CELEXA & LEXAPRO: CLASS ACTION FOR FRAUD FILED AGAINST DRUG MAKER

Drug-Product-Injuries

Celexa and Lexapro are two of the most deadly of all the antidepressants and I can think of few who deserves a lawsuit like this more than they!!!

Baum Hedlund files class action for fraud against the makers of Celexa & Lexapro!!!!

“If either you or your child took Celexa or Lexapro between 2001 and the present and were under the age of 18 at the time, you may have a claim against the manufacturer, Forest Labs.

“Forest Labs, the manufacturer of the antidepressants Celexa and Lexapro, paid the government a settlement in 2010 because it illegally promoted Celexa for use in children and adolescents despite the fact it had not been approved for marketing in the United States. The Justice Department sued Forest Labs because it is illegal for a pharmaceutical company to promote a drug through “off-label marketing,” which means for uses that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Forest Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Forest Labs, also was penalized for only publicizing positive Celexa study results in adolescents to doctors, while choosing to withhold the negative results. The company pled guilty to several crimes, including misbranding Celexa by marketing the antidepressant drug for use in children from 1998 to 2002 and paying kickbacks to doctors to encourage them to prescribe the drugs.”

(GET DETAILS FOR FILING BY CLICKING ARTICLE BELOW:)

www.baumhedlundlaw.com/consumer-class-actions/celexa-lexapro-consumer-fraud.php

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/

Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & http://ssristories.drugawareness.org
Author: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World” & Withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!”

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ZOLOFT: MULTIPLE LAWSUITS FILED FOR MULTIPLE BIRTH DEFECTS

Zoloft-mother-and-child[1]

ZOLOFT: MULTIPLE LAWSUITS FILED FOR MULTIPLE BIRTH DEFECTS

I do not believe it is clear to many people how serious these SSRI birth defect cases really are. This is to give you an idea of just how serious the birth defect cases are going against these drug companies…

Child was born with multiple birth defects…The complainant states that she took Zoloft throughout her pregnancy after it was prescribed by her treating physicians. She gave birth to a child with numerous congenital birth defects. The baby has been diagnosed with spina bifida, scoliosis, vater syndrome, tracheoesophageal fistula, and mitral valve regurgitation.

CASE #1

New Jersey Woman Files Zoloft Birth Defects Lawsuit

Perry Larkin | November 6th, 2012 | Posted in Zoloft Lawsuits

A New Jersey woman filed a new Zoloft litigation on October 17, 2012 seeking damages against manufacturer Pfizer, Inc. According to the filing the woman took the antidepressant Zoloft during her pregnancy and it caused multiple birth defects in her newborn son.

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Foley Square). She makes complaints of product liability, defective design, failure to warn, negligence and misrepresentation and seeks punitive and actual damages.

Zoloft accused of showing “willful disregard” to informing the public of risks

According to studies, Zoloft has long been linked to birth defects in newborns. In spite of FDA regulations that the new medical evidence requires Pfizer to update the warning label, the company has yet to do so.

The plaintiff’s attorney states that the company showed a willful disregard to informing the medical community and public of the risk of congenital birth defects due to Zoloft and this caused permanent harm to his client’s son. The label still fails to warn of the dangers and risks of congenital birth defects of Zoloft if it’s taken during pregnancy.

The plaintiff claims that her baby suffered from the following side effects of Zoloft: spina bifida, vater syndrome, clubfoot and other related defects.

Pfizer alleged to have known of side effects as early as 2007

The lawsuit alleges that Pfizer carelessly marketed the product and failed to provide sufficient warning as to the possible side effects to pregnant women. This case joins other designated cases for the pilot program of the district court, which aims to address complex civil cases.

The complaint says that in 2007, Pfizer knew that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft doubled the risk of septal heart defects in babies who were born to mothers who took the medication. In studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it indicates that a four-fold increase in heart defects was connected to pregnant women using Zoloft during their first trimester. Other studies showed that using the medication while pregnant is also linked to a higher occurrence of heart malformation.

Child was born with multiple birth defects

The complainant states that she took Zoloft throughout her pregnancy after it was prescribed by her treating physicians. She gave birth to a child with numerous congenital birth defects. The baby has been diagnosed with spina bifida, scoliosis, vater syndrome, tracheoesophageal fistula, and mitral valve regurgitation.

The plaintiff seeks compensation for medical costs, as well as punitive and special damages.

injurylawyer-news.com/2012/11/new-jersey-woman-files-zoloft-birth-defects-lawsuit/

CASE #2

Zoloft Caused Daughter’s Birth Defects, Tennessee Parents Claim in Lawsuit

Tracy Ray | October 24th, 2012 | Posted in Zoloft Lawsuits

In a lawsuit against Pfizer that was recently added to the Zoloft MDL, parents Michael and Shana Reid of Tennessee charge that their daughter was born with birth defects resulting from Zoloft. The Reids originally filed their lawsuit on June 8, 2012, in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County, and the case was transferred to the Zoloft MDL in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, on August 16, 2012.

Baby needed surgery for life-threatening defects

According to the Reid’s lawsuit, Shana Reid was prescribed Zoloft by her physician during her pregnancy. She read the drug’s warning label, but did not see anything about birth defects, so she trusted that the antidepressant was safe to use while pregnant. Had she been warned about the risk of birth defects resulting from Zoloft, she would not have taken it during her pregnancy, she states in the lawsuit.

The Reid’s baby was born on October 14, 2004 with life-threatening congenital birth defects, the lawsuit states. As a result, the child has undergone corrective surgery and is likely to require further surgeries in future.

Plaintiffs accuse Pfizer of failure to warn mothers of Zoloft’s risks

The Reid’s lawsuit alleges that Pfizer was aware of the risk of side effects after taking Zoloft, but failed to adequately warn the public or the medical community. Their lawsuit charges that Pfizer’s marketing and advertising for Zoloft misled pregnant women and their doctors by giving inaccurate or misleading information about the danger Zoloft poses to a fetus when the drug is taken during pregnancy.

The lawsuit bring counts of failure to warn, design defect, fraud, negligence, gross negligence, negligent design, and breach of warranties. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation in excess of $75,000 in damages.

FDA issued warning about Zoloft birth defects

The FDA issued a warning in July 2006 stating that studies had shown that babies born to mothers who took Zoloft or other SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy were six times more likely to be born with PPHN than babies born to mothers who did not take antidepressants.
The following year, a 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who took Zoloft during the first trimester had double the risk of giving birth to an infant with heart defects, compared to those who did not take antidepressants.

injurylawyer-news.com/2012/10/zoloft-caused-daughters-birth-defects-tennessee-parents-claim-in-lawsuit/

CASE #3

A Lawsuit Alleging Birth Defects From Zoloft is Filed in Pennsylvania
Perry Larkin | October 15th, 2012 | Posted in Zoloft Lawsuits
On September 10, 2012, a new lawsuit alleging birth defects from the use of Zoloft while pregnant was filed on behalf of ten plaintiffs by Zoloft attorneys. The case, Lentz et. Al. v. Pfizer Inc., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and alleges that the antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline) is responsible for the birth defects in their children.

This lawsuit joins the increasing number of plaintiffs who are seeking compensation for the alleged problems as a result of the medication.

Pfizer is accused of knowing of the risk of birth defects and failing to alert the public

The lawsuit alleges that Pfizer knew of the possibility of birth defects from preclinical and published studies and took no action to properly study the drug and its aftereffects. In addition, they chose not to publish these studies due to the revelation of increased risks with the drug. The manufacturer is accused of concealing, suppressing the results, and failing to warn consumers of the potential dangers. Pfizer continues to deny these accusations.

Many side effects from Zoloft can affect the heart, the gastrointestinal system, and cranial malformations

The children were born between 1998 and 2011. A correlation was demonstrated in studies between 2007 and 2009 that indicated the increased risk of birth defects when women take Zoloft while pregnant, but the plaintiffs were unaware of these studies. The plaintiffs claim that if they’d known of the risks, they never would have taken the drug.
Some of the side effects resulting from Zoloft use described in the lawsuit include gastrointestinal problems such as anteriorly displaced anus and omphalocele; heart defects such as right-sided aortic arch, patent ductus arteriosus, cleft mitral valve, transposition of the great arteries, atrial and ventrical septal defects, anomalous pulmonary venous return, and aotrtic stenosis; and craniofacial malformations such as cleft lip and palate, and multiple-suture craniosynostosis.

Pfizer’s safety information posted online doesn’t mention birth defects
On their website, Pfizer has posted “Important Safety Information” about possible complications of Zoloft, but doesn’t specifically mention birth defects. The site does state that “[w]omen who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or who are breastfeeding should not take any antidepressant without consulting their doctor,” but to date doesn’t acknowledge any risk of birth defects, nor does it indicate that Zoloft poses any risk to a pregnancy that other antidepressants don’t also pose.

injurylawyer-news.com/2012/10/a-lawsuit-alleging-birth-defects-from-zoloft-is-filed-in-pennsylvania/

CASE #4

Zoloft Drugmaker Blamed for Child Death

Elise Kramer | October 11th, 2012 | Posted in Zoloft Lawsuits

A New York couple has filed a lawsuit against Zoloft drug maker Pfizer, claiming that the antidepressant Zoloft is responsible for the birth defects experienced by their deceased son. The lawsuit was filed on August 17, 2012, in the United States’ District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where the current Zoloft multidistrict litigation case is taking place. Jessica and Shawn Coon are claiming that Zoloft was responsible for the side effects experienced by their child, as Jessica took the medication during her pregnancy; they claim that they were not adequately informed of potential side effects associated with the medication at the time.

Negligence claimed by couple

The plaintiffs claim that the deceased minor, known as J.A.C., was born with congenital heart defects caused by birth defects after Zoloft use. He passed away just one month after he was born at the West Chester Medical Center in New York. They claim that because of Pfizer’s negligence and misrepresentation, Jessica Coon continued to take the SSRI drug Zoloft while she was pregnant with her child, which resulted in the birth defects he suffered and in his subsequent death.

The lawsuit claims that Pfizer and its subsidiaries, including Greenstone LLC, did not demonstrate reasonable care in the production, marketing, and distribution of their antidepressant, which caused a number of patients to suffer from birth defects as a result of the drug’s use by pregnant mothers. A number of studies have shown that Zoloft can be linked to an increased risk in birth defects, including PPHN and congenital heart disorders, which can be fatal in serious cases.

Numerous birth defects associated with antidepressant

The growing number of plaintiffs who have chosen to file a birth defects lawsuit related to Zoloft indicates the serious concern about birth defects related to the drug. Studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that infants born to women taking SSRI medications such as Zoloft were 50 percent more likely to develop heart defects and other serious heart problems.

injurylawyer-news.com/2012/10/zoloft-drugmaker-blamed-for-child-death/

About the Author: Ann Blake Tracy is the author of PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? –OUR SEROTONIN NIGHTMARE!, and the director of the International Coalition For Drug Awareness [www.drugawareness.org]. She has testified before the FDA and has testified as an expert in legal cases involving serotonergic medications since 1992.

BOOK: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare! Anything you ever wanted to know about antidepressants is there along with everything drug companies hope you never find out about these drugs. SAFE WITHDRAWAL CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!” on how to safely withdraw from antidepressants & most psychiatric medications is saving lives! Both available at www.drugawareness.org

BOOK TESTIMONIALS:

“Very bold & informative”

“Priceless information that is giving me back to me”

“The absolute best reference for antidepressant drugs”

“Well documented & scientifically researched”

““I was stunned at the amount of research Ann Tracy has done on this subject. Few researchers go to as much trouble aggressively gathering information on the adverse reactions of Prozac, Zoloft and other SSRIs.”

