ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL: Mother Kills Baby: Pennsylvania

Paragraph 16 reads:  “The defendant’s defense lawyer,
Pietro Joseph D’Angelo, told the court that at the time of the baby’s death,
Brown should have been taking medication for depression and
anxiety.”

“Brown, who is currently back
on prescription medication,
testified she is better able to
cope.”

http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2009/11/21/news/doc4b0772fcf0acd165303912.txt

By KEITH PHUCAS
Times Herald Staff

COURTHOUSE
­ A Norristown woman who admitted causing fatal injuries to her 20-month-old
toddler last November, when she shook him and banged his head against a bed
headboard, was sentenced to prison Friday.

Jennifer Brown, 24, who
pleaded guilty in September to involuntary manslaughter and endangering the
welfare of a child, was sentenced by Montgomery County Judge William R.
Carpenter to 11 1/2 to 23 months behind bars and three years’
probation.

Brown has already been incarcerated for seven months and is
eligible for Montgomery County Correctional Facility’s Work Release
Program.

She severely injured her son, Lathario Brown-Jacobs, on Nov. 25
in his bedroom at the family’s East Jacoby Street home, and the child died in
the hospital three days later.

After paramedics attempted to treat the
child at the scene, he was taken to Montgomery Hospital. Physicians there
suspected the severe trauma was not accidentally inflicted, and the child was
transferred to Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, where he was put on life
support.

When the injured boy was initially hospitalized, the woman
claimed she was awakened by sounds coming from her son’s room at 3 a.m.,
according to court papers, and when she went to check on him, he was having
difficulty breathing.

The mother claimed she tried to wake him, but he
reportedly didn’t respond, and she got upset and began shaking him and hit his
head several times, according to authorities. Around 4 a.m., the mother called
911 to report her son was having breathing problems.

A Norristown day
care center that took care of Lathario Brown on a regular basis told
investigators that the boy frequently had a bloody nose or bloody lip when he
was dropped off in the morning, according to court papers.

When
Norristown Detective David Mazza and County Detective Rich Nilsen interviewed
Brown a second time, she admitted shaking the boy and hitting his head several
times on the headboard or the wall, and at some point the toddler “went
limp.”

According to court records, Dr. Chase Blanchard, a forensic
pathologist with the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, performed an
autopsy. Dr. Lucy Rorke-Adams, an expert in neuropathology, examined the child’s
brain tissue, and concluded he died as a result of a severe brain
injury.

The defendant’s mother, Eleanor Brown, and the child’s father,
Terrence Jacobs, testified at the sentencing hearing.

“My daughter has
been through a lot of pain and suffering,” Eleanor Brown said. “This has made
her stronger.”

Jacobs, who is also the father of the 24-year-old woman’s
other children, described her as a “very passionate” person. He said the couple
had lived together in Augusta, Ga., but the couple split up and Brown returned
to Norristown.

“She was the thread that held our family together,” he
said.

The defendant’s defense lawyer, Pietro Joseph D’Angelo, told the
court that at the time of the baby’s death, Brown should have been taking
medication for depression and anxiety.

Brown, who is currently back on
prescription medication, testified she is better able to cope.

“It makes
me feel real calm,” she said.

Brown, who graduated from Norristown Area
High School in 2003, played on the school’s field hockey and lacrosse
teams.

Just prior to sentencing, Carpenter said the defendant had no
prior criminal record and was actively participating in counseling programs in
prison.

“I find she is genuinely remorseful, and has the support from her
family,” the judge said.

Since the child’s death nearly a year ago,
Brown’s brother and father have also died.

“She has suffered, and we all
have suffered,” Eleanor Brown said.

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PAXIL: Postpartum: Mother Has Worsening Depression with 2nd Baby

PAXIL:   PostpartumMother Has
Worsening Depression with 2nd Baby After Taking Antidepressants:  Had

Postpartum with 1st Baby and Recovered With No Meds:
U.S.A.

Sentences three through seven read:  ” I went through postpartum depression with my first baby eight years ago but at
that time I didn’t have anxiety and I didn’t take any medication.
And I started getting better after 3½ months itself. But now it’s
been three months that I am going through this. I have been
taking medications (Paxil 20 mg, Buspar 10 mg) and getting counseling but
it’s not helping much. I still don’t feel myself and am having unwanted
thoughts.”

