Withdrawing from Paxil has been a Nightmare

“Feelings of suicide and hopelessness are worse now than ever.”

 

I liked your comments on Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. I have been on Paxil since 1995, and it has been a nightmare. I am slowly getting off the drug on my own, without telling my doctor. Believe me, I am cutting back VERY slowly because of how long I have been on it. I have gotten worse over the years, and not better, and have told my doctor so, but to no avail. Feelings of suicide and hopelessness are worse now than ever.

I know that many people wish there was a drug that really would help without the incredible side effects, such as weight gain, etc. By the way, I have gone from 180 (my ideal weight) to 240 pounds during the time I have been on Paxil. That in itself is depressing.

Tom Gadowski
27627 El Capitan Dr.
Warren, MI 48092-3078
(810) 751-6791

5/2/2000

This is Survivor Story number 23.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

 

 

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5/1/2000 – PA Suit blames Prozac for suicide try

Suit blames Prozac for suicide try

By Jeff Swiatek

The Indianapolis Star

Last updated 11:58 PM, EST, Monday, May 01, 2000

A Pennsylvania woman and her husband have sued Eli Lilly and Co., charging
that Prozac caused the woman to attempt suicide in 1997.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Pittsburgh, says Diane V.
Cassidy was prescribed Prozac by her family doctor in July of 1997 for weight
loss.

Three weeks later, Cassidy checked into a motel, slit her wrists and took an
overdose of a drug that damaged her brain, the lawsuit says.

Cassidy, 47, survived, but is brain-damaged and requires constant care, the
lawsuit says.

A co-plaintiff is Cassidy’s husband of 29 years, Melvin J. Cassidy. They live
in Monroeville, Pa.

Lilly spokesman Edward A. West said, “Prozac had nothing do with this woman’s
situation.” He added, “There is a real serious question about whether there
was a suicide attempt or not.”

The 23-page initial complaint asks for $4.84 million to cover medical
expenses, lost wages and life-care needs. Intangible damages also are sought.

The lawsuit accuses the Indianapolis drugmaker of negligence for not warning
doctors that Prozac can cause suicidal behavior in some patients.

Prozac, the nation’s top-selling antidepressant, is not federally approved as
a weight-loss drug, but the lawsuit says Lilly “has either actively or
tacitly encouraged doctors to prescribe Prozac for weight loss.”

The lawsuit joins a dwindling number of fewer than 10 product-liability
claims over Prozac. Five years ago, there were more than 150 claims. Most
have been dismissed, dropped or settled.

Handling the Pittsburgh lawsuit are Greensburg, Pa., attorney Lawrence D.
Kerr and Houston attorney Andy Vickery, who has three other Prozac lawsuits
pending against Lilly.

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Nurse Tells of Horrors after Gaining Weight on Prozac

“Prozac is a dangerous drug!!!!! It has changed my body, my health, my financial status, influenced my marital status and almost destroyed me.”

 

Hi Ann Blake-Tracy,

Tomorrow will be 77 days off Prozac.

I feel relieved and elated that I have made it this far…and feel good. I hope my story can help some of the readers, as I have been on a real rollercoaster ride with this drug.

Let me start at the beginning. I have been prescribed and have taken sporadically antidepressant drugs for about 29 years. I have been diagnosed as bipolar but have neither manic episodes or deep depression. I do have time to time mild depression which causes some anxiety in my day to day living.

Three years ago a psychiatrist, seeing me for 10 minutes as a requirement as an adjunct to my one on one therapy with my therapist, prescribed Prozac. I was started on 20mg per day and within 1 day could feel it “kicking in” and making the world tolerable again. I immediately felt that I had really needed this drug..and why did I wait so long to feel better….as the weeks wore on however, the initial good feelings for my fellow man were replaced by transient feelings of anxiety…feeling that I couldn’t cope with things, situations… and an ongoing feeling that I didn’t want to deal with anything anymore.

I also started to gain weight…..mostly craving fast food and sweets…..at the end of 3 years I have gained 65 pounds and have the appearance of a cushinoid patient with upper body weight, buffalo hump, facial weight. I look different..I don’t look healthy. I also quit a job that I had for 7 years and started job hopping…had 4 jobs in one year. Financially..somehow I went from good credit…to bad credit with my 2nd mortgage becoming a reality to get my life back. I also divorced a husband of 26 years and remarried…but I believe that was a good choice. Would I have made different choices without the Prozac….I don’t know…….I weaned myself off the drug after reading your book and feel so much better mentally…..I have started another job and have stuck to it…I feel I have myself back again.

The only problem is the weight…..I can’t seem to get it off………Do you have any suggestions on diet types for this problem? I know the Cortisol is directly at fault…does it continue??? How do we stop it? I am a nurse and have been trying to research it on my own…what I have found is disheartening…..effects may last 2 years…….any suggestions….

