Scared on Serzone

“I thought maybe that I was nuts, because the doctor just looked at me like I was imagining things.”

 

I have been taking SERZONE for a year. It made me tired all the time, I had horrible nightmares, and I would go through periods of erratic sleep. Some times, I would be awakened in the night with a “deep” chill – then I would get up and lay back down and get hot flushes in my neck and head. As well as orthostatic hypotension. I have tried to get off twice…but each time within a two week period, I would become negative, anxiety prone, suffer frequent loose bowel movements and depressions. Which in turn, would make me go back on, only to suffer severe headaches, tiredness, etc…

I have allergies and when I am on SERZONE, they seem worse. I am now trying to suffer through what I call my personal withdrawal. I am scared to go back to the doctor, because he looks at me like I am nuts when I tell him that I have these side effects…since SERZONE is supposed to be relatively small side effects.

I also have memory problems and heart palpitations. The dreams are the worse. Before I took SERZONE, I really didn’t dream much and rarely if at all had nightmares. With Serzone, I have BAD DREAMS all the time. Sometimes, I wonder if I am crazy. I experience other side effects but they are tolerable.

At first I tried Paxil – that was awful. Then Doxepin, which made me swell, my breasts hurt, joint pain, and earache. I also must say that I went from 106 lbs to 124 lbs. Now that I have gotten off of Serzone, I have already seen a loss of weight. Tell me if you have heard of any of these symptoms on Serzone. Am I crazy?

Right now, I have been off for two weeks – and I am having intestinal problems, diarrhea and constipation at the same time….cramps, chills. The last two times I tried getting off, the symptoms slowly started showing up after exactly TWO weeks of not taking them. This is SERZONE. And they keep saying that SERZONE has the least effects, and that it has a short half life. But, I haven’t seen much about withdrawal associated with this drug, because I believe the studies have not been made to a large degree.

I am 43 years old. I have been on SERZONE for a year and a half. Suffer from chills in my sleep to horrible nightmares. I thought maybe that I was nuts, because the doctor just looked at me like I was imagining things. I complained of ear pain, but had no infections, etc., etc. I appreciate your concern.

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 78.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

349 total views, 1 views today

Leslie Judd’s Story – post-partum depression – Prozac, Paxil and Trazodone

Leslie Judd’s Story

My name is Leslie Judd and I appreciate the opportunity to tell you my story. I recently had a major life change which came about because of information that was passed on to me by Young Living Essential Oils.

Eleven years ago, I experienced some serious depression which I now recognize was most likely post-partum depression, since it began following the birth of my third child. The condition was serious enough to cause me to be unable to function normally. After a visit to the doctor, I came home with a prescription for Prozac, and this was the beginning of a ten-year nightmare.

Within the first few days, I began having hallucinations and hearing voices, but had no relief from the depression. At my next appointment, the doctor prescribed Paxil and Trazodone. Temporarily, it seemed to help with the depression, but I was a zombie all of the time. I felt like I had a hangover every morning.

With Paxil and all of the anti-depressants I took from then on, I had what is called a withdrawal or “wear-off” effect, which means that my body soon adjusted to the new dosage and then I would need a higher dosage. Symptoms of this effect were electrical sensations throughout my body, shudders and whoosh sound with every move. Also, a trailing feeling when I moved or turned my head. This increased until the doctor would change my medication and I would begin the cycle again. I began fluctuating between depression and hypomania.

The therapist I started seeing referred me to a psychiatrist, who put me on a fairly low dose of Zoloft. My initial diagnosis was Major Depressive Disorder, but soon became Dysthymia, or severe mood disorder. After trying different antidepressants, like Effexor, Serzone (now off the market due to the fact that it causes liver failure) and Wellbutrin, all of which gave only temporary relief, she decided to try lithium because my symptoms had become like that of a bipolar patient. So now the diagnosis had become Bipolar II Disorder.

Next, the doctor decided to experiment with different types of drugs such as anti-seizure medications (such as Topamax, Depakote, Lamictal and Neurotin) and anti-psychotics (such as Risperdal, Sroquel, and Zyprexa), which caused me to have a multitude of other side-effects such as tremors, visual disturbances, anxiety and nervous problems for which I was prescribed benzodiazepines. Guess what? I became even more depressed and I was more ill than I had ever been before in my life.

The inherent back problem I have had since I was a teenager was now getting worse. The medications decreased my pain tolerance. I developed fibromyalgia. I became obsessed with illness and with pain. I gained an excessive amount of weight. I also began behaving impulsively, lost interest in relationships and developed social phobias such as agoraphobia (fear of public places, not wanting to leave home). I would panic in crowds, break out in a sweat, and collapse in terror.

I could not feel joy or affection, and didn’t want anyone to touch me. I became obsessed with death. Sometimes, I cried uncontrollably without knowing why. I felt like I was a burden to everybody. I spoke with slurred speech, couldn’t find words and had loss of memory. The tremors became so severe that I could no longer write a check or sign my name. This only led to more anti-social behavior and self isolation.

Every month when I went to my doctor, my medication and dosage were changed. There was a point during the ten years that I realized the medication was making me sick, especially when I got lithium toxicity. My body was holding on to all fluid, I was bloated beyond recognition, my pupils were dilated (one more than the other), I started to get panicky and I had constant nausea and severe headaches along with other symptoms which alarmed my husband, and he called my doctor, who told me to stop taking the medication immediately.

This stopped the toxicity from progressing, but the immediate withdrawal caused me to crash into an even deeper depression. More medication, without relief. More suicidal ideation. Alcohol binges.

When I was released and came home, I was worse than ever. I was having hallucinations. I shook uncontrollably, which was actually a side effect of anti-seizure medications, and I had to move my legs constantly. My eyes were dead and I had absolutely no energy and no desire to do anything. I felt empty. My family rallied to get me back on my feet and friends brought dinner to help out. It was as if I was seeing things from outside of my body, but I actually remember very little from this time period.

An attempted suicide made for my second hospital stay, where I was humiliated in front of other patients by psychiatric techs, after which I made another attempt to end my life while I was still in the hospital. To get out of the hospital, I lied by telling them I felt better. Eight days later, I went home on new drugs.

After two weeks at home, I was back in the hospital for another eight days. I was so out of it. I felt like I was in a vacuum. I did things contrary to my nature, not even thinking of the consequences. Nothing mattered. On leaving the hospital following my third stay, I was told that my diagnosis was Bipolar II, Panic and Anxiety Disorder, PRSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and Borderline Personality Disorder with psychotic episodes. It seemed that I would just get worse and never be well again.

Back home, my family searched for answers. Our good friends, Brian and Barb Kuckuck, went to a Young Living convention in California and returned with help — an audio tape and a book by Ann Blake-Tracy.

The tape opened our eyes to the destruction that these drugs can cause in people’s lives. Today, I know that I have a disposition towards depression, but I am not bipolar. I am not psychotic and I do not have a borderline personality disorder. My mental and physical disorders were caused primarily by the medication I was given by my doctors. I lost ten years of my life.

I followed Ann Blake-Tracy’s guidelines for tapering off of the medication and I have been using the Cortistop and other YL supplements as well as essential oils, particularly Valor, Clarity and Peace and Calming, without which I know it would have been much more difficult to break free from the drugs. The weaning process can last up to two years, but it is worth it.