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/expert.q.a/09/08/postpartum.depression.raison/

Expert Q&A

updated 10:03 a.m. EDT, Tue September 8,
2009

How long will my postpartum depression last?

Asked by Sheeza Ashraf, Fremont, California

I have a
4-month-old baby. I am going through postpartum depression with a lot of anxiety
and panic attacks. I went through postpartum depression with my first baby eight
years ago but at that time I didn’t have anxiety and I didn’t take any
medication. And I started getting better after 3½ months itself. But now it’s
been three months that I am going through this. I have been taking medications
(Paxil 20 mg, Buspar 10 mg) and getting counseling but it’s not helping much. I
still don’t feel myself and am having unwanted thoughts. How long does

postpartum depression last? Is this temporary? Will this anxiety and depression
ever go away? Should I stop the medications and try it on my own? Does exercise
help to get out of the depression? Will I ever be normal like I was
before?

Mental Health Expert Dr.
Charles Raison
Psychiatrist,
Emory University Medical School

Expert answer

Dear Sheeza,

I am sorry to hear of your difficulties —
you are far from alone in your struggles with postpartum depression. Indeed, up
to 20 percent of women become depressed in the six months following delivery,
but company doesn’t help much when it comes to depression — or at least the
company we typically provide in the U.S. Traditional cultures understood the
vulnerability of new mothers and would often surround them with family and
friends to help with the significant emotional and practical burdens of coping

with the newborn.

I am going to make some general recommendations about
what you might want to consider doing, based only on the information you have
provided above. As always, this should not be taken as specific advice for your
actual situation. That kind of advice can come only from a clinician who knows
you and is involved in your care.

First and most important, it is very
important to continue medication when one is still depressed, so given what you
describe, I would counsel against stopping the antidepressant. It is not clear
how long you have been on the Paxil (generic: paroxetine), but let’s assume
you’ve been on it for at least six weeks. You are on a low dose. A reasonable
first step would be to talk with your doctor about raising the dose to 40 mg a
day and trying this dose for at least several weeks.

If you see no
benefit, there are in general two paths your doctor might recommend (and I say
doctor in the generic sense, given that many folks nowadays see physician
assistants or nurse practitioners who often — in my experience — do a better
job diagnosing and treating depression than do MDs). First, your doctor might
add a second antidepressant or an atypical antipsychotic to your Paxil. Although
they are called “antipsychotics,” these agents (for example Seroquel, Abilify,
Zyprexa) are also widely used to help with severe depression and anxiety and are
often quite effective. Second, your doctor might switch you from the Paxil to
another antidepressant. Unfortunately, we have no scientific way of knowing
which agent you should switch to — our best data suggest that they are all
about equal. But one thing is clear: Many people who don’t do well with one
antidepressant will have a great response to a different one.

Anxiety and
panic are quite common when one has a bad depression, and they can be more
miserable to endure than the feeling of depression itself. It is unlikely that
the low dose of Buspar (generic: buspirone) you are taking is of much benefit.
You might want to discuss with your doctor raising the dose to at least 10 mg
three times a day or discontinuing it. The best immediate way to relieve
disabling anxiety is through the use of benzodiazepines (for example lorazepam
or clonazepam). These medications can be lifesavers, but if you take them for
more than three or four weeks your body will become dependent upon them, and
should you want to stop, you will have to reduce them slowly under the
supervision of a doctor.

Let me say a word about exercise. Yes, exercise

has been shown in many studies not only to raise a person’s mood immediately,
but also to work over time as an antidepressant. Therefore, I strongly recommend
adding regular exercise to your treatment regimen. Try to exercise in the
morning, especially when it is sunny. To get the best effect you will need to
work up a sweat. I find that it is even better if you can exercise in a place
with some natural beauty — as being in nature is itself quite comforting for
most of us.

I don’t have an answer to your question about how long the
depression will last and whether it will ever go away. Everyone is different. We
do know, however, that the longer one stays depressed and/or the more episodes
one has had, the harder it is to treat the condition. This is just the
frightening truth of the disease, and it really highlights how important it is
for you to really get aggressive about your treatment. My sincere hope is that
whatever specific treatment route you follow, you will start feeling like
yourself again as quickly as possible.

