Another Potential SSRI-related Death

“After taking one Wellbutrin, I had one of the worst emotional days of my life.”

People need to know antidepressants’ risks

I found the March 23 Dispatch article “FDA wants new warnings about antidepressants’’ to be very interesting and timely. I take this opportunity to point out that adverse reactions to antidepressants are not limited to children and teenagers.

During a stressful time in my life in 2000, I took Zoloft for a few months with no adverse reaction. However, in summer 2002, I began taking Wellbutrin in an attempt to quit smoking. I became extremely depressed, overly emotional, moody, borderline suicidal and lost the ability to concentrate on even the simplest tasks — not my typical self at all.

It took about three weeks to realize the Wellbutrin might be the culprit, and I gradually weaned myself off of it.

In spring 2003, I decided to attempt to quit smoking again and thought I would give Wellbutrin another shot. After taking one pill, I had one of the worst emotional days of my life. I then had no doubt it was the Wellbutrin and stopped taking it immediately.

The March 19 Dispatch article about the suicide of Lt. Brandon Ratliff mentioned that he had begun taking antidepressants earlier that week. I didn’t know Ratliff well, but I did know him, and he always struck me as being a very even-keeled, happy, upbeat person. The news of his suicide came as a total shock, and I can’t help but wonder what role antidepressants may have played in it. I extend my sincerest condolences to Ratliff’s family, friends and co-workers.

Our drug-enthralled society is quick to believe that there’s a pill to cure every ill, even unhappiness. Many physicians are too quick to prescribe antidepressants, and many patients are too quick to ask for them and accept them. I urge anyone who is taking or considering taking antidepressants to learn all you can about them, and if you (or your family members) think you are experiencing adverse psychological reactions, call your doctor immediately. Yes, for some people they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, but they’re not for everyone.


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