FROM OUR IRISH DIRECTOR: SOME MOTHER’S SON – IF SHANE COULD DO IT SO COULD YOU

 

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Leonie Fennel is our director for the International Coalition for Drug Awareness (www.drugawareness.com) in Ireland. She tragically lost her son in what the world would call a murder/suicide, But the inquest into his death ruled that Shane did not die of suicide, but it was due to adverse reactions from the toxic levels of one of the most deadly of the SSRI antidepressants – Celexa. By way of background you can find Shane’s story here: http://ssristories.drugawareness.org/archive/show.php?item=4137 in our database that Rosie Meysenburg & her husband Gene worked so hard to set up for us as a reference.

Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director,

International Coalition for Drug Awareness

www.drugawareness.org & www.ssristories.drugawareness.org

I wrote an article which appears in the ‘health and living’ section of the Irish Independent today. I can’t find a link so will attach it in full here for anyone who’s interested. The writing is all mine this time, so for anyone who doesn’t agree…it’s all my work and I stand by everything I said. There was a paragraph missing to do with antidepressants and miscarraiges…I feel this is very important so I’ve left it in here. All stats were verified by Prof David Healy. Leonie

Are they mad or what?

The Irish Independent has asked me to write this article; Are they mad or what?

‘Mad’ is a word I am well used to hearing. Having lost my son in the ‘most’ tragic circumstances in 2009, I’m left as most mothers with a dead child are left: in cloud cuckoo land, extremely sad and just a little bit mad. In my case I’d say ‘more than a little mad’ but I don’t want to tar every bereaved mother with my madness brush. What is it with Irish people and their reluctance to talk about death and dead people? I have never heard so many people talk about the ‘dreadful’ weather; whatever you do, don’t mention that big fat elephant in the room. Most of the time I couldn’t tell you what day of the week it is, never mind what the ‘dreadful’ weather is like, but please feel free to talk about that big fat grey thing with the huge trunk; my son. He’s dead, not erased from existence, but don’t upset the ‘mad’ bereaved woman whatever you do! Say the wrong thing, by all means, but don’t pretend he didn’t exist and talk about the ‘dreadful’ weather! I can’t tell you how close some people have come to manual strangulation, simply by saying ‘it’s a lovely day’ or more likely ‘the weather’s terrible, isn’t it?’

Before I get shot down for using the ‘m’ word, I’d like to say that the so-called ‘mad’ people that I’ve met in the last three years are no madder than most of you, and definitely not I. Some of these people have been told that they have a ‘chemical imbalance’ of the brain; so in order to keep their brain functioning as it’s supposed to, they will need to stay on medication for the rest of their lives. These mad dysfunctional lot could teach the so-called ‘normal’ society a thing or two; mainly about kindness, compassion and a willingness to help others. They are also the ones who are shouting from the rooftops that the chemical imbalance theory is just that; a theory. For decades we were led to believe that depression was caused by low serotonin levels in the brain. There is no way, never has been, to measure serotonin in a person’s brain, and absolutely no evidence that low serotonin levels ever caused depression.

By way of background; my son killed himself and another young man in 2009. He was prescribed an approved SSRI antidepressant 17 days beforehand. I absolutely believe that these ‘mind altering drugs’ are killing people at an alarming rate. Professor David Healy (a world leading expert on these drugs) has said that the pharmaceutical companies, in a court of law, have no choice but to admit that these drugs can cause suicide. According to Professor Healy, “there are 20 more Irish suicides per year than there would have been and 20 extra Irish cases of violence per year that can be linked back to antidepressants.” So given that the SSRI antidepressants have been on the market for 20 years; that’s 800 extra cases of suicide and violence caused by antidepressants in this country alone.

A major ase involving antidepressant induced suicide/homicide was in the US and involved a 60 year old man, Donald Schell. This man was put on Seroxat [Paxil] by his doctor, not for any mental illness, but for anxiety; yet 2 days later he shot and killed his wife, his daughter, his 9 month old granddaughter and then himself. The jury found that the drug had caused him to become suicidal and homicidal and found the pharmaceutical company liable, in that case GlaxoSmithKline. There have been similar cases since, the most recent in a Canadian trial where the Judge found that an antidepressant caused a 16 year old to kill his friend. The Judge (Justice Heinrichs) concluded that the teenager was no longer a danger and that at the time of the killing “his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac.”

Shane was sad, I know that; was that depression, no! Can these prescription drugs help with a broken heart or some other awful life experience? Can they un-break a heart or un-dead a loved one? No, but they can cause these terrible tragedies. From the time Shane was prescribed these drugs, he became very restless, which was very unlike him. He seemed to find it hard to stay in the one place for any length of time. What I didn’t understand until later was that this condition is called ‘akathisia’ and is known to be the precursor to suicide and/or homicide. Akathisia is an adverse effect which can be caused by these drugs and is described as ‘inner restlessness’. People suffering from this condition have described it as ‘a living hell’ and also that they would do anything to stop this feeling, including death as a welcome release. My son went from being well respected and loved by his lecturers, friends and family, to a person capable of destroying his own life and that of another human being in 17 days. Whether people believe me or not, matters little to me, as I cannot win either way. I can tell you this though: I knew my son inside out, and if it could happen to Shane, it could happen to you.