I have also sent your book to my daughter who was also on Prozac..and my other daughter on Paxil….. Both are off the drugs after weaning…and doing better…..Prozac is a dangerous drug!!!!! It has changed my body, my health, my financial status, influenced my marital status…..and almost destroyed me……Please write back on any suggestions you may have on diet to crack this weight..I am 52 years old.
———–

Note from Ann Blake-Tracy:

Whatever you do as an ex-SSRI user, DO NOT try the high protein diet craze that is making a come back in spite of destroying the health of so many in the 1970’s! Ex-SSRI users are becoming EXTREMELY ill trying to follow this diet. I personally believe the reason for that is that the serotonergic drugs, while impairing one’s ability to break down serotonin, also impair one’s ability to metabolize proteins. This would make high protein diets very dangerous for them. Good nutrition, walking, sufficient water intake, proper sleep, and good fats Vs bad fats have always been the keys to weight loss. Check out Udo Erasmus’ book, “Fats the Heal, Fats that Kill” at www.edoerasmus.com.

Susan in Michigan

4/17/2000

This is Survivor Story number 24.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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My 18-Year Old’s Bizarre Behavior on Prozac

“At no time …did any one mention Prozac’s side effects.”

My 18 year old son has been on Prozac for the last year and a half.
Initially, I brought him to a counselor for some mild anxiety he was experiencing (shyness in social situations, etc.) The counselor (a licensed MSW) prescribed Prozac, saying that it would greatly reduce Jeff’s anxiety. Indeed, after two weeks Jeff reported feeling better, being more relaxed in school and in social situations. Over the next 6 months or so, however, I began to notice some disturbing symptoms (excessive sleepiness at times and at other times extreme agitation along with an inability to concentrate on schoolwork).I told his family doctor, who suggested cutting his dose of Prozac, from 20 mg. to 10 mg. Shortly after this time, Jeff began to develop a severe drinking problem. He frequently came home so intoxicated that he could not stand and remembered nothing the next morning. His grades in school also started plummeting: during his senior year in high school, his grades went from B+ to failing. He was extremely agitated, anxious, unable to sit still or focus. At this point his counselors recommended that his Prozac be upped from 10 to 20 mg.

Things went from bad to worse-his drinking increased, he barely graduated from high school (he was on home study because he was exhibiting bizarre, sometimes threatening behavior in school, and was suspended).At no time during this period did any one mention Prozac’s side effects or the possibility that Jeff was having a serious reaction to this drug.

Finally, towards the end of summer ’99, when he picked up his prescription from the pharmacy, he read the label and noticed some of the possible side effects, pointing out to my husband and myself that these were the same things he’d been experiencing. We made a family decision to stop the Prozac, not realizing that the fun was just beginning. About a week after stopping the Prozac, Jeff began to have panic attacks (something he’d never experienced before).Along with the shaking, irregular heartbeat and anxiety, he experienced strange sensations in his head and a buzzing sound in his ears. We went to see his doctor, who didn’t make the connection-he sent him to a psychologist to treat the panic attacks, not suspecting that the problem might be Prozac withdrawal (nor did I). For the past 2 months, his symptoms have grown steadily worse: he’s been in the emergency room for severe headaches, has seen a neurologist, had many expensive tests, and been diagnosed with Migraine.

No one made the connection between his symptoms and the fact that he had stopped the Prozac abruptly (all doctors knew of his decision). It wasn’t until I saw Dr. Tracy on the Leeza show recently that I started to suspect that this might be the problem. Since then I’ve been researching Prozac on the internet and am amazed at the information I’m finding! I’ve spoken to Jeff’s doctor who was as surprised as I about these complications (I printed and mailed him lots of info.)I will order your book, as I want to know what I can do to help my son at this point apologize at the length of this e-mail, but I had to tell this story to someone.
Thank you.

