in Pleasant Grove, UT killed her 17 year old son with a sledge hammer while he slept before she attempted suicide by drinking Drano;
27. Larry Butz, a superintendent of schools in Ames, IA shot his wife, son and daughter before shooting himself – many cases pending in court are not mentioned.

This is only a handful of MANY, MANY more cases – there would not be room for anything else if I continued listing the cases.

A few additional famous victims: Princess Di (Prozac) and Dodi Fayed -via their driver Henri Paul (Prozac), Monica Lewinsky (Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Serzone and Phen-Fen), Chris Farley (Prozac), Pres. Clinton’s ex-partner Jim Mc Dougal (Prozac), Abby Hoffman (Prozac), Del Shannon (Prozac), Danielle Steele’s son (Prozac), INXS singer Michael Hutchence (Prozac), Sarah – Dutchess of York (Phen-Fen)

The latest figures show Prozac has about 44,000 adverse reports filed with the FDA. Out of those reports there are about 2,500 deaths with the large majority of them linked to suicide or violence.

The suicide statistics relating to women are shocking. According to the CDC there are about 30,000 suicides yearly in the United States. Out of those about 6,000 are women – a ratio of about 4.3 to 1, male to female. About twice as many women as men are treated for depression demonstrating that generally men are more than 8 times as lethal in their suicidal gestures as women. Women were known to use less lethal means until the SSRI antidepressants hit the market. But on Prozac and Paxil, women committed 40% of the suicides – many were strikingly violent and clearly leaving no
means for rescue. (Remember that because Prozac was the first of this group of drugs its track record gives us a vision of what is to come with other serotonergic antidepressants, especially when they are so powerful in the reuptake of serotonin.)

TIME LINE OF CRITICAL INFORMATION DISCOVERED SINCE THE BOOK:

*NOTE: Any documents beginning with PZ are Lilly documents on Prozac which have been ferreted out by attorneys and are now being used in lawsuits against the drug company. (Christian vs. Eli Lilly, by Vickery & Waldner, Houston, TX)

