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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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09/24/1999 – John Horgan New York Times Interview

Here’s an insightful interview from the New York Time with Mr. John
Horgan, entitled “A Heretic Takes On the Science of the Mind.”

In 1996, Mr. Horgan, then a senior writer with The Scientific American,
published “The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the
Twilight of the Scientific Age,” a 281-page essay in which he argued
that scientific inquiry has gone about as far as it can go and that the
questions remaining for it to answer are unanswerable. Many scientists
were outraged, but the book sold nearly 200,000 copies.

This month, Mr. Horgan will no doubt be making a new set of enemies
with the release of his latest work — “The Undiscovered Mind — How
the Human Mind Defies Replication, Medication and Explanation” (Free
Press, $25). “I think of myself as a heretic,” he says, “who is
challenging the central dogma that scientific progress is eternal.”

Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company

http://www10.nytimes.com/library/national/science/092199sci-conversatio
n-horgan.html

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Marge’s Story–Her Fateful Experience on Paxil and Effexor

“…this stuff has to come off the market.”

 

An Introduction by Ann Blake-Tracy

This is Marge’s story – a follow up story to the months and months of trauma brought on by three weeks of Paxil and a dose of Robitussin. (The combination produces Serotonin Syndrome.) For Marge this produced a movement disorder and caused her hands to swell to the point she could no longer work. She was subsequently given a diagnosis of Scleraderma. She never recovered from this toxic serotonin reaction – the first injury. After many months of suffering she was told she had to have a breast removed.

In this letter she takes the story from there to tell of the horrors of a second SSRI drug-induced injury that in the end cost her life this time.

Marge passed away several months after this letter was written leaving her husband and two daughters. She was a wonderful and incredible woman who had a brilliant sense of humor that shines through her story. Marge wanted her experience to be a lesson for others. Please heed her warning.

She would ask now as I continue to ask, “HOW MANY MORE HAVE TO DIE?”

Dr. Tracy

Dear Ann,

I hope that you are well. I am so grateful to you for all that you have done.

I would like to brief you on the past 3 months because I think that it is so important for you to know. Perhaps the only reason I was placed here on this earth was to screw up with antidepressant medications so as to add more fuel to your fire. I promise to be as brief as possible, though this is a good one.

As of this past spring, the psychiatrist I was working with prescribed Effexor and lorazipam. I just could not recover from the last medication reaction and my depression was the worst it had ever been. I had been working with this very compassionate psychiatrist for almost a year, and although we hadn’t found any medication that worked, none of them seemed to be making me ill. I tolerated Effexor at low doses (37mg) and seemed to be responding so he raised it to almost 200mg by July. I developed a cough. Strange! I had never had a morning cough before. But at 200mg of Effexor + Lorazipam, who cared? 🙂 The cough became severe rather quickly, along with substernum chest pain. The bottoms of my lungs felt heavy and full. I kept remarking to the psychiatrist that I couldn’t sneeze because I couldn’t take in enough air. He reminded me that I didn’t like medications, so this was probably my imagination. He encouraged me to go to my family physician if I wasn’t feeling well, but I knew that this would just result in a prescription for Robitussin and I wasn’t about to play that game again. I was too drugged to think straight anyway, so I just slept the entire summer away. Even sent my family to California without me so that I could sleep in peace.

By September I knew that I was in trouble. The cough was now terribly frightening to my family and constant. It was spasmodic, and came from my toes. I couldn’t sneeze at all and felt generally lousy. So, I started to take myself off of the medication, but slowly, because my psychiatrist was very much against this and I was as frightened of rebound depression as anything else.

September 29th I was scheduled for implant surgery. This, I was told, was a simple surgery. One night in the hospital and one week to recover. My chest was still not anywhere near right, though it had improved. I was now on only 37mg. of Effexor once again, and the situation was correcting itself, though slowly. I was walking regularly in an effort to clean out my lungs. By now, I had also personally investigated the side effects of this drug, which of course include frequent coughing, substernum chest pain and congestive heart failure. But, as the doctors have told me over and over again in the past 3 months, “They never see this.” – There are none so blind as those we call M.D.

So I went in for surgery, September 29th, and was not doing well after the operation. An hour after being sent home by a hospital that routinely dismissed me, I was raced back to our local hospital because I couldn’t breathe. Congestive heart failure. Into ICU I went where 15 pounds of excess fluid was pumped out of my body. (I am only 5’1″ tall). Everything began to return to normal, oxygen levels, etc., but the nasty cough continued and the pulmonologist saw some strange lines on my x-rays that bothered him. So he sent me for a CATSCAN. POW! The next day, my family physician calls the hospital to inform my husband that I had lung cancer in the lower lobes of both lungs, inoperable, and that I had a tumor in my spine. My husband tearfully delivered the news to me. My children arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter and we all cried the tears of impending doom.