WITHDRAWAL HELP CD TESTIMONIALS:

“Ann, I just wanted to let you know from the bottom of my heart how grateful I am God placed you in my life. I am now down to less than 2 mg on my Cymbalta and I have never felt better. I am finally getting my life back. I can feel again and colors have never been brighter. Thanks for all that you do!!” … Amber Weber

“Used your method of weaning off of SSRI’s and applied it to Ambien. Took 6 months but had been on 15 mg for years so what was another 6 months. I have been sleeping without it for 2 weeks and it is the first time I have been able to sleep drug free for 15 years. What a relief to be able to lay down and sleep when I need or want to. Ambien may be necessary for people at times but doctors giving a months worth of it at a time with unlimited refills is a prescription for disaster. It is so damn easy to become dependent on. Thanks for your council Ann.”… Mark Hill

“I’m so thankful for AnnTracy and all her work. Also for taking the time out to talk to me and educate everyone! She has been a blessing to me during this awful time of antidepressant hell!” … Antoinette Beck

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LEXAPRO: Judge Experience​s Antidepres​sant-Induc​ed Hypomania

A doctor who is telling the truth about the hypomanic episode this
judge experienced from his antidepressant?!!!!! How refreshing that
the patient is getting the truth rather than being told he had an
“underlying” Bipolar Disorder that was manifest by his antidepressant
use!!!!! Why can’t other doctors be as honest and come right out and
tell the patient that their Bipolar symptoms have been brought on by
their antidepressant?

BUT when a patient experiences mania or hypomania from an
antidepressant, it is ABSOLUTELY INSANE to think they will not
experience it again on a different antidepressant! He and his family
had better hold their breaths!

What a shame when this happened that he did not have a copy of my DVD,
“Bipolar, Shmypolar! Are You Really Bipolar or Misdiagnosed Due to the
Use of or Abrupt Discontinuation of an Antidepressant?” If he had, the
DVD would have served as a warning for him about this common reaction
to both antidepressant use and abrupt withdrawal from antidepressants.

Why are these “Bipolar” patients not told they are suffering
continuous mild seizure activity which is what Bipolar Disorder is – a
sleep/seizure disorder brought on by the drugs?! ANTI-depressants are
stimulants, stimulants over stimulate the brain producing seizures.
The one time of day we all are in seizure activity is during REM sleep
– the dream state. So antidepressants are basically chemically
inducing the dream state during wakefulness.

By the way, the names “Mania” and “Hypomania” should be changed to
“Shear Hell on Earth!!!!!!!”

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & www.ssristories.drugawareness.org
Author: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin
Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of
Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World & Help! I
Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!

First, there was his heart stent surgery in the spring of 2009.

Following surgery, he found himself feeling depressed, a scenario
experienced by some heart patients, he later learned. The depression
was compounded by the death of a good friend, he said.

Next, came a period of his taking an antidepressant, Lexapro,  that he
found helpful. But, he said, he stopped the medicine, on his own, too
quickly.

What happened next, he said, was later diagnosed as an episode of
hypomania, an expression of bipolar disorder. . .

Blanche [Downing’s physician], though, describes the episode as a case
of antidepressant-induced hypomania, attributing it to a second
antidepressant that Downing was later prescribed by another physician.

“Medications can commonly cause hypomania, and it’s not really
understood why,” said Dr. Mark Townsend, a professor of psychiatry at
the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Antidepressants can bring on hypomania, as can steroids, he said.

“There’s really not a diagnostic category for antidepressant-induced
hypomania” in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Blanche said, but he predicted there will be one in the
manual’s next edition.

Find this article at:

http://www.2theadvocate.com/features/people/Handling-hypomania.html?showAll=y&c=y

Former Judge Bob Downing explains episode that led to his resignation

By ELLYN COUVILLION
Advocate staff writer
Published: Mar 13, 2011 – Page: 1D

Comments (3)

Bob Downing, former 1st Circuit Court of Appeal judge, whose sudden
resignation from the bench last summer was surrounded by confusion,
can sort  out the events on a kind of timeline.

First, there was his heart stent surgery in the spring of 2009.

Following surgery, he found himself feeling depressed, a scenario
experienced by some heart patients, he later learned. The depression
was compounded by the death of a good friend, he said.

Next, came a period of his taking an antidepressant, Lexapro,  that he
found helpful. But, he said, he stopped the medicine, on his own, too
quickly.

What happened next, he said, was later diagnosed as an episode of
hypomania, an expression of bipolar disorder.

During the episode that lasted approximately three months, Downing
spent money wildly, alienated family, friends and employees and
resigned from the judicial bench, about the time he was hospitalized
and treated.

“It was a short period. It seemed like an eternity,” Downing, 61, said
recently from an office at the law firm of Dué, Price, Guidry,
Piedrahita and Andrews, where he’s working in an “of counsel” status.

In that capacity, Downing said that attorneys with the firm will work
with him on cases he brings in, but he is not on salary at the firm.
Downing handles personal injury cases.

Now being treated with medication for what was likely a one-time event
and back to feeling like himself, Downing said he recently decided to
speak out about his experience for several reasons.

“For people who have open heart surgery or stents, watch out for
depression,” Downing said.

One in five people experience an episode of depression after having
heart surgery, according to the website,http://www.psychcentral.com,
an independent mental health and psychology network run by mental
health professionals.

Downing also advises people taking antidepressants to stay in touch
with their doctor.

And, he said, “If you start feeling really wonderful and start
spending a lot of money, you need to see a counselor,” Downing said.

Hypomania is “a condition similar to mania but less severe,” according
to MedicineNet.com, a physician-produced online health-care publishing
company.

“The symptoms are similar, with elevated mood, increased activity,
decreased need for sleep, grandiosity, racing thoughts and the like,”
the company reports at its medical dictionary
website,http://www.medterms.com.

“It is important to diagnose hypomania, because, as an expression of
bipolar disorder, it can cycle into depression and carry an increased
risk of suicide,” the site reports.

Bipolar disorder is marked by periods of elevated or irritable mood —
the mania — alternating with depression, according to the National
Institutes of Health.

The mood swings between mania and depression can be very abrupt, it reports.

“Whether it’s hypomania or mania is a matter of severity,” said local
psychiatrist Dr. Robert Blanche, who is Downing’s physician.

“In general, it’s an elevated or an irritable mood that’s not normal
for the person,” Blanche said.

“In his (Downing’s) case, he was irritable and also, maybe the word is
‘expansive’ in his affects, (showing) euphoria, elation and
excitement,” Blanche said.

“He had never had a history of this before,” Blanche said.

Downing theorizes that his stopping his antidepressant too quickly, on
his own, led to the episode.

Blanche, though, describes the episode as a case of
antidepressant-induced hypomania, attributing it to a second
antidepressant that Downing was later prescribed by another physician.

“Medications can commonly cause hypomania, and it’s not really
understood why,” said Dr. Mark Townsend, a professor of psychiatry at
the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Antidepressants can bring on hypomania, as can steroids, he said.

“There’s really not a diagnostic category for antidepressant-induced
hypomania” in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Blanche said, but he predicted there will be one in the
manual’s next edition.

Blanche said the only way to arrest the condition of hypomania is for
the person to go into the hospital so that their medications can be
adjusted.

During his own hospitalization, Downing was prescribed a mood
stabilizer, Depakote, classified as an anti-seizure medicine and the
medicine most commonly prescribed for mania by psychiatrists, Blanche
said.

The medicine acts to bind up what can be described as “excitatory”
chemicals in the brain, Blanche said.

Ultimately, though, that can result in a depletion of those chemicals
and a person can slide into a depression, Blanche said.

“If (a patient) is on a mood stabilizer, you can introduce an
antidepressant,” he said.

Downing said that his current antidepressant, Wellbutrin, is working
well for him.

After living through a hypomanic episode, some patients choose to stay
on the medicine, Blanche said.

“Some people will actually choose to stay on the medicine, just
because they don’t want it to ever happen again,” he said.

Fortunately, the condition “is one of the most treatable conditions in
psychiatry,” added Blanche, who serves as the psychiatrist at the East
Baton Rouge Parish jail and is the medical director of an emergency
psychiatric treatment center affiliated with the Earl K. Long Medical
Center.

Downing’s experiences this summer seem to have had all the markings of
manic episodes of bipolar disorder.

“Around the first of June 2010, I started feeling really good, started
talking a lot more, making big plans,” Downing said.

Around that time, he went to speak at a law conference in Carmel, Calif.

“I went to Yosemite, it was beautiful. I would wake up at 3 o’clock, 4
o’clock, 5 o’clock (thinking) ‘You need to retire, buy some foreclosed
properties, fix them up and make money to help people in India dig
wells,” Downing said.

“I was making grandiose plans,” he said.

Usually frugal, he started spending money, too, he said.

Before the episode was over, he had run up debts of almost $100,000,
buying such things as a 1971 Rolls Royce, three Harley-Davidson
motorcycles and a 1952 police car, he said.

He also bought a $1,000 commercial pressure washer, a large lawn
tractor and expensive new tools to help put a formerly homeless man
into business, he said.

“He just wasn’t himself,” said his wife, Pam Downing.

The couple will have been married 30 years on March 29.

“When the person is in that condition, you really can’t reason with
them,” Blanche said.

“The amazing thing about it is that it robs the person of their
insight,” he said.

In contrast, people are “painfully aware” of the other aspect of
bipolar disorder — depression, Blanche said.

Physicians and employers may miss a condition like hypomania, said
Townsend, because, like most people, “we like happy people, perky
people.”

“There’s a little more-rapid thinking, (rapid) speech, a decreased
need for sleep” in someone with mania, he said.

“When it becomes a condition is when it affects functioning,” Townsend said.

“It’s wonderful that the judge is willing to be an advocate for
bipolar disorder” awareness, Townsend said, referring to Downing.

“It’s very common, and people with it can be very productive members
of our society. It’s all around us,” he said.

Downing’s symptoms brought along misunderstandings among friends and
family members and conflicting ideas on the cause and solution of the
situation, he and family members said
Downing said he refused to seek treatment.

Finally, at one point, his eldest daughter, Kathryne Hart, 27, after
consulting with a physician, sought to have her father committed to a
hospital. Hart’s efforts came after Downing threatened suicide if
there was any more talk about his going to see a doctor.

“She was very brave,” Downing said.

But Downing wasn’t at home as expected when sheriff’s deputies arrived
to bring him to the hospital.

Pam Downing, who supported Hart in the decision, had taken the
couple’s son, Wes Downing, then 24, to visit a relative in Missouri
and to get away from the stressful situation at that time. The
Downings also have another daughter,  Kiera Downing, 26.

Shortly afterward, a group of Downing’s friends brought Downing to see
Blanche, who then admitted Downing into a psychiatric hospital, and
Downing began the recovery process, Kathryne Hart said.

Hart said that the threat of her father taking his life was something
she couldn’t ignore.

When she was in middle school, she said, two fellow students killed
themselves within a week of each other.

“I couldn’t take that chance,” she said. “I was going to do anything
to save him.”

The family said it took about a month after his hospitalization for
Downing to begin seeming like himself again and to understand what had
happened.

Downing said he has struggled with guilt over the debt he accrued
during the manic episode.

He’s taken heart, he said, from something he read in the book “Words
to Lift Your Spirit” by Dale Brown:

“When we do experience failure in our jobs or in our personal lives,
we must not shackle ourselves with guilt, because it can lead to the
silent suffocation of our spirit.”

Downing said that his speaking about his experience is a way to bring
something positive from it.

“He’s 100 percent better,” Hart said. “He’s completely back to normal.
He’s reconciled with all of us.”

“Something like this either tears a family apart or makes it
stronger,” Pam Downing said.

For them, the experience has made the family stronger, she said,
adding that they received a lot of support from the pastors of their
church, First Presbyterian.

Downing, who receives a pension for his years of public service,
served as a district judge for 15 years and as a 1st Circuit Court of
Appeal judge for 10 years.

Over the years, he also worked in various volunteer programs for
prison inmates, such as a Bible study and a program that prepared
inmates for getting jobs when they were released.