* Mid 1950’s: Dr. Felix Sulman began his research on those who suffer from high serotonin levels because of an inability to metabolize serotonin. He found that serotonin is a stress neuro-hormone leading even rabbits, the most docile of creatures, to be aggressive. He coined the term “serotonin irritation syndrome.” He found that those who were unable to break down serotonin would have the levels increase. They were in effect being poisoned by the serotonin produced by their own bodies, the irritation victims suffered from migraines, hot flashes, irritability, sleeplessness, pains around the heart, difficulty in breathing, a worsening of bronchial complaints, irrational tension and anxiety. . . horrifying nightmares. It also caused his volunteers to sleep badly – that is, always on the edge of consciousness so that they were not properly rested – and to wake after only a few hours of sleep.” (sleep apnea) He also found it caused pregnant women to abort.
* October, 1977: Slater, et.al., Inhibition of REM Sleep by Fluoxetine, a Specific Inhibitor of Serotonin Uptake, October 1977, at p. 385 – Prozac was found to affect sleep habits, specifically to suppress deep sleep, which the scientists call REM (rapid eye movement) sleep in cats. By the fourth day of drug treatment the cats receiving the larger doses, which had been friendly for years, began to growl and hiss. After cessation of the drug treatment, the cats returned to their usual friendly behavior in a week or two; those on the higher doses recovering more slowly. – – 1977: [PZ 1298 1999] “A total of six dogs from the high dose group were removed from treatment … due to severe occurrences of either aggressive behavior, ataxia, or anorexia.”]
* July 31, 1978: [PZ1061 1025-28, July 31, 1978] Human subjects began to be used by Lilly in controlled clinical trials. The first group of patients showed no improvement in their depression, but there were a “large number of reports of adverse reactions.” The first human to receive Prozac experienced “dystonia resembling an extrapyramidal reaction” – an uncontrollable, Parkinson-like shaking or trembling.
* July 23, 1979 [PZ 1297 969] The clinical studies in depression showed that “some patients have converted from severe depression to agitation within a few days; in one case the agitation was marked and the patient had to be taken off drug. In future studies the use of benzodiazepines to control the agitation will be permitted.”
* August 3, 1979: The clinical trials excluded patients who had serious suicidal risk. [E.g. control #001519, IND Protocol No. 14, August 3, 1979; PZ1135 695, July 2, 1986 memorandum of Dr. Wernicke].
* December 17, 1984: [PZ 65 449, report of Lilly to FDA] Lilly reported to the FDA that benzodiazepines and other sedatives were given with Prozac throughout the clinical trials. This was to help offset the stimulant effect of the drug. In a memorandum of Lilly scientist Charles Beasley [PZ 541 2007-08] issues of “agitation vs. sedation” and concomitant sedative medications like benzodiazepines (to control the agitation) are discussed. Concerns are that agitation in a suicidal patient can induce suicide.
* March 3, 1986 Lilly controlled the flow of information to the FDA and decided that suicide data on Prozac should not be evaluated, “in the safety-update for the FDA the number of suicides and suicide attempts will not be especially evaluated.” [PZ 879 1966, March 3, 1986 telex]
* September 12, 1986: German BGA very concerned with the risk of suicide and ultimately approved Prozac on the condition that physicians be warned of the risk of suicide and told to consider using sedatives and closely monitor patients. [PZ 878 1383, report of Lilly consultant Pohlmeier; PZ 2467 299, September 12, 1986] Lilly actually warned physicians in Germany and other countries that this measure “can be necessary” to minimize the risk of suicide, [PZ 1341 402, December 6, 1989 German warning; PZ 2469 490]
* February 7, 1990: In response to the Harvard study, Teicher, et al., Lilly’s top scientist, Leigh Thompson, told his fellow executives that “Lilly can go down the tubes if we lose Prozac”. [PZ 1941 827, February 7, 1990]. In the ensuing months Dr. Thompson spoke frequently with his principal FDA regulator about the issue, once at 6:15 in the morning. [PZ 391 1959, July 18, 1990]. Lilly later described the man as “our defender”. [PZ1941 2256, September 12, 1990]
* May 29, 1990, Lilly added “suicidal ideation” in the section dealing with post-marketing reports. [PZ883 562, July 26, 1990 memorandum]
* September 14, 1990: Contrary to the advice of his staff, Dr. Thompson told the Eli Lilly Board of Directors that suicide and hostile acts were probably, caused by the patients’ underlying disorders rather than Prozac. [PZ542 2101, September 14, 1990; PZ4002 889, Board Minutes]. The staff was concerned because they knew that this issue was never studied during the clinical trials.
* September 11, 1990: Note from Dr. Bruce Stadel, Chief of the Epidemiology Branch, attaching an analysis done by Dr. David Graham, Section Chief within the Epidemiology Branch, of Lilly’s July 17, 1990 submission to the FDA on the Prozac/suicidality/violence issue. The following factors were (a) brought to the attention of those in the higher echelons of the FDA, but (b) ignored, discounted or “trashed” by them: #1 Lilly’s analysis improperly excluded 76 out of 97 suicides; as Dr. Stadel expressed it, “[i]t is inappropriate in a safety analysis to exclude such a large proportion of case”; #2 Lilly admitted that its clinical trials “were not designed for the prospective evaluation of suicidality” and that “[i]n these trials, patients with current suicidal ideation were excluded”; #3 Lilly admitted that the HAMD-3 rating scale it used to assess suicidality in clinical trials was inadequate; and that Lilly’s statements about violence only demonstrated “how great under-reporting is” and that “[t]he actual data showed a higher percentage of treatment-emergent suicidality among fluoxetine (2.9% than tricyclic (0.8%) patients . . . [which percentage] was similar to that reported by Teicher.”
* July 1, 1992: A study lead by Dr. Lorne Brandes of the Manatoba Institute of Cell Biology in Winnipeg, Canada was published in CANCER RESEARCH linking the two most popular anti-depressants, Elavil and Prozac to cancer.
* 1994: A study headed by Howard Markell published in The Journal of Pediatrics showed LSD flashbacks and LSD reactions induced by Prozac.
* June 9, 1994: The New York Review of Books article by Dr. Sherwin Nuland slams Peter Kramer for pushing Prozac in his book Listening to Prozac. He pointed out that all docs are taught in med school this little poem about serotonin: “This man was addicted to moanin’, confusion, edema, and groanin’, intestinal rushes, great tricolored blushes, and died from too much serotonin.” He listed constriction of lungs and intestines, diarrhea, wheezing, flushing, mental confusion, tightening of bronchioles, and lessening conscious control over behavior from increases in serotonin. “Moreover, . . . it is still too early to arrive at a reliable estimate of possible dangers that may appear in the long term,” and 15% dropped out of the clinical trials on Prozac because of adverse reactions. He also discussed the similarity of serotonin to the psychedelics like LSD and PCP.
* November, 1994: Krystal JH, Webb E, Cooney N, et al., “Specificity of Ethanol-like Effects Elicited in Serotonergic and Noradrenergic Mechanisms,” ARCHIVES OF GENERAL PSYCHIATRY, Vol. 51, Issue 11, pgs 898-911, 1994 demonstrated that an increase in brain levels of either of two neurotransmitters, serotonin or noradrenalin, produces:
#1 a craving for alcohol,
#2 anger,
#3 anxiety.
They found this to be especially true for those who have a history of alcoholism. An increase serotonin in turn increases noradrenalin. Numerous reports have been made by reformed alcoholics who are being “driven” to alcohol again after being prescribed a serotonergic drug. And many other patients who had no previous history of alcoholism have continued to report an “overwhelming compulsion” to drink while using these drugs.