After being stuck in ICU for a week, due to a weekend where no doctors were available and difficulties in scheduling my tests, I demanded to go home. A week of solitary confinement, sitting on this kind of news, fresh out of a surgery which was painful, was enough for me. We immediately scheduled an appointment with the recommended oncologist, who told me I had a 70/30 chance to live and he wanted an immediate biopsy of my spine. By now I had taken myself off of the drugs completely, but of course I was still in shock and just following instructions. Fine, a biopsy of my spine, just tell me when and I’ll be there.

With this, we left for a weekend in Boston so that my daughter could look at colleges. I was in a stupor and still fighting with a miserable cough and a sore breast implant.

Upon my return, I received two calls. One call was from the radiologist at the hospital. Apparently, this “tumor” in my spine was way too tiny for him to biopsy. I don’t even think that you can really say it is a tumor. Maybe a lesion. Who knows? I have since had a bone scan and there is no bone cancer. Major misdiagnosis. I also received a call from my original breast surgeon, who was enraged with all of this. He told me the breast cancer that I had does not do this and that whatever was in my lungs was most likely not cancer. He named several other things that it could be and for the first time, we learned that cancer cannot be diagnosed from a CATSCAN. You mean, I might not be dying?? What a novel idea.

With this, I went to my cosmetic surgeon for a checkup. To her great dismay, she discovered that the implant was trying to escape – a very unusual occurrence. I knew that I had been steadily coughing it out, but of course, nobody listens to me. Nevertheless, I was told to lie flat on my back until we could determine if the implant could be saved. All further oncologist appointments were postponed. For almost 2 months I lay here on my back, thinking that I was probably dying while coughing my brains out, in an effort to save an implant that wasn’t going to do me much good if, indeed, I had bilateral lung cancer. Ann, please stop me at any point and help me to make sense out of this. Are these guys entirely insane?

So, the weeks are going by and I am getting better and better. Even lying on my back, with the help of acupuncture and my naturopathic physician, the cough was clearing up. This, I strongly suspected, was not the pattern for lung cancer. Still, nobody would listen to me (except the naturopathic community), and nobody would acknowledge the written side effects of the drug I had been taking. The new oncologist that I was now seeing (how could the other oncologist have given me a 70/30 chance to live when he didn’t even know if I had cancer and if I did have cancer, what type of cancer did I have?) only wanted a lung biopsy. Apparently the CATSCAN was pretty ugly. This new and improved oncologist admitted that he had no idea what was in my lungs, but whatever was there, there was a lot of it and he wanted it biopsied. I begged to differ. The bottoms of both of my lungs had been under water all summer. Most likely there were stalactites and stalagmites growing in there. The point is that I was getting better, had just experienced a surgery gone wrong and a week in ICU. There was no way anybody was going to touch this body again! If my lungs were filled with that much cancer, I should be exhibiting some signs of illness, and other than a disappearing cough, I was fine. Nobody was listening to me and I was called a “naughty girl” for having an opinion.

So now it is almost Christmas. My breast continues to heal around the implant though at a painfully slow pace. We are waiting for fresh new skin that is strong enough to hold this water bag in place. I am still bandaged and haven’t had a shower since September. This whole experience has been so (pardon me) depressing, all because of an antidepressant drug that I shouldn’t have been on in the first place and should certainly not have been permitted to have surgery while taking. Can you say “drug interaction?” Jerks! I did submit to the bone scan, eventually, and all is well there. But my lungs continue to heal, I walk regularly, I am physically doing well and still they torment me with wanting a biopsy which I simply will not permit. It holds a risk of a collapsed lung – no big deal to them, but I think that I’ve had enough. I have only a small cough left, though I know that my lungs were injured by the Effexor and am waiting patiently for them to heal as best they can.

The effects of the original medication reaction are quite minimal at this point. I can take a walk, though I know that my muscles and ligaments are not normal and I have to watch not to overdo. They get sore. This is the first year, since the original reaction, that I can tolerate long sleeves. Up to this point, I couldn’t wear anything on my arms. They were extremely sensitive. My hands are permanently damaged, though fully functional. They are full of scar tissue from having been swollen for so long, and that renders them uncomfortable. My fingers have a bend to them and I can’t make a full fist. Otherwise, you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong. At a glance, they almost look normal. But they will never feel normal again, and that is unfortunate.

