Ph.D. Plans Derailed on Zoloft

“Being “Zoloft free” has allowed me to see the negative side effects not easily seen while on the medication.”

 

I am a 28 years old and currently residing in Michigan. I most recently was studying as a graduate student in Cellular and Clinical Neurobiology Ph.D. program at Wayne State University located in Detroit, Michigan. However, I recently learned I would no longer be allowed to continue the program due to my poor performance in each of my enrolled classes during this, my first semester as a graduate student. Since learning, a month ago, about the termination of my appointment as a graduate student, I have reasons to believe my performance in the courses was influenced greatly by a medication I was taking. Two years prior to my entering the graduate program, I had a rather distressing situation in my life occur. So distressing was this particular situation, I found myself unable to sleep well at night, nor study for upcoming exams in the classes I was attending at my undergraduate institution (Brigham Young University). I chose to see a school physician. After hearing of my condition, he suggested I begin taking a medication called Zoloft (Sertraline) and didn’t hesitate to write me a prescription. I later learned this medication belonged to a family of medications called Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).

Another factor, which I’m sure influenced my physician’s decision to prescribe Zoloft, was that I had been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) about 10 years prior to this incident. My physician suggested I begin with a 50mgs/day dose and increase the dosage in 50mg increments weekly until reaching a maximum dosage of 200mgs/day. Admittedly, some of my OCD symptoms decreased, however, over the course of time, the side effects would soon greatly outweigh the benefits.

I began taking Zoloft during the last three weeks of my second to last semester at Brigham Young University (BYU). I needed only to finish two courses to graduate, which I took the following semester. During the weeks beginning Zoloft, my physician wanted to visit with me at least once a week to follow-up on the Zoloft’s affects. During these visits I was consistently told what a wonderful medication Zoloft was and how much of a decrease in my OCD symptoms and anxiety I would see after a few weeks. The before mentioned distressing situation, which involved a disheartening ending of a relationship with my girlfriend, would virtually disappear my physician told me. In fact, my physician went so far as to say my OCD was likely the cause of my breakup with my girlfriend and that once the Zoloft helped me gain control of my OCD, I would most likely decide trying our relationship again. Looking back now, nothing is further from the truth. I think because of this positive rhetoric about Zoloft’s acclaimed benefits, I naively began believing I was experiencing a reformed and changed self, freed from the bonds of OCD and able to finally be “normal”. However, after two years of being on the medication, getting C grades in my final two classes at BYU, and most recently, kicked out of my graduate program, I’ve learned the harsh reality that Zoloft has only served to make things worse than before.

I want to make clear that I’m not an irresponsible student nor am I lacking in intelligence. I graduated from BYU with a 3.4 GPA in Pre-Physical Therapy. Some of my classes included Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Medical Physiology, Anatomy, Genetics, and Calculus. The competition for good grades at BYU speaks for itself. The average GPA and ACT scores for the incoming freshman class last year were a 3.7 and 27 respectively. There are very intelligent students at BYU and the competition is fierce. My respectable graduating GPA of 3.4 clearly demonstrates my ability as a student. Remember, only two of my classes at BYU were taken while on Zoloft, both of which I received C grades.

Since my arrival here in Michigan, I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist. Interestingly, she is a member of the department (department of psychiatry) I belonged to as a graduate student. She specializes in mood and anxiety disorders. It is interesting to me that while I was struggling so hard to study, concentrate, and deal with other issues (what I know believe to be the side effects of the Zoloft), she didn’t once suggest I discontinue the Zoloft to see if my condition would improve. In other words, it’s very ironic that psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry at Wayne State University (considered a “prominent” research institution) couldn’t help one of the departments own graduate students who was dealing with a condition in which their department claims they specialize in for research. How remarkable that a research scientist in psychiatry, working at a prominent research university, specializing in mood and anxiety disorders did not think to ask the question, “maybe the Zoloft is the reason for this young man’s problems”. This is clear and conclusive evidence that medications such as Zoloft have not been thoroughly studied or tested.