Followup Letter to Dr. Tracy:
Dear Dr. Tracy,
Thank you for your kind response to my e-mail. It’s obvious that this is an issue very close to your heart. It’ s easy for me to see how frustrating this battle can be: the more information that I find on this topic, the more appalled I become that the medical and psychiatric professions are allowing this to happen to unsuspecting and trusting patients. Amazingly, Jeff seems to be doing much better. Just within the past week, his headaches have all but disappeared, and his anxiety level is greatly diminished. It’s been about 2 1/2 months since he stopped taking the Prozac- from what I’ve read however there can be delayed withdrawal reactions, so I’m not sure we’re out of the woods yet. I’ve been very busy printing information that I find on the internet and sending Jeff’s doctor and counselors letters and packets of information. My hope is that they will at least begin to question these drugs and do some research on their own. I’d like to show you an excerpt from the letter I wrote to the psychologist Jeff was referred to for the panic attacks he experienced shortly after discontinuing the Prozac. I am particularly annoyed with this doctor because he told me that Jeff’ panic attacks were the manifestations of OCD and that he needed to be on medication. From letter to Dr. Robbins: Coincidentally, now that Jeff’s withdrawal symptoms seem to have abated, he is much more like the son I once knew. He’s more relaxed, he’s stopped drinking, his sense of humor is back, and he’s actually able to focus on schoolwork ( he got an A on a recent College Comp. paper.)What does this say about Prozac? Basically, I feel that this drug took my son away from me for two years! I have also written a letter to the Rochester editorial page; a Speaking Outessay. I’ll let you know if they print it. If there’s any way I can help you with this cause, please let me know .I feel very strongly about it: this drug took my 16 year old son, who had been identified as gifted, was well-liked by his peers, and had a great sense of humor, and reduced him to a barely functioning shell of a person. I am thankful to you and God for rescuing us from this terrible shadow that hung over our lives.

Yes, I would like my e-mail (the original and this reply) posted on your website. You may include my first name and e-mail address. I would also like to remind people who’ve had negative experiences with Prozac or another anti-depressant to send a med-watch complaint to the FDA. The number for your local FDA is in the Federal organization section of the phone book. There is also a link from this ICFDA web site.] The more complaints they get the more likely it is they’ll investigate (I hope, unless they’re in this with the drug companies- but that’s a whole different topic)

Patti582@aol.com

2/27/2000

This is Survivor Story number 27.

Total number of stories in current database is 96

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How Prozac Shattered My Life.

“I believe that any innocence that I held before these events occurred has now been dashed but I am never without hope.”

 

I have “hummed and hawed” for the last three days about writing to this address – people who have experienced a negative reaction to Prozac are perhaps understandably reticent about publicizing their experience, in the belief that what they will say will be treated with some skepticism, if not disbelief. These preparatory remarks are perhaps my response to the professional incredulity the medical fraternity, rightly or wrongly, give to their patients when anecdotal evidence is offered that contradicts their expected prognosis.

I had great faith in my doctor, in the treatment of what was a reactive depression brought about by work-related stress. I still have that faith, although it is not blind as it was before thanks to your pages on the WWW.

I am prompted to write because of “Patty’s” description of her husband’s course of treatment. The similarities to my own situation, after having spent some two years on Prozac, are remarkably similar. The devastation that has been wrought by my illness is now past, and I am now a sadder but wiser person. I have little to gain by writing other than to add to the growing list of patients who have had an adverse reaction to Prozac. But perhaps by writing others may persist and recognize that Prozac and the serotonergic syndrome are not figments of the patient’s imagination, but worthy of protracted study and explanation. I seek not to apportion blame, but to understand and be understood.

Without going into gross details, I had been taking Prozac with little positive effect for some 8 months from June 1994 until mid-way through 1995 before recognizing the possibility that there was something not quite right with my response to the medication. My agitation had gradually increased from the start of the prescription. It was a slow but steady rise in my tolerance of others, a deepening insomnia and above all the nightmares; nightmares that took me back to events that had happened when I had been a police officer nearly 15 years previously. I would jerk awake or my sleep would be interrupted by hyperreflexia. For some three months my average sleep was no more than one hour per night. The thought of sleep itself began to horrify me. The most obvious signs now as I look back were a feeling of electricity pumping through my body, the feeling that my limbs were charged and tingling.

I had been experiencing a tightness in the chest and was eventually taken into hospital, where blood tests showed that I had had a heart attack. Further tests eliminated this and it was put down to stress.

Sadly, I did not tell my doctor of these events, as I felt these were signs of my continuing decline into a deeper depression. My public life was no different, but my private life deteriorated rapidly as I struggled with the lack of sleep. I was prone to fits of crying and started to inexplicably want to harm myself. I banged my head against walls until I bled, tore shirts from my body, pleaded for help from my partner. My physical rage was barely controllable, but luckily for my partner, directed solely at myself. Verbal abuse at this stage became my only outlet. Anxiety became a single factor in all that I did. Whatever I thought I was about to accomplish in terms of work, I saw was imperfect. I became fearful of the most innocuous of social situations and work-related situations, although my work performance was unaffected. I hid this from all except my partner who tolerated everything believing that I would “come right”. My fear was simple – I was losing grip on reality and madness was not far away. A reluctance to communicate these events was eventually my undoing. The dosage of Prozac was increased as I related only those events that affected me physiologically.