Today, I have been completely free of my medications for five months. Although I still have some residual side effects, I am living my life again and enjoying it. I thank Young Living and Ann Blake-Tracy for making me aware, I thank my husband and children for their untiring love and patience, thanks to my family for their persistence and love in searching for something to help. I appreciate my friends, who were there for me even though I didn’t know it and I especially thank my faith for giving me the strength and courage to succeed.

For more information on the essential oils discussed here, see Ann Blake-Tracy’s book, Prozac, Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare and her tape or CD entitled, “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant”. You can order these by calling 1-.

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My 10 Year Antidepressant-induced Nightmare Trip Into Hell

My name is Leslie Judd and I appreciate the opportunity to tell you my
story. I recently had a major life change which came about because of
information from Dr. Ann Blake-Tracy that was passed on to me by Young Living
Essential Oils.

Eleven years ago, I experienced some serious depression which I now
recognize was most likely postpartum depression, since it began following the
birth of my third child. The condition was serious enough to cause me to be
unable to function normally. After a visit to the doctor, I came home with a
prescription for Prozac, and this was the beginning of a ten-year nightmare.

Within the first few days, I began having hallucinations and hearing
voices, but had no relief from the depression. At my next appointment, the
doctor prescribed Paxil and Trazodone. Temporarily, it seemed to help with the
depression, but I was a zombie all of the time. I felt like I had a hangover
every morning.

With Paxil and all of the anti-depressants I took from then on, I had what
is called a withdrawal or “wear-off” effect, which means that my body soon
adjusted to the new dosage and then I would need a higher dosage. Symptoms
of this effect were electrical sensations throughout my body, shudders and
whoosh sound with every move. Also, a trailing feeling when I moved or
turned my head. This increased until the doctor would change my medication and
I would begin the cycle again. I began fluctuating between depression and
hypomania.

The therapist I started seeing referred me to a psychiatrist, who put me on
a fairly low dose of Zoloft. My initial diagnosis was Major Depressive
Disorder, but soon became Dysthymia, or severe mood disorder. After trying
different antidepressants, like Effexor, Serzone (now off the market due to
the fact that it causes liver failure) and Wellbutrin, all of which gave only
temporary relief, she decided to try lithium because my symptoms had
become like that of a bipolar patient. So now the diagnosis had become Bipolar
II Disorder.

Next, the doctor decided to experiment with different types of drugs such
as anti-seizure medications (such as Topamax, Depakote, Lamictal and
Neurotin) and anti-psychotics (such as Risperdal, Sroquel, and Zyprexa), which
caused me to have a multitude of other side-effects such as tremors, visual
disturbances, anxiety and nervous problems for which I was prescribed
benzodiazepines.

Guess what? I became even more depressed and I was more ill than I had ever
been before in my life.

The inherent back problem I have had since I was a teenager was now getting
worse. The medications decreased my pain tolerance. I developed
fibromyalgia. I became obsessed with illness and with pain. I gained an excessive
amount of weight. I also began behaving impulsively, lost interest in
relationships and developed social phobias such as agoraphobia (fear of public
places, not wanting to leave home). I would panic in crowds, break out in a
sweat, and collapse in terror.

I could not feel joy or affection, and didn’t want anyone to touch me. I
became obsessed with death. Sometimes, I cried uncontrollably without knowing
why. I felt like I was a burden to everybody. I spoke with slurred speech,
couldn’t find words and had loss of memory. The tremors became so severe
that I could no longer write a check or sign my name. This only led to more
anti-social behavior and self isolation.

Every month when I went to my doctor, my medication and dosage were
changed. There was a point during the ten years that I realized the medication
was making me sick, especially when I got lithium toxicity. My body was
holding on to all fluid, I was bloated beyond recognition, my pupils were dilated
(one more than the other), I started to get panicky and I had constant
nausea and severe headaches along with other symptoms which alarmed my
husband, and he called my doctor, who told me to stop taking the medication
immediately.

This stopped the toxicity from progressing, but the immediate withdrawal
caused me to crash into an even deeper depression. More medication, without
relief. More suicidal ideation. Alcohol binges.

When I was released and came home, I was worse than ever. I was having
hallucinations. I shook uncontrollably, which was actually a side effect of
anti-seizure medications, and I had to move my legs constantly. My eyes were
dead and I had absolutely no energy and no desire to do anything. I felt
empty. My family rallied to get me back on my feet and friends brought dinner
to help out. It was as if I was seeing things from outside of my body, but
I actually remember very little from this time period.

An attempted suicide made for my second hospital stay, where I was
humiliated in front of other patients by psychiatric techs, after which I made
another attempt to end my life while I was still in the hospital. To get out of
the hospital, I lied by telling them I felt better. Eight days later, I
went home on new drugs.

After two weeks at home, I was back in the hospital for another eight days.
I was so out of it. I felt like I was in a vacuum. I did things contrary
to my nature, not even thinking of the consequences. Nothing mattered. On
leaving the hospital following my third stay, I was told that my diagnosis
was Bipolar II, Panic and Anxiety Disorder, PRSD (post-traumatic stress
disorder), and Borderline Personality Disorder with psychotic episodes. It
seemed that I would just get worse and never be well again.

Back home, my family searched for answers. Our good friends, Brian and Barb
Kuckuck, went to a Young Living convention in California and returned with
help — an audio tape and a book by Ann Blake-Tracy.

The tape opened our eyes to the destruction that these drugs can cause in
people’s lives. Today, I know that I have a disposition towards depression,
but I am not Bipolar. I am not psychotic and I do not have a Borderline
Personality Disorder. My mental and physical disorders were caused primarily
by the medication I was given by my doctors.

I lost ten years of my life.

I followed Ann Blake-Tracy’s guidelines for tapering off of the medication and I
have been using the Cortistop and other YL supplements as well as essential
oils, particularly Valor, Clarity and Peace and Calming, without which I
know it would have been much more difficult to break free from the drugs.
The weaning process can last up to two years, but it is worth it.

Today, I have been completely free of my medications for five months.
Although I still have some residual side effects, I am living my life again and
enjoying it. I thank Young Living and Ann Blake-Tracy for making me
aware, I thank my husband and children for their untiring love and patience,
thanks to my family for their persistence and love in searching for
something to help. I appreciate my friends, who were there for me even though I
didn’t know it and I especially thank my faith for giving me the strength and
courage to succeed.

Leslie Judd

[For more information on the Young Living essential oils discussed here, Link

4,740 total views, no views today

Kauffman Study – (SSRI) Drugs: More Risks Than Benefits?

Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 14 Number 1 Spring 2009

SSRI Bombshell by Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D. Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Drugs: More Risks Than Benefits?

Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D.

ABSTRACT

Anecdotal reports have suggested that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may cause suicidal or violent behavior in some patients. Because of the publicity surrounding certain events, and the numerous lawsuits that have been filed, a review of benefits and risks is needed.

At most 30% of patients receive a benefit from SSRIs beyond the large placebo effect in certain mental conditions, especially depression, according to a recent meta-analysis of published trials. An equally recent meta-analysis of all SSRI trials submitted to the FDA showed a small benefit for the severely depressed patients only. Many early unpublished trials did not show any benefit. Adverse effects are common, occurring in up to 75% of subjects.