A few personal accounts:

#1 A young woman, a recovering alcoholic, reported that during the eight month period she had been using Prozac she found it necessary to attend AA meetings every day in order to fight off the strong compulsions to begin drinking again.
#2 In the Southeastern United States a middle aged psychologist, also a recovering alcoholic, after being prescribed Prozac, found herself needing to attend AA meetings morning, noon, and night to keep from destroying the sobriety she had achieved.
#3 A young father, who was Mormon and had never before in his life used alcohol, found himself drinking Ever Clear and exhibiting bizarre as well as violent behavior, after being prescribed Prozac and Ritalin.
#4 A young mother who had never used alcohol before began drinking large amounts within weeks of being prescribed Prozac and quickly found herself committed to a mental institution due to the psychotic behavior that resulted. Added to her Prozac prescription were anti-psychotic meds and electric shock treatments. She then began to experience seizures and was started on anti-seizure meds.
#5 A concerned neighbor reported her friend was drinking straight Vodka on a regular basis after being prescribed Zoloft. #6 A daughter reported her father, sober for 15 years, began drinking again on Prozac.

* December, 1994: Not guilty verdict on Wesbecker wrongful death suit against Lilly’s Prozac.
* Treatment emergent suicidality with Prozac has been demonstrated to be two to three times higher than any other anti-depressant. (Jick, et al., Antidepressants and Suicide)
* May, 1995: Judge John Potter who presided over the Wesbecker case filed documents to demand that Lilly be forced to disclose the secret deal they made with the plaintiffs to withhold very damaging evidence in exchange for settlement. In his pleading to the court Potter stated, “Lilly sought to buy not just the verdict, but the court’s judgment as well.” Potter accused Lilly of “giving the verdict the widest possible publicity” accompanied by the claim that Lilly had “proven in a court of law that Prozac was safe.” Furious with Lilly’s attempt to turn his courtroom into an advertising agency for Prozac, he claims his motion reflects “the court’s duty to protect the integrity of the judicial system.” He believes, as do prominent legal ethicists, that a full and open disclosure of the terms of the settlement is a necessary public safety issue.
* July, 1997: Mayo Clinic found that the increased serotonin, which produces blood clotting, was causing a gummy glossy substance to build up on heart valves. Dr. Heidi Connolly with the Divisions of Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, who headed the study stated, “We do know that fenfluramine and phentermine [Fen-Phen] alter the way the brain chemical serotonin is metabolized, and serotonin that circulates in the blood can cause valve injury.” Fenfluramine produces a rapid release of serotonin, inhibits serotonin reuptake, and may also have receptor agonist activity. The study’s revelations should send a loud and very clear warning throughout the medical community concerning all serotonergic medications.
* August 25, 1997: Letter to Ann Blake-Tracy, “I caught the last part of your presentation on Radio Station KEX, Portland, while flipping through the dial last night. I was flabbergasted to hear you speak of the horrible potential side effects from Prozac, which I have been taking for approximately four years, particularly since I have been diagnosed recently with cardiomyalgia, severe artery disease, congestive heart failure and also Fibromyalgia. (I was a very “well” person prior to taking the Prozac and am now exhausted all the time, with horrible aching joints and considerable pain and a massive heart problem.) The adverse cardiovascular effects from Prozac, the one drug in this class of drugs out long enough to have somewhat of track record, are listed in the drug information sheet put out by the manufacturer. The “frequent” effects listed are hemorrhage and hypertension. The “infrequent” effects include very serious adverse effects: congestive heart failure, myocardial infarct, tachycardia, angina pectoris, arrhythmia, hypotension, migraine syncope and vascular headache.
* September, 1997: Redux and Phen-Fen were pulled from the market.
* October 20, 1997: Dr. Candace Pert, Research Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, past head of the brain chemistry department at the National Institute of Health, and author of the new book, MOLECULES OF EMOTION, sounded an alarm in TIME, October 20. She stated, “I am alarmed at the monster that Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon Snyder and I created when we discovered the simple binding assay for drug receptors 25 years ago. Prozac and other antidepressant serotonin-receptor-active compounds may also cause cardiovascular problems in some susceptible people after long-term use, which has become common practice despite the lack of safety studies.”
As we are being led to believe these drugs produce effects only in the brain, Dr. Pert accuses the medical profession of oversimplifying the action of these drugs and adds that “the public is being misinformed about the precision of these selective serotonin-uptake inhibitors.” It is critical that both physicians and patients be made aware of these adverse physical reactions. She points out that the medical profession not only oversimplifies the action of these drugs in the brain, but “ignores the body as if it exists merely to carry the head around!” And that, “these molecules of emotion regulate every aspect of our physiology.” The body plays a very significant role in how we feel and act the way we do. This fact can no longer be ignored. Serotonin and serotonin receptors exist throughout the body, as well as the brain, and every aspect of the body’s physiology is affected by these serotonergic medications. In fact approximately 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the intestinal tract. According to Dr. Michael Gershon of New York’s Columbia Presbyterian, this is the reason why Prozac produces so many gastrointestinal side effects.
* March, 1998: Two new studies published. One that shows Prozac so strongly inhibits one particular serotonin receptor that this produces both obesity and seizures and the other discusses the blockage of muscle and neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors indicating interactions between the serotonergic and cholinergic systems in the central nervous system.
* April, 1998: Our next generation of guinea pigs – one month before a 15 year old on Prozac, Kip Kinkel, in Springfield OR killed his parents and two classmates the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Psychiatrists asked the FDA to consider the serotonergic antidepressants for use in children as young as two and drugs for anxiety, aggression and manic depression in babies only one month old! The use of Prozac among young children ages 6 – 12 has increased an alarming 400% from 1995 (51.000 new prescriptions) to 1996 (203,000 new prescriptions).
* June, 1999: CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY NEWS reported that Dr. Malcolm Bowers a psychiatrist at Yale has found that physicians are not paying enough attention to patient factors that could make initiation of SSRIs dangerous. He found that “SSRI-induced psychosis has accounted for 8% of all general hospital psychiatric admissions over a recent 14-month period.” And “What is surprising is that this particular group of side effects is really underplayed.” (The 8% figure represents over 150,000 SSRI induced psychotic breaks per year!!!!!!!)