Following some further work-related disagreements, I did not sleep for some seven or eight days. My internal rage became intolerable. I resigned from work and promptly collapsed mentally and was placed in a private hospital for sleep. Lithium was prescribed and the dosage of Prozac increased. I spent two days crying and did not sleep one bit, the nightmares returning almost the moment that I dropped of to sleep. My body sang with pain and I remember crawling into the corner of my private room crying. I saw myself spending Xmas on the streets, begging for food. I begged to be released from hospital and was. All I wanted was to go home, but my home life was now shattered irretrievably.

I felt cut off, entirely isolated from those that I loved and cared about and so three months later I left after another argument, more alone than alone. There was of course no change in my medication. Somehow I managed to obtain another job and hid my fear in work, but my private life and mental well-being was slipping beyond my grasp. Suicide was not an option that I had considered in all seriousness, but now it became a logical way out of the intense flailing that I gave to myself. I weighed up all the options and decided to take my life. It was the only way out; the only rational act that I could follow.

My fear of being found out – that I was mad – was such that I still did not report what was actually happening in my mind. Having decided on a course of action – my car with a pipe attached to the exhaust – I set about convincing myself that I could do it. Somewhere inside I could not muster the courage and broke down in tears. A call to a crisis center brought temporary relief. I still continued working, and those hours when I could deal sanely with people, were ones that held hope.

I took up sport again and played competitively, until I damaged my ribs and was prescribed a anti-inflammatory drug.

My sleep prior to this period was still plagued by nightmares and this incredible jerking of my limbs. Again, I put this down to the extreme personal stress that I was under. What other explanation could there have been? And the dosage of Prozac was evidence that I was not responding well enough.

Two days after I took the anti-inflammatories, I prepared for sleep. I felt a growing agitation and the electricity beginning to spark through my limbs. I began to tremble uncontrollably and I wanted to run and run this pain out of my system. I got to the stage where I considered jumping out of the window of the third floor flat in which I was staying. I have no recollection of anything from that night other than the fear that I felt. In desperation an ambulance was called. I struggled to keep my mind in place as the tremors increased. I kept saying, “I’m going to jump! No, I won’t. I won’t!” My heart raced, my mind raced and I saw everything that I wanted in life slipping away.

Taken to the emergency section of a major hospital, I was placed in a priority queue, strapped onto a gurney. The humiliation still rankles. I was not seen for another three hours, by which time the “panic attack” as it was described, had subsided. I told the doctor of my medication, and my suspicions that it was the combination of Prozac with the anti-inflammatories that might have been the problem. The response was luke warm, as I explained my medical history. I was told that a report would be forwarded to my doctor and I was released in the early hours of the morning, on my own recognizance”.

It was only at this stage that I began to question the use of Prozac. But who was I to correct the knowledge of the medical profession? My dose was increased. Again, because of certain delays in seeing my doctor, I gained confidence again, and submitted myself to the further dosage.

It is now some 18 months since these events, and following acupuncture treatment from my GP for the continuing “pain”, I began to seek another explanation for my continuing moroseness. Gradually (and wrongly!) I tried cold-turkey and eventually a change in psychiatrist last December, 1997. This brought a change in medication and with it a gradual return to normality.

At no stage (and this is current) has it ever been discussed that Prozac may have been a contributing cause to my continuing illness. Indeed, that it may have masked what appears to be a particularly traumatic set of events, has never been canvassed.

I now live with hope, an intuitive hope that I believe that Prozac may have been in some way a contributing cause to what on the face of it was a work-related stress problem, that had become far worse as a result. Of course, I have no empirical reason to believe that this unconfirming data is of any consequence to the scientific community.

Since being off Prozac there have been no bouts of anxiety (other than the more healthy kind), my sleeping has gradually increased to five hours per night, my nightmares have all but disappeared and above all there is a relative sense of a return to who I was.

Throughout this period of time, I have continued to work, hiding my private fears through enforced isolation from those that I care deeply about. There is a cost of course – an immense emotional cost. I am only troubled now by a search for truth, a truth for which, I may of course, never find an answer. Mental illness carried with it a stigma; a stigma about whether what we have become has any rational cause. Any self-knowledge that can be gained through the horrors of what I have gone through, from the absolute despair of confusion and loss of those that we care about the most, is tinged with intellectual and emotional frustration. It requires a faith and trust in those around us. I believe that any innocence that I held before these events occurred has now been dashed but I am never without hope.

I do not know whether these words will be of use, or my experience in anyway enlightening. I know that your work is important to a future generation, a future generation that may be educated to question more extensively than I myself have done.

Thank you for your time. May your work continue and prosper.

Two Years After Prozac: An Update

“It has been some time since this was written and you may be interested in a follow-up that reveals perhaps the more insidious side of the “idiosyncratic drug reactions” that are so often innocently missed.”

I am the “AG” who appears on the “Survivor’s Links” under the title “How Prozac Shattered My Life” on your web site.