The level of ‘antidepressant’ prescribing has never been so high and yet the suicide rate is rocketing. Join the dots here if you dare and please don’t argue the recession point; I’ve heard it already. We’ve come through the famine, oppressive English rule, Centuries of emigration and barefoot children; for goodness sake, get a grip! The suicide rate has never been so high and the barefoot children are long gone; presumably dead from old age and natural causes, not by their own hand. Each year there is (at least) one antidepressant prescription per year for every man, woman and child in Ireland. If these drugs actually cure people; how come we once had less than 1 per 1000 of us depressed, and now it’s more than 1 in 10? In the year 2010 the cost of medicines in the health service was €1.9 billion. Have we all gone mad? Why do we need €1.9 billion worth of medication every year; were we all born with inherent defects that only the (billion dollar) pharmaceutical industry can fix? Wake up and smell the pharma coffee when you take that statin this morning! Is that antidepressant you just consumed keeping you happy or can you remember either way? Without doubt the most medicated Country in the world is the US; would it surprise you to know that the life expectancy in the US has fallen below that of Cuba?

In the latest revelation within the mental health arena (Oct 2012), the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a paper which showed that the risk of suicide (in the first year of treatment) for schizophrenia is extraordinarily high. For schizophrenia generally, you are 10 times more likely to be dead at the end of the first year of treatment than you were 100 years ago. Did you read that? 10 TIMES MORE THAN 100 YEARS AGO! Professor Healy (one of the authors) said “the actual risks of suicide (in the first year of treatment) were 100 times greater than those of the general population.”

Also this week, to much fanfare it has to be said, Minister Reilly said a “very good deal” was made with the Pharmaceutical Industry, to cut the State’s drugs bill by up to €400 million. This he said would benefit patients and the taxpayer. Right; excuse the cynicism here but that’s €400 million over 3 years, which is equivalent to a saving of €133 million a year. What’s €1.9 billion divided by €133 million? The Pharmaceutical industry may find this as amusing as I do; laughing all the way to the bank.

It amazes me that drugs with adverse effects such as suicide, depression, aggression and birth defects can be licenced by the Irish Medicines Board and yet the ‘free will’ of the pubic to medicate themselves is taken away by the banning of herbal remedies. I doubt if my son would be dead as a result of consuming a large dose of ‘Echinacea’. While I realise that all prescribed medications come with side-effects, we in Ireland are not afforded the same level of warning that other countries are. For example, all antidepressants come with a black-box warning in the US which signify that these drugs can have serious or even life-threatening adverse effects.

Of course herbal medicines are not without controversy either; St John’s wort, which has similar properties to an antidepressant, was widely known in the farming community to cause miscarriage and birth defects in cattle. Farmers took steps to prevent this drug from coming into contact with their animals; yet pregnant women are afforded no such warning. 1 in 10 pregnant Irish women are on antidepressants, leading to about 40 extra babies with significant birth defects and 200 extra miscarriages each year. So in the last 20 years, antidepressants have caused birth defects in 800 Irish babies and 4000 miscarriages.

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

— with Anne-marie Meakin.

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JURY AWARDS $1.5 MILLION IN SUICIDE MALPRACTICE SUIT FINDING PRESCRIBING DOCTOR LIABLE

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For years many of us have hoped that doctors prescribing SSRIs would begin to be sued & found liable for handing these drugs out, as I say in my book, as if they were candy & subsequently sing to you as you leave their office, “Happy Trails to You Until We Meet Again.” Of course I say that emphasize that these doctors do no follow up with patients who are to be monitored on these drugs!

The doctor in this case prescribed Paxil 10 years earlier, never saw the patient again, & when he got a call about the patient while on vacation he doubled the man’s dose of Paxil & added either the antipsychotic, Zyprexa, or another antidepressant, Effexor. (From the article it was difficult to tell as both drugs were discussed.) Either drug could produce a synergistic effect upon serotonin so that it would be as if his dose was closer to being tripled, instead of just doubled.

The resulting jury verdict? “On Nov. 21, 2012 the jury found both doctors negligent, but concluded that only Dr. Beals’ (the prescribing doctor) acts had contributed to or caused Mr. Mazella’s suicide. The jury awarded his wife and three children $1.5 million.”

And I cannot agree more with Dr. Peter Breggin, the court expert in this case, as he concludes: “Hopefully this malpractice verdict will encourage my colleagues to take a closer look at their too often cavalier attitudes toward prescribing psychiatric drugs.”

The attorney for the family Ernest DelDuchetto concluded:  “It was comforting to see a jury agree with our proposition that these drugs (antidepressants) are not panaceas for all sadness,” and that they can have serious harmful effects.”

We have begged for attorneys to file against the prescribing physicians, as well as the drug companies, for years, but in the past they felt their hands were tied & it was most important to go after the drug companies themselves in these cases. Of course that is the main focus as they knew their drugs could produce suicide. So without any question they were liable.

But what I really want to see next is one of these doctors legally held accountable for ONLY VERY BRIEFLY discussing the suicide warning associated with antidepressants, which warning they are required to give due to the Black Box Warning for suicide placed on these drugs by the FDA. And then the doctor, in his/her next breath downplays that Black Box Warning to such an extent that after you’ve heard it you’ve been led to believe this is a side effect that only a man on the moon could have in reaction to a drug as mild as an antidepressant! Those doctors are guilty of “failure to warn” & as such should be held accountable for these deaths & have their licenses pulled for ignoring FDA guidelines when the warning is as serious as a Black Box Warning – the next closest thing to a drug being completely banned!

(Click the link below to read the full article on successful suit.)

www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-breggin/malpractice-suit-suicide_b_2194007.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

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

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