WARNING: Children so often get coughs and colds, yet using a cough or cold medication with dextromethorphan could cause the serotonin syndrome, a very serious and potentially fatal adverse reaction and/or produce PCP reactions.

Serotonin syndrome remains an often misdiagnosed or unrecognized fatal reaction due to the medical profession being so uninformed about this drug-induced disorder.

Developing brains are far more vulnerable than adult brains and brain damage generally becomes more apparent after the brain is fully developed, rather than immediately. Increases in cortisol produce brain damage while medical research shows that one single 30mg dose of Prozac DOUBLES the level of cortisol. This drastic increase in cortisol causes a multitude of serious physical reactions including impairment of linear growth, as well as impairing the development and regeneration of the liver, kidneys, muscles, etc. In light of so many unspeakable tragedies, I have grown weary of all the silly philosophical discussions we have heard since Kramer’s LISTENING TO PROZAC came out. Patients are dying or having their health destroyed mentally as well as physically (when do we begin to discuss the very serious physical side effects associated with high levels of serotonin?). These patients and their families are frantically searching for answers while this research sits right under our noses and could easily be made available to them. The widespread use of Prozac and its clones is not a statement of either their safety or their effectiveness. It is a statement about the effectiveness of an infinite marketing budget and incredible advertising campaign! These drugs have very serious physical side effects, as well as dangerous psychiatric side effects.

To prevent further tragedy this medical research must be acknowledged and addressed in headline news without delay rather than remain buried in seldom read medical research documents as has been the case in the past with other mind- altering medications, once thought to be safe, which were subsequently prohibited by law, i.e. LSD, PCP, cocaine, etc.

PRAISE FOR PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA?

“I started having bad reactions . . . Oct ’96 I found Prozac to be causing joint and muscle pain itself . . . signs of Cushing’s Syndrome. . . I was very pro-Prozac until last October and wouldn’t have listened to anything said against it until I got problems (thought it was saving my life, while all the time it was insidiously and interested but quite skeptical. However, since reading it and having suffered so many problems with Prozac, I have come to the conclusion that the book is brilliant, and a life-line as far as I am concerned. I tried to fault the research and reasoning, but could not and still can’t. I would like to extend my thanks to you for your heroic stance on this enormously important issue. I have tremendous respect and admiration for your hard work, determination and courage in pursuing this subject so vigorously, against so much powerful opposition for the benefit of people like me. Your integrity puts many, if not most doctors and psychiatrists to shame. It is reassuring to find that there are a few people who are prepared to fight for the truth for the benefit of mankind.” Oct. 1998 note from a British nurse

“PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? is an incredible compilation of medical data that will lay the groundwork to educate other professionals and the general public about the new SSRI antidepressants – Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Effexor and Serzone.” (Jeff Wise, psychologist, Salt Lake County Drug and Alcohol Abuse )

“In 15 years of reading books on drugs I have never read a book with more information or so well documented as PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA?” (Dr. Kevin Millet, Bountiful, UT)

“As I lecture to physicians nationwide on the medical use of psychoactive drugs PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? always accompanies me in my brief case.” (Dr. Bruce Woolley, neuropsychopharmacologist, Brigham Young University)