Severe adverse effects may be underreported.

Meta- analyses of controlled trials did not include any actual suicides or murders, but only suicidality, some finding, in 1991 and 2007, no evidence even of suicidality.

Other meta-analyses using many of the same trials found that suicidality doubled to 1 in 500 on SSRIs compared with placebo or non-SSRI antidepressants, but did not include any actual suicides or murders. The trial designs were devised by SSRI makers to prevent reports of suicides, by eliminating subjects with the slightest trace of suicidal tendencies. Retrospective studies by others showed actual suicides on SSRIs with a relative risk (RR) of 2–3 compared with non-SSRI antidepressants, with an increased incidence of 123/100,000. Lower doses than the smallest available ones were found to maintain benefits in a majority of patients while reducing risks.

table_03_zoloftbusted1

[PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SSRISTORIES DATABASE REFERRED TO BY DR. KAUFFMAN IN THIS STUDY IS NO LONGER POSTED AT THE URL LISTED ABOVE BUT HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE URL www.ssristories.NET ]

No causal connection between SSRIs and suicide and/or violence has been proved; neither has it been ruled out. Physicians need to be vigilant, and aware of legal precedents that may subject them to enhanced liability when prescribing these drugs. The Genesis of SSRIs Fluoxetine (Prozac in the U.S., see Table 1), introduced in 1988 to combat depression, was the fourth selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) on the U.S. market, after being seriously considered by Eli Lilly as an antihypertensive drug. Unlike the earlier “tricyclics” (amitripyline, clomipramine, dothiepin, imipramine, etc.) and other drug classes, SSRIs acted on the brain to raise levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin without raising the levels of norepinephrine. This was thought to be a benefit in treatment of depression, and later anxiety, panic, social phobia, obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD) , and many other conditions. The SSRIs listed in Table 1 are among the most frequently prescribed in the U.S., and compete with the five non- SSRIs shown, and others.

ssri-drug-table1

Benefits of SSRIs

A prominent recent meta-analysis of Bridge et al. included 27 trials of SSRIs for three defined mental conditions: major depressive disorder (MDD), OCD, and non-OCD anxiety disorders. Benefits, compared with placebo, were found to be highly statistically significant. For MDD, data from 13 trials showed benefit in 61% vs. 50% on placebo, a gain of 11% absolute (NNT=10), <0.001 for all ages of participants. For OCD, data from six trials showed benefit in 52% vs. 32% on placebo, a gain of 20% absolute (NNT=5), <0.001 for all ages. For non-OCD anxiety, data from 6 trials showed benefit in 69% vs. 39% on placebo, a gain of 30% absolute (NNT=3), <0.001 for all ages. These results represent the maximum expectation of benefit from SSRIs since 22 of the 27 trials were financially supported by SSRI makers, and thus subject to the routinely positive bias of industry-sponsored clinical trials. Jay S. Cohen, M.D., author of the 2001 book , wrote that half his patients did well on fluoxetine, but he noted a high incidence (50%) with side-effects. Cohen also cited a pre-approval study showing that the standard 20 mg per day starting dose helped 65% of patients, while 5 mg helped 54%, so Cohen became one of the pioneers in using lower doses before Lilly made them available. The 1996 entry for paroxetine, at least, confirmed that the 17 most common side-effects were dose-dependent.

In four observational cohort studies of four common SSRIs reported by physicians as part of the prescription-event monitoring program in the UK, with more than 10,000 patients in each drug group, only 36% of the physicians reported fluvoxamine as effective, compared with 60% for fluoxetine, sertraline, and paroxetine. These possible benefit rates, which include the placebo effect, parallel the percentage of patients remaining on the drug for 2 months.

See: Over Dose: the Case Against the Drug Companies

An old trial of placebo for anxious and depressed subjects reduced distress in 43%. Three meta-analyses of the antidepressant literature that appeared in the 1990s independently concluded that two-thirds of the effectiveness attributed to SSRIs is actually placebo effect. In a series of nine controlled studies on hospitalized patients with depression, 57% of those given placebo showed improvement in 2–6 weeks. A 1998 meta-analysis of 47 trials on antidepressant medication including SSRIs indicated that 75% of the response to them was duplicated by placebo. This meta-analysis was criticized on several grounds. Therefore, Irving Kirsch, Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut, with other authors, obtained data submitted to the FDA on every placebo-controlled clinical trial on the six most widely used SSRIs, and published a meta-analysis on 47 trials, finding a small, clinically insignificant effect.

This work was updated in 2008:

Analyses of datasets including unpublished as well as published clinical trials reveal smaller effects that fall well below recommended criteria for clinical effectiveness. Specifically, a meta-analysis of clinical trial data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed a mean drug–placebo difference in improvement scores of 1.80 points on the Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression (HRSD), whereas the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) used a drug–placebo difference of three points as a criterion for clinical significance when establishing guidelines for the treatment of depression in the United Kingdom. Kirsch et al. concluded that the updated findings from 35 carefully vetted trials suggest that, compared with placebo, the four new- generation antidepressants ( fluoxetine, venlfaxine, nefazodone, and paroxetine) do not produce clinically significant improvements in depression in patients who initially have moderate or even severe depression.

They show statistically significant but clinically minor effects only in the most severely depressed patients. Moreover, the significance of the effect probably is based on a decreased responsiveness to placebo, rather than increased responsiveness to medication. Given these results, the researchers conclude that there is little reason to prescribe new- generation antidepressant medications to any but the most severely depressed patients unless alternative treatments have been ineffective. In addition, they write that the decreased placebo response in extremely depressed patients, combined with a response to antidepressants comparable to that of less severely depressed patients, is a potentially important insight that should be investigated further.

Even these unimpressive findings exaggerated the benefits of antidepressants. In three fluoxetine trials and in the three sertraline trials for which data were reported, the protocol allowed replacement of patients who, in the investigators’ judgment, were not improving after 2 weeks. The trials also included a 1–2 week washout period, during which patients were given a placebo prior to randomization. Those whose scores improved 20% or more were excluded from the study. In 25 trials, the use of other psychoactive medication was reported. In most trials, a chloral hydrate sedative was permitted in doses ranging from 500 mg to 2,000 mg per day. Other psychoactive medication was usually prohibited but still reported as having been taken in several trials.

Perhaps such considerations led David Healy, M.D., an SSRI expert, to his conclusion that “…these drugs do not convincingly work….” His evidence came from early unpublished clinical trials whose results were revealed to him at FDA hearings. For fluoxetine, Healy noted four trials with a positive result and four without. For sertraline, only one of five early studies showed benefit. Because of the huge placebo effect, 32–75%, most physicians unfamiliar with the studies revealing this effect are likely, in my opinion, to say that one-third to two-thirds of their patients are improved on SSRIs. This would also explain Dr. Jay S. Cohen’s findings on lower doses of fluoxetine.

SSRIs reportedly interact with 40 other drugs to cause “serotonin syndrome.”

This presents as twitching, tremors, rigidity, fever, confusion, or agitation. Serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) also may cause serotonin syndrome by interactions. Most tricyclic depressants do not have these interactions, with the exception of amitriptyline.