He also previously served on the boards of Cenikor, a treatment
community to help people end substance abuse, and the Baton Rouge
Marine Institute, now AMIkids Baton Rouge.

Looking back on the events of last summer, he said, “Twenty-five years
in public service and, then, at the end of my career, people are
going, ‘What’s happening? Something’s wrong.’”

Looking ahead to the future, Downing said, “I’ve been a positive
person most of my life. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Bipolar disorder, classified as a mood disorder, affects about 5.7
million Americans or approximately 2.6 percent of the U.S. population.

The disorder, which affects men and women equally, involves periods of
mania — elevated or irritable mood — alternating with periods of
depression. There are two types. Bipolar disorder type I involves
periods of major depression and was formerly called manic depression.
Bipolar disorder type II involves hypomania, with symptoms that aren’t
as extreme as the symptoms of mania.

In most people with bipolar disorder, there is no clear cause.

The following, though, may trigger a manic episode in people
vulnerable to the illness:

Life changes such as childbirth.
Medication such as antidepressants and steroids.
Periods of sleeplessness.
Recreational drug use.

Symptoms of the manic phase can last from days to months and include:

Agitation or irritation.
Inflated self-esteem.
Noticeably elevated mood.
Poor temper control.
Impaired judgment.
Spending sprees.

Medicines called mood stabilizers are the first line of treatment.
Antidepressant medications can be added to mood-stabilizing drugs.
Other medications used to treat bipolar disorder are anti-psychotic
drugs and anti-anxiety drugs.

Source: The National Institutes of Health

Capitol news bureau writer Michelle Millhollon contributed to this story.

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LEXAPRO: Judge Experiences Antidepressant-Induced Hypomania

A doctor who is telling the truth about the hypomanic episode this
judge experienced from his antidepressant?!!!!! How refreshing that
the patient is getting the truth rather than being told he had an
“underlying” Bipolar Disorder that was manifest by his antidepressant
use!!!!! Why can’t other doctors be as honest and come right out and
tell the patient that their Bipolar symptoms have been brought on by
their antidepressant?

BUT when a patient experiences mania or hypomania from an
antidepressant, it is ABSOLUTELY INSANE to think they will not
experience it again on a different antidepressant! He and his family
had better hold their breaths!

What a shame when this happened that he did not have a copy of my DVD,
“Bipolar, Shmypolar! Are You Really Bipolar or Misdiagnosed Due to the
Use of or Abrupt Discontinuation of an Antidepressant?” If he had, the
DVD would have served as a warning for him about this common reaction
to both antidepressant use and abrupt withdrawal from antidepressants.

Why are these “Bipolar” patients not told they are suffering
continuous mild seizure activity which is what Bipolar Disorder is – a
sleep/seizure disorder brought on by the drugs?! ANTI-depressants are
stimulants, stimulants over stimulate the brain producing seizures.
The one time of day we all are in seizure activity is during REM sleep
– the dream state. So antidepressants are basically chemically
inducing the dream state during wakefulness.

By the way, the names “Mania” and “Hypomania” should be changed to
“Shear Hell on Earth!!!!!!!”

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & www.ssristories.drugawareness.org
Author: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin
Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of
Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World & Help! I
Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!

First, there was his heart stent surgery in the spring of 2009.

Following surgery, he found himself feeling depressed, a scenario
experienced by some heart patients, he later learned. The depression
was compounded by the death of a good friend, he said.

Next, came a period of his taking an antidepressant, Lexapro,  that he
found helpful. But, he said, he stopped the medicine, on his own, too
quickly.

What happened next, he said, was later diagnosed as an episode of
hypomania, an expression of bipolar disorder. . .

Blanche [Downing’s physician], though, describes the episode as a case
of antidepressant-induced hypomania, attributing it to a second
antidepressant that Downing was later prescribed by another physician.

“Medications can commonly cause hypomania, and it’s not really
understood why,” said Dr. Mark Townsend, a professor of psychiatry at
the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Antidepressants can bring on hypomania, as can steroids, he said.

“There’s really not a diagnostic category for antidepressant-induced
hypomania” in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Blanche said, but he predicted there will be one in the
manual’s next edition.

Find this article at:

http://www.2theadvocate.com/features/people/Handling-hypomania.html?showAll=y&c=y

Former Judge Bob Downing explains episode that led to his resignation

By ELLYN COUVILLION
Advocate staff writer
Published: Mar 13, 2011 – Page: 1D

Comments (3)

Bob Downing, former 1st Circuit Court of Appeal judge, whose sudden
resignation from the bench last summer was surrounded by confusion,
can sort  out the events on a kind of timeline.

First, there was his heart stent surgery in the spring of 2009.

Following surgery, he found himself feeling depressed, a scenario
experienced by some heart patients, he later learned. The depression
was compounded by the death of a good friend, he said.

Next, came a period of his taking an antidepressant, Lexapro,  that he
found helpful. But, he said, he stopped the medicine, on his own, too
quickly.

What happened next, he said, was later diagnosed as an episode of
hypomania, an expression of bipolar disorder.

During the episode that lasted approximately three months, Downing
spent money wildly, alienated family, friends and employees and
resigned from the judicial bench, about the time he was hospitalized
and treated.

“It was a short period. It seemed like an eternity,” Downing, 61, said
recently from an office at the law firm of Dué, Price, Guidry,
Piedrahita and Andrews, where he’s working in an “of counsel” status.

In that capacity, Downing said that attorneys with the firm will work
with him on cases he brings in, but he is not on salary at the firm.
Downing handles personal injury cases.

Now being treated with medication for what was likely a one-time event
and back to feeling like himself, Downing said he recently decided to
speak out about his experience for several reasons.

“For people who have open heart surgery or stents, watch out for
depression,” Downing said.

One in five people experience an episode of depression after having
heart surgery, according to the website,http://www.psychcentral.com,
an independent mental health and psychology network run by mental
health professionals.

Downing also advises people taking antidepressants to stay in touch
with their doctor.

And, he said, “If you start feeling really wonderful and start
spending a lot of money, you need to see a counselor,” Downing said.

Hypomania is “a condition similar to mania but less severe,” according
to MedicineNet.com, a physician-produced online health-care publishing
company.

“The symptoms are similar, with elevated mood, increased activity,
decreased need for sleep, grandiosity, racing thoughts and the like,”
the company reports at its medical dictionary
website,http://www.medterms.com.

“It is important to diagnose hypomania, because, as an expression of
bipolar disorder, it can cycle into depression and carry an increased
risk of suicide,” the site reports.

Bipolar disorder is marked by periods of elevated or irritable mood —
the mania — alternating with depression, according to the National
Institutes of Health.

The mood swings between mania and depression can be very abrupt, it reports.

“Whether it’s hypomania or mania is a matter of severity,” said local
psychiatrist Dr. Robert Blanche, who is Downing’s physician.

“In general, it’s an elevated or an irritable mood that’s not normal
for the person,” Blanche said.

“In his (Downing’s) case, he was irritable and also, maybe the word is
‘expansive’ in his affects, (showing) euphoria, elation and
excitement,” Blanche said.

“He had never had a history of this before,” Blanche said.

Downing theorizes that his stopping his antidepressant too quickly, on
his own, led to the episode.

Blanche, though, describes the episode as a case of
antidepressant-induced hypomania, attributing it to a second
antidepressant that Downing was later prescribed by another physician.

“Medications can commonly cause hypomania, and it’s not really
understood why,” said Dr. Mark Townsend, a professor of psychiatry at
the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Antidepressants can bring on hypomania, as can steroids, he said.

“There’s really not a diagnostic category for antidepressant-induced
hypomania” in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Blanche said, but he predicted there will be one in the
manual’s next edition.

Blanche said the only way to arrest the condition of hypomania is for
the person to go into the hospital so that their medications can be
adjusted.

During his own hospitalization, Downing was prescribed a mood
stabilizer, Depakote, classified as an anti-seizure medicine and the
medicine most commonly prescribed for mania by psychiatrists, Blanche
said.

The medicine acts to bind up what can be described as “excitatory”
chemicals in the brain, Blanche said.

Ultimately, though, that can result in a depletion of those chemicals
and a person can slide into a depression, Blanche said.

“If (a patient) is on a mood stabilizer, you can introduce an
antidepressant,” he said.

Downing said that his current antidepressant, Wellbutrin, is working
well for him.

After living through a hypomanic episode, some patients choose to stay
on the medicine, Blanche said.

“Some people will actually choose to stay on the medicine, just
because they don’t want it to ever happen again,” he said.

Fortunately, the condition “is one of the most treatable conditions in
psychiatry,” added Blanche, who serves as the psychiatrist at the East
Baton Rouge Parish jail and is the medical director of an emergency
psychiatric treatment center affiliated with the Earl K. Long Medical
Center.

Downing’s experiences this summer seem to have had all the markings of
manic episodes of bipolar disorder.

“Around the first of June 2010, I started feeling really good, started
talking a lot more, making big plans,” Downing said.

Around that time, he went to speak at a law conference in Carmel, Calif.

“I went to Yosemite, it was beautiful. I would wake up at 3 o’clock, 4
o’clock, 5 o’clock (thinking) ‘You need to retire, buy some foreclosed
properties, fix them up and make money to help people in India dig
wells,” Downing said.

“I was making grandiose plans,” he said.

Usually frugal, he started spending money, too, he said.

Before the episode was over, he had run up debts of almost $100,000,
buying such things as a 1971 Rolls Royce, three Harley-Davidson
motorcycles and a 1952 police car, he said.

He also bought a $1,000 commercial pressure washer, a large lawn
tractor and expensive new tools to help put a formerly homeless man
into business, he said.

“He just wasn’t himself,” said his wife, Pam Downing.

The couple will have been married 30 years on March 29.

“When the person is in that condition, you really can’t reason with
them,” Blanche said.

“The amazing thing about it is that it robs the person of their
insight,” he said.

In contrast, people are “painfully aware” of the other aspect of
bipolar disorder — depression, Blanche said.

Physicians and employers may miss a condition like hypomania, said
Townsend, because, like most people, “we like happy people, perky
people.”

“There’s a little more-rapid thinking, (rapid) speech, a decreased
need for sleep” in someone with mania, he said.

“When it becomes a condition is when it affects functioning,” Townsend said.

“It’s wonderful that the judge is willing to be an advocate for
bipolar disorder” awareness, Townsend said, referring to Downing.

“It’s very common, and people with it can be very productive members
of our society. It’s all around us,” he said.

Downing’s symptoms brought along misunderstandings among friends and
family members and conflicting ideas on the cause and solution of the
situation, he and family members said
Downing said he refused to seek treatment.

Finally, at one point, his eldest daughter, Kathryne Hart, 27, after
consulting with a physician, sought to have her father committed to a
hospital. Hart’s efforts came after Downing threatened suicide if
there was any more talk about his going to see a doctor.

“She was very brave,” Downing said.

But Downing wasn’t at home as expected when sheriff’s deputies arrived
to bring him to the hospital.

Pam Downing, who supported Hart in the decision, had taken the
couple’s son, Wes Downing, then 24, to visit a relative in Missouri
and to get away from the stressful situation at that time. The
Downings also have another daughter,  Kiera Downing, 26.

Shortly afterward, a group of Downing’s friends brought Downing to see
Blanche, who then admitted Downing into a psychiatric hospital, and
Downing began the recovery process, Kathryne Hart said.

Hart said that the threat of her father taking his life was something
she couldn’t ignore.

When she was in middle school, she said, two fellow students killed
themselves within a week of each other.

“I couldn’t take that chance,” she said. “I was going to do anything
to save him.”

The family said it took about a month after his hospitalization for
Downing to begin seeming like himself again and to understand what had
happened.

Downing said he has struggled with guilt over the debt he accrued
during the manic episode.

He’s taken heart, he said, from something he read in the book “Words
to Lift Your Spirit” by Dale Brown:

“When we do experience failure in our jobs or in our personal lives,
we must not shackle ourselves with guilt, because it can lead to the
silent suffocation of our spirit.”