Since discontinuing the Zoloft I’ve noticed some remarkable discoveries. I began tapering by 50-mg increments. I decreased my dosage to 150mg beginning November 2, 1999. I then tapered down to 100mg beginning November 5, 1999. I then went down 50mgs every nine days (November 5-14: 100mgs; November 14-23: 50mgs; November 24: 0mgs). During my first week of tapering (around November 4th or 5th), I had an experience were I was driving down the street I live on after school when I noticed a group of teenagers in the middle of the road. There was about five of them walking side-by-side spanning from one side of road to the other. For some unknown reason, I became extremely mad about this situation. I was mad these teenagers felt they could “hog” the whole street. During this fit of anger I stepped down on the accelerator and speed up. I remember I had a burst of rage, which I would say was uncontrollable, come over me. I thought the teenagers would hear my car accelerate and move out of the way, thus I would scare them good. However, I didn’t slow down in time enough and the teenagers didn’t move fast enough. My anger had impaired my rational judgement. I ended up clipping one of the teenagers with my right front bumper, knocking him to the ground and just about running over a second teenager. I ended up backing up my car and scolding the teenagers for walking in the road. However, during the rest of the drive home, I was dumbfounded about what I had just done. This kind of anger and uncontrollable rage was very unlike me. What was I thinking? I came inches from killing two teenagers. The experience really shook me up. After thinking about what had just occurred I could only attribute this rage and anger to my tapering of the Zoloft. I decided from that time forward, I would pay special attention to controlling my anger until I was completely off the medication.

It is now day 42 since completely discontinuing the Zoloft. Being “Zoloft free” has allowed me to see the negative side effects not easily seen while on the medication. While on the medication I saw a significant decrease in the quality and quantity of my sleep at night. I began to see large dark circles under my eyes. I was also quit lethargic during the day. I remember sitting in my graduate school classes and fighting very hard to stay awake. I remember looking around the lecture room and asking myself why the other students were not as exhausted as I was. Before beginning Zoloft I would exercise about 3-4 times/week. Since beginning the medication I struggled to exercise once or twice a week. I began to develop a rather severe chronic muscle pain in my neck and shoulders. This pain became so great I would avoid studying at times because of the position my neck and shoulders would have to be in for long periods of time. This neck and shoulder pain persisted even after two months of physical therapy. Not long after beginning Zoloft I noticed fungus infections underneath a couple of my fingernails.

However bad the physical side effects were, they couldn’t compare with the mental side effects of Zoloft. After beginning Zoloft, I noticed a significant decrease in my motivation to accomplish goals I had before set. I noticed a significant decrease in my ability and desire to concentrate. I also noticed a significant increase in my forgetting things such as appointments, where I put things, names, and other information people had told me. I noticed a very significant increase in addictive behaviors. I became addicted to the Internet, video games, sugary foods, sex, and highly stimulating activities. All of these behaviors were completely unlike me. So why didn’t I discontinue Zoloft much sooner than I did? Because over the course of several months my physician had coached me about the positive side effects of Zoloft. After listening to his counsel I believed I would never function at complete normalcy throughout life without the medication. Therefore, I attributed any bad effects to my own personality and not to the medication. That conclusion, looking back now, is far from the truth.

The side effects that interfered most with graduate school, were the increase of my addictive behaviors, decreased motivation, and my decreased ability to concentrate. These side effects combined to virtually eliminate my ability to take notes, study from the texts, or study for exams. As stated before, I attributed these side effects to being my own personality. I began to believe my personality had become flawed in some manner and that I needed to learn more self-control or self-discipline. Since being off the medication, I have learned I didn’t develop a inherently flawed personality (comparing how I was in graduate school to how I was during my undergraduate school years). I’ve learned the difference in my personality was due directly to the effect Zoloft was having on my mind. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this until just before being terminated as a graduate student.