It has been some time since this was written and you may be interested in a follow-up that reveals perhaps the more insidious side of the “idiosyncratic drug reactions” that are so often innocently missed. I have now been “off” Prozac for almost two years and, although almost back to normal, I was recently diagnosed with Left Ventricle Hypertrophy (an enlarged heart) and Hypertension in April 1999. I am currently on medication to reduce my blood pressure (which has been very successful) and lucky enough to be treated by a heart specialist who is specializing in serotonin and its relationship to high blood pressure.

I have no scientific reason to believe that there is any connection between my taking of Prozac and my heart problems, although my heart specialist (for whom I purchased and gave a copy of Ann Tracy’s book) is currently wading through the literature to see whether a link can be established. There is no family history of hypertension to the best of my knowledge, but I had left out an important medical fact from my original story.

I was briefly hospitalized for a “Heart attack” in 1995 some nine months or so after I had started taking Prozac (1994) (NB I believe that the date in my original story should read 1994 not 1995 – my fault I am afraid but the chronology is important.). Blood tests had shown that I had had a “heart attack”, but an angiogram confirmed that there had been no damage to my heart, and the tightness in my chest was put down to stress, and was dismissed as unimportant. I say “unimportant” simply because the threat (which it might have been) was dismissed, because there was no “damage” seen. My blood pressure at that stage was moderately high, but did not, at that stage require medication, as it was within the bounds of “high normal”.

In November 1998, I was referred to a sleep disorder clinic in order to sort out problems I had with sleeping, and following tests I was referred to a heart specialist as my blood pressure was high. In February 1999, I was diagnosed with Left Ventricle Hypertrophy and Hypertension following a cardiogram which identified the enlargement.

I am currently a very physically fit 46 year old and I am pleased to say well on the mend mentally. The mental scars remain and I write first to relate that recovery is slow, but it is recovery nonetheless. That four letter word “hope” is so important. Often it has been a real test of personal perseverance and a little courage. I do not believe that any of what I have achieved in the past eighteen months would have been possible without Ann Tracy’s indomitable attitude towards making us all aware of the lack of information about the long term effects of SSRIs. Again, I owe her much.

Once again my thanks to you for the life-saving work that you are doing.

Alastair Gumley

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 80.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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09/21/1999 – Prozac Found at Wedgwood Baptist Killer’s House

This just released today.

Prozac found at Wedgwood Baptist killer’s house
By Kathy Sanders
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

FORT WORTH — A doctor had prescribed the anti- depressant drug Prozac
for Larry Gene Ashbrook, but investigators are unsure whether he had
been taking it when he killed seven people and then himself in a
southwest Fort Worth church last week, police said yesterday.

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/doc/1047/1:TOPSTORY/1:TOPSTORY092199.html

Star-Telegram

By Kathy Sanders,  Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Updated: Tuesday, Sep. 21, 1999 at 08:16 CDT

FORT WORTH — A doctor had prescribed the anti-depressant drug Prozac for Larry Gene Ashbrookbut investigators are unsure whether he had been taking it when he killed seven people and then himself in a southwest Fort Worth church last week, police said yesterday.

Fort Worth police Lt. Mark Krey, who is heading the investigation into the largest mass shooting in the city’s history, said police found a Prozac vial with Ashbrook’s name and want to ask doctors why it was prescribed.

Krey said Ashbrook, 47, may have slipped into insanity after his 85-year-old father died in July.

“The level of paranoia within his life had advanced to an extreme stage,”  Krey said. “We’re investigating the possibility that with the death of his father, Mr. Ashbrook stopped taking medication. We believe when he lost his  father, who was his anchor to reality and his caretaker to ensure he took  his medication, he lost any connection to reality.”

Also yesterday, police said a homemade pipe bomb exploded in Wedgwood Baptist Church with enough force that it sent a piece of shrapnel hurtling the sanctuary.

But rather than blasting out into a sanctuary where more than 150 worshippers were taking part in a youth service, most of the shrapnel shot toward the ceiling and then rained down. No one was seriously injured by the shrapnel.

“We are very blessed in the manner in which it detonated … or it would have caused serious bodily injury,” Krey said.

Prozac is commonly used to treat various forms of clinical depression, including depression in children, as well as bulimia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Dr. Peter Kowlaski, a psychiatrist in private practice in Fort Worth and former medical director for Mental Health- Mental Retardation Services of Tarrant County, said the medical community generally views Prozac as a good anti- depressant that does not contribute to, or prevent, violent behavior.

“The person who is ill will sometimes act out violently, but most people with psychiatric illnesses are not likely to act violently,” he said. “Those who do most often do evil independent of their psychiatric conditions.”