Downing said that his speaking about his experience is a way to bring
something positive from it.

“He’s 100 percent better,” Hart said. “He’s completely back to normal.
He’s reconciled with all of us.”

“Something like this either tears a family apart or makes it
stronger,” Pam Downing said.

For them, the experience has made the family stronger, she said,
adding that they received a lot of support from the pastors of their
church, First Presbyterian.

Downing, who receives a pension for his years of public service,
served as a district judge for 15 years and as a 1st Circuit Court of
Appeal judge for 10 years.

Over the years, he also worked in various volunteer programs for
prison inmates, such as a Bible study and a program that prepared
inmates for getting jobs when they were released.

He also previously served on the boards of Cenikor, a treatment
community to help people end substance abuse, and the Baton Rouge
Marine Institute, now AMIkids Baton Rouge.

Looking back on the events of last summer, he said, “Twenty-five years
in public service and, then, at the end of my career, people are
going, ‘What’s happening? Something’s wrong.’”

Looking ahead to the future, Downing said, “I’ve been a positive
person most of my life. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Bipolar disorder, classified as a mood disorder, affects about 5.7
million Americans or approximately 2.6 percent of the U.S. population.

The disorder, which affects men and women equally, involves periods of
mania — elevated or irritable mood — alternating with periods of
depression. There are two types. Bipolar disorder type I involves
periods of major depression and was formerly called manic depression.
Bipolar disorder type II involves hypomania, with symptoms that aren’t
as extreme as the symptoms of mania.

In most people with bipolar disorder, there is no clear cause.

The following, though, may trigger a manic episode in people
vulnerable to the illness:

Life changes such as childbirth.
Medication such as antidepressants and steroids.
Periods of sleeplessness.
Recreational drug use.

Symptoms of the manic phase can last from days to months and include:

Agitation or irritation.
Inflated self-esteem.
Noticeably elevated mood.
Poor temper control.
Impaired judgment.
Spending sprees.

Medicines called mood stabilizers are the first line of treatment.
Antidepressant medications can be added to mood-stabilizing drugs.
Other medications used to treat bipolar disorder are anti-psychotic
drugs and anti-anxiety drugs.

Source: The National Institutes of Health

Capitol news bureau writer Michelle Millhollon contributed to this story.

873 total views, 2 views today

LEXAPRO & ALCOHOL & MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Murder: Woman Stabs Man To Death: CA

Paragraph eleven reads:  “During the interview, Rothwell
at times explained she was really drunk during the incident. However, she also
denied feeling “buzzed,” explaining she could “see straight” and was not falling
down drunk. She also admitted she drinks “a little bit” and takes medical
marijuana everyday. Rothwell said she takes Lexapro for anxiety and
depression and that she had taken her medication the night of the
incident.
Rothwell told police she has anger problems and when her
father died two years ago it “kinda pushed” her over the edge. She admitted to

stabbing a friend Alex Montes in the arm approximately a year and one-half
before when they were drunk and playing around. Rothwell explained she was not
mad at Montes, but he had said  ‘you won’t [stab me],’  so she did.
Rothwell agreed there were similarities about the two incidents with Rivas and
Montes because each man had dared her to stab him.”

SSRI Stories
Note:  The Physicians Desk Reference states that
antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and can cause

alcohol abuse. Also, the liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and
the alcohol simultaneously, thus leading to higher levels of both alcohol and
the antidepressant
in the human body.

http://www.leagle.com/unsecure/page.htm?shortname=incaco20100422068

PEOPLE v. ROTHWELL

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and
Respondent,
v.
SAMANTHA ELIZABETH ROTHWELL, Defendant and
Appellant.

No. G040557.

Court of Appeals of California, Fourth
District, Division Three.

Filed April 22, 2010.

Christine Vento,
under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and
Appellant.

Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette,
Chief Assistant Attorney General, Gary W. Schons, Assistant Attorney General,
Jeffrey J. Koch and Pamela Ratner Sobeck, Deputy Attorneys General, for
Plaintiff and Respondent.

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL
REPORTS

OPINION

O’LEARY, Acting P.
J.

Samantha Elizabeth Rothwell appeals from a judgment after a jury
convicted her of second degree murder and found true she personally used a
deadly or dangerous weapon, a knife, in the commission of the crime. Rothwell
argues her federal constitutional rights were violated when the trial court
refused to instruct the jury to consider evidence of her intoxication in
determining whether she acted with conscious disregard for human life. We
disagree and affirm the judgment.

FACTS[ 1 ]

One afternoon, a group of 10 to 15
friends rented a room at the Hotel Huntington Beach to celebrate Nicole Alcala’s
birthday. Rothwell, one of the invitees, and her friend, Kristina Torres,
arrived around 8:30 p.m. Marc Bellatiere and his girlfriend, Jennifer Mulcahy,
were at the party when Rothwell and Torres arrived. Mulcahy also invited her
brother Ryan Soto. Eighteen-year-old Walter Rivas was also at the
party.

Sometime in the evening, the group went to the beach to meet with
friends. Rothwell chose to stay at the hotel. When the group returned sometime
after midnight, Soto recalled that Rothwell “didn’t seem like herself.” While
some people started getting ready for bed, Bellatiere went outside to the fifth
floor stairwell landing to smoke a cigarette. Mulcahy, Torres, Rothwell, and
Rivas joined him. For the first five to 10 minutes, the mood was fine. However,
the atmosphere changed when Rivas began talking about seeing God the last time
he was in Huntington Beach. Rothwell became upset and ordered Rivas to not “talk
about God. I don’t like hearing about that stuff.” Rivas was taken aback by
Rothwell’s response and asked her why. She replied, “It’s because I’m the
devil,” and demanded Rivas “stop talking about it.” Rivas responded, “I’ll talk
about whatever I want.” Rothwell threatened, “If you don’t stop talking, shut
up, I’ll stab you.” No one in the group took Rothwell’s threat seriously. Rivas
said jokingly, “If you are going to do it, do it,” and continued to talk about
God. Rivas was not threatening, did not make any aggressive moves toward
Rothwell, and made no physical contact with her.

Rothwell walked to the
hotel room and flung the door open. Mulcahy followed and tried to calm her down.
Rivas stayed on the landing talking with Torres. When Rothwell and Mulcahy
entered the hotel room, it was dark and everyone was sleeping. Rothwell went to

the side of the bed where her belongings were located and began digging through
her purse while saying, “@#$% this guy . . . he can’t be talking to me like
this.” Mulcahy tried to grab Rothwell and calm her down, but Rothwell pulled
away and left the room.

Rothwell returned to the stairwell and headed
straight for Rivas. Rothwell swung her closed fist toward Rivas’s neck. Rivas
was substantially taller than Rothwell and struggled against her, but she
stabbed him in the jugular vein and in the back. When Rothwell took her arm
away, Rivas was bleeding profusely and said, “That @#$% fucking stabbed me.
That @#$% fucking stabbed me.” Bellatiere and Torres walked Rivas back to the
hotel room where they had him lay on the bathroom floor.

Rothwell
returned to the room and quickly gathered her things to leave. Soto asked, “Why
did you do it? What happened?” and Rothwell responded, “It wasn’t a big fucking
deal, get over it,” or “Get the @#$% over it. @#$% you,” and left the room
passing a bloody Rivas. Rothwell left bloody fingerprints on the stairwell
railing as she left. Someone called 911.

Bellatiere, Mulcahy, and Soto
left the hotel scared and panicked while Alcala and Torres tended to Rivas. The
group drove down the street and parked. Bellatiere left because he was the only
one in the group who was over 21 years old and had brought alcohol for the
party, which included underage party guests. Bellatiere, Mulcahy, and Soto
called Mulchay’s mother and asked what they should do. As a result of that
conversation, about one hour later, Bellatiere, Mulcahy, and Soto returned to

the hotel. Bellatiere and Mulcahy spoke to police who were at the
hotel.

Rivas died at the hospital. An autopsy determined he bled to death
as a result of an L-shaped stab wound in the left jugular vein of the neck.
Rivas had a blood alcohol level of .09% before his death. He would have needed
four and one-half to five drinks to reach that level.

Police officers
arrested Rothwell the next day at her apartment in Valencia. Officer Michael
Reilly executed a search warrant and found her purse and backpack. In a small
pocket of her backpack, he found a folding knife with dried blood on it. Dried
blood was also found on her backpack, tennis shoes, and pants. Inside Rothwell’s
purse, Reilly found a McDonald’s receipt from earlier that morning at 2:39 a.m.
for a double cheeseburger and chicken nuggets.

Later that day, officers
interviewed Rothwell at the Huntington Beach Police Department. After waiving
her Miranda[ 2 ] rights, Rothwell told police she consumed
three beers and two or three shots of alcohol and vomited while the others were
at the beach. Rothwell explained that while having a cigarette on the fire
escape, she had a conversation with Mulcahy about how she used to cut herself,
which sparked an argument with Rivas. She recalled Rivas said he “found God in
Huntington Beach,” but said it did not make her upset and she was joking when
she said the devil visited her. She explained Rivas had been drinking and yelled
at her to stab him. In response, she walked back to the hotel room and got her
knife. She denied saying she was going to stab Rivas. When she went back to the
stairwell, Rothwell alleged Rivas was taunting her to “stab me like that.”
Rothwell explained the two were wrestling and she was trying to get away when
she swung three times at his stomach and back and inadvertently stabbed him in
the neck. Rothwell explained Torres was screaming at her to stop, but she was
“drunk” and “pissed off” because Rivas had yelled at her and was grabbing her by
the arms. She told police that after she stabbed Rivas, he said, “You got me,”
and “[She] killed him.” Rothwell admitted seeing Rivas laying on the floor
bleeding profusely but gathered her belongings and left the hotel room because
she was terrified and realized he might die. Rothwell recalled saying, “tell
everybody to go to hell” to Mulcahy’s friend Marshall who had followed her down
the stairs. Rothwell explained that when she left the hotel she drove to

McDonald’s and purchased a double cheeseburger and chicken nuggets. Rothwell
explained she then went home and waited for the police to come and arrest
her.

During the interview, Rothwell at times explained she was really
drunk during the incident. However, she also denied feeling “buzzed,” explaining
she could “see straight” and was not falling down drunk. She also admitted she
drinks “a little bit” and takes medical marijuana everyday. Rothwell said she
takes Lexapro for anxiety and depression and that she had taken her medication
the night of the incident. Rothwell told police she has anger problems and when
her father died two years ago it “kinda pushed” her over the edge. She admitted
to stabbing a friend Alex Montes in the arm approximately a year and one-half
before when they were drunk and playing around. Rothwell explained she was not
mad at Montes, but he had said “you won’t [stab me],” so she did. Rothwell
agreed there were similarities about the two incidents with Rivas and Montes
because each man had dared her to stab him.

Rothwell cried while she told
police she did not mean to kill Rivas. When she heard about Rivas’s death she
“felt sick” and felt bad for his family. Rothwell did not know what made her do
it and admitted she is “not right.”

An indictment charged Rothwell with

murder in violation of Penal Code section 187, subdivision (a).[ 3 ]
The indictment alleged she personally used a knife, a dangerous and deadly
weapon, in the commission of the crime, pursuant to section 12022, subdivision
(b)(1).

At trial, the prosecutor offered Montes’s testimony. Montes
testified he was a good friend of Rothwell, had known her for three years, and
would see her everyday. Montes explained a conversation he had with Rothwell in
which she told him that she did not believe in God because her father told her
to say her prayers and when Rothwell woke up in the morning, her father was
dead. He testified Rothwell would get upset and very emotional if the topic of
God was discussed. He recalled she would say, “Don’t ever bring God up in my
house again. I don’t believe it.” Despite her anger about any discussion of God,
he never saw Rothwell pick up a weapon or heard her say she would stab someone
for talking about God. Montes recalled a night when he and Rothwell were
“playing around” and Rothwell said, “if you make me mad enough I’ll stab you.”
Not taking Rothwell seriously, Montes explained he said jokingly, “you won’t
stab me” and stuck his arm out. In response, she pushed the knife into his arm,
drawing blood. She apologized the next day, and Montes still considers her a
close friend.