Since discontinuing the medication, every one of the before mentioned negative side effects has been reversed. My sleep has improved significantly, both quantity and quality. The dark circles under my eyes have virtually disappeared. My neck and back pain have improved greatly. In fact, I often times forget I ever had neck and back pain. The fungus under my fingernails began clearing up immediately after my discontinuing the medication. My energy level during the day has greatly improved. I no longer feel lethargic. I am back to exercising about 3-4 times/week. I’ve seen, at least, a 40% improvement in my motivation to accomplish goals. My ability to concentrate has increased significantly. One of the biggest improvements has been my ability to remember appointments, where I put things, peoples names, and other extraneous information other people tell me. My addictive behaviors have decreased significantly. I no longer crave sweet foods, the thought of playing a video game makes me sick, I rarely spend time on the Internet. I still struggle with some sexual addictions I developed while being on Zoloft, but even those are far more controllable now. Unfortunately, I discovered this information too late to reverse the consequences Zoloft had on me and my ability to retain my graduate student appointment

I am writing this letter to express my frustration and disappointment about a FDA approved medication that has had such a profoundly negative effect on my life. Something needs to be done so others aren’t mistakenly given treatments, which result in negative consequences. Or even worse, treatments that have potentially devastating consequences because of a pharmaceutical company’s agenda to push a particular drug through the “research red-tape” to get it out to market and make a “buck”. During the difficult time I had with my girlfriend, had one of the health care specialists said, “maybe the problem is that the girl you are dating just isn’t the right girl for you” and encouraged me to stick it out, I wouldn’t have to withdraw from my graduate program. Then again, maybe not. Looking back now, it’s easy to see the girl I had been dating was not the right girl for me, I didn’t need medication to have a relationship, and in retrospect, I didn’t need medication to make a decision either, just someone to help me work things out. In fact, the medication only served to make my life, in a more global sense, worse.

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 74.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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10/19/1999 – PFIZER REJECTS NEUTRAL, COURT-APPOINTED EXPERT

Here is news release in a pivotal wrongful death case involving Zoloft.
For more information on this case, you may want to visit
(drugawareness.org/memorial/matt-miller)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (OCTOBER 19, 1999):

PLAINTIFFS WILLING TO HAVE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN WRONGFUL
DEATH/SUICIDE CASE AGAINST MANUFACTURER OF ZOLOFT MEASURED BY NEUTRAL,
COURT-APPOINTED EXPERTS. PFIZER IS NOT.

MARK AND CHERYL MILLER OF KANSAS CITY HAVE FILED SUIT AGAINST PFIZER,
ALLEGING THAT ITS $2 BILLION DOLLAR PER YEAR PSYCHOACTIVE DRUG “ZOLOFT”
CAUSED THEIR 13 YEAR OLD SON TO COMMIT SUICIDE 7 DAYS AFTER HE WAS
GIVEN SAMPLES OF THE DRUG. PFIZER VEHEMENTLY DENIES THAT ITS DRUG
CAUSES ANY PATIENT TO COMMIT ACTS OF VIOLENCE OR SUICIDE.

TAKING THEIR CUE FROM A RECENT SUPREME COURT OPINION, THE MILLERS HAVE
SUGGESTED THAT THE JUDGE COULD AND SHOULD APPOINT A “NEUTRAL”,
OBJECTIVE EXPERT TO ADVISE HER AS TO WHETHER THE EXPERTS ON BOTH SIDES
ARE USING “SCIENTIFICALLY RELIABLE” METHODOLOGIES AND REASONING.

THE MILLERS’ COUNSEL, ANDY VICKERY OF HOUSTON, TEXAS
(andy@…) SAID THAT HE WAS DISAPPOINTED WITH PFIZER’S
UNWILLINGNESS TO HAVE A NEUTRAL SCIENTIST ADVISE THE COURT. “THE DRUG
COMPANIES YAP AND YAP ABOUT JUNK SCIENCE ALL OF THE TIME,” VICKERY
SAID, “BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT `JUNK SCIENCE’ TO THEM MERELY MEANS
SCIENCE FROM SOMEONE THAT THEY AREN’T PAYING AND CAN’T CONTROL”. THE
MILLERS’ PRINCIPAL LIABILITY EXPERT, DR. DAVID HEALY, WROTE THE HIGHLY
ACCLAIMED HARVARD PRESS BOOK, “THE ANTIDEPRESSANT ERA”, AND HAS ALREADY
BEEN RECEIVED BY ONE FEDERAL COURT AS A QUALIFIED EXPERT IN THIS AREA.

FEDERAL JUDGE KATHRYN VRATIL OF KANSAS CITY WILL DECIDE THE MOTION.