“I found PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? fascinating reading and the most complete analysis of the various factors pertaining to the Prozac controversy.” (Attorney Donald Sokol, Susanville, CA)

“PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? literally saved my life, and if I’d known about it a year earlier, could have saved me untold grief and agony as well. It is the only collated, comprehensive source I know of for this information , . . .. this book described everything that had happened to me in great detail, gave scientific reasons why it happened, backed it all up with solid research, included testimonials from hundreds of others in the same situation, it immaculately details, explains, and refers one to the latest research on a whole hornet’s nest of ‘atypical’ side-and/or after-effects from the use of these antidepressants. It also contains information on how to reduce the severity of problems encountered while starting on or going off these meds.” (Nick Jameson, Prozac patient)

“Magnificent! This text is a monument to Ann Tracy’s tenacity and love for her fellow human beings.” (Dr. Paul Kennedy, N.J.)

“PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? has not left one question about these drugs unanswered! Ann Tracy has covered them all.” (Margaret McCaffery, N.Y. who lost her daughter, a neurosurgeon, in a Prozac suicide)

“The work Ann Blake-Tracy is doing is very important and she is truly a heroine.” (Dr. Candace Pert, Washington, DC, one of the two developers of the serotonin binding process which made possible the development of the serotonergic drugs. Dr. Pert has boldly stated, speaking of these serotonergic medications, “I am alarmed at the monsters I created!”)

WARNING: In sharing this information about adverse reactions to antidepressants I always recommend that you also give reference to my CD on safe withdrawal, Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!, so that we do not have more people dropping off these drugs too quickly – a move which I have warned from the beginning can be even more dangerous than staying on the drugs!

The FDA also now warns that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. And these reactions can either come on very rapidly or even be delayed for months depending upon the adverse effects upon sleep patterns when the withdrawal is rapid! You can find the CD on safe and effective withdrawal helps here: http://store.drugawareness.org/

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11/1/1999 – Colorado School Board Initiative

In October, Dr. Ann Tracy, Executive Director of the International
Coalition for Drug Awareness, and two other experts spoke before the
Colorado State Board of Education. They urged the adoption of the
Resolution on Academic Standards and Restrictions on Non-Academic
Solutions which was introduced by Patti Johnson, one of the Board’s
members.

The resolution would give Colorado parents and teachers a clear message
that education must be concerned with academic issues and NOT the
management of behavioral issues with psychiatric prescription drugs.
Recently, Eric Harris, who was taking Luvox, killed over a dozen
students at Columbine High School.

The State Board should be commended for taking the lead in this issue.
They should be applauded for trying to steer the schools of Colorado in
the direction of academia, and away from mind-altering drugs. Please
send a brief, short and very supportive note to them.

The e-mail address is State.Board@…

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10/24/1999 – The Pain in Littleton Continues

A Message from Ann Blake-Tracy…

As if the people of Littleton have not suffered enough via the
Luvox-induced nightmare of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, now they must
go through their own SSRI-induced nightmares!!!! While in Littleton
last month I was told by one of the teachers at Columbine that close to
half of their students are now on something to cope with the
Luvox-induced tragedy carried out by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Oct. 21 we heard that a friend of the boys was arrested for making
threats about finishing the job for Eric and Dylan. Now we hear that
one of the mothers of a wounded student has committed one of the most
impulsive suicides I have heard of to date. The striking impulsive
compulsion to die coupled with the personality changes and loss of the
ability to cope, makes it clear to me that this is without doubt
another SSRI-induced tragedy!

How many more?

How many more?

How many more must die before the bloodshed ends? If you have been
afraid to speak out on this issue, PLEASE do not allow your silence to
contribute to these tragedies any longer!!! We must all warn all we
know that this is a clear and very present danger that MUST
end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

——————————————————————–
Mom of Columbine Victim Kills Self

By COLLEEN SLEVIN Associated Press Writer

DENVER (AP) — The mother of a student wounded in the Columbine High
School massacre walked into a suburban pawn shop Friday, asked to see a
handgun, loaded it and killed herself with a shot to the head.

Carla June Hochhalter’s suicide occurred about six months after her
17-year-old daughter, Anne Marie, was critically wounded in the April
20 tragedy and left partially paralyzed.

It was not immediately known what other factors might have contributed
to Ms. Hochhalter’s suicide.

Ms. Hochhalter, 48, entered the Alpha Pawn Shop in Englewood Friday
morning and asked to see a handgun.

When a clerk turned around to fill out paperwork, Ms. Hochhalter loaded
the weapon with bullets that she brought, then fired one round that hit
the wall and a second round into her head, Englewood police spokeswoman
Leticia Castillo said.

The suicide was the latest shock for students and families in the
Columbine area. Jefferson County School District officials planned to
have grief counselors available this weekend to help deal with any
trauma.

A student was arrested this week for allegedly threatening “to finish
the job” begun by two student gunmen at Columbine.