Finally, whenever I talk about
specific pharmacologic treatments I need to disclose that in addition to my
academic work I have given lectures for two pharmaceutical companies in the last
year: Lilly and Wyeth. I have also served on an advisory board for Lilly in the
last 12 months.
[]

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AMITRIPTYLINE: Murder: Mother Kills Baby: England

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):
Keep in mind that the tricyclic antidepressants, like Amitriptyline, (the cause
of this child’s death) Imipramine, etc. have been given to small children for
decades now for bed wetting!

These tricyclic antidepressants have an almost identical
effect in increasing serotonin levels. When you interfere with the metabolism of
serotonin you increase the level of serotonin because it then begins to back up
causing serotonin levels to rise. (See the chapter “Serotonin Doubletalk” in the
book “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare” to learn the
amazing deception behind the serotonin reuptake theory.
)
In fact Amitriptyline interferes with the
metabolism of serotonin at anywhere from 21% – 37% depending on the study
you refer to. In comparison one of the newest and most powerful SSRI
antidepressants, Celexa, interferes with serotonin metabolism at the
rate of 29%. They are very similar in this respect.
When serotonin metabolism is interfered with, thus producing
increases in serotonin levels, many adverse reactions can occur. As you keep in
mind that the main function of serotonin is constriction of smooth muscle
tissue, such as the bronchial tubes, all the major organs of the body, you can
quickly understand why this little child could no longer breathe. High levels of
Amitriptyline would have interfered with the metabolism of serotonin to the
extent as to shut the lungs down due to the high levels of serotonin
backing up in his system. The condition is known medically as Serotonin
Syndrome. And as you see from this case, Serotonin Syndrome can be
fatal.
Paragraph two reads:  “Laura-Jane Vestuto, 28, crushed
anti-depressant
pills prescribed to her

and
fed them to toddler Renzo.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6825876.ece

From Times Online
September 8, 2009

Mother jailed for killing baby with antidepressants

Times Online

A mother was jailed for six years today
for killing her 20-month-old son by doping him to make him sleep.

Laura-Jane Vestuto, 28, crushed anti-depressant pills prescribed to her
and fed them to toddler Renzo.

She had been giving the medication to
Renzo for weeks before he developed breathing problems and died after being
taken to hospital in September 2007.

Tests showed the drug had built up
in his body and he had ten times the safe adult dose in his system, the Old
Bailey heard.

Traces of Amitriptyline were found on baby medicine
feeders but police believe he may have also been given the drug in his juice or
milk.

Judge Peter Thornton told Vestuto she had given Renzo sedatives to
make life easier for herself.

He said: “Instead of bearing the everyday
responsibility of being a parent, caring and loving for your son, you embarked
on a deliberate course of administering adult drugs, knowing that was wrong and
risky.

“You gave him drugs for purely selfish, self-centred reasons,
thinking only of yourself.”

The judge said Vestuto had been prescribed
the drug seven times in the months leading up to the boy’s death, but was not
taking it herself when Renzo died.

Traces of other drugs, including
painkillers, were also found in his system.

Judge Thornton added: “You
repeatedly administered these drugs, calmly and deliberately, knowing it was
wrong and not the way to care for children.”

He said Vestuto had shown
little emotion when her son died after being taken to hospital.

She had
compounded the suffering of her mother and former husband by denying given Renzo
the medication – and trying to throw the blame on them.

Sarah
Whitehouse, prosecuting, said Vestuto had been prescribed the drug for backache
and to make her sleep.

She told a neighbour that Renzo had been given
medicine by her GP to make him sleep while he was teething – but the doctor said
he was never consulted about teething problems.

Miss Whitehouse said it
was not possible to say how long Vestuto had been giving the drug to the boy.

Isabella Forshall, defending, said Vestuto had not intended to harm the
boy.

Miss Forshall said: “She meant it to help Renzo. There were a
number of small doses which suddenly overwhelmed poor Renzo.

“All she
wanted to be was a mum and housewife. Renzo was well-nourished and looked after.

“Like any parent, she was distressed when he was teething and miserable,
and that is why she took the step she did – a desperately reckless one.”

Vestuto, of Clapton, east London, pleaded guilty in July to causing or
allowing Renzo’s death.

An alternative charge of manslaughter was left
to lie on file after she pleaded not guilty.

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