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10/13/1999 – Attempted Murder by Man on Zoloft

This case out of Maryland is so tragic. The perpetrator took Zoloft
and now has no memory of the incident. Even his mother said he
“hallucinated” on the drug. The young couple were deeply in love and
had a great relationship. This story, too, combines elements of “road
rage” with the attempted murder.

This is just one of many stories we continue to review, now almost
daily, on how these drugs can cause psychotic breaks in some
individuals and no memory of the violence later. Notice also, how sleep
deprivation, a known side-effect of these drugs, contributed to this
incident.

Thanks to one of our ICFDA directors for passing this along.

As a reminder to interested subscribers, if you see articles like
these, please bring them to our attention by forwarding them to
<mmiller1@…>.

———–
Sep. 22, 1999, The Capital

Police Say Man Tried to Kill Wife

An Annapolis man with no history of prior violence was charged
yesterday with trying to kill the wife he adored in a car crash near
the State House earlier this month.

In a mysterious case that still puzzles city police, Douglas Lund, 36,
of 1 Colonial Ave., was ordered held without bond on a charge of
attempted second-degree murder.

He awaits a competency evaluation today in the county detention center,
where he’s being held. Another bail review hearing will follow within
the next few days, a spokesman for the State’s Attorney’s Office said.

Police have found no motive for Mr. Lund’s actions on Sept. 7, when he
crashed his car on Bladen Street and allegedly beat his wife, Amy Lund,
32, an assistant state’s attorney for Dorchester County.

“They were doing great,” said city police Detective Jim Bryant, who
investigated the case with the State’s Attorney’s Office. “He never
abused her in any way. This was one of those off-the-wall things.”

But Mr. Lund’s mother, Jo Ann Lund, blames the drug Zoloft, which her
son was taking for depression.

“He took the drug and started hallucinating,” she said.

Mr. Lund, a full-time student at Bowie State University, had been
suffering sleeplessness for several weeks and had asked his wife to go
for a drive.

About 3 a.m., they were headed home when Mrs. Lund saw her husband run
a red light and switch lanes on Rowe Boulevard, heading toward the
State House, police said.

Driving toward construction site barriers on Bladen Street, he
allegedly unfastened his wife’s seat belt before intentionally crashing
his 1990 Honda Accord into a metal fence, running over several “Road
Closed” signs without hitting the brakes, police said.

Mr. Lund forced his wife from the car, grabbed her neck and hair and
beat her head against the pavement several times, police said.

Grunting, but never speaking, he dragged her about 30 feet from the
scene, Detective Bryant said. Then he slung her body over his shoulder
and carried her across the grassy median between Bladen Street and Rowe
Boulevard.

Crossing Rowe Boulevard, he dumped her on the grass behind low-hanging
tree branches and flagged down a passing vehicle.

It took six hours of surgery to repair her shattered vertebrae,
Detective Bryant said. She also suffered a broken collarbone and
finger, abrasions and a black eye.

She was released Sept. 15 from the Shock-Trauma Center at University
Hospital in Baltimore and is no longer staying in the area, police
said.

According to Mr. Lund’s mother, the Lunds had a loving relationship,
still holding hands after 11 years of dating and marriage.

The message on their anniversary cards this summer was identical:
“Thank you for the best six years of my life.”

With no children, the Lunds, who lived in Annapolis sporadically for
eight years, were apparently on a career track. Mr. Lund had just begun
student teaching in his final semester of college.

According to his mother, he never suffered mental problems, other than
worrying too much. His family calls him “Mr. Applesauce” for his
healthy lifestyle and eating habits, she said.

But Mr. Lund is dyslexic and has Attention Deficit Disorder, and in the
past few months his worries and stress over student teaching became
overwhelming, she said.

“He just panicked about going to the board, and the children being able
to spell better than he did,” Mrs. Lund said.

One morning he visited his mother in tears, and gave her his guns for
fear that he might kill himself.

After three weeks without sleeping and eating, Mr. Lund went to a
doctor who prescribed Zoloft — a drug with warnings of fatal reactions
and mental status changes. He was told to take it on a weekly basis.

Mrs. Lund believes her son was overcome by hallucinations on the
morning of the attack.

Mr. Lund was committed to Sheppard Pratt Health System in Baltimore
County following the offense after he told police he felt like hurting
himself, Detective Bryant said.