In a controlled trial of paroxetine vs. clomipramine sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, 75% of the subjects had an adverse effect on paroxetine, 21% had a severe adverse effect, and 13% committed a suicidal act (1 in 8). The 1996 entry for paroxetine lists 17 side-effects with an incidence of ≥ 5% for approved doses.

They are: asthenia, sweating, constipation, decreased appetite, diarrhea (up to 15%), dry mouth (up to 21%), nausea (up to 36%), anxiety, dizziness, nervousness, paresthesia, somnolence (up to 22%), tremor (up to 15%), blurred vision, abnormal ejaculation, impotence, and other male genital disorders. Fully 31 additional side effects with an incidence at least 1% greater than placebo were listed, including uncontrollable yawning.

Murder, suicide, and suicidality were NOT [emphasis added] included.

Nor were they on comparable lists for fluvoxamine, or sertraline. For fluvoxamine, suicide were separately listed as “infrequent.”

For fluoxetine, suicidal ideation was listed as a voluntary report not proved to be drug related. For sertraline, suicidal ideation and attempt were listed separately as “infrequent.”

The entry for venlafaxine was: “…the possibility of a suicide attempt is inherent in depression.” Not found in the was weight gain, which Cohen lists as a serious side effect.

Typical dropout rates in recent trials are claimed to be 5% (see below), but these must be short trials, or trials with a run-in period. In a meta-analysis of 62 earlier trials with a total of 6,000 subjects, the mean total dropout rate and the proportion of dropouts due to side effects appear comparable to results in general practice: total dropout rates of between 30% and 70% have been reported by 6 weeks, of which some 30%–40% are attributed to side effects and the rest to failure of treatment. Early findings of severe adverse effects by SSRI makers came to light only after the class was established. Of 53 healthy volunteer studies on fluoxetine, the results of only 12 were openly reported.

From 35 healthy volunteer studies on paroxetine, pre-launch, the results of only 14 appeared. From 35 pre-launch healthy volunteer studies on sertraline, only seven appeared. Among the unpublished trials, there was one in which all volunteers dropped out because of agitation (akathisia). In published work on sertraline, data excluded material on behavioral toxicity, including at least one suicide of a Adverse Effects of healthy volunteer, and in a different trial, 2 of 20 volunteers became intensely suicidal. This last is consistent with the dropout rate of 5% for agitation alone in actual trials. It is also consistent with Lilly’s animal studies, in which previously friendly cats treated with fluoxetine started growling and hissing—an unheeded warning.

Just a year after fluoxetine was introduced, Bill Forsyth of Maui, Hawaii, had taken it for only 12 days when he committed one of the first murder/suicides attributed to any SSRI.

In the same year Joseph Wesbecker killed eight others and himself in a Louisville, Ky., printing plant where he worked, after 4 weeks on fluoxetine. Yet as early as 1986, clinical trials showed a rate of 12.5 suicides per 1,000 subjects on fluoxetine vs. 3.8 on older non-SSRIs vs. 2.5 on placebo! An internal 1985 Lilly document found even worse results and said that benefits were less than risks. Such documents were released into the public domain by Lilly as part of the settlement in the Wesbecker case. Fifteen more “anecdotes” of murder/suicide, three with sertraline, were listed by DeGrandpre.

Lilly’s denials of a link to murder/suicide on national television and elsewhere cited a sponsored meta-analysis in in 1991, which exonerated fluoxetine as a cause of suicidal acts or thoughts without even mentioning actual murder or suicide. This study included only 3,067 patients of the 26,000 in the clinical trials it utilized. None of the trials had a declared endpoint of suicidality.

Some of the trials had been rejected by the FDA. No mention was made that Lilly had had benzodiazepines co-prescribed to minimizethe agitation that had been recognized with fluoxetine alone. The 5% dropout rate for anxiety and agitation (akathisia) would have taken out the most likely candidates for suicide. Nevertheless, the 1991 study had its intended effect. For example, in 2006 a 900-page tome entitled , which was aimed at attorneys, cited this study, and failed lawsuits concerning SSRIs. The 2007 meta-analysis by Bridge et al. may be influenced by indirect conflicts of interest that are hard to prove based on the financial disclosures.

Their paper pooled excess risk above placebo for “suicidal ideation/suicide attempt” from 27 trials. The excess risk was said to be 0.7% and statistically significant across all indications, but significant within each indication. Of the 27 trials, only five were sponsored by the drug maker, and one of these, the 2004 Treatment for Adolescents with Depression (TADS) study of fluoxetine, had the highest rate of suicidality—7% above placebo. Most of the same trials were used in a meta-analysis by the FDA, which found a statistically significant excess risk of 2% (4% vs. 2% on placebo, 1 in 50 more). Bridge et al. used a random-effects calculation, while the FDA used a fixed-effects calculation.

In commenting on the negative findings, Bridge et al. write: “No study [in our meta-analysis] was designed to examine suicidal ideation/suicide attempt as a study outcome, and in fact most trials were conducted in patients who had been carefully screened to exclude youths at risk.” No actual murders or suicides associated with SSRI use were reported. Did the designs of the studies preclude detection or reporting?

The Bridge meta-analysis was not just a vindication of SSRIs, as communicated to the by Gilbert Ross, M.D., Medical Director of the American Council on Science & Health. Ross went further, commenting that the FDA “Black Box warning” (see below) was counterproductive because it was discouraging the use of antidepressants! Ross speculated that the lethal rampage of the Virginia Tech shooter might have resulted from premature cessation of medications.

SSRIs in general have long lifetimes in the body. Fluoxetine and its active metabolite in particular have a half-life of 16 days, according to the 1996 . In a reexamination of trials in which suicides or attempts during the inadequate washout period were not blamed on the drug, it was shown that the relative risk (RR) of suicidal acts ranged from 3 for sertraline to 10 for fluoxetine.

A concurrent meta-analysis of 24 trials by Kaizar et al. utilized Bayesian statistics, a valid choice, in my opinion, because data do not have to follow a Gaussian or normal curve to yield valid results, and this method can be used to revise probabilities to determine whether a specific effect was due to a specific cause. They found an association between SSRI use and suicidality with odds ratios of 2.3 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3-3.8), when the diagnosis was MDD, not OCD, anxiety, nor ADHD. Non-SSRI antidepressants were said to have no association with suicide. This supports the FDA’s findings and requirement, as of October, 2004, for a Black Box warning for all SSRIs, to monitor children and adolescents for suicidality. Kaizar et al. were concerned that there were no completed suicides among 4,487 subjects in the trials; that the trial times were too short at median length of 8 weeks; and that in 10 of the 12 MDD studies, Again, there was no citation of actual suicides associated with SSRIs and no citation of Healy’s work.

Healy reviewed epidemiologic studies that have been cited to exonerate SSRIs. One was analyzed by Healy to show a threefold increase in suicidality compared with other antidepressants.While “treatment-related activation” has been considered primarily with regard to suicidality, it can lead to harm to others as well as to self. Healy summarized data on “hostile episodes” provided by GlaxoSmithKline from placebo-controlled trials with paroxetine in subjects of all ages: 9,219 on paroxetine and 6,455 on placebo. The rubric of “hostility” was used in the trial to code for aggression and violence, including homicide, homicidal acts, and homicidal ideation, as well as aggressive events and “conduct disorders.” No homicides were reported from these trials.

