Brittany Murphy Cause of Death? Serotonin Syndrome?

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy:

Brittany Murphy‘s husband and mother are saying they do not think Brittany
died as a result of the drugs she was taking. Let me explain why they are wrong.
What a shame they do not have this information.

#1 Brittany had mitral valve prolapse where a heart valve does not close
properly like the drugs Fen-Phen and Redux produced that killed so
many people. And what did Dr. Heidi Connelly from the Mayo Clinic find that
these drugs did to produce the heart valve problem?

She found that it was the increased levels of serotonin produced by
the drugs that caused a gummy gooey glossy substance to build up on the heart
valves so that they could not close properly.

What do Prozac (Sarafem) and Robitussin both increase? Serotonin levels
and taken together they can produce serious reactions or even kill you due to
the elevated levels of serotonin the mix of these two drugs can
produce.

#2 The day after Brittany died a new study was released demonstrating an
increase in heart failure for women taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety
medications. Brittany was on both Sarafem (Prozac marketed for PMS) and Klonopin
(an anti-anxiety medication – not sure who told Brittany‘s husband that this
drug is an anti-seizure med).

#3 Flu-like symptoms are often symptoms of a toxic reaction to medications.
This is never stressed enough to patients! In treating the flu-like symptoms,
that could easily have been a toxic reaction to meds, with Robitussin which
contains the serotonergic agent dextromethorphan, it could have pushed Brittany
over the edge leading to multiple organ failure that comes from elevated levels

of serotonin – the same thing that killed Anna Nicole Smith’s young son,
Daniel.

________________________________________

Murphy had mitral valve prolapse, a common condition where a heart valve does
not properly close, but doctors said the actress “would live a long and healthy
life,” Monjack said.

He said his wife took the anti-seizure medication klonopin ever since an
episode she had while filming “8 Mile.” She also occasionally took Sarafem, a
drug aimed at pain and mood swings during menstrual periods, Monjack said.

He said he did not think a harmful interaction of drugs played a role in his
wife’s death. She had been sick with flu-like symptoms in the days before her

death and had been taking Robitussin, but nothing more, he said.

Brittany‘s mom, husband say drugs didn’t kill her

By ANTHONY McCARTNEY | Posted: Wednesday, January 20,
2010 9:35 am | No Comments Posted

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Simon Monjack, left, husband of deceased actress Brittany
Murphy and Murphy‘s mother Sharon pose with a portrait of the actress in Los
Angeles, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. Monjack said the portrait by photographer Bruce
Weber was Murphy‘s favorite photo of herself. (AP Photo/Chris
Pizzello)

A month after Brittany Murphy‘s mysterious death, her mother and husband say
they are convinced the actress died of natural causes, not drugs or an eating
disorder.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Sharon Murphy and Simon
Monjack said that Murphy did not use drugs or alcohol and that they are awaiting
a determination from coroner’s officials that will end speculation prescription
medicine caused Murphy‘s death on Dec. 20 at age 32.

Monjack said some of the prescription medications found in the couple’s
Hollywood Hills home belonged to him.

Murphy had mitral valve prolapse, a common condition where a heart valve does
not properly close, but doctors said the actress “would live a long and healthy
life,” Monjack said.

“She had a fear of dying,” Sharon Murphy said. “She would not take too much
caffeine. She wouldn’t even have a glass of champagne on New Year’s. She was
just high on life, and people see that as something else I guess.”

Murphy, the star of varied films such as “Clueless,” “8 Mile,” “Sin City” and
the television series “King of the Hill,” was buried in a private funeral on
Christmas Eve. At the service, Monjack told mourners that the actress was his
best friend and soul mate, sentiments he repeated during the Tuesday
interview.

Monjack, who married Murphy in 2007, said police and coroner’s officials have
not contacted the family to say his wife’s death was from anything other than
natural causes.

Authorities continue to investigate her death but do not suspect foul play.
An autopsy was inconclusive and coroner’s officials are awaiting the results of
toxicology and tissue tests before determining what killed the actress.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said Tuesday that he had not seen Murphy‘s
autopsy report, but the condition of her heart would be looked at before her
cause of death is determined.

Sharon Murphy described the wait for answers as torture. “We wish we knew,”
she said.

“She was alive one minute and she was dead the next,” Monjack said.

The pair worked frantically to save Murphy‘s life the morning she died, as
revealed in a heart-wrenching 911 call where Sharon Murphy implores, “Brittany,
please come back!” as Monjack performs CPR.