Mulcahy also testified for the prosecution. Mulcahy was a
friend of Rothwell from high school and stayed in touch weekly. Mulcahy
testified Rothwell appeared to be fine when she entered the party. She explained
it was the first time Rivas and Rothwell had met. She believed Rothwell was not
religious but was also not an atheist. She also knew Rothwell carried a knife
for protection and could get very angry. Mulcahy testified everyone drank
throughout the night.

The prosecutor also offered the testimony of a
forensic scientist, Annette McCall. McCall testified blood samples gathered from
the scene compared with known samples of Rivas’s DNA revealed Rivas could “not
be eliminated as a source.” She also testified blood samples gathered from
Rothwell’s backpack and knife compared with known samples of Rivas’s DNA
revealed Rivas could “not be eliminated as a source.”

Rothwell offered
Torres’s testimony. Torres explained she and Rothwell were best friends. Torres
said they “probably smoked marijuana” before going to the hotel and she saw
Rothwell smoking marijuana throughout the night. Torres described Rivas as
always having a smile on his face. According to Torres, Rivas and Rothwell were
talking about religion on the landing and Rivas said he saw God on the beach.
Rothwell said, “I’m the devil.” Torres explained Rivas was calm and Rothwell was
yelling and then left briefly. Torres recalled that when Rothwell returned, it
appeared as though she was dancing with Rivas. She eventually realized it looked
confrontational and Rivas was trying to push Rothwell away. Torres testified she
never saw a knife. She saw the blood pouring from Rivas’s neck but did not think
he would die. Torres helped Rivas until the paramedics arrived. She remembered
Rivas saying, “Tell my mother I love her.” She stated Rothwell gathered her
belongings and left the hotel room. Torres thought she heard Rothwell say upon
her departure, “It’s no big deal, fucking deal with it.” Torres said Rivas had
not been confrontational or argumentative with Rothwell that night or in the
past. However, Torres explained Rothwell becomes confrontational whenever the
subject of God comes up. Torres also explained that if someone tells Rothwell
not to do something, she will do it. Furthermore, if someone dares Rothwell to

do something, she will. Torres testified she witnessed the stabbing of Montes by
Rothwell, which was the result of a dare. Torres also testified “`[Rothwell]
goes from zero to maniac . . . if you push her button.'”

Torres admitted
lying to the police to protect Rothwell. She tried to protect Rothwell because
she knew what Rothwell did was wrong and it was no accident. Torres explained
she called Christian Robinson, Rothwell’s boyfriend, and told him that Rothwell
had stabbed someone. Two days later, Torres felt she could no longer protect
Rothwell and typed a statement to police that she both faxed and hand delivered.
In the statement, she explained Rothwell had stabbed Rivas. She also reported
Rothwell said to Rivas, “Oh yeah, oh, you don’t think I won’t. You think I
won’t.”

The trial court instructed the jury on first degree murder and
second degree murder­both on the implied malice and no premeditation
theories­and involuntary manslaughter. Rothwell’s counsel requested CALCRIM
No. 3426, the voluntary intoxication instruction. The prosecutor objected based
on Rothwell’s statement she was not buzzed. The trial court expressed a
preference for CALCRIM No. 625, a voluntary intoxication instruction that
pertains directly to homicide. Defense counsel requested CALCRIM No. 625 be
modified to add malice aforethought, which includes implied malice. The
requested instruction (the Special Instruction) provided: “You may consider
evidence, if any, of the defendant’s voluntary intoxication only in a limited
way. You may consider that evidence only in deciding whether the defendant acted
with an intent to kill, or the defendant acted with deliberation and
premeditation, or acted with malice aforethought. [¶] A person is

voluntarily intoxicated if he or she becomes intoxicated by willingly
using any intoxicating drug, drink, or other substance knowing that it could
produce an intoxicating effect, or willingly assuming the risk of that effect.
[¶] You may not consider evidence of voluntary intoxication for any other
purpose.” The court declined to instruct the jury with the Special Instruction.
Instead, the court instructed the jury with CALCRIM No. 625 without the “or
acted with malice aforethought” language.

The jury convicted Rothwell of
second degree murder and found true the allegations she personally used a deadly
or dangerous weapon, a knife. The trial court sentenced her to prison for a
total term of 16 years to life.

DISCUSSION

Due Process and Fair Trial

Rothwell contends her federal constitutional rights to due process and a
fair trial were violated when the trial court, relying on section 22, refused to
instruct the jury it may consider her voluntary intoxication to negate implied
malice. Specifically, she argues section 22, subdivision (b), is
unconstitutional because it was designed to keep out relevant, exculpatory
evidence and is not a redefinition of the mental state element of the offense.
We disagree.

Section 22, most recently amended in 1995, provides: “(a) No
act committed by a person while in a state of voluntary intoxication is less
criminal by reason of his or her having been in that condition. Evidence of
voluntary intoxication shall not be admitted to negate the capacity to form any
mental states for the crimes charged, including, but not limited to, purpose,
intent, knowledge, premeditation, deliberation, or malice aforethought, with
which the accused committed the act. [¶] (b) Evidence of voluntary intoxication
is admissible solely on the issue of whether or not the defendant actually
formed a required specific intent, or, when charged with murder, whether the
defendant premeditated, deliberated, or harbored express malice
aforethought. [¶] (c) Voluntary intoxication includes the voluntary ingestion,
injection, or taking by any other means of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or
other substance.” (Italics added.)

The Legislature’s 1995 amendment to

section 22 inserted the word “express” before the word “malice” in subdivision
(b). The 1995 amendment was in direct response to People v. Whitfield
(1994) 7 Cal.4th 437 (Whitfield). In Whitfield, the California
Supreme Court held evidence of a defendant’s voluntary intoxication was
admissible to negate implied as well as express malice. (Id. at
451.)

The history of the 1995 amendment to section 22 was most recently
addressed in People v. Turk (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 1361 (Turk). In

Turk, the court concluded, “The legislative history of the amendment
unequivocally indicates that the Legislature intended to legislatively supersede
Whitfield, and make voluntary intoxication inadmissible to negate implied
malice in cases in which a defendant is charged with murder.” (Turk,
supra,
164 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1374-1375.)

Rothwell argues section 22
is unconstitutional after the 1995 amendment because “it created a rule that
keeps out relevant exculpatory evidence by in effect precluding the jury from
considering evidence that could disprove the `conscious disregard for human
life’ element of implied malice second degree murder.” Rothwell relies on

Montana v. Egelhoff (1996) 518 U.S. 37 (Egelhoff), and Justice
Ginsburg’s concurring opinion, to support her contention.

In
Egelhoff, a plurality of the court upheld the constitutionality of a
Montana statute providing voluntary intoxication “`may not be taken into
consideration in determining the existence of a mental state which is an element
of [the] offense.'” (Egelhoff, supra, 518 U.S. at p. 57.) The plurality
found no due process violation because the right to have a jury consider
intoxication evidence was not a “fundamental principle of justice.” In
concurrence, Justice Ginsberg drew a distinction between rules designed to keep
out relevant, exculpatory evidence that might negate an essential element of a
crime and violate due process, and rules that redefine the mental state element
of the offense. (Ibid.) Justice Ginsburg viewed the Montana statute as a
redefinition of the offense’s required mental state and therefore excluding
evidence of voluntary intoxication was constitutional. (Id. at pp.
57-59.)

“When a fragmented Court decides a case and no single rationale
explaining the result enjoys the assent of five Justices, `the holding of the
Court may be viewed as that position taken by those Members who concurred in the
judgments on the narrowest grounds . . . .'” (Marks v. United States

(1977) 430 U.S. 188, 193.) Assuming Justice Ginsburg’s concurrence controls, as
Rothwell urges this court to do, we nonetheless conclude section 22 does not
violate due process.

In People v. Timms (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th
1292, 1300-1301 (Timms ), the court addressed the identical issue we have
here. The court explained section 22 did not violate a defendant’s due process
rights because section 22, subdivision (b), did not belong to the “prohibited
category of evidentiary rules designed to exclude relevant exculpatory
evidence.” (Timms, supra, 151 Cal.App.4th at p. 1300.) The court
reasoned, “The absence of implied malice from the exceptions listed in
subdivision (b) is itself a policy statement that murder under an implied malice
theory comes within the general rule of subdivision (a) such that voluntary
intoxication can serve no defensive purpose. In other words, section 22,
subdivision (b)[,] is not `merely an evidentiary prescription’; rather, it
`embodies a legislative judgment regarding the circumstances under which
individuals may be held criminally responsible for their actions.’ [Citation.]
In short, voluntary intoxication is irrelevant to proof of the mental state of
implied malice or conscious disregard. Therefore, it does not lessen the
prosecution’s burden of proof or prevent a defendant from presenting all
relevant defensive evidence.” (Id. at pp. 1300-1301)

The

Timms court found illuminating the fact section 22 does not appear in the
Evidence Code, it appears in the Penal Code. (Timms, supra, 151
Cal.App.4th at p. 1300.) Additionally, the court acknowledged the California
Supreme Court’s holding in People v. Atkins (2001) 25 Cal.4th 76, which
rejected a due process challenge to section 22 in the context of the general
intent crime of arson. (Timms, supra, 151 Cal.App.4th at p.
1300.)

With respect to Justice Ginsburg’s concurrence, the court stated
that assuming the concurrence controls, “Justice Ginsberg also stated: `Defining

mens rea to eliminate the exculpatory value of voluntary intoxication
does not offend a “fundamental principle of justice,” given the lengthy
common-law tradition, and the adherence of a significant minority of the States
to that position today. [Citations.]’ [Citation.] Under this rational, the 1995
amendment permissibly could preclude consideration of voluntary intoxication to
negate implied malice and the notion of conscious disregard. Like the Montana
statute, the California Legislature could also exclude evidence of voluntary
intoxication in determination of the requisite mental state.” (Timms,
supra,
151 Cal.App.4th p. 1300.) Therefore, the court concluded section 22
did not infringe defendant’s constitutional rights.

Rothwell also argues
the trial court’s application of section 22 violated her constitutional right to

due process and a fair trial because, “[t]he level of a defendant’s intoxication
is undeniably relevant evidence on the issue of whether he or she consciously
disregarded a risk to human life.” We find People v. Martin (2000) 78
Cal.App.4th 1107 (Martin), instructive.

In Martin, supra,
78 Cal.App.4th at page 1113, the court rejected this constitutional challenge to
section 22. The court explained, “Section 22 states the basic principle of law
recognized in California that a criminal act is not rendered less criminal
because it is committed by a person in a state of voluntary intoxication.” The
court stated section 22 “is closely analogous to [the Legislature’s] abrogation
of the defense of diminished capacity . . . . The 1995 amendment to section 22
results from a legislative determination that, for reasons of public policy,
evidence of voluntary intoxication to negate culpability shall be strictly
limited. We find nothing in the enactment that deprives a defendant of the
ability to present a defense or relieves the People of their burden to prove
every element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt.” (Martin,
supra,
78 Cal.App.4th at p. 1117.)

We find the courts’ reasoning in

Timms, supra, 151 Cal.App.4th 1292, and Martin, supra, 78
Cal.App.4th 1107, persuasive. Thus, we conclude the trial court’s refusal to
instruct the jury with Rothwell’s Special Instruction did not violate her
constitutional rights. The trial court properly instructed the jury with CALCRIM
No. 625.