Overall, during both therapy and withdrawal, the RR was 2.1 for hostile events. In children with OCD the RR was 17. Separately, in healthy volunteer studies, hostile events occurred in 3 of 271 subjects on paroxetine vs. none of 138 on placebo. In trials of sertraline on depressed children submitted by Pfizer, 8 of 189 subjects discontinued for aggression, agitation, or hyperkinesis (a coding term for akathisia), compared with 0 of 184 on placebo. In clinical practice, the term akathisia has been restricted to demonstrable motor restlessness, but if that is the only effect, it would have been called dyskinesia according to Healy, who cites four studies linking akathisia to both suicide and homicide.

Actual suicides were combined with suicide attempts in a 2005 meta-analysis of 702 trials of SSRIs vs. either placebo or an active non-SSRI control. Studies were rejected if the citation was a review, a result of duplicate publication, too short, crossover, or had no reporting of actual or attempted suicide. The studies meeting the criteria included 88,000 patients. For attempted suicide, the RR was 2.3 for SSRIs vs. placebo (95% CI, 1.14-4.55). The number needed to treat to harm (sometimes called the “reverse NNT”) was 1 in 684. There was no difference in actual suicide. Of the 702 trials, 104 failed to report adverse events below a certain pre-set limit of 3%, 5%, or 10% of patients. Only 493 trials reported dropout rates, with a mean of 29%, and the mean follow-up time was only 11 weeks. Thus, there was clearly gross underreporting of adverse effects. PDR children and adolescents with an elevated baseline risk of suicide were excluded.

Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 14 Number 1 Spring 2009 9

More importantly, because actual suicides are involved, Healy cited a study by Donovan et al. that demonstrated a RR=3.4 ( <0.01) for SSRIs compared with all non-SSRI antidepressants involving 222 actual suicides, of which 41 were among patients who had an SSRI within a month of their suicide. Also the British Drug Safety Research Unit recorded more than 110 suicides in 50,000 patients taking an SSRI, an incidence of 219/100,000 compared with 96/100,000 for the non-SSRI mirtazepine (Remeron), an increase of 123/100,000, or 1 in 813 (Table 2). Thus the RR for actual suicide in patients taking SSRIs was 2.3 (or 2.8 for paroxetine). Even here, though, no murders were listed.

In another study cited by Healy, Jick et al. reported 143 actual suicides among 172,598 patients taking antidepressants. The relative risk of suicide in patients taking fluoxetine was 2.1, compared with those taking the tricyclic antidepressant dothiepin. The risk was not age-dependent. SSRI makers keep insisting that there will be more suicides if SSRIs are used as frequently as now. But the RR of 2–3 shown in studies is a number that the number of suicides that may have been prevented, so SSRI use is associated with more suicides, not fewer.

The International Coalition for Drug Awareness in cooperation with the Prozac Survivors Support Group has produced a website on which about 1,600 violent incidents associated with SSRI use are described ( www.ssristories.net ). The first column on the type of incident (murder, school shooting, etc.) is a hot link to a publicly available description of the incident, typically a local newspaper article. A selection of 10 entries (rows) is presented here as Table 3. About 360 suicides are tallied as well as about 400 murder incidents, many of which were multiple murders, each linked to 26 not net includesSSRIs Provide 1,600 Anecdotes of Violence SSRI use (Rosie Meysenburg, personal communication, 2008 .

As the number of “anecdotes” exceeds 1,600—hardly a small number—the association of SSRIs with murder/suicide, often combined, must be taken seriously. The SSRI website was searched to find combined murder/suicide incidents attributed to a specific SSRI. There were three for fluvoxamine, four for citalopram, 10 each for paroxetine and sertraline, and 31 for fluoxetine. Where the studies above substantiated suicide from SSRI use, the total on the SSRI website of 48 simultaneous murder/suicide incidents associated with SSRI use ties together SSRIs and murder. Since there were about two murders per suicide, we may infer that the murder rate on SSRIs could be about 250/100,000. Since no clinical trial involving multiple homicides is ever likely to be run, no firmer evidence is likely to be found. Healy noted that much of the evidence for suicide and murder came from the efforts of journalists and lawyers.
Note that the website carries a prominent warning that “withdrawal can often be more dangerous than continuing on a medication.” Nine violent events cited elsewhere—seven court cases of homicide (one attempted) and two assaults—were associated with specific SSRIs: three with paroxetine, three with sertraline, two with fluoxetine, and one with venlafaxine. Skeptics have cast doubt on whether the prescribed SSRIs were actually taken, especially since many medical records of juveniles were sealed. In the Columbine, Colo., shootings the toxicology report showed “therapeutic” levels of fluvoxamine in one of the shooters. The Red Lake, Minn., shooter had fluoxetine found, according to news items referenced on the website.

A 2004 editorial in by Simon Wessely, M.D., a spokes- man for Eli Lilly, and Robert Kerwin, Ph.D, cited only a single paper by Healy as a source of claims of suicidality that have found a receptive media audience. Tellingly, the only study described at length is by Jick et al. on the correlation of SSRI use and “attempted suicide,” in which the rates on dothiepin, amitriptyline, fluoxetine and paroxetine were not statistically different. Actual suicides in this study (seven on SSRIs) were not mentioned by Wessely and Kerwin, nor were the 143 suicides in Jick’s earlier paper. Jick et al. have been supported partially by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer. No study that reported actual suicides on SSRIs was described in detail, let alone refuted. Wessely and Kerwin wrote: “The problem is that depression is unequivocally and substantially associated with suicide and self-harm.” True, but this not the truth.

Table 2. Suicides Related to SSRIs or Mirtazapine

table_02_zoloftbusted1

The legal defense by Lilly, repeated by the media and others, is that any suicides are caused by the condition, depression, not by their drug—whether the violence is associated with short-term drug use, long-term drug use, increased doses, withdrawal, or rechallenge. There is no website, as far as I know, for violent acts committed by persons who never received SSRIs, or for total violent acts; hence the denominator for violent acts is not known. Also unknown is the fraction of potentially violent persons who are treated with SSRIs, or of persons treated with SSRIs who are potentially violent. The published studies on actual suicide, however, compare patients on SSRIs with similar patients on non- SSRI antidepressants or placebo. Children diagnosed with OCD, not depression, also became suicidal on SSRIs, as did healthy volunteers.

Actual two- to threefold increases in suicide rates have been demonstrated as well as they could be. How else could such effects be demonstrated? Who would submit, and what institutional review board or human subjects committee would approve a study explicitly designed to show whether assaultive, homicidal, or other violent behavior increases in subjects prescribed the study drug?

Denial by SSRI makers of culpability for these risks continues to this day. Whether physicians’ acting on the Black Box warnings of 2004 and 2007 for all SSRIs will diminish the incidence of murders and suicides is not yet known. Following the introduction of fluoxetine in 1988, only a year passed before an early user committed multiple murders and suicide; many other examples followed. More than 200 lawsuits have been begun by users of SSRIs and victims’ families charging wrongful death or failure to warn; these have had mixed outcomes. There is now legal precedent for SSRIs as a cause of murder, and the maker of the SSRI is potentially liable for damages, according to David Healy.