Sharon Murphy said she has largely ignored tabloid reports that have
suggested her daughter abused drugs or had an eating disorder. She said her
daughter had always been petite and ate often, but burned it off with an active
lifestyle.

Monjack, who has read some of the reports, called them lies based on
anonymous sources who weren’t close to Brittany Murphy or him. He said he is
considering suing some British outlets for “outright fabrications.”

He said the rumors of her drug use were unfounded and had cost his wife roles
in some major films.

He said he is also considering whether to sue the Los Angeles County
Coroner’s Department over an initial report that was obtained by celebrity Web
site TMZ.com, which
listed several prescription medications found in Murphy‘s home. Monjack said
most of the medicines listed in the report were his.

He said his wife took the anti-seizure medication klonopin ever since an
episode she had while filming “8 Mile.” She also occasionally took Sarafem, a
drug aimed at pain and mood swings during menstrual periods, Monjack said.

Klonopin has been cited in several celebrity overdose deaths, but with many
other medications mixed in.

He said he did not think a harmful interaction of drugs played a role in his
wife’s death. She had been sick with flu-like symptoms in the days before her
death and had been taking Robitussin, but nothing more, he said.

Monjack and Sharon Murphy remain in the Hollywood Hills home where Brittany

Murphy collapsed a month ago. They share grief and memories of Murphy, speaking
highly of each other. Monjack calls Murphy his soul mate; Sharon Murphy calls
her daughter “my other half.”

DVDs of some of Brittany Murphy‘s films lay near the entertainment center,
and several framed photographic portraits of the actress that Monjack shot adorn
the walls and other areas of the living room.

“I’m comforted by these photographs,” Monjack said. “I’m comforted by the
transformation from girl to woman that I witnessed.”

The couple planned to display for exhibition some of the
photographs, which can be seen at http://www.simonmonjackphotography.com.

It was just one of the couple’s plans, which included starting a family and
moving to New York. Sharon Murphy said her daughter was talking about having a
child the night before she died. Monjack said they already had baby names picked
out.

Now the pair are planning a public memorial to celebrate Brittany Murphy‘s
life, which will be held in the Los Angeles area at the end of February. Monjack
and Sharon Murphy said they have asked many of the actress’ friends to refrain
from making public comments, but that they expect the memorial will remind
people of her talents and beauty.

Monjack said the memorial will coincide with the launch of the Brittany
Murphy Foundation, a charitable group that he said will support arts education
for children and other causes his wife believed in.

Both Monjack and Sharon Murphy said they expect respect to grow for Brittany
Murphy‘s work and life, once questions about her death are settled. The actress
had completed two unreleased films before her death but their prospects are
uncertain.

Sharon Murphy expressed reluctance about their release because of the
filmmakers’ inexperience, but Monjack said he would approve if the releases were
respectfully done and the profits donated to the Brittany Murphy Foundation.

“I think the dust will settle, the truth will come out,” Monjack said. “I
think people will come to realize the genius of Brittany Murphy and come to
regret the way they treated her while she was alive.”

Posted in Movies on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 9:35 am
Updated: 10:06 am.
| Tags:

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2/24/2001 – Wall Street Journal Questions PMDD & Sarafem (Prozac)

Here comes the crowd!! Now that Lilly has their approval by the FDA to use
Prozac for PMS (PMDD), all the other makers of SSRIs are racing to get their
drugs approved to get their share of the profits. If this was not such a
horrifying situation with so many dying such terrible deaths everyday, many
more becoming so disabled from these drugs, and so many families being torn
apart from the behavioral reactions, it would almost be funny.

What is most ironic is that the psychologist mentioned at the end of the
article is right. I see women with severe PMS who mix some purified water
with lemon juice and drink a gallon a day for the week before their period
and any sign of PMS leaves. There are so many simple alternative choices for
this that it is amazing that Lilly has convinced so many that they have the
answer in a drug! Even more amazing is that they convinced the FDA – but then
the FDA is always amazing me with what they allow the public to be exposed to
as “safe”!

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org
_________________________

Wall Street Journal, Section B, Front Page

February 23, 2001, Health Journal

Drug Firms Treat PMS As a Mental Disorder

By TARA PARKER-POPE
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

IS SEVERE PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, a mental illness? Some
pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists are treating it as one. In new
television ads, drug maker Eli Lilly is promoting the drug Sarafem to treat
the
problem, now dubbed Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). But the
pink and purple pills aren’t a new drug — they are simply repackaged
Prozac,
the popular antidepressant.