Equal Protection

In its respondent’s brief,
the Attorney General suggests Rothwell may be asserting an equal protection
claim. In her reply brief, Rothwell raises the equal protection argument for the
first time. We need not consider this argument, because it was made for the
first time in reply without any showing of good cause for failing to raise it in
the opening brief. (Shade Foods, Inc. v. Innovative Products Sales &

Marketing, Inc. (2000) 78 Cal.App.4th 847, 894-895, fn. 10.) Additionally,
to the extent Rothwell attempts to raise an equal protection claim, her failure
to properly raise the issue and support it with adequate argument and citation
to authority waived the issues on appeal. (See, e.g., California Dept. of
Corrections v. State Personnel Bd.
(2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 1601, 1619.) In
any event, her claim fails on the merits. (Timms, supra, 151 Cal.App.4th
at pp. 1302-1303.)

DISPOSITION

The judgment is
affirmed.

WE CONCUR.

MOORE, J.

IKOLA, J.
1. `In accord
with the usual rules of appellate review, we state the facts in the light most
favorable to the judgment. (People v. Ochoa (1993) 6 Cal.4th 1199,
1206.)
2. Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436.
3. All further
statutory references are to the Penal Code

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Patients Report 20 Times More Side Effects Than Doctors Report

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):

In answer to the question asked in the title of this article,
“Why don’t psychiatrists notice when patients experience medication side
effects?,” I should remind you of the comment made by the psychiatric nurse who
attended one of my lectures a couple of years ago. After listening to me discuss
the potential side effects of SSRI antidepressants she stood and said, “Dr.
Tracy we never get to hear what you have shared with us here tonight, but I know
it is true because I am on Lexapro and have suffered nearly every one of the

side effects you mentioned. But you do not know what is going on out here. At
least 75% of the doctors and nurses I work with are on these drugs! The drug
reps are telling them they are in a stressful profession and will surely end up
suffering depression as a result so they need to get started on these drugs now
in order to help prevent that.”

Of course my first response was, “With these drugs affecting
the memory so strongly as to cause “amnesia” as a frequent side effect, if you
cannot even remember who you are, how do you remember what your patients
need?”
She admitted that they do not remember and have to constantly
remind one another and then they attribute it to old age setting
in.
So perhaps by the time these doctors get around to reporting
the patientsside effects they have forgotten what those side effects were that
they were to report. Of course these drugs also produce much more business
for the doctors by producing side effects and bringing patients back in for
follow up treatment so there is also a financial incentive to not report and
give the drugs a bad record. No matter the reason it is clear that the
situation is causing a very serious situation for patients and public safety in
general.
Paragraph three reads:  “The investigators followed 300
patients who were in ongoing outpatient treatment for depression
over six weeks. The authors compared what the patient reported on a
standardized scale of 31 different side effects (Toronto Side

Effects Scale; TSES) with the information recorded by the treating psychiatrist
on each patient’s chart. The main finding: A stunning disconnect between
psychiatrists and their patients. The average number of side effects
reported by the patients on the TSES was 20 times (!) higher than the number
recorded by the psychiatris.
When the investigators concentrated on
those side effects that were most troubling to the patient, patients still

reported 2 to 3 times more side effects than were recorded by the treating
psychiatrist.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/charting-the-depths/201004/why-dont-psychiatrists-notice-when-patients-experience-medication-si

Why don’t psychiatrists notice when patients experience medication side
effects?

If side effects fall in the forest, do they make a sound?

Published on April 20, 2010

A rich scientific study raises more

questions than it answers.

This point is exempified by new work conducted
at Rhode Island Hospital and published in the Journal of Clinical
Psychiatry
.

The investigators followed 300 patients who were in
ongoing outpatient treatment for depression over six weeks. The authors compared
what the patient reported on a standardized scale of 31 different side effects
(Toronto Side Effects Scale; TSES) with the information recorded by the treating
psychiatrist on each patient’s chart. The main finding: A stunning disconnect
between psychiatrists and their patients. The average number of side effects

reported by the patients on the TSES was 20 times (!) higher than the number
recorded by the psychiatris. When the investigators concentrated on those side
effects that were most troubling to the patient, patients still reported
2 to 3 times more side effects than were recorded by the treating
psychiatrist.

The authors summarize their provocative findings in mild
language, “The findings of the present study indicate that clinicians do not
record in their progress notes most side effects reported on a side effects

questionnaire by psychiatric
outpatients receiving ongoing pharmacological treatment for depression.”

Obviously
all is not well in the state of Demark. Although the findings concern the
treatment of depression, they raise broader questions about the doctor-patient
relationship.

Why is there such a massive disconnect between what
psychiatrists and patients report, on something so basic as whether prescribed
medications are having untoward effects? Do psychiatrists not ask enough
questions about side effects? Do psychiatrists not dig deep enough into

patients‘ responses? Are psychiatrists hearing what patients say, but not
documenting it in their notes? Or is the problem more on the patient side? Are
patients reluctant to speak candidly to their doctors about side effects (i.e.,
yes, I am having problems with sexual functioning)? Or do patients freeze up and
forget their experiences when asked in the heat of the moment (it is easier to
respond to a standardized list of side effects using pencil and paper)? Or is it
the situation that is to blame for this disconnect? Are patient-doctor
interactions in this day and age simply too rushed to insure efficient or
effective transfer of information?

Whatever the explanation,
psychiatrists appear to believe that patients are having fewer problems with
medications than they truly are. It is hard to see how psychiatrists can act in
the best interest of their patients if they do not know what their patients are
experiencing!!!!

The researchers recommend the use of a self-administered
patient questionnaire in clinical practice to improve the recognition of side

effects for patients in treatment. This study reveals a chasm of
misunderstanding between doctors and patients. This recommendation is a
sensible, but baby, step towards narrowing
it…

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LEXAPRO: Journalist Has Side-Effects: Not Sure Lexapro is Working: U.S…

NOTE BY Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):

From the last paragraph in the article below I quote the author: “I will say only this: I no longer count on Lexapro to make me well. Which is to say I no longer fret if I miss a day or two, I no longer rush to the drug store to get my refills, and I place far more importance on getting my life in order: regulating my alcohol consumption, getting a decent night’s sleep, exercising (I’m not the only depressive who’s become an amateur triathlete) and, corny as it sounds, pausing at intervals to ponder my blessings.”

Although there are some good ideas mentioned here that I have been recommending forever for depressives such as the great importance of sleep and exercise and counting one’s blessings, there are other things that could produce life-threatening consequences for both the author who is using an SSRI or those around him. Those areas of grave concern are the consumption of alcohol with an antidepressant and the lack of concern about skipping a pill or picking up a refill for his Lexapro – both all too common with antidepressant users.

Why are they common although dangerous? They are common because of two side effects produced by these drugs:

1, Antidepressants can produce overwhelming cravings for alcohol as well as a tolerance for alcohol and then when mixed can produce toxic effects leading to psychotic breaks.

2. Antidepressants produce what the patients call the “I don’t give a damn” attitude leading one to not care about missing a pill or refilling a prescription. The grave concern with this is the warning put in place by the FDA along with the Black Box warning of suicide. That FDA warning is that ANY ABRUPT CHANGE IN DOSE of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis – generally a manic psychosis. Skipping a pill is an abrupt change in dose as is starting or stopping the use of one of these drugs or switching the brand of antidepressant you are taking. If you survive a manic psychosis instead of being told what caused that psychotic break, you will likely be diagnosed as Bipolar and/or spend the rest of your life in prison for what you did while psychotic. The possibilities can be more than just frightening!

Paragraphs 18 through 22 read:

” ‘How’s the Lexapro working’?”

” ‘I don’t know’.”

‘Agnosticism, I’ve found, is a common refrain among my medicated friends. We’re feeling OK, thanks. Is it the pill? Natural cycles? A good week at work? The fact that the sun is shining? Not always apparent. The only thing we’re really clear on, honestly, is our side effects. Nausea, nightmares, hypomania, agitation, headaches, decreased sex drive, decreased sex performance … the list is exquisite in its variation. My first two nights on Lexapro, I lay for hours on the precipice of unconsciousness, unable to take the last plunge. To fall asleep, I had to get a prescription for Ambien, which I then spent another week weaning myself off. To this day, the prospect of sleep holds a mild terror for me that it never did before.’

‘Oddly enough, the side effects are often the pills’ best advocates. If we’re feeling that crappy, we figure something of great moment is happening inside us. What’s harder to accept is the alternative explanation — that, when it comes to depression, we’re still wandering in the dark. As Charles Barber, author of “Comfortably Numb,” argues, scientists don’t really know how antidepressants work. ‘They change the brain chemistry, but the infinite spiral of what they do from there is very unclear’.”

“So if you don’t know how something works, and you can no longer credibly claim it does work (even some industry spokesmen are beginning to qualify their claims), you’re not left with much of a fallback position. The placebo effect is real — the body actually does heal itself when it believes it is being healed — but it is founded on faith, and in the wake of the JAMA study, it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain that faith except through a rather larger act of denial.”

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2010/04/05/is_my_lexapro_working/

Monday, Apr 5, 2010 04:01 EDT

My antidepressant gets harder to swallow

As studies shed doubt on certain psychiatric drugs, I wonder: Do I really need my little white pill?

By Louis Bayard

Salon

I take it every morning, right after I brush my teeth. A single white pill, with the letters F and L stamped on one side, the number 10 on the other. It’s so small it nearly disappears into the folds of my palm. You could drop it in my orange juice or my breakfast cereal, and I’d swallow it without a hitch.

And, for the last three years, I have been swallowing my Lexapro — and everything that comes along with it. And, apparently, I’m not alone.

Between 1996 and 2005, the number of Americans taking antidepressants doubled. According to the Centers for Disease Control, antidepressants are now the most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the U.S. — ahead of drugs for cholesterol, blood pressure and asthma. Of the 2.4 billion drugs prescribed in 2005, 118 million were for depression. Whether the pills go by the name of Lexapro or Effexor or Prozac or Wellbutrin, we’re downing them, to the tune of $9.6 billion a year, and we’re doing it for a very good and simple reason. They’re supposed to be making us better.

Which leaves a quite massive shoe waiting to drop. What if these costly, widely marketed, bewitchingly commonplace drugs really aren’t fixing our brains?

The implications are troubling, and not just for the pharmaceutical industry. In a study published last January by the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists conducting a meta-analysis of existing research found that antidepressants were unquestionably “useful in cases of severe depression” but frankly not much help for the rest of us. “The magnitude of benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo,” the study’s authors concluded, “may be minimal or nonexistent, on average, in patients with mild or moderate symptoms.”

In other words, antidepressants work, but only because we believe they’re working. If we’re not seriously depressed and we’re taking a tricyclic or a serotonin reuptake inhibitor or a norepinephrine booster, we’d fare about as well with a sugar pill. Which means that antidepressants are, to borrow the phraseology of Newsweek writer Martha Begley, “basically expensive Tic Tacs.”

And so, like millions of Americans, I’m left with the problem of it: that little white pill that travels down my gullet every morning. What is it really doing down there — up there? What if it’s not doing anything? Is there any good empirical unassailable reason that I should be swallowing it day after day after day? If I stop believing in it, will it stop working?

More than half a century has passed since the first antidepressants were prescribed, but it’s fair to say that the opposition to them coalesced in the 1990s, with the explosive sales growth of Prozac. As critics like David Healy and Ronald W. Dworkin warned that Big Pharma was medicalizing sadness for profit, the widespread usage of ironic terms like “happy pills” conjured up visions of smiling zombies wandering through sinister dreamscapes. Eric G. Wilson, in his overwrought “Against Happiness,” actually envisioned a day when antidepressants would “destroy dejection completely” and “eradicate depression forever.”

Looking back, we can see that both critics and advocates were working from the same premise: that these drugs change us in some fairly profound way. (Even pro-drug Peter Fisher [Kramer], in his bestselling “Listening to Prozac,” worried about the cost of making people “better than well.”) But as researchers like Irving Kirsch and Guy Sapirstein are increasingly finding, the truth may shade more toward the comic end of the spectrum. Far from transforming us, antidepressants are leaving us pretty much as they found us. Emperors in gleaming new clothes.