Eli Lilly responded with total denial to the lawsuits claiming a link between fluoxetine and violence. Several claims were settled out of court with secret details and no admission of guilt. The Australian David Hawkins was freed from a murder charge by a finding of temporary insanity caused by using sertraline. Tim Tobin of Wyoming won $6.4 million from SmithKline Beecham when a jury found that a murder/suicide committed by Donald Schell was attributable to use of paroxetine. There are four other homicide cases in which the SSRI was deemed to have contributed, resulting in a suspended sentence in one case and an insanity verdict in another.

One case of homicide, with a guilty verdict and a life sentence, followed a judicial ruling that akathisia was associated with SSRI use, but that a causal relationship with homicide could not be argued; thus the link of an SSRI with homicide was disallowed. This was in direct conflict with the findings of the four trials cited above. The SSRI website was searched to find murders related to a specific SSRI whose perpetrators were acquitted based on temporary SSRI-induced insanity. There were two cases with sertraline, four cases with paroxetine, and four cases with fluoxetine. So a precedent has been established for legal recognition that an SSRI can be a cause for murder, and that the drug maker can be found liable for damages. The notices of suicidality for the SSRIs found in the PDR or package inserts before 2004 did not really warn of actual suicide or murder.

200 SSRI-related Lawsuits

The Black Box warning of 2004 about possible suicide in children under 18 years of age did not cover adults or murder at any age, so potential liability for the SSRI makers still exists. In 2007 the warning was extended to persons under age 25 years. David Healy was quoted as saying that the warning was overdue, and that the risk was not likely to disappear above age 25. This was shown by the trials from GlaxoSmithKline on paroxetine cited above.

Antidepressants are extraordinarily difficult to assess for risks or benefits in trials. At most, 11%–30% of patients with depression or related conditions who take SSRIs actually benefited beyond the placebo effect on normal doses. Of the perceived benefit, 32%–67% can be attributed to the placebo effect. Adverse effects, mostly dose-dependent, will appear in up to 75% of patients on normal doses. Of these, studies suggest that suicidality will be observed in an additional 2%–13% (1 in 50 to 1 in 9) of patients on normal doses, beyond what is seen on placebo or many non-SSRI antidepressant drugs. This is sufficiently frequent that a typical prescribing physician should observe examples in routine practice.

The actual suicide rate could be about 123/100,000 (1 in 813) higher in patients on SSRIs than in those on tricyclics or placebo. Studies show that many more suicides are on normal doses of SSRIs beyond what is seen on placebo or many non-SSRI antidepressant drugs. Available data suggest that actual murders may be committed at about the rate of 250/100,000 (1 in 400) SSRI-treated patients beyond what is seen on placebo or many non-SSRI antidepressantdrugs, and that many more murders will be attempted on normal doses as well. While correlation does not prove causation, and results of court trials are not medical science, the data for suicide are solid, and the association of murder with suicide is very suggestive. Now that there is a stronger Black Box warning, physicians who ignore it may be liable for damages; the warning primarily protects the manufacturers of SSRIs. There is obviously great peril in drawing conclusions about causat i on from press report s or court decisions.

While manufacturers have a vested interest in exonerating their drugs, plaintiffs have an interest in blaming it, and defendants in exonerating themselves. We need careful, independent analysis of existing study data. In addition to randomized controlled trials, evidence from basic science ( neuropharmacology) and challenge/dechallenge/rechallenge investigations needs to be sought. Both the public and individual patients are imperiled by an incorrect answer to the pressing questions about these widely prescribed drugs. Future studies may show lower levels of murder and suicide with close supervision, and with better matching of this drug type to patient type.

Conclusionsattemptedsimultaneous
Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D.

Acknowledgements:
Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D., professor of chemistry emeritus at the
University of the Sciences, 600 S. 43rd St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495,
Contact: kauffman@bee.net.

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Frances E. H. Pane edited the manuscript. David Moncrief piqued my interest by providing a review copy of by Richard DeGrandpre.
The Cult of Pharmacology: How America Became the World’s Most Troubled Drug Culture

Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 14 Number 1 Spring 2009 11
Potential conflicts of interest: The author has neither a financial interest in any drug mentioned, nor in any alternate treatments for treating any mental illness.

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The Cult of Pharmacology: How America Became the World’s Most Troubled Drug Culture.
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Cole JO. Therapeutic efficiency of antidepressant drugs: a review. 1964;190:124-131.

Kirsch I, Moore TJ, Scoboria A, et al. The emperor’s new drugs: an analysis of antidepressant medication data submitted to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. 2002;5(1):23-33.

Kirsch I, Deacon BJ, Huedo-Medina TB, et al. Initial severity and antidepressant benefits: a meta-analysis of data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. 2008;5(2):e45. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045.

Healy D. One flew over the conflict of interest nest. 2007;6(1):26-27.

Healy D. New York, N.Y.: New York University Press; 2004.

Healy D. FDA Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee hearings. Available at:: www.healyprozac.com/PDAC. Accessed May 13, 2007.

Wolfe SM, ed. SSRIs can have dangerous interactions with other drugs. 2008;14(1):2-5. www.citizen.org/hrg/. Accessed Feb 4, 2009.

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Anderson IM, Tomenson BM. Treatment discontinuation with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors compared with tricyclic antidepressants: a meta-analysis. 1995;310:1433-1438.

Healy D. Lines of evidence on the risks of suicide with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. 2003:72:71-79.

Healy D, Herxheimer A, Menkes DB. Antidepressants and violence: problems at the interface of medicine and law.
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Beasley CM, Dornseif BE, Bosomworth JC. Fluoxetine and suicide: a meta-analysis of controlled trials of treatment for depression. 1991;303:685-692.

Cohen H. Antidepressants: clinical use and litigation. In: 2nd ed. O’Donnell JT, ed. Tucson, Ariz.: Lawyers & Judges Publ.Co; 2006:379-390.

Ross G. Black Box backfire. Apr 21, 2007.

Donovan S, Clayton A, Beeharry M, et al. Deliberate self-harm and antidepressant drugs. 2000;177:551-556.

Kai zar EE, Gr eenhouse JB, Sel t man H, Kel l eher K . Do antidepressants cause suicidality in children? A Bayesian meta-analysis. 2006;3:73-98.

Berenson ML, Levine DM.. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentilee-Hall; 1998:213-217.

Healy D, Whitaker C. Antidepressants and suicide: risk-benefit conundrums. 2003;28:331-337.

Fergusson D, Doucette S, Glass KC, et al. Association between suicide attempts and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.2005;330:396-402.

Donovan S, Kelleher MJ, Lambourn J, Foster T. The occurrence of suicide following the prescription of antidepressant drugs.1999;5:181-192.

Jick SS, Dean AD, Jick H. Antidepressants and suicide.1995;310:215-218.

Wessely S, Kerwin R. Suicide risk and SSRIs. 2004;292:379-381.

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Carey B. FDA expands suicide warning on drugs. ,May 3, 2007:A17.