He told Detective Bryant he was “dazed” and has no memory of the
incident.

“All he remembers is driving down the road and carrying his wife to the
hospital,” Detective Bryant said. “I thought it was strange that he was
headed the wrong way.”

Mr. Lund had no history of violence, and his wife’s main concern was
that the arrest would tarnish his clean record, Detective Bryant said.

Annapolis Attorney Gill Cochran, who is tentatively representing Mr.
Lund, said he plans to seek detention for his client at a medical
facility such as Sheppard Pratt. He will eventually enter a plea of
“not criminally responsible,” he said.

“Psychological difficulties are clearly involved in this case,” he
said.
Copyright © 1999 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

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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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7/22/1999 – A Hotline Volunteer’s Perspective – Report

This appeared in today’s Dallas Morning News Letters to the Editor.
Interesting comment from the perspective of someone who volunteers for
an emergency hotline. Thanks to Rosie Meysenburg for passing this
along to us. Mark
——————————————————————
http://www.dallasnews.com/editorial/letters/0722edlett1.htm

Psychiatric drugs

There has been much talk about what is causing the rash of shootings by
children. No one explanation has nailed the source of the problem. One
explanation often heard is untreated mental problems.

In truth, three of the recent shooters had been treated and given
psychiatric drugs – Springfield’s Kip Kinkel (Springfield, Ore.) with
Prozac, Eric Harris (Littleton, Colo.) with Luvox and Thomas Solomon
(Conyers, Ga.) with Ritalin.

I was a volunteer for a hot line and received many complaints from
people
whose behavior became irrational after taking mood-altering drugs like
Prozac. The wife of comedian Phil Hartman, who killed her husband and
herself, was on the psychiatric drug Zoloft.

Why has there been no mention of the risks of taking these drugs? I
think
we have put too much trust in the psychiatric community in allowing
them to
put so many of our children on drugs. The pharmaceutical industry which
is
making big money on the proliferation of legal drug use and the rising
costs of drugs is not going to complain. We must complain.

PAT SPRUILL, Plano

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07/19/1999 – My antidepressant made me do it! – Hartman estate says

The following article makes its first appearance today (7/19/99) on
salon.com:

My antidepressant made me do it!
The Hartman estate says Zoloft was to blame for a murder-suicide.
By Rob Waters

(http://www.salon.com/health/feature/1999/07/19/zoloft/index.html)

My antidepressant made me do it!

The Hartman estate says Zoloft was
to blame for a murder-suicide.

– – – – – – – – – – – –
By Rob Waters

July 19, 1999 | It was May 1998, and comedian Phil Hartman and his wife, Brynn, were planning a party. Their son, Sean, was soon turning 10 and they wanted to make it special with a bash at Planet Hollywood. Brynn was inviting her son’s friends, including some of his classmates from his school in Encino.

In mid-May she called Kathryn Alice, the mother of one of Sean’s friends, to get her address. Sean and Calvin, Kathryn’s son, played together and had visited each other’s homes. Through their sons, the moms had gotten to know each other, too. They chatted on the phone, and Brynn confided that things were tough. “She said she was barely hanging on by a thread,” Alice recalls. “I told her things will get better, but she said ‘I don’t know.'”

The invitation soon arrived in the mail, but the birthday party never happened. On May 28, at about 2:30 a.m., Brynn Hartman returned home from a night out with a female friend. As Sean and his sister, Birgen, slept in their rooms, Brynn entered the master bedroom and shot her sleeping husband three times. Four hours later, with police in the house and friends listening outside, Brynn lay down on the bed next to Phil’s body and pulled the trigger once more, killing herself.

How could this happen? Why did a woman who was, by all accounts, a devoted and protective mother, deprive her children of their parents? In the days after the killings, the tabloids and mainstream press ruminated over the problems in the couple’s often stormy relationship, speculating that Phil was preparing to leave her, or that she had relapsed into an old cocaine addiction. People magazine reported that she had recently started drinking again after 10 years of near-sobriety and had checked into an Arizona rehab clinic earlier in the year. Indeed, toxicology reports cited in press accounts indicate that at the time she died, Brynn Hartman had both cocaine and alcohol in her system.