In addition, CBS-TV was criticized by some in the community for
broadcasting a snippet of the security camera videotape that was taken
in the school cafeteria as the massacre unfolded.

Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, scattered gunfire and bombs at
the school near Englewood, killing 12 students and a teacher and
wounding about 26 others. Then they committed suicide.

Miss Hochhalter suffered injuries to her spinal cord, back and chest
when the gunmen fired at her in the parking lot. She moved her legs
for the first time last week.

Now a senior, she is taking a physics class at Columbine while a tutor
teaches the rest of her courses at home.

AP-NY-10-22-99 1947EDT
___________________________

Mom of CHS victim kills herself

By David Olinger
Denver Post Staff Writer

Oct. 22, 5:15 p.m. – Carla Hochhalter, the mother of a girl paralyzed
by the Columbine High shootings, walked into an Englewood pawn shop
Friday, asked to look at a revolver, loaded it and fatally shot
herself.

She died at Swedish Medical Center, minutes after paramedics carried
her into its emergency room.

Hochhalter, 48, killed herself at a time when her family seemed to be
battling back from a tragedy that had left her daughter Anne Marie
partially paralyzed by a bullet lodged in her back.

Anne Marie, a 17-year-old Columbine High senior, told friends a week
ago that she had managed to move her legs for the first time since
April 20. She and her parents had moved into a home renovated by
volunteers to accommodate her wheelchair. Dozens of students and
teachers at Leawood Elementary, where she once went to school, took
part in a Courage Walk last week to benefit the Hochhalters. Anne
Marie had thanked them all, adding bravely, “I think we’ll all
recover.”

Seven days later her mother walked into the Alpha Pawn Shop on South
Broadway and calmly asked to look at some handguns. A clerk showed her
three. She said she wanted to buy one, a .38 special revolver, and
asked to examine it.

While the clerk turned his attention to the paperwork associated with a
gun purchase, Carla Hochhalter surreptitiously loaded the revolver
with ammunition she had brought into the shop. She fired one bullet
into a store wall. She fired the next into her right temple.

At least half a dozen pawn shop employees and customers witnessed the
shooting.

“I’m stunned,” said Richard Castaldo, another of the students partially
paralyzed by the Columbine High gunmen. “My heart goes out to that
family. To go through what they this summer, and then this.”
Castaldo’s mother, Connie Michalik, said Carla Hochhalter suffered
terribly during the six months she watched her daughter fighting to
survive, then coping with life in a wheelchair.

“When this whole thing started, she was a different person. I saw her
slide downhill,” Michalik said. “You could see it was too much for
her. At the beginning, she was upset but a normal distraught person,
like we all were. But you’d look in her eyes and see she was … lost.
It didn’t seem like she was there any more. She was sweet and loving
and kind, but it was too much for her.”

Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone, whose department investigated the
Columbine High massacre, has watched deputies call it quits in the last
six months as the enduring stresses of this tragedy took their toll.
He expressed sympathy for the Hochhalters, saying, “I’d ask people to
pray for the family to help them get through this difficult part.”

Copyright 1999 The Denver Post.
____________________________

Columbine victim’s mother kills self in pawn shop

By Karen Abbott
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

Carla Hochhalter, whose 17-year-old daughter was gravely wounded in the
Columbine High School shootings six months ago, took her own life
Friday.

Englewood police said Mrs. Hochhalter, 48, shot herself once in the
head at about 10 a.m. inside a South Broadway pawn shop where she had
just told a clerk she wanted to buy a gun.

“She was such a loving mother,” Connie Michalik, mother of wounded
Columbine student Rich Castaldo, said Friday.

The Hochhalter family, whose daughter, Anne Marie, suffered spinal cord
injuries and has been attending Columbine in a wheelchair this fall,
declined to comment.

Michalik said she and Mrs. Hochhalter spent many hours together at the
hospital in the weeks after their children were shot. Teenage gunmen
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire at the school, killing 12
students and a teacher and injuring more than 20 other people before
killing themselves.

“She was very sweet and loving and kind,” Michalik said. “This whole
thing just devastated her. This just destroyed her. It destroyed her.

“In my mind, I almost feel like Eric and Dylan killed her too.”

Police spokeswoman Letitia Castillo said the clerk at Alpha Pawn, 4155
S. Broadway in Englewood, handed Mrs. Hochhalter a .38 caliber handgun
at her request. While the clerk was doing the required background
check for the purchase, Castillo said, Mrs. Hochhalter apparently
loaded the gun with bullets she had brought with her.

Castillo said Mrs. Hochhalter fired one bullet into a wall of the store
before turning the gun on herself. No one else was injured.

Arapahoe County Coroner Dr. Michael Dobersen confirmed after an autopsy
Friday that Mrs. Hochhalter died of a gunshot wound to the head. The
death was classified as a suicide, he said.