At this point, I am hoping to return to work in January – just 8 hours per week, but it’s a start. I am on no medication and never will be again. My psychiatrist refuses to inform the Drug Company that all of this happened. Without a biopsy, he refuses to draw any conclusions and I guess he assumes that this was all just a major coincidence. What a disappointment I will be to all of them when I get well.

Ann, this stuff has to come off the market. Humanity is not any more ready for this than it is for atomic weapons. I have now been victimized twice, not because of the medication itself (which is bad enough), but because the doctors refuse to acknowledge the side effects of the drugs even when they are tap-dancing in front of their own eyes. Personally, I have no idea how I will ever return to the care of any allopathic physician. For now, they appear to be the enemy.

Please keep me in your prayers and I will do the same for you.

Marge

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 62.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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A Nurse’s Story: On Paxil, I Lost Interest in Everything.

“Never again, Paxil. Never again.”

 

My story may be of some interest. I am a very active person (golf, tennis, bike rider, walk long distances, roller blade and roller skate). However, starting around Feb. of this year everything changed. I lost interest in everything. I explained to my primary doctor that I have to push my self to do everything even get out of bed (usually and early riser). I had been on medication for diabetes (newly diagnosed), 3-hypertension meds daily, estrogen replacement, eye drops for glaucoma (recently diagnosed) and suddenly I could not function.

I was placed on PAXIL 20-mg daily. Was out of work for 10 weeks, It was recommended that go in to therapy, which I did, my primary doctor along with my therapist stated it was work related, however I was not totally convinced. After listening to them for seven weeks I decided to take things into my own hands, (forgot to mention I am a nurse making nearly $ 60,000 yearly). I decided to stop ALL medication.

Of course, I consulted with my doctor, who never told me the side effects of all these medications as a nurse, when your the patient your the PATIENT, I suffered for three weeks with severe headaches, DIZZINESS, and stomach discomfort, but it was all worth it. I feel wonderful, watching my diet, exciting and enjoying it back to getting up early, back to work enjoying it.

My main point is important to check side effects of medication, so many cause depression and are not compatible, believe the doctor don’t know and the pharmaceutical companies were of little or no help. My plan is start holistic meds along with proper diet, monitor blood sugars, and exercise. NEVER AGAIN PAXIL, NEVER AGAIN, I GOT MY SELF BACK AND I FEEL BRAND NEW THANKS FOR LISTENING

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 58.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

522 total views, 3 views today

A Living Hell Coming Off Paxil

“There needs to be so much more information available to a patient.”

 

I want to let you know that I have been in a living hell since I started to get off of Paxil two weeks ago. I have had emotional symptoms of rage, uncontrollable crying, frustration, and edginess. I also have flu like symptoms of achiness, sweating, migraines, low-grade fever, hot and cold, nausea, and exhaustion. I finally had to go to the medical doctor today to get professional help to titrate off of this horrifying drug properly. I want to do anything that I can to help others understand what they are getting into when they opt to take this type of medication. I think that there could have been a better route to take now that I have come this far with this. Maybe they should have tried diet, exercise, and therapy. I would love to do anything in my power to get some type of law stating that this type of information be made known to a patient before he or she starts taking any off the SSRI’s. I was told here take this and you will feel better. There needs to be so much more information available to a patient. You do have permission to publish this on the Internet or contact me via e-mail.

April Fountain
Apriltorm@yahoo.com

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 57.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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Paxil Nearly Killed Me.

“Nothing is as awful as life was on Paxil.”

 

In September 1997 I was feeling down. Since each day seemed to be worse from the previous, I called the local mental health agency asking for help. Within 3 weeks, I was given an appointment, and prescribed Paxil for depression (which I questioned because a friend of mine who was a neurosurgeon had been taking Paxil and killed himself 3 months earlier) and lorazepam for anxiety.

A few weeks passed and I was not feeling any better. I had quit going to do things outside my house and I knew there was something wrong. I told my therapist who said to wait a while because sometimes it takes a month or so for the Paxil to work. So, I waited for 2 more weeks, by this time I could not get out of bed at all. I did not shower or eat either. I called the doctor and then went to see him. I told him there was something very wrong. I wanted to die. I wondered if I needed more medication (I felt so rotten, I thought if I felt this bad on the medication, I thought I would be worse without it) He wrote a script for Trazadone. I took it and did not wake up for 23 hours. I called the clinic, there was no one there who could help and I was asked to call back the next day. The next day was Wednesday, I called again, no one called me back. Thursday I had an appointment with my therapist. I told her I was doing awful and had thrown the Trazadone away. I explained if one pill could knock me out for 23 hours, I did not need 30 of them in the house the way I was feeling. I told her something was very wrong and she said to talk to the doctor. He was unreachable. Friday I called again after no return phone calls. I got the nurses voice mail. I left a message. About 5:30 pm she called me back and I told her there was something very wrong with me. She said everyone was gone and she would have the doctor call me on Monday. I told her again there was something wrong with my meds and I needed help.