But the couple’s family and their lawyers have another answer: Zoloft made her do it.

In late May 1999, one year after the deaths, attorneys for the Hartmans’ estate and children filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that makes Zoloft, a new-generation antidepressant similar to Prozac. The suit contends that Brynn Hartman’s violent outburst was caused by a rare but previously documented side effect of the medication that left her agitated, jittery and “out of touch with reality.” It is one of more than 170 wrongful death lawsuits filed against the makers of these new antidepressants since Prozac first hit the market 12 years ago.

The Hartman suit also charges that Arthur Sorosky, the psychiatrist that supplied Brynn Hartman with Zoloft, was not really her doctor and never conducted an evaluation. Sorosky, the complaint alleges, was actually her son Sean’s doctor and gave Brynn medication samples — the kind doled out to physicians by drug company salesmen — “without the benefit of a history and physical examination [or] diagnosis.”

Sorosky’s attorney, Joel Douglas, told Salon Health that his client and Brynn Hartman had “a doctor-patient relationship” and that Sorosky had prescribed the Zoloft in a proper and appropriate way. “From what I understand,” he added, “with cocaine and alcohol in her system, you don’t need to look for Zoloft to understand what happened.”

Original report on murder/suicide: http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/TV/9805/28/hartman/

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A Teenager’s Journey into Prozac Hell

“He was on Zoloft about 5 days when he told me that he now could not distinguish between dreams and reality.”

 

My 17 yr. old son was prescribed Prozac after being diagnosed with mild clinical depression. We were told the side effects could be headache, stomach upset and anxiety for a few days. When I voiced concerns about this drug, stating that I heard it caused violent behavior etc. I was told that these were “fairy stories” and that Prozac was an excellent drug. He started Prozac and we hoped for the best.

He had been sleeping excessively, and after one day on Prozac, he woke up and said that he had woken up a few times during that first night. I figured the drug was starting to work. About a week later he announced that he had talked back to a teacher at school. ( very unlike him) I told him never to do that again. A week after that he came home from being out with friends, and he seemed very agitated. I asked him what was going on and he told me that he felt like a bully and had almost gotten into many fights at school. He said he didn’t care about anything, and if someone died, he wouldn’t even care. He said he felt his friends were becoming afraid of him. This was after about 3 weeks on Prozac.
I immediately called the doctor and told them I wanted him OFF this drug. He was becoming a different person and it wasn’t good. She asked me a few questions and said maybe we should try another drug. She never told us to taper him off this drug. She said to keep him off of it a week and then start on a small dose of Zoloft.

When he went off Prozac He was a wreck. He was shaking, had headaches, felt anxious, and kept telling me he needed some kind of medicine. It was as though he was craving some kind of drug. He then started on Zoloft.

He was on Zoloft about 5 days when he told me that he now could not distinguish between dreams and reality. The doctor now told me to take him off Zoloft. Again, we were never told to taper him off. He just stopped. We now know that going off of these drugs cold-turkey is the worst thing that you can do.

Then the hell started. Total change in him. He was hardly sleeping, and when he did sleep, he had horrid, violent dreams. He could not concentrate on anything, and his short term memory was shot. He said and did things that were totally unlike him. It should be noted that he had NEVER HAD ANY OF THIS HAPPEN BEFORE HE WAS ON PROZAC. He saw a therapist who suggested that he was bipolar, and he would have none of her. He asked me if he was going crazy, and told me he felt “criminally insane” in his mind. He said his thoughts were horrible.

At this point, I got on the internet and discovered Dr. Tracy’s web page. Everything my son had been going through was there in black and white. I sent for her book, and discussed it with our pediatrician. His advice was to let my son “dry out.” We told our son what we thought was happening, and hoped for the best. However, twice during the next month he became hypomanic, and wanted us to take him to the emergency room. We knew that they would only pump him full of more drugs, so we decided to wait out the episodes. The morning after each episode he seemed much better. However, his mood now became very unpredictable: it swung up and down from day to day. He also suffered tremendous weight loss during this period.