The more I ponder my experience, the less surprised I am. I turned to medication because I couldn’t stop crying in public places — Starbucks was a popular spot — or imagining my death. (Crucially, I never got around to planning it.) And because I realized that although I was meeting life’s core requirements, I was not always exceeding them. And because, after a couple of years of sessions with an empathetic therapist, I came to believe that my wiring really had shorted out, that some form of grayer matter had fastened itself to my brain and was hard at work, siphoning away my joy.

I remember watching the camcorder footage of my son’s first birthday party and being shocked by the sight of myself, staring back at the camera with sad eyes. Depression had always been a sporadic companion, but in my 43rd year, it began to take up permanent residence. I felt like I was walking around on rotting floorboards. I cried. I lost my temper on the flimsiest of pretexts. I saw myself dead.

At which point medication seemed like a reasonable alternative. Before another week had passed, I had secured a low-dosage prescription for Lexapro, prescribed not by my therapist but by my primary-care physician. (Even that’s not quite true. It was the doctor who was taking my doctor’s patients while she was on vacation.)

“Who’s going to monitor this drug?” my partner asked.

“Um … you? Me?”

When it came to Lexapro, all my responses had the same interrogative lilt. If someone asked me how I was feeling, I’d say, “Better, I guess?” When asked if I would recommend Lexapro to others, I’d say: “Maybe kind of?”

This was the most surprising part of the whole experience: that the transformation or malformation I had expected to feel never quite arrived, that in the course of ramping up my serotonin levels, I should remain so freakishly myself.

It is, in fact, one of the amusing side effects of living in the age of pharmaceuticals that you can always compare your lack of progress with those nearest and dearest to you in this case, my mother. Not a lunch goes by that one of us doesn’t say to the other:

“How’s the Lexapro working?”

“I don’t know.”

Agnosticism, I’ve found, is a common refrain among my medicated friends. We’re feeling OK, thanks. Is it the pill? Natural cycles? A good week at work? The fact that the sun is shining? Not always apparent. The only thing we’re really clear on, honestly, is our side effects. Nausea, nightmares, hypomania, agitation, headaches, decreased sex drive, decreased sex performance … the list is exquisite in its variation. My first two nights on Lexapro, I lay for hours on the precipice of unconsciousness, unable to take the last plunge. To fall asleep, I had to get a prescription for Ambien, which I then spent another week weaning myself off. To this day, the prospect of sleep holds a mild terror for me that it never did before.

Oddly enough, the side effects are often the pills’ best advocates. If we’re feeling that crappy, we figure something of great moment is happening inside us. What’s harder to accept is the alternative explanation — that, when it comes to depression, we’re still wandering in the dark. As Charles Barber, author of “Comfortably Numb,” argues, scientists don’t really know how antidepressants work. “They change the brain chemistry, but the infinite spiral of what they do from there is very unclear.”

So if you don’t know how something works, and you can no longer credibly claim it does work (even some industry spokesmen are beginning to qualify their claims), you’re not left with much of a fallback position. The placebo effect is real — the body actually does heal itself when it believes it is being healed — but it is founded on faith, and in the wake of the JAMA study, it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain that faith except through a rather larger act of denial.

Of course, even the most ardent critics of antidepressants caution strongly against sudden withdrawal. (Those side effects suck, too.) And few scientists will deny that drugs help people with severe unipolar depression. But what of the rest of us? Should we find some way to make ourselves believe in our little white pills again? Or should we find other things to believe in? Should we, in fact, begin to rethink our relationships with our brains?

I don’t bring much in the way of ideology to these questions. I’ve always felt that the rise of Prozac and its ilk at least had the salutary effect of removing the stigma attached to depression. Reconfigured as a chemical condition, it could now be owned and acknowledged and treated. But by translating it from the personal to the pharmacological, we may have left people even less empowered to combat it.

It’s bracing to see how depression is treated in other countries, where the relationship between drug manufacturers and physicians isn’t quite so hand-in-glove. Great Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, for example, recommends that, before taking antidepressants, people with mild or moderate depression should undergo nine to 12 weeks of guided self-help, nine to 12 weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, and 10 to 14 weeks of exercise classes. They should, in short, work on themselves before they can be worked upon.

Unfortunately, as Barber notes, that’s work, and not always pleasant. If we are to be honest with ourselves, we should admit that the drug companies aren’t the only ones who want that pill. We want it, too. If every last antidepressant were to vanish from the market today and a new one were to appear tomorrow, promising greater benefits than before, which of us would not line up? There is, after all, a strength in numbers, whereas grappling with yourself — your self — is a lonely business.

But it is, finally, a necessary one. The little white pill sits in my palm. In the glare of the bathroom light, I give it a good hard searching look. And then once more I clap it in my mouth and swallow it down.

Maybe, as one team of researchers has suggested, it’s the triumph of marketing over science. Maybe, as Samuel Johnson once said of second marriages, it’s the triumph of hope over experience. Maybe I’m just weak.

I will say only this: I no longer count on Lexapro to make me well. Which is to say I no longer fret if I miss a day or two, I no longer rush to the drug store to get my refills, and I place far more importance on getting my life in order: regulating my alcohol consumption, getting a decent night’s sleep, exercising (I’m not the only depressive who’s become an amateur triathlete) and, corny as it sounds, pausing at intervals to ponder my blessings. And also appreciating the ways in which my brain and body regulate their own climate through such time-honored techniques as the crying jag. Which is no less effective for happening in the middle of a busy Starbucks.

Three years and however many dollars later, can I honestly say Lexapro has made me a happier person? No. Has it usefully complicated my thinking? Maybe. In my pre-pill days, I regarded happiness as a form of grace, descending upon me whether or not I was worthy of it. Now I think of it as something that, however elusive, is there to be sought. Swallowing a pill every morning is not, in my mind, an act of obedience but a tiny spark of volition, a sign that I’m willing to find the light wherever it’s hiding. My Lexapro may be no better than a Tic Tac, but it’s a daily reminder that I won’t take depression’s shit lying down.

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LEXAPRO: Murder: Defense of Involuntary Intoxication: Louisiana

First two paragraphs read:  “A Baton Rouge man is not
criminally responsible for the murder of his ex-fiancée and attempted murder of
one of her neighbors in 2008 because he was involuntarily intoxicated at the
time,
one of his attorneys told a jury Wednesday.”

Defense lawyer
Tommy Damico argued in his opening statement that Frederick Dominique Reed
Jr. had a violent reaction to the prescribed anti-depressant

Lexapro, which he began taking in early August
2008.”

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/82864837.html?showAll=y&c=y

Murder trial defense: Intoxication

  • By JOE GYAN JR.
  • Advocate staff writer
  • Published: Jan 28, 2010 – Page: 2B

A Baton Rouge man is not
criminally responsible for the murder of his ex-fiancée and attempted murder of

one of her neighbors in 2008 because he was involuntarily intoxicated at the
time, one of his attorneys told a jury Wednesday.

Defense lawyer Tommy
Damico argued in his opening statement that Frederick Dominique Reed Jr. had a
violent reaction to the prescribed anti-depressant Lexapro, which he began
taking in early August 2008.

But a prosecutor countered that Reed was
“very calculated’’ in hunting down Mia Reid and shooting her at her
Scotlandville apartment while she slept next to her 10-year-old daughter on Aug.
23, 2008.

Assistant District Attorney Melissa Morvant also noted in her
opening statement that Reid’s request for a temporary restraining order against
Reed was denied Aug. 12, 2008, and that a hearing on a permanent protective
order was to be held Aug. 26, 2008.

East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s
deputies arrested Reed on a count of domestic abuse battery in March 2008, but
Reid dropped the complaint, her temporary restraining order petition
stated.

At the end of July 2008, Reid and her daughter moved out of an
apartment near Siegen Lane that they shared with Reed to a new apartment in
north Baton Rouge, friends and relatives have said.

Reed, 39, is charged
with second-degree murder in the killing of Reid, 31, and attempted
second-degree murder in the wounding of Richard Kuti.

A second-degree

murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

State
District Judge Tony Marabella is presiding over the trial, which will resume
today.

Morvant told jurors that Reed first entered apartment 23 at the
Ashley Oak complex on Rosenwald Road and shot Kuti three times while he slept,
then went to apartment 33 and shot Reid.

“While Mia Reid is sleeping on
an air mattress with her 10-year-old daughter, he shoots her twice,’’ Morvant
said.

Later, as authorities closed in on him on Villa Drive, Reed tried
to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest, she said.

Kuti and
his roommate, Courvasier Jones, testified they did not know Reed or Reid. Jones
said he heard shots and Reed appeared in his room asking for Reid. He said he
told Reed that he did not know Reid or where she was, and Reed
left.

“When I was wrapping up his (Kuti’s) arm with an Ace bandage, I
heard more shots,’’ Jones testified.

Meghan Green, who said Reid was her
best friend, testified she raced to Reid’s apartment complex after Reid’s
daughter called her.

“When (she) jumped into my arms, she had Mia’s
bloody cell phone,’’ Green testified.

Damico asked the jury to “keep an
open mind’’ and not have an “emotional or gut reaction’’ to the tragic events
that he argued were “not the legal fault’’ of his client.

“This is not a
case about who did it or how it was done,’’ he said. “It is about why it
happened and what caused it.’’

Damico added that Reed’s involuntary

intoxication was the “direct cause’’ of the shootings.

“The drug did not
interact with Frederick Reed as it was prescribed to do,’’ he said. “Some people
are affected in very dangerous ways.’’

“But for the involuntary
intoxication, Frederick Reed would not have committed these acts,’’ he
added.

Louisiana law says an offender is exempt from criminal
responsibility if intoxication is involuntary and the circumstances indicate the
condition was the direct cause of the commission of the
crime.

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LEXAPRO: Vehicular Manslaughter: No Alcohol: Idaho

Paragraph three freads:  “The prosecutor’s office
previously alleged Stevens was either under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
or was grossly negligent in causing Redfern’s death.
They alleged he had been involved in four crashes on that day, two prior
to the fatal crash and one immediately afterward.”

Paragraphs
seven and eight read:  Stevens failed two sobriety tests, court documents
allege, and appeared increasingly intoxicated as police questioned him. He
reportedly said he had taken Lexapro, an anti-anxiety and
anti-depressant drug, and was taking Prozac, an antidepressant.
A
bottle of Baclofen, a muscle relaxant, was allegedly found in the rental
truck.

“However, tests done on blood taken from Stevens after his arrest
came back negative for intoxicants [alcohol], according to court
documents. Stevens was not charged in any of the other alleged crashes that
day.”

http://www.magicvalley.com/news/local/article_82226ad0-3e75-5e78-95fe-27073b884547.html

Stevens pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter

By
Ariel Hansen – Times-News writer | Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2010 1:00 am |
(0)
Comments

HAILEY ­ Nearly a year after Bert Redfern died in a
March 10 car crash on Idaho Highway 75 in Hailey, a Twin Falls man has pleaded
guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for the fatal crash.

Cody
Stevens, 29, of Twin Falls, had been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter.
On Tuesday, just weeks before his district court trial was set to begin, he
pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to a year in
prison and a $2,000 fine.

The prosecutor’s office previously alleged
Stevens was either under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or was grossly
negligent in causing Redfern’s death. They alleged he had been involved in four
crashes on that day, two prior to the fatal crash and one immediately
afterward.

According to court documents, Stevens allegedly left his job
in Jerome after a 12-hour shift at 6 a.m. March 10, and drove north. In Lincoln
County, he was allegedly reported as a reckless driver after he got close enough
to “rub mirrors” with the reporting party at about 7:20 a.m. At about 9:45, he
allegedly hit a tree south of Bellevue, telling police he swerved to avoid a
deer.