At about 7:00 pm I took 60 Lorazepam (although I had no idea what I was doing and have no memory of wanting to die) and cuddled down into my bed and went to sleep. (I don’t remember the next four days. The following is the pieces as told to me) At 11pm I called my sister in law and told her I took a bunch of pills She took me to the hospital where no one believed how much Lorazepam I had taken until they took a blood level. It was too late to pump my stomach so I had to drink Charcoal. The hospital released me about 2 hours later and said to continue my Paxil until Monday when the Doctor could talk to me.

I am told I stayed in bed all day Saturday and mostly slept. I tried to get up a few times but fell (and had huge bruises all over my body for the next 3 weeks). About 9pm I cut my wrist open and took another bottle of pills. And then sat down at the computer to write a suicide letter. 18 hours later I was found still typing on the computer by my mother.

I remember telling her what I had done and that there was something very wrong with me. She called my regular doctor to make an appointment. The next day, Monday, my mother got me up and helped me bathe. I got on the scale and saw I had lost 30lbs in the past 7 weeks while I was on Paxil. I was so weak I was unable to walk alone.

My mother took me to my regular MD. She said I had a Paxil induced psychosis and to quit taking it right away. She gave me Zoloft in case I crashed from going cold turkey. I never took any Zoloft. I was too afraid. These behaviors were not me. They were not things I would have done no matter how depressed I was.

It has been 8 months since all of this happened. I am not on any meds or feel like I need them. However, I have some shocking sensations but not as bad as the 2 months right after quitting the Paxil. My memory is terrible. I can’t remember what I did yesterday, or words when I start a sentence. I can’t juggle tasks. My problem solving ability is gone. And I am uncomfortable in large groups of people. It feels like everything is closing in.

I am psychologically fine. The only good things that came from this is that I know I am strong enough to fight anything. And depression is something I can handle on my own. Nothing is as awful as life was on Paxil.

Tammy
Liptonlips@aol.com

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 67.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

456 total views, 1 views today

The Macula’s Story

“We need to let people know what is going on with these drugs before more lives are destroyed.”

 

I credit reading Ann Blake-Tracy’s book with saving my husband’s life. I have talked to her by phone and by e-mail. Here is my story and what happened to us in the past two years: In December of 1995 our house burned down. For the next 4 months we fought with the town to get it rebuilt (it was a duplex owned and lived in by two separate families). The Zoning laws changed and the town would not let us rebuild it as a two family home. We subsequently had to buy the other owner’s interest. Then we had to go through the battle with our insurance company to get the money needed to rebuild the home.

It was a very stressful time in our lives, we were living in a trailer on our property during all this. It was hard but we were doing okay and helping our kids get through it as well. In April 1996 my husband went to his Primary Care Doctor for a refill of his Blood Pressure Medication. While he was there his doctor asked, “How are you doing?” My husband said “.. A little down over all of this.” The Doctor said “I have just the thing for you.” My husband came home with free samples of Prozac and a prescription for more. I recall looking at him and saying that people kill people and go nuts on that stuff. And then I laughed it off. Little did I know how true we were about to discover that to be in a short four months!

In August of 1996, I started seeing a change in my husband of 20 years. He had always been the type of person who liked to work in his yard and home and keep everything neat and manicured. Now I began finding him in front of the TV just staring at it. I would be yelling at one of the children about something and I would get no reaction at all from him. By September there were other signs, like not sleeping at night and not eating. Although it did not register with me at the time, I can look back now and recall noticing them.

On Oct. 4, 1996, I got a call from his work. They told me that he had passed out and been sent to the hospital by ambulance. When I got to the hospital they told me they would keep him there overnight for observation. When I picked him up the next day and he was in total confusion, having anxiety and panic attacks, and admitted he had been having severe nightmares about dying during the past few weeks. He went out for a walk on the third day after being released from the hospital and my brother found him walking on a busy street in a total daze. He couldn’t remember where he had been.

Over the next few weeks he went down hill rapidly. He tried to return to work but he couldn’t focus–he would just get up and leave, not telling anyone where he was going. I kept calling his doctor for help telling him there was something wrong. So of course the doctor continued to add more and more drugs. Klonopin, Buspar, and more.