Mrs. Hochhalter was pronounced dead at about 10:50 a.m. at Swedish
Medical Center, where Anne Marie underwent radical surgery and stayed
for weeks after she was shot twice as she ate lunch outside Columbine.

A Swedish spokeswoman said the hospital staff would not comment Friday.

Michalik said she had been concerned about Mrs. Hochhalter but never
imagined the depth of her depression.

“She was devastated, just like the rest of us,” Michalik said. “When it
first happened, she was just like any other parent.

October 22, 1999

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10/19/1999 – Paxil Lawsuit Filed

This article just ran in the Salt Lake Tribune about a lawsuit filed
against the makers of Paxil. Two years ago this young woman and her
boyfriend found my members.aol.com/atracyphd web site. They called me
for help as they came to the realization that what they thought was
“helping” her was actually the problem – her medication. She was very
sensitive to medications. While on the SSRI antidepressants, she became
so suicidal that her boyfriend, a brain chemist, had to handcuff her to
him in order to keep her from hurting herself! Their story will give
you some insight as to what a nightmare these medications can cause for
some people.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
———

Instead of making her well, woman says drug sent her …
Spinning Out of Control

Monday, October 18, 1999

BY SHAWN FOSTER
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

Natalia Victorovna Sevastianenko, a Utah college student from the
former Soviet republic of Belarus, had severe stomach pains. But a
doctor and nurse practitioner thought the discomfort might be a symptom
of depression.

After all, their patient was thousands of miles from home and alone in
a foreign country.

The medical staff recommended she take the anti-depressant Prozac.
After a series of phobic episodes and fainting, the staff changed the
prescription to a related drug, Paxil. That was when Sevastianenko said
she began to think about suicide. She made five attempts on her life
and was haunted by obsessive, irrational thoughts about hurting her
boyfriend and others.

Now, Sevastianenko is suing the pharmaceutical company that produces
Paxil for failing to provide “proper, honest [and] candid warnings.”

More at…..

http://www.sltrib.com/1999/oct/10181999/utah/39162.htm

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10/13/1999 – Ann Blake-Tracy on San Francisco Radio Saturday

Dr. Ann Tracy, Executive Director of the International Coalition of
Drug Awareness, will be interviewed this Saturday morning (10/16) from
9am to 10am PDT time on KGO Radio in San Francisco. You can listen to
live streaming audio on KGO’s web site at <www.kgo.com>.

[Start times in other Time Zones: MDT=10am; CDT=11am; EDT=Noon]

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10/01/1999 – Doctor: Link Between Medicines, Killing

Recent article in the Smithville Review regarding Robert Kirkwood’s
tragic experience with anti-depressants.

Two area cases involved anti-depressants
By DENNIS STANLEY, THE SMITHVILLE REVIEW
(Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part series.)

http://smithvillereview.edge.net/index.ez?Form.sess_id=8934&Form.sess_key=938122849&viewStory=483

In October, 1993 Wilma J. Adcock of the Antioch Community shot her
nine- and 15- year-old sons in the chest twice with a .357 revolver and
then turned the gun on herself.

In July this year, Rosemarie Kirkwood of Lebanon drove to a scenic
overlook above Center Hill Lake in DeKalb County and shot her two young
children and then shot herself.

Is there a connection? Ann Blake-Tracy, Director of the
International Coalition For Drug Awareness, thinks there’s a definite
connection — anti-depressant medication.

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7/02/1999 – Welcome to the Drug Awareness E-Mail Group

The International Coalition For Drug Awareness is a private, non-profit group of
physicians, researchers, journalists and concerned citizens. Our primary focus
is to address the world’s most pervasive and subtle drug problem – prescription
drugs. We are dedicated to educating the people of the world regarding the
potential harmful and life threatening short and long term effects of these
drugs. As the cause of an estimated 200,000 deaths per year in America, drug
reactions are now the third leading cause of death! The most dangerous period of
time for a drug is upon market introduction. At that point physicians and their
patients have information on adverse reactions present in the controlled
environment of a clinical trial, but are unaware of the potential adverse
reactions of these new drugs when dispensed to the general public. We feel there
is a need to track and report patient reactions more carefully and more rapidly
than what is presently being done, which should result in lower medical costs
for the patients and doctors as well. And also might begin to breech the gap
that is beginning to form between well-meaning doctors and maltreated patients.
By keeping prescribing physicians and their patients abreast of recent adverse
reaction reports we hope to cut the number of unnecessary deaths due to drug
reactions and interactions and lessen the number of malpractice suits filed
against physicians as a result of those reactions. Beyond this public education
process our intention is to serve as an watch dog group in relationship with the
FDA and equivalent organizations around the world, encouraging them to remove
drugs which demonstrate high numbers of dangerous adverse reactions and threaten
the public safety.