After leaving his totaled truck in Bellevue and renting a truck in
Hailey, Stevens returned to a Bellevue body shop. He then headed toward Ketchum
when he allegedly caused the noon-time collision that resulted in Redfern’s
death. He then allegedly flipped his rental truck onto a curb in downtown
Hailey, where police took him into custody.

Stevens failed two sobriety
tests, court documents allege, and appeared increasingly intoxicated as police
questioned him. He reportedly said he had taken Lexapro, an anti-anxiety and
anti-depressant drug, and was taking Prozac, an antidepressant. A bottle of
Baclofen, a muscle relaxant, was allegedly found in the rental
truck.

Stevens was taken for blood testing at St. Luke’s Wood River
Regional Medical Center, and he was later taken back to the hospital after
becoming increasingly unresponsive and incoherent during police questioning,
according to court documents.

However, tests done on blood taken from
Stevens after his arrest came back negative for intoxicants, according to court
documents. Stevens was not charged in any of the other alleged crashes that
day.

A civil case for wrongful death is pending against Stevens, filed by
Redfern’s widower, and Stevens’ plea to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter can
be used against him in that case.

The county case has been sent back to
the magistrate court, and a sentencing hearing has not yet been
scheduled.

Ariel Hansen may be reached at ahansen@magicvalley.com or
208-788-3475.

Posted in Local, Crime-and-courts

on Thursday, January 21, 2010 1:00 am Updated: 10:57 pm.
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LEXAPRO: Caused Mania: Man Died After Being Pepper Sprayed 10 TIMES!: FL

Paragraphs 36 through 38 read:  “His doctors had
prescribed Lexapro
for his depression
and Joyce blames the
medication for his high and low mood swings. Patients on
Lexapro report mood
swings
and paranoia among a host of side effects, so it is advised patients
gradually withdraw from the drug.””

His
doctor had planned to take him off the drug,
but she says her husband’s
medical surveillance fell between the cracks when the doctor left to work
somewhere else.”

In the meantime, while in Ohio, Christie was planning to
paint the garage floor and take apart, clean, and re-assemble lawn furniture. He
had become more outgoing and talkative, she said. When he suddenly left
to go to Fort Myers to visit his brother, he went to a mall and opened
a department store account, things he hadn’t done
before.

Paragraphs ten trhough twelve from the end read:

“Christie ended up at a North Fort Myers hotel. He was initially arrested for
disorderly intoxication and causing a disturbance.
The
counter woman at Arby’s gave Nick a free coffee because she thought he had
Alzheimer’s disease.

Joyce says her husband couldn’t
remember her number, or his son’s.
Two days later on March 27, he was
arrested again for trespassing.

This time when officers took her husband
into custody, Joyce says they locked his medications in his truck and never
retrieved them.

Drugawareness & SSRI Stories note:
Amnesia is listed as a frequent side effect to
antidepressants in the Physicians Desk Reference. Alcohol cravings are also
known to be caused by antidepressants, as is mania and
violence.

http://www.injuryboard.com/national-news/peppersprayedman-dies-in-jail-what-happened-to-nick-christie-.aspx?googleid=277120

Federal Lawsuit
Pending

The widow of an Ohio man who died in police custody in Fort
Myers, Florida last March, will file a federal lawsuit for violating her
husband’s constitutional rights by failing to recognize that he was mentally
ill.

Joyce Christie, of Girard, Ohio, and her son, plan to file the
action against the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Prison Health Services (PHS),
the private company that oversees medical care for the jail, which had taken
custody of Nicholas Christie for trespassing.

Her attorney, Nick DiCello
(IB member), of the Cleveland firm of Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber LLP, says
his firm has filed the notices required under Florida state law of an intention
to sue.

“Letters of intent to file a civil lawsuit for medical
malpractice, wrongful death, and civil rights violations, negligence, pain and
suffering have been sent,” he tells IB
News.

Christie, 62, was arrested last March after traveling from Ohio
to Fort Myers while suffering, what his widow describes as a mental breakdown
[manic reaction to medication]. Arrested twice for disorderly conduct and
trespassing, Nick Christie was pepper sprayed ten times over the course of his
43-hour custody.

Suffering from emphysema, COPD, back and heart problems,
the jail staff said his medical files were not available or immediately sought
at the time of his arrest. But DiCello says Christie gave his medical history
and list of medications to the jail days earlier during his first encounter with
law enforcement.

His medication list was found in the back pocket of his
pants when Christie’s personal effects were returned to his
widow.

What Happened To Nick
Christie?

Sometime between the time he was arrested on March 27, 2009
around 2:00 p.m., and March 31 at1:23 p.m. when he was pronounced dead, Christie
had been sprayed with ten blasts of pepper spray, also known as OC (Oleo-resin
Capsicum), which is a derivative of cayenne pepper.

The medical examiner
has ruled his death a homicide.

On January 6, the Lee County State
Attorney’s office mimicked a lengthy investigation by the Lee County Sheriff’s
Office, clearing the officers of any wrongdoing in the death.

Assistant
State Attorney Dean Plattner and Chief Investigator Kevin Smith found the
jailers did not break policy guidelines. A separate internal review of policy
was not conducted and the five corrections officers have remained on the
job.

“My blood is boiling,” Joyce Christie, 59, told the News-Press. “I knew it was going to end this way
because the corrections officers were never taken off their jobs during the
investigation.”

A Failure to
Indict

Assistant State Attorney Dean Plattner says in his memo that
in order to prove manslaughter, the office would have to prove someone showed a
“reckless disregard for human life” to the extent that they should have known it
would likely cause death or great bodily injury.

“The facts of the case
do not support this level of proof,” says the office.

Attorney DiCello
says he is shocked that the state attorney didn’t come to the conclusion there
was a crime.

“All he needs to come to a conclusion that there was
probable cause there was a crime. The local community should have been given the
opportunity to indict. They weren’t given that opportunity,” he
says.

DiCello says despite the state attorney’s conclusion, the federal
case has a different standard of review.

“They have to prove beyond a
reasonable doubt there was some type of criminal intent. We have to prove it
fell beneath the standard of care and these officers knew they were violating
this man’s constitutional rights.”

DiCello says strapping an obese,
62-year-old with a heart condition and COPD to a restraining chair, pepper

spraying him and not allowing him water to wash off should qualify.

“Case
law as a matter of law defines that conduct as a violation of constitutional
rights and affords it no protection under the law,” he says.

The standard
of care is established by the county and Prison Health Services, under contract
with Lee County for $9 million annually, one of 160 contracts PHS holds
nationwide.

Lee County, Sgt. David Valez, tells IB News the
company is NCCHC accredited and “they must maintain that high standard.” There
is no independent review by the county.

Under the contract, PHS is
responsible for conducting a medical evaluation of everyone coming into the
system.

Never Saw A Doctor

His jailers
say Nicholas Christie was combative, despite the fact that he was restrained in
a chair so he allegedly wouldn’t spit at his jailers.

But three inmates
who shared Christie’s cell block told the Fort Meyers News-Press that they thought the use
of pepper spray was excessive and that deputies ignored the victim’s pleas for
help.

“While he was sitting in the chair, they sprayed him two more
times,” said Ken Cutler. His whole head was turning purple and almost blue,” he
says, “He was gasping.”

The other inmates say the pepper spray was so
intense they were gagging in the cell block.

“He was constantly telling
them I can’t breathe and I got a heart condition,” he says.

Dr. Robert
Pfalzgraf, deputy chief medical examiner, concluded that stress caused by
restraint and pepper spray were irritants and stressors to his heart. He says
that 99 percent of the time those sprayed do not die. Christie was the 1
percent.

The medical examiner’s report indicates that the death was

caused by “hypoxic encephalopathy following resuscitation for cardiac arrest,
cardiac shock with congestive heart failure, physiologic stress following
restraint and noxious effects of oleoresin capsicum.”

A homicide does not
necessarily mean that the death was a criminal act only that it was caused by a
person or persons.

DiCello says take a look at Pepper Spray on YouTube videos to see it can down
someone for 40 minutes, even if it is washed off.

“You’ll see Marines
crying, now imagine being sprayed ten times, you’re obese, have COPD and having
a manic episode. Ten times and the last time not washed down for a half hour
strapped down so you can’t rub his eyes.”

Mental
Health Issues

Joyce Christie told IB News last June that her
husband had started showing signs of mania. He had recently retired and thought
he was going to go fishing, she said, but diverticulitis shut down his colon,
then he went into a depression after being hospitalized for COPD ( chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Christie had quit smoking years ago, but the former boilermaker worked
around asbestos and nuclear power plants, she says.

His doctors had
prescribed Lexapro for his depression and Joyce blames the
medication for his high and low mood swings. Patients on Lexapro report

mood
swings
and paranoia among a host of side effects, so it is advised patients
gradually withdraw from the drug.

His doctor had planned to take him off
the drug, but she says her husband’s medical surveillance fell between the
cracks when the doctor left to work somewhere else.

In the meantime,
while in Ohio, Christie was planning to paint the garage floor and take apart,
clean, and re-assemble lawn furniture. He had become more outgoing and
talkative, she said. When he suddenly left to go to Fort Myers to visit his
brother, he went to a mall and opened a department store account, things he
hadn’t done before.

Joyce Christie was so concerned she says she
contacted the Lee County Sheriff’s office and issue a welfare BOLO (Be On The
Lookout). Ms. Christie even had the sheriff of her home town contact Lee County
to stress the seriousness of her husband’s condition and the fact that he needed
to take his medication.

“He begged them to take Nick to the hospital.
They said he’s having a good time, he needs a few days away. All they had to do
was say ‘Let us talk to your doctor to confirm.’ They didn’t do it. Captain
Begowski told the officer, ‘If you don’t take him now, I’m going to tell you,
you’re going to be dealing with him in a couple of hours.’”

That forecast
proved true.

Christie ended up at a North Fort Myers hotel. He was
initially arrested for disorderly intoxication and causing a disturbance. The
counter woman at Arby’s gave Nick a free coffee because she thought he had
Alzheimer’s disease.

Joyce says her husband couldn’t remember her number,
or his son’s. Two days later on March 27, he was arrested again for
trespassing.

This time when officers took her husband into custody, Joyce
says they locked his medications in his truck and never retrieved
them.

Joyce frantically flew to Fort Myers March 28, but police would not
let her see Nick. She says they wouldn’t even tell him she was there. Finally,
an officer suggested she could bond him out of police custody.

When she
finally was allowed to see her husband it was too late.

He had been taken
by ambulance to Gulf Coast Hospital where Joyce says Nick’s eyes were taped shut
and he had 40 tubes taped to his body. Doctors told her he had a 10 percent
chance to live. The nurses told her when he was brought in naked that he had so
much pepper spray on him doctors had to change their gloves as they became
saturated with the orange spray.

No one in the sheriff’s office had
contacted her, and until he arrived at the hospital, Nick Christie had never
seen a doctor. Someone in the hospital, shocked by his condition, suggested she
contact an attorney.

“Nick had a life he was somebody my husband, a
father to my son. He’s somebody I miss very much. It shouldn’t have happened. He
should be here. Three weeks later I get his ashes back from Florida in a mail
truck. My husband, he was somebody, he wasn’t just a nobody,” Joyce Christie
says.

Attorney Nick DiCello says the state attorney’s report clearing the
officers will not hurt the federal case. The fact that Christie was sprayed at
least once after being restrained in a chair with a hood over his head violates
any qualified immunity defense the county and Prison Health Services may
claim.

Besides a violation of the law, DiCello is concerned about the
violation of another human being.

“Humanity has failed here. And now they
aren’t going to address the failure. Us as a people, we need to recognize we’ve
all failed and make it right, not ‘Let’s just move on from this failure.’ People
shouldn’t do this to people. Nothing could warrant the treatment and death this
guy experienced.

“A 62-yr-old retiree strapped to a chair and died. I
don’t get it.” #

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