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New York Times:Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 14 Number 1 Spring 2009

USA Trade Name Generic Name:
SSRIs
Celexa
Luvox
Paxil
Prozac
Zoloft
non-SSRIs
Effexor
Remeron
Serzone
Wellbutrin
(UK)
citalopram
fluvoxamine
paroxetine
fluoxetine
sertraline
venlafaxine
mirtazapine
nefazodone
bupropion
dothiepin USA Trade Name Generic Name
SSRIs
Celexa
Luvox
Paxil
Prozac
Zoloft
non-SSRIs
Effexor
Remeron
Serzone
Wellbutrin
(UK)
citalopram
fluvoxamine
paroxetine
fluoxetine
sertraline
venlafaxine
mirtazapine
nefazodone
bupropion
dothiepin

Physicians Desk Reference (PDR)
Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D.
Table 1. Commonly Prescribed SSRIs and Other Antidepressants Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Drugs:
More Risks Than Benefits?

Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 14 Number 1 Spring 2009 7 Physicians Desk Reference (PDR)
Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D.
Table 1. Commonly Prescribed SSRIs and Other Antidepressants Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Drugs:
More Risks Than Benefits?

Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 14 Number 1 Spring 2009 7

JAMAwhole12,69210,98313,74112,73450,15013,554

10 dead, 7 wounded: dosage increased one week before rampage
15 year old shoots two teachers, killing one: then kills himself
Columbine High School: 15 dead, 24 wounded
Four dead, twenty injured after Prozac withdrawal
Teen shoots at two students: kills his father
Jury finds Paxil was cause of murder-suicide
Man cleared of charges due to Paxil withdrawal defense
Not guilty by reason of Prozac induced insanity: mother kills daughter
Nine dead, 12 wounded in workplace shooting
11 year old hangs himself: lawsuit

Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 14 Number 1 Spring 2009

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A Concerned Parent Story

“Video Used to Justify Putting my Daughter on Five Different Drugs”

 

As a concerned parent, I would like to share my story.

Last year my daughter was having a rough time coping–she lost her three-year-old cousin in a house fire on New Year’s Day and her voice listen teacher passed away suddenly one month later. She turned 18 in February and graduated in June. The same week she graduated, she admitted herself to a psych unit at a local hospital while I was out-of-town for a work conference.

As she was 18, I felt completely helpless in her treatment.

A psychiatrist, who certainly did not know my daughter, put her on five different medications–three of which were Depakote, Serzone, and Zoloft. (They would not tell me what all she was on and she hid most of them from me.) The hospital and psychiatrist brainwashed her to believe that she was Manic-Depressive–she may have been depressed, but I have never once seen her in a manic phase in her life. They showed her a video, which was obviously produced by a pharmaceutical company, telling her she would need to live on these drugs for the rest of her life.

As a nutritionist, I turned to the social worker and asked, ” Not once in this video did it say anything about nutrition–the number one reason why so many are depressed–lacking in some very important vitamins and minerals.” My daughter smoked, was on birth control, was a vegetarian, and did not eat right– of which the smoking and birth control deplete the B vitamins and folic acid. I asked the hospital, ” If you are a state-of -the-art facility, why don’t you ultimately order a multivitamin with minerals and teach patients how to improve their diets to reduce depression naturally?” No, their first course of action is all the drugs–my daughter walked around like a zombie. Within two weeks of going home, my daughter tried to commit suicide–so I took her off the Zoloft and called her psychiatrist, who never returned my calls or spoke to me about my daughter because she was 18.

I lived with my daughter for 18 years, I certainly know her better than some psychiatrist who has only dealt with her for maybe 1-2 hours max. I did not care about what my daughter said to her in confidence, but why wouldn’t this psychiatrist at least talk with me to get a whole picture of what was going on to better treat her. The psychiatrist also did not do any follow-ups on my daughter to see how she was doing on all these meds.

My daughter moved out on her own two months later, which really scared me, as she was still on all these medications. She started classes at the local university the end of August and while we were camping Labor Day Weekend, she admitted herself in the psych unit again, as she nearly passed out at work. I was never contacted. On Labor Day, we received a call from her work, “We have not seen your daughter since Thursday evening and she has not called us. Do you know where she is?” Immediately, we went to her apartment fearing for the worst–that perhaps she had committed suicide as she did not answer the phone. The maintenance opened her apartment, she was not there. We found out later that she was taken to the local hospital by a friend. I called the hospital and they stated no such patient is here. I called the psych unit–no such patient here.

Why couldn’t they at least tell a parent that their 18 yr-old child is safe? I paged her psychiatrist, who again never called me back. My daughter finally called me to let me know she was safe. I don’t know why she was admitted to the psych unit when she nearly passed out at work–why wasn’t she put on a general floor for testing–it was found that she was hypoglycemic. Because their was an issue with her health insurance and no further psych treatments would be covered, I told her if she wanted to continue any kind of treatment and she wanted me to pay for it, she would have to change to a psychiatrist that I found who does not believe in medication as a first response. I am happy to say, this new psychiatrist took her off all medications and she is doing better. She is taking multivitamins.

P.S. My husband and I have been doing Young Living oils for the past five years. I would like my daughter to use them, but she believes we are “witch doctors” and very rarely will use them. I would diffuse ‘Joy’ oil in the air when she was a little moody and she would turn happy, but then she caught on to what I was doing.

I strongly believe a parent should have a right to know and have a say in their child’s treatment when they are 21 years-old or less–especially when they are so doped up on all the anti-depressive drugs. They certainly are not in their right mind!

Diane Miller, Michigan
hw4all@buckeye-express.com

 

12/31/2002

This is Survivor Story number 1.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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A Professional Dancer’s Ordeal With SSRI’s

“…a “nightmare” of experimentation, grave anxiety, lots of depression and suicidal thoughts, which were to pervade my life for the next 12 plus years.”

 

Dear Ann Blake-Tracy,

Fortunately, for me, someone recently referred me to your tape, “Help, I can’t get off my Anti-Depressants.” I would like to tell you my story.

Back in 1989, after years suffering from depression and anxiety, I was prescribed, for the first time, an antidepressant. I had been a dancer, previously, with American Ballet Theatre, in New York, and the National Ballet of Canada. Although I was no longer dancing, I had always been very aware of my body, and did not realize how sensitive my body chemistry was. I have suffered from depression since I was about 12 years old. I immersed myself into the dance world, and became a professional dancer.

At this time, which was already several years after stopping dancing, I was prescribed Prozac, which I took for six months (I do not recall the dosage). I was living in Tempe, Arizona, at the time, and became “wired like a bunny, going 90 miles an hour, sleeping about four hours a night.” I began commuting back and forth to Los Angeles, where I fell into the movie business, doing set decoration. I was happy and high. After six months, I went off the medication.

About six months later, someone broke into my truck, in LA. I, for lack of any other description, “freaked out,” beyond the normal reaction. I panicked, felt violated, and really overreacted. I decided to try to take the Prozac again, and began what was to become a “nightmare” of experimentation, grave anxiety, lots of depression and suicidal thoughts, which were to pervade my life for the next 12 plus years.