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A Cipramil [Celexa] Survivor

“I have lost all contact with my body.”

 

Dear Ann Blake-Tracy and The International Coalition for Drug Awareness

I write to you from Norway, Europe. I am a 52 year old woman, and I want to tell my story about severe adverse reactions to a SSRI drug called Cipramil (Celexa) manufactured in Denmark by a company called Lundbeck.

On the 15th of April 1997 I took my first Cipramil (Celexa) pill. Six days later I had to quit (in agreement with my doctor). During these days I experienced the most terrible kind of “electric surges” throughout my body. It was as if my head was going to blow away. I also got huge bruises on my arms.

After I stopped taking the pills I thought that my body would return to its normal state. BUT IT DID NOT. The “electric surges” continued during the days, weeks and months to come, and soon I am going to celebrate their 1st anniversary. The surges have changed somewhat in character. The center has always been (and still is) in Solar Plexus. Now the sensations are mostly in the stomach region and resembles that of “scratching, burning knives”. These sensations are always there, 24 hours every day, 60 minutes every hour, 60 seconds every minute. My whole body feels “electrified” and “dead”. It feels like the nervous center in Solar Plexus has DIED OUT. There is no more “aliveness” in there. It is transformed into a dead crater. Do you have any idea of how it feels living in this torture? Do you have any idea of what has happened to my nervous system?

I have lost all contact with my body. I can no longer feel hunger. I can stop eating for weeks if I want, and my body give no signals about being hungry. On the contrary, if I want to, I can eat and eat and eat the whole day. My body never gives a sign that my stomach is full and satisfied. Also I no longer have the normal ability to get tired and sleepy. My body has only one way of behaving: the “electrified, dead” way. Day and night. It is as if I walk around like an “electric cable”.

My skin feels “dead”. It has no “human” feeling. I cannot feel the human dimension of a hug, only the technical touch. I have lost the personal smell of my body, the smell that was ME.

But the worst thing (actually it is only another dimension of the complex I have described above) is that I HAVE LOST ALL MY HUMAN EMOTIONAL LIFE. I have no ability to experience any human feeling at all. I cannot be happy, not sad, not angry, not irritated, not interested, not ashamed. Name any human emotion you can: I cannot experience them.

I AM SURE: The Cipramil (Celexa) pills (even if they were only 6) have caused a terrible chemical disaster in my brain and my nervous system. They have destroyed my ability to experience human emotions. They have destroyed the HUMAN part of my life. They have taken away all “ALIVENESS” from my life. I feel totally dead inside me. The physical precondition for my emotional life is destroyed. Will it ever come back? I doubt it. I have no longer a human personality, a human psychic life. I have no longer a SOUL.

As you understand, I exist (I will not use the word LIVE) in terrible torture, physical and psychological. It is impossible to stand it. It is impossible to escape it. What shall I do? I have never been a candidate for suicide, but now I can see no other way out. (I have no problem understanding that an adverse effect of these pills is suicidal tendencies.)

The motor part of the nervous system is intact. The autonomic part of the nervous system is intact. The part of the nervous system that governs the intellectual life is intact. The part of the nervous system that governs the human emotional life is PARALYZED, DEAD. It is in this part the medical/chemical attack has taken place.

The adverse effect that I have experienced is the total paralyzing of my soul. The soul is as important to a human being as the body. The paralyzing of the soul therefore is as serious as if it has occurred to the body. It is impossible for me to act in human life with NO INNER HUMAN “ALIVENESS”.

I used to be an active person. I had husband and children. I liked my job. I traveled around the world as a photographer. Now I am transformed into a human wreck with a totally “dead” life. I lie on a mattress, staring up into the ceiling, trying to think of nothing.

I have no contact with my children. I can no longer live with my husband. It is impossible to be with the people I loved the most and be totally dead inside. I can no longer travel anywhere, I can no longer take my pictures, I can no longer go for a vacation. I cannot visit my friends or go to the movies or theatre. I cannot do anything because I cannot EXPERIENCE anything. I AM NO LONGER A PARTICIPANT IN THE HUMAN LIFE.

So, Ann Blake Tracy, this is my story. Have you heard of anything like this before, or am I the only person in the world experiencing this? (very unlikely, I suppose) Do you think there is any hope? Is there anything I can do? Or am I going to spend the rest of my life in Hell? If so, the SSRI drugs can add another suicide to its adverse list.

I am desperately in need of help, but see no hope.

Note: Because it is important to know that there is hope of getting better you need to know that Bjorg is doing much better now. She flew to America to meet with Dr. Tracy and left with many ideas for alternative treatments she could use. She used many natural alternative treatments and began to feel better right away which gave her hope again and courage to keep working at feeling even better.

Bjorg Johnsen; bjorg.johnsen@dagbladet.no

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 68.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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