Police found the Prozac bottle in Ashbrook’s Forest Hill home. FBI officials said they also found nine vials of prescription drugs for Jack Ashbrook, who died after a battle with cancer, as well as a diary in which the father documented his medication, said spokeswoman Marjorie Poch.

“The writing changed in the last couple of weeks of the diary. It’s only speculation, but he [Larry Ashbrook] may have started taking his father’s medication,” she said. “Either that or he started recording when his father took the pills for him.”

On Wednesday night, Ashbrook walked into the Wedgwood church, where a youth  rally was under way, and began shooting people, police said.

Killed were Kristi Beckel, 14; Shawn Brown, 23; Susan Kimberly Jones, 23;  Cassandra Griffin, 14; Joseph “Joey” Ennis, 14; Sydney Browning, 36; and  Justin Ray, 17. Seven others were injured.

The final three victims were laid to rest yesterday, but Ashbrook’s body remained unclaimed at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Aaron Ashbrook, his brother, said the family is completing funeral arrangements, but declined to comment further.

“I think there probably has been more said than there needs to be, and a lot  of it’s untrue,” he said.

He declined to elaborate.

“It wouldn’t make any difference,” he said. “I think the damage has already been done.”

Investigators sorted information yesterday from nearly 70 depositions taken from people the night of the shooting, reinterviewed the wounded and tried to trace Ashbrook’s final, fatal steps.

“Investigators are going through a number of depositions to determine the  exact sequence of events,” said homicide Sgt. Dave Loftis. “We want to know, first of all, specifically what happened and how everything went down that day.”

But the answer to the most- asked questions — what set Ashbrook off and why did he choose Wedgwood — may never come.

“I don’t have any motive right now,” Loftis said. “I don’t know if we’ll ever have an answer to those questions. If we can, we certainly will get them. It’s like any of those senseless acts of violence — there aren’t any answers. And can any motive explain it and make sense of it?”

In his writings, Larry Ashbrook details a vast, unspecified conspiracy against him by law enforcement agencies and others. His brother described him to Wise County sheriff’s deputies as a paranoid schizophrenic.  But the  state mental health system said last week that it had no record of any contact with Ashbrook.

Krey said Ashbrook apparently was such a loner that few people have been found to help explain his activities.

“I believe we won’t find anybody because there is nobody to find. And that is consistent with the mental illness he appeared to be afflicted with,” he said.

Inside the church, Ashbrook fired all six rounds from a .380- caliber semiautomatic handgun, and then fired up to 50 more shots from a Ruger 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, officials said.

Six of the seven people who died were killed by gunshot wounds in the head, autopsy reports show. The seventh was shot in the back.

Ashbrook shot himself with the Ruger, police said. He was apparently alive in a back pew when paramedics rushed into the sanctuary, but was pronounced dead a short time later, police said.

Justin Ray and a woman videotaped Ashbrook’s rampage, police said.  Officials in Forest Hill said Ashbrook may also have made a futile effort to contaminate the city’s water system.

“He put concrete in the commodes and, working for the city, I wanted to make sure he didn’t do something else,” Public Works Director Michael Duehring
said.

“I wanted to make sure he did not contaminate our water system. I can’t go any further than that and tell you what he did, but he didn’t do any damage.”

FBI officials inspected plumbing in Ashbrook’s home Thursday but did not consider the threat serious, Poch said.

“The agent said it looked like he was just trying to mess up the inside of the house,” she said. “The agent who was out there said he had ripped off the shower head and neck and put one of those paper cones and a quart of motor oil to back down into the pipes. He said it was stuck in there still.”

Staff writers Bob Mahlburg and Carolyn Poirot contributed to this report.

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09/16/1999 – ABC News Transcript 9/15/99–SSRI Effectiveness

Thanks to one of our ICFDA Directors for obtaining the following for us:

The following message is a transcript of last night’s ABC News with
Peter Jennings: a message about the SSRIs. Tonight Peter Jennings will
discuss the “side-effects” of the SSRIs.
———————————————————————–
Peter Jennings ABC News: September 15, 1999

Peter Jennings: “Just when is the drug actually making a difference?
Antidepressants are very popular these days: sales are up 17% from just
last year. Millions and millions of prescriptions now are being
written to
battle depression and mood swings. Tonight, are these drugs really
doing
everything that people think they are? Here’s ABC’s Deborah Amos ”

Deborah Amos: “These depression fighting pills are 60 – 70% effective in
bringing relief according to the medical literature. But Thomas Moore,
who
studies drugs at George Washington University, says the numbers are
misleading”

Thomas Moore: “Millions of Americans believe that the benefits of these
drugs are much greater than they are”

Deborah Amos: “To investigate, Moore analyzed all drug company tests on
five major drugs submitted to the FDA prior to market approval: for
Paxil,
Zoloft, Effexor, Serzone and Prozac. The effectiveness of the drug was
measured against a placebo or sugar pill.”