I guess my body chemistry being so sensitive, when I tried to take the Prozac again, I reacted badly, becoming even more anxious and agitated. The doctors would increase my dose, and it would get worse. Over the next 10 or so years, I went on and off different medications, different doses, always on the low side. I was given Paxil (made me severely agitated and very drowsy), Wellbutrin, Depakote, Serzone, Zoloft, and I even tried St. John’s Wort, Kava, and nothing. My cycles of depression were severe at times. And whenever I got to the point where I was finally off the medication I was taking, as I tried to get off so many times, I would have a major depressive episode, and it would take from six to nine months to get back to normal. It was even more difficult getting back on the drugs and becoming stable, after I had weaned off. I must say, I always did this against my doctor’s advice; she did not want me off my medications, I wanted off.

For a few years I did well on a low dose of Zoloft. Then I tried to wean off, and had a serious re-occurrence of the depression, waking up extremely anxious every day, not wanting to live. It was almost harder getting back on the drugs after I had weaned off. It took about nine months to recover and feel “normal” again.

In 1999, I ended up at a treatment center for depression and anxiety. By this point I was taking only Luvox, as I had a lot of obsessive thinking (not OCD, though). I don’t know what happened, but I went through a period that was bad, and the doctor’s upped my dosage from 25 mg to 75 mg a day, and I really freaked out and ended up going to this treatment center. When I dropped the dosage back to 25, the anxiety was greatly reduced. The doctor would always tell me to take a Xanax when it got that bad…I would rarely do that, and if I did, I would take 1/2 of the .25 mg pill, just one time, and that would jump start me back to normal, after a day of feeling totally out of it, for the next six months or nine months, when I might end up taking another 1/2 a Xanax again.

Anyway, today I have stabilized on 12.5 mg. of Luvox, EVERY OTHER DAY!! I have been trying to wean off for years, unsuccessfully. I practice kundalini yoga, with Gurmukh, at Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles and am taking the teacher’s training program. This form of yoga works on the nervous system. A lot of time I shake in class, because I know my nervous system is still so out of whack. I try to each healthy, I don’t eat red meat, and not much chicken or fish, either. I am attracted to sugar, and always have been. I have a very lean, muscular, athletic body, and obviously a VERY sensitive body chemistry. The kundalini yoga has been amazing, BUT, I still haven’t been able to get past the 12.5 mg every other day dosage.

WHAT CAN I DO???????? If I pull out just one pill, meaning, if I skip one day, hoping to proceed further in the weaning process, I find myself dip right into the depression. I can also become very angry and agitated.

Earlier this year, not knowing the severity of quick withdrawal, I went from 12.5 mg Luvox every day to every other day for one week. I felt like I was in bliss, like someone lifted the cloud off my head. The second week I cut back to 12.5 mg every third day. On day 10 I suffered a severe crash, and it took me 6 weeks to get back to normal. I had to resume my dosage to 12.5 every day, and eventually got it back to 12.5 mg every other day. But every day, for six weeks, I woke up agitated, and crying and not wanting to live.

I am 43 years old. I am tired of being on medications, even if it is only a small dosage. I have taken something or other since the end of 1989, on and off. I want so much to be drug-free. I am also single, and tired of being alone. No one wants to deal with this kind of mood disorder, although I was married, and my husband was supportive, most relationships cannot endure “my problem.”

Despite my depressions, I have always been a functioning depressive. I will cry and be alone and in pain in the quiet of my own home, or often when I am on the streets driving, and I will go to work and complete my job. I work on the TV show “Malcolm in the Middle.” I shop for the set decorations, so I am often out by myself. I have time to be in pain and depression and not show anyone, then put on a smile when I get around the set. But it’s not good enough for me anymore.

I want to get past this dosage of 12.5 every other day, and get to NOTHING!! I practice the kundalini yoga 2-3 times a week. I’ve tried some herbs at various times to support my weaning, but I honestly haven’t been consistent with any one program. I get 32 acupuncture visits a year, free as part of my insurance, and I have utilized them for emotional balancing. I always come of there “spaced out,” much like how I feel after a yoga class.

I don’t know how long I’ve been on Luvox, probably almost four years now, if not more. Like I said, I don’t even know if it’s doing anything for me, but I have managed to get down to the 12.5 every other day, and I want so much to be off completely. Last week, I actually managed to cut the 25 mg tablet that I cut in half to make 12.5, in half again, to make it 6.25 (approx) mg, and I took that one day. I may have imagined this, but I suffered a relapse after that, too.

I follow a spiritual path. I’ve read all the self-help books. My whole life has been devoted to wanting to heal. It’s time for this to end now.

Please, can you tell me how I can finally kick that last little bit of the medication?? I don’t even know if even the 12.5 mg every other day is doing much for me, because I still have my cycles of mood swings.

Can I hope to be off of them completely? Where should I go from here??

I hope you will write back to me.

Thank you so much for your time.

 

12/29/2002

This is Survivor Story number 2.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

452 total views, 1 views today

Too Many Risks with Serzone

I” wish I had known, but I trusted the what drug companies were telling the pharmacies and docs.”

 

I wish I could sing praises of serzone and other antidepressants but I can find something wrong in them all if I look but: serzone is the first one that I was never informed properly about the health risks.

I wish I had known, but I trusted the what drug companies were telling the pharmacies and docs. Sadly, I had to get off of Zoloft a number of years ago as I had a seratonin overload in my brain, yes this is very rare but terrifying when you are in the middle of it BUT remove the drug and things go back to normal.

I am at present being withdrawn from serzone as the new info regarding the liver troubles, made me listen. I have been experiencing elevated liver enzymes for a time now. I am also showing a increase wbc. I thought the worst was the sexual side affects and the dry mouth.. when someone finally told me that the blurry eyes and the ammonia smelling urine and the horrible nightmares I have when I am under more stress than normal can be part and parcel to the serzone.

I am so angry and disappointed in the health care system for not being truthful with what it knew. I am even more disgusted with the drug companies. Not everyone leads a more normal phsyciatrict life after serzone. I can recognise when someone is being less than honest and understand that I need to get off this… the risk is too high. All people with similar challenges don’t have that luxury.

Anyway. Hopefully my liver will survive this.. and hopefully I will move on with only moderate amounts of damage to my body. If you are on this drug talk to your doctor asap and if you have any off the symptoms related to the liver troubles find help NOW! Thanks for a forumn to speak.

Kristi Ramirez ibeclean83@aol.com

5/20/2002

This is Survivor Story number 24.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

437 total views, no views today

Four Weeks after Luvox, I Feel Dizzy, Lethargic and Fatigued.

“I still feel terrible – a lot worse than I did before ever taking it.”

 

Four weeks ago I discontinued Luvox because of side effects. I was on a very low dose but still did not like the reaction from it. It has been four weeks now and I still feel terrible – a lot worse than I did before ever taking it. I have been told it can take awhile for these symptoms to go away. I feel dizzy at times, lethargic, fatigued, headache, certain foods make it worse. I have also noticed if I eat turkey I get real confused and tired. What is going on with me, and how long does it take? I should have learned better than to take these from my experience with the Serzone I took for two weeks. It took about two months for me to feel normal again, I was dizzy and sick and tired.

Remember, as I mention in my book, that turkey is one of the foods with high levels of tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin. When a toxic level of serotonin is reached due to the use of these SSRI’s adding anything that will increase serotonin will trigger adverse reactions. Turkey is one of the worst for producing reactions.

Ann Blake-Tracy

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 60.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

642 total views, 1 views today

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.”

501 total views, 2 views today

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

412 total views, 2 views today