He became like a zombie. He couldn’t function at all. Finally we took him off all meds except for the Prozac. In the next months he stared consuming large amounts of alcohol. He started suicide attempts, (walking in the middle of a busy road, walking on railroad tracks waiting for the train to run him down, slitting his wrists, electrocuting himself and overdosing on the prescription drugs, and also mixing them with alcohol.

He was now complaining of electric shocks running through his body and a rapid heartbeat. All he knew was that he wanted to die, even though loved his family and me very much. He was a wonderful person and we had always enjoyed each others company and had a good life with our kids. We were looking forward to moving into the new house and having it all to ourselves.

At this point the Doctor sent him to a neurologist who did a complete work up and ordered a MRI. He found nothing out of the ordinary and told him to up his Prozac to 40 mgs. Finally I convinced my husband to go to a psychiatrist. Of course, you have to use a doctor that belongs to your insurance group, and there wasn’t a Psychiatrist in our area at this time. So he ended up at a psychologist. Well he went to this Doctor and tried to explain what was wrong and that he thought it might be the Prozac. But the psychologist just said, ‘Oh no–no Prozac doesn’t do that!’ and gave him a relaxation tape that taught him to squeeze his butt cheeks as one of the exercises. He also told us to contact our primary care physician and add Xanax and something else.

We did not go back to him for treatment. By this time my husband was totally out of control he was starting to see a girl after work, leaving work to meet her, leaving home to meet her, and still attempting suicide. He would look fine one minute and the next minute his eyes would glaze over and his pupils would start flicking back and forth and he would start having something like little seizures. In the meantime I was still calling the doctor asking him what I should do. Finally my husband said, “I have to get off this Prozac or I am going to die.”

By January he was totally manic. He was having an affair with the woman he had been meeting. Still not sleeping at night, he would spend all night sitting in a chair staring into space and then go to work in the morning. I was terrified of him and for him. Finally I had to call the police to have him committed to the Psych ward at the hospital.

About this time his sister in doing some research on Prozac on the Internet, came up with some excerpts from Dr. Tracy’s book. We showed them to the hospital psychiatrist who said ‘Oh no–no Prozac doesn’t do that.’ So the hospital psychiatrist added more drugs: Effexor (SSRI anti-depressant), Serentil (anti-psychotic) and Anafranil (anti-obsessive). Four days later he came home and had to go to suicide and depression classes at the hospital for two weeks. Ten days after coming out of the hospital he tried to kill himself again and he went back to the Psych ward. This time he was there for 11 days. All of his meds were increased. He came home like a zombie again. His anxiety or panic attacks were gone, but he still had the sensation of electric shocks, and body seizures where he would jump and swing his arms in his sleep. He was also screaming out in his sleep and sweating badly. He was still unable to work or focus.

This continued on all Spring and Summer of 1997. By now he was seeing a psychiatrist (insurance company finally had one in our area). The Doctor kept increasing the doses of the meds. He also would add meds and change meds. By August he was a basket case! He was crying about what he had done to his family and that he just couldn’t go on after what he’d done.

August 31, 1997 I woke up at 3:00 am to find him gone! I found him in his car with a hose from his tailpipe to his car window. He said the pain was too much. So it was back to the hospital again. Pamelor (anti-depressant) was added to his daily regimen, Effexor was stopped, Melarill (an anti psychotic) was added, and Serentil was stopped. By that time he was on the maximum dosage allowed for Anafranil. He came home a Zombie again. He was unable to work for a month.

Finally I decided to order Ann Blake-Tracy’s book. In reading it, I found it described my husband and his ordeal to a “T.” Other people on Prozac and other SSRI anti-depressants were going through the same exact adverse reactions. It made me cry to think those doctors for the past 1 1/2 years were killing my husband with these drugs. They turned a normal human being into a manic-depressive, psychotic, basket case that almost destroyed his family and himself.

On October 31, against Ann Blake-Tracy’s warnings, he took himself off all meds. He went through horrific withdrawals: pain, crying spells, rebound depression. He wanted to lay down and sleep forever. Finally about 3 weeks later I saw a change. I saw my old husband starting to return. He had energy, he was happy, all suicidal thoughts were out of his head. He couldn’t believe that he had tried to kill himself.

It has now been four months off meds and he is working full time again. He is talking to people at work about the dangers of these drugs. We have been on the Geraldo show. And we have begun to find many others who have gone through this same “Hell” we have. We have found that we are surrounded by others having similar experiences and are trying to help them in every way we can. We need to let the people know what is going on with these drugs before more lives are destroyed.

Thanks for reading my story,

(Patty and her Husband recently taped an episode of the Geraldo Show. We will notify of the airdate on our Public Appearances page when it is scheduled to be broadcast.)

Patty

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 61.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

415 total views, no views today