Thomas Moore: “The effect of antidepressants drugs on depression is
only
very little different than the effect of a completely inactive placebo.”

Deborah Amos: “The highlight of Moore’s finding is the case of Prozac
with
more than $2 billion dollars in U.S. Sales. About 90% of Prozac’s
overall
effectiveness is about the same as patients taking nothing stronger
than a
sugar pill. But the label for antidepressant drugs, the prescribing
detail
for doctors, usually do not spell out the small overall differences
between
the drug and the placebos.”

Thomas Moore: “At the very least the FDA product labeling should
include a
more balanced picture of all the information they have received about
the
drug, – about all the clinical trials.”

Deborah Amos: “”The FDA says it does not put that kind of detail on the
label because it is not helpful in predicting individual outcomes. So
what
does it all mean for patients, when a placebo can have almost the same
benefits as a dug, and particularly, when a drug can have unpleasant
side-effects , —- that feeling – jumpy to <sum><sum><sum><sum><sum>

(a psychologist from the University of Conn., who has teamed up with
Thomas
Moore.)

?: “It suggests that the frontline of treatment for depression should
be
psychological rather than chemical.”

Deborah Ames: “The problem is that good therapy is expensive and not
always available. Pills are cheaper and more easily available. Deborah
Ames, ABC News, New York.”

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Prozac, Effexor, Klonopin, Serzone, Zyprexa, Neurontin, and now Celexa-and Hospitalized Seven Times.

“I sometimes am so sorry I started him on this medication journey,”

 

I have had thoughts that maybe my son’s suicide attempts were related to the Prozac and other medications that he had been taking, and now after reading correspondence from others regarding the same behaviors, I am more convinced that there was a relationship between the taking of the drug and his actions.

My son who is now 26 years old has had problems with depression probably since he was l3. He got through high school but did very poorly, and became very depressed when he graduated because he felt he had no future. At that time, I took him to see a psychiatrist who put him on Prozac, but it did not seem to help him that much. I think she tried him on Zoloft also which did not seem to help him either.

He obtained a job at a shoe store working for a very nice family who liked him and who he enjoyed working for. He stopped the drugs and seeing the psychiatrist who said my son was an enigma. He worked at the store for 5 years, but one day abruptly quit. He then worked as a security guard for approximately a year and quit that job also. He decided to go to dog grooming school, and I’ll never forget his face the day he came home from school so proud and happy that he found something to do that he liked.

He did very well at the school, but started to have panic attacks. I took him to a psychiatrist again and she put him on Prozac and Xanax. He seemed to come alive, extremely talkative, and he finally met a girl and fell deeply in love. He then seemed to have problems with his mood lowering and becoming more depressed and anxious, so the psychiatrist increased the Prozac. I noticed at this time that his behavior was worrisome. Well the girl broke up with him and he tried to kill himself.

In the hospital they changed his meds to Effexor and Klonopin, he got out of the hospital and thought the girl might come back, but when he realized two weeks later that she wasn’t, He left in the middle of the night again, and eventually checked himself into the hospital after overdosing. He was sent to another facility after this and they put him back on Prozac. He attempted suicide again by overdosing. Altogether, he was hospitalized approximately 7 different times, with four of those being for suicide attempts. The last one being a year ago. Since then he has been on Serzone, Zyprexa, Neurontin, and within the last few months Celexa was added to this. He does seem to be somewhat better, but very flat, little conversation, rarely smiling. I sometimes am so sorry I started him on this medication journey.

I wonder if he would have been better off trying to cope with his low-grade depression, and maybe just taking an anti-anxiety medication for the panic attacks. I wonder.

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 54.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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A Nine-Year Old’s Side Effects on Prozac

“I am disgusted that Prozac is so readily handed out to children.”

I am the mother of a 9 year old boy.

About four months ago, my son went through a change. He was experiencing a lot of physical growth and he was developing sexual awareness. Being OCD to a degree, my son centered on thoughts and obsessed and started acting in mildly inappropriate ways. Now, that became a real concern because it was more than thoughts but turning to actions that were being perpetuated; my husband and I became alarmed.

There was NO CAUSE for this sudden escalation except for a natural curiosity getting out of control (OCD reaction w/a boy who is emotionally immature but very intelligent &amp; spiritual).The guilt set in and no matter how we tried to help him forgive himself, he carried far too much guilt. It internalized into dropping self-esteem and finally that escalated into severe depression. Who was once a VERY happy, talkative, joyful, incredibly funny &amp; affectionate boy turned into a boy who wept daily, seldom smiled, and was becoming despondent.

We took him to a counselor, and later were referred to a psychiatrist. After an hour assessment, Dr.SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER prescribed Prozac for Rob.