I then sought out any help I could find. We went to an acupuncturist, who told us that he had heard of such reactions to Prozac. He believed that he could help my son, whereas every traditional medical practitioner who we visited had not heard of such reactions, and discounted the idea that Prozac could have been the cause of such behavior. After a few months of acupuncture the violent thoughts and dreams subsided. However, his concentration and memory were still greatly affected. This had a huge impact on his school work. After a few more months of acupuncture, he seemed better, but still had an up-and-down mood.

At this point, he became extremely depressed, and we ended up seeing a psychiatrist. The doctor put my son on Depakote for rapid cycling mood disorder. He traded in his mood swings for constant depression. A small dose of Wellbutrin was then diagnosed to help this condition. After a couple weeks, he told me that he felt worse and wanted to quit taking all medication. He had once again begun to experience rage, and knew that the drugs were not good for him. He went off of all drugs, and began to feel better. at the same time, the acupuncturist started working on something new, and things started to get better.

I had been praying constantly throughout this ordeal, as had many friends and family members. I know that this has helped him, and all of us, get through these extremely hard times.

Since his attention and memory have been affected, his performance in school has dropped and his plans for a future education have been severely altered, at least for the time being. Our son has gone through an ordeal which no one his age should ever have to face. But with the support family members and his friends (who were kind enough to be there with him throughout the whole drawn- out incident, violent mood swings and all), we were all able to survive. It has been over a year since he has taken Prozac, and hopefully things will continue to improve.
This experience has taught us to rely on our instincts and to seek out as much information as possible on any drug prescribed to anyone in our family. I hope our story can help others in getting trough or averting similar situations.

Sincerely, a wiser, yet sadder, mother.

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 31.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

533 total views, no views today

Girlfriend Self-Destructed on Prozac-A Police Officer’s Story

“Please let people who are out there know that Prozac is bad medicine.”

 

Please let people who are out there know that Prozac is bad medicine. I have recently lost my girlfriend after a year because of this most marvelous chemical composition. She is a psych-tech at a local hospital in my hometown. She has worked there for almost two years, and since I have known her she has been prescribed medications like Phen-Fen and Zoloft and most recently Prozac. Yes, she probably could stand to lose a few pounds, but who couldn’t? Since being prescribed Prozac (by a staff physician) she won’t even speak to me. She feels simply that I tried to intervene.

Yet, I am a police officer of almost 10 years and could not stand by and watch someone self-destruct. It seems to me like someone needs to be policing the MD’s who are actively handing out prescriptions to our younger generation. After all they are the future, aren’t they?
Also I would like to know if it is common practice for the head of psychiatric departments to become involved in treating employees of the hospital where they work? Seems to me this would be a direct conflict of interest and would require a referral to another MD.
Please use my e-mail address for those that want to correspond. Maybe someday soon, people will wake up and see what they’re doing to themselves. Thank you for writing back, it’s always comforting to know that someone knows how you feel.

JDuffjr410@aol.com

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 32.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

470 total views, no views today

Two and a Half Years Later–Problems from Three Zoloft Tablets

“…I only want to resolve these problems so that we can return to our life prior to taking Zoloft.”

 

Two and one half years ago, I took one 50 mg. tablet of Zoloft for 3 days. On the third night, I woke up with severe flu like symptoms (nausea, diarrhea, shivering in chest area, paranoia, and extreme anxiety).

I was treated at the Emergency Room with Ativan. My blood pressure was also high. Since that night, I wake up every day with the same symptoms but to a lesser degree. Reading and writing makes me nauseated and shaky until later in the day. Occasionally I also have a fibrillating heart which I didn’t have prior to the use of Zoloft. I have had many tests, and none of them showed any problems. I was tested for Serotonin Syndrome which turned up negative. I have consulted with two psychopharmacologists, a heart specialist, an endocrinologist, an allergist, and a gastroenterologist. All without any help.

One of the psychopharmacologists suggested that there was a possibility that there might have been damage caused by the Zoloft. I am able to sleep usually until 6 am when the symptoms start again. I have been to many specialists and have tried many medications without any relief. My husband and I only want to resolve these problems so that we can return to our life prior to taking Zoloft.

You have my permission to publish it on the Internet, and you may edit the story. Please pass this communication to any of the doctors that are specializing in this field I would appreciate it if you would post my name and e-mail address on your site.

lingram01@sprynet.com

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 33.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

509 total views, no views today