Makers of similar antidepressants, known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors,
or
SSRIs, also may follow suit. In January, Pfizer asked the FDA to approve
Zoloft to treat PMDD. Forest Laboratories’ Celexa and GlaxoSmithKline’s
Paxil also have been studied.

The medical community, however, remains divided about whether PMDD is a
real disorder or simply a way for drug companies to cast a wider net in
search
of new customers. Critics are particularly concerned about labeling women
as
mentally ill because of problems associated with menstrual cycles.

“When you start calling what PMS is a psychiatric disorder, what are you
saying about the women of this world?” says Nada Stotland, director of
psychiatric education at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in
Chicago. “This lends itself to prejudices people already have about women
being moody and unreliable.”

ALTHOUGH THE FDA has approved Sarafem to treat PMDD, the
psychiatric community is still debating the legitimacy of the disorder. The
American Psychiatric Association includes PMDD in the appendix of its
current
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the part of the
manual
reserved for issues needing further research before being officially
accepted as a mental illness.

Fueling skepticism about PMDD and Sarafem is the
fact that in August, Lilly, based in Indianapolis, loses
patent protection on Prozac, a drug with $2.6 billion
in sales last year, according to IMS Health. With
Sarafem, the firm now has a separate patent to use
the drug for PMDD through 2007, allowing it to
partially offset losses in sales as rivals produce
generic Prozac.

Repacking prescription drugs for other uses is
becoming more common. Glaxo, for example, has
repackaged its antidepressant Wellbutrin as the
stop-smoking aid Zyban.

Many physicians argue that PMDD is a legitimate mental illness triggered by
normal hormonal fluctuations in a woman’s menstrual cycle. About 3% to 5%
of
menstruating women are affected. “This is a subset of women who have
really,
really severe mood changes and changes in their behavior,” says Jean
Endicott,
professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University’s College of
Physicians
and Surgeons. “It can be very debilitating.”

Unlike other mental illnesses that affect a patient on a daily basis, PMDD
is said
to affect women during the week to two weeks before their period. The
symptoms include depression, anxiety, tension, anger, irritability and the
feeling
of being overwhelmed or out of control. Other symptoms also are typical of
traditional PMS, such as breast tenderness, headache, bloating and weight
gain.

In order to be diagnosed with PMDD, a patient must have at least five
symptoms, including one involving mood change, and be markedly impaired as
a result. Patients should track symptoms for two months before a diagnosis
is
made.

About 60% of women who take Sarafem for PMDD will be helped, according
to Dr. Endicott. Currently, the drug is taken every day, but researchers
are
studying dosing that would reduce the pills to several days a month,
limiting side
effects, which can include tiredness, upset stomach, nervousness, dizziness
and
difficulty concentrating.

A 38-YEAR-OLD Chicago flight attendant named Betsy, who didn’t want her
full name used, says the week before her period she felt like an
“over-wound
spring, getting wound tighter and tighter,” and would often scream and lose
control. “That’s not my normal disposition,” she says. “I knew something
wasn’t
right.”

She noticed the correlation with her menstrual cycle and discussed her
problems with her gynecologist, who prescribed Sarafem. “It has completely
taken away the symptoms,” she says.

Dr. Stotland and other critics, however, worry that eager patients may push
to
be prescribed Sarafem as a quick fix, preventing doctors from diagnosing
other
serious health problems. Dr. Stotland says research has shown that more
than
half of the women who believe they have severe PMS actually suffer from
other
problems, such as depression, panic disorder or even domestic violence.

Lilly’s marketing of Sarafem also has sparked controversy. The first ads
showed a frustrated woman wrestling with a shopping cart. “Think it’s PMS?
It
could be PMDD,” the ads said. But the FDA said the ads trivialized the
seriousness of PMDD, and the campaign was pulled. New ads show one
woman arguing with her husband and another frustrated because she can’t
button her pants.

Lilly spokeswoman Laura Miller says the ads attempt to show the full gamut
of
PMDD symptoms. “It’s up to the doctor and the woman to determine whether
she has PMDD and whether treatment is appropriate,” she says.

But Paula Caplan, a psychologist and affiliated scholar at Brown
University’s
Pembroke Center for Research and Teaching on Women, says instead of
labeling women as mentally ill, physicians should urge diet changes,
exercise,
less caffeine and even calcium supplements. “But nobody makes much money
off calcium tablets,” she adds.

E-mail comments to Tara Parker-Pope at healthjournal@…

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