His reaction included: MAJOR joint/muscle pain (from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head PAIN!), lack of appetite, increased seizure symptoms (Rob has a left partial complex seizure disorder we are NOT treating with drugs but naturally and that has gone very well), abdominal pain, increased lethargy, increased OCD behavior, increase in thoughts of suicide, heart pain, vomiting, and strange feelings in his mouth/tongue. I took Rob off Prozac after only 8 days because I was so alarmed with the side effects.

After taking him off the med, I did some research and was very saddened that I’d been pushed into allowing my son to be given Prozac! I was pressured by the psychiatrist, husband (on Prozac), brother-in-law (Dr. also on Prozac), and it was approved even by the pediatrician! My taking Rob off Prozac was MY decision against all but hubby (he was worried about the escalating effects of the drug, too).It took a full 7 days for the incredible pain to go away. Rob told me it hurt even to move his fingers, walk, anything.

Well, in closing, I am disgusted that Prozac is so readily handed out to children. From what I know currently, the FDA has not even approved this drug for children, and after researching it myself, I AM WORRIED ABOUT MY HUSBAND! He has been on it for two years.

 

2/3/1999

This is Survivor Story number 30. Total number of stories in current database is 96

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Five Weeks to Psychosis on Prozac

“It was close to 2 years before I could laugh again.”

 

My name is Amy. I started taking 20 mg. of Prozac in April, 1992. My doctor thought I was depressed due to empty nest syndrome and menopause.

I had always been a very open and trusting person, so I swallowed my first capsule without reading the insert in the bottle. I trusted my doctor. The first week I noticed I was sleeping less. I had been sleeping between 7 and 8 hours a night and now I was sleeping about 6 hours a night. But this did not concern me. I suddenly had a lot to ponder. I began ruminating on how people had done me wrong. . I first focused on my 3 cousins (whom I had not seen in years). I thought they were betraying me behind my back. To add to this worry, I began obsessing about incidents in history such as the destruction of Cambodia and Tibet by the Communists and the tragedy of the Holocaust. I sat at my kitchen table and cried for hours about this. At my part time job, I felt that the other employees were taking advantage of me. I had never felt this way before and it seemed like a revelation to me.

By the 4th week on Prozac, I was sleeping only 4 hours a night but it did not concern me because I had so many important things to think about. I would pick up a book to read and would think that there was some special message in there for me. I was sure of this when the printed matter on the page began jumping out at me. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. I began to make a special effort to act normal around people because suddenly these people would appear to me as being unreal. I became terrified that they were unreal but I must not let them know this. During the next several weeks I became confused in my driving and would lose my sense of direction. I thought that I could not concentrate on my driving because I was so terrified of what else was happening. I never once suspected that it was the Prozac.
My husband of 28 years became concerned about me but I kept saying I’ll be better as soon as this Prozac takes effect. I told him none of my symptoms. I felt that everything wrong in the world was my problem and I must solve it. At no time in my life had I ever thought of suicide. It wasn’t as though I had ever thought of suicide and then dismissed the idea. It was just that the thought of suicide had never occurred to me. By my 9th week on Prozac I felt suicidal. I went to my doctor and told him that I was going to kill myself because I could not endure this suffering. He immediately told me to discontinue the Prozac and he gave me some sleeping medication. I thought this meant that the Prozac had not worked for me and that I was having a nervous breakdown. The next day I began having visual hallucinations. I was so terrified that I went to my doctor in an incoherent state. He put me in the hospital and I was there for 3 weeks as an inpatient. My husband visited me every night after work. We both thought that I had a nervous breakdown. No doctor told us differently. I was given Thorazine and I began to sleep again. Then my health insurance ran out and I came back home. When I left the hospital, I was told to see a psychologist once a week. The psychologist and I discussed my childhood. One day, three months later, my husband said Do you think the Prozac could have contributed to your breakdown .No , I said, Prozac is a drug that helps mental disturbances. It would not cause mental disturbance.

My husband found the insert to my bottle of Prozac. We began to read it. We saw that hallucinations, depersonalization, paranoia and confusion were all listed as adverse reactions. I still could not believe it so I sent for my hospital record. I was amazed to see that on the fourth day of my hospitalization the physician had written Patient had psychotic reaction to Prozac. These symptoms started after use. We investigated this matter but were never given a satisfactory answer for why the doctors kept this a secret. The saddest part of this story is that it took so long for me to completely recover. It was close to 2 years before I could laugh again. It was almost 4 years before the idea of forgiveness even began to stir in my soul. Now, in my 6th year, I am completely recovered and enjoying life again, but I will never forget this trip through hell.

My husband, children and I are now dedicated to warning others about the dangers of Prozac.

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 34.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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