Chemical Warfare in Syria? Or the United States?

chemical warfare

Chemical Warfare in Syria? Or the United States?

Thanks to our New Zealand director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness ( and Paul Pezzack from the UK for taking my message about chemical warfare and putting it into a media format that is clear as a bell!!!!!! This is exactly the question I was asking a couple of days ago on our Facebook page about our president being upset enough about the possibility of chemical warfare being used by the government in Syria against their own people!

The question should be “Does it take one to know one?!”

I will be sending out a new study from Harvard in the next day or two that clearly states the data involved in the chemical warfare the US government has unleashed upon the American public via the FDA. This study along with another study by pharmacists, point out that we are losing between 2,300 and 3,300 lives every week in this country to “properly prescribed prescription drugs.” That is a total of between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths per year as a direct result of prescription drugs being used as directed, not abused.

The researchers are also quick to point out that deaths from over-dosing, errors, or recreational drug use would significantly  increase this total. And I would add the death toll from birth defects, and murders and suicides as a result of these drugs would also drastically increase those numbers. Then when you add the deaths and damage from the chemicals allowed in our food supply (farm animals consume more drugs than any other living beings on the planet which are then consumed by an unsuspecting public) and via GMO foods where the one consuming the GMO foods is ingesting the pesticide injected into the seed before planting.

A death toll in those numbers outdoes just about any war I am aware of in our recent past!

Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness &
Author: “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World” & Withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!”

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DEPT. of DEFENSE: Link Between Vet Suicides & Medications

Paragraph six of main article reads:  “Quality data
collection and analysis are critical components behind effective prevention
efforts. The Department made great strides over the last 12 months on gathering
critical information to understand the complexity of factors leading to suicide
and ways to prevent such tragedies from occurring within our communities. Data
collected by the DoD Suicide Event Report (DoDSER) tell us that we must continue
to educate our population and build programs, as there continue to be multiple
opportunities to intervene. For example, we are learning that 30% of individuals
who died by suicide communicated their potential self harm; 49% had been
seen in a medical/support clinic/program within 30 days of suicide;
26% sought broadly defined mental health resources.”

Paragraph 34 of main
article reads:  “In recent years, antidepressant medications,
particularly the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) have
been closely evaluated for the increased risk of suicide-related behaviors in
adolescents and young adults associated with their use
. In recognition

of this risk, the FDA’s requires a “black box” warning in the product labeling
of all antidepressant medications that advises clinicians to closely monitor any
worsening in depression, emergence of suicidal thinking or behavior, or unusual
changes in behavior, such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from social
situations. Close monitoring is especially important during the first four weeks
of treatment. The FDA also recognizes that depression and other psychiatric
disorders are themselves associated with increased risks for

Link Between Medication And Veteran Suicide

2/24/2010, 10:27 a.m. EST
The Associated Press


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of the content.Statement of Loree K. Sutton, M.D. Director, Defense Centers of
Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Special Assistant
to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs U.S. Department of


February 24, 2010


Chairman Filner, Mr.
Buyer, distinguished Members of the Committee; thank you for the opportunity to
appear here today to talk to you about the Department of Defense‘s (DoD) efforts
to reduce the number of suicides across our force.

On behalf of DoD, I
want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued, strong support
and demonstrated commitment to our service members, veterans, and their

Over the last nine years, a new era of combat emerged, where
counterinsurgency and asymmetric warfare are the norm. This shift continues to
place a great amount of strain on our most important resource, our service
members. Despite the operational challenges facing them and their families, they
remain incredibly resilient, motivated, and well-trained. The Department
recognizes the need to provide the resources and programs necessary to maintain
their resilience and motivation. Our core messages tell our service members and
their families that they are not alone; treatment works; the earlier the
intervention the better; and reaching out is an act of courage and

The Department also recognizes that the total number and rate

of suicides continue to rise and this is of deep concern at all leadership
levels. Today, I will share with the Committee our current efforts to reduce the
number of suicides across the Force, and the role of medication and

Suicide has a multitude of causes, and no simple solution.
There are many potential areas for intervention, and it is difficult to pinpoint
the best approach because each suicide is unique. Recognizing this, DoD is
tackling the challenge using a multi- pronged strategy involving comprehensive
prevention education, research, and outreach. We believe in fostering a holistic
approach to treatment, leveraging primary care for early recognition and
intervention, and when needed, providing innovative specialty care. The areas of

focus to reduce risk include: (1) conducting data collection and analysis to
detect contributing risk factors; (2) facilitating partnerships across DoD,
federal agencies, and civilian organizations to increase collaboration and
communication; (3) reducing stigma and increasing access to resources to provide
needed care; and (4) using research to close gaps and identify best practices.
Data Surveillance

Quality data collection and analysis are critical
components behind effective prevention efforts. The Department made great
strides over the last 12 months on gathering critical information to understand
the complexity of factors leading to suicide and ways to prevent such tragedies
from occurring within our communities. Data collected by the DoD Suicide Event
Report (DoDSER) tell us that we must continue to educate our population and
build programs, as there continue to be multiple opportunities to intervene. For
example, we are learning that 30% of individuals who died by suicide
communicated their potential self harm; 49% had been seen in a medical/support
clinic/program within 30 days of suicide; and 26% sought broadly defined mental
health resources.

Historically, the Services used unique suicide
surveillance systems. In January 2008, the National Center for Telehealth and
Technology (T2), a Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) component center,
launched the DoDSER Annual Report. The DoDSER Annual Report was developed to
standardize data collection and reporting. Pulling data from all branches of the
military, it captures over 250 data-points per suicide with details, summaries,
and analyses of a wide range of potential contributing factors. DoDSER Annual
Report data include specific demographics, suicide event details, treatment, and
military history, among others. The variables are designed to map directly to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death
Reporting System to support direct comparisons between military and civilian

By standardizing data and reporting,
DoD tracks and analyzes suicide data and contributing risk factors proactively
to inform and improve future prevention, intervention, and treatment services.
The DoDSER Annual Report is revised annually based on input from the Services.
The data facilitate the review and evaluation of the effectiveness of suicide
prevention initiatives and their execution over time. DoDSER represents the
strides DoD has taken to better understand what some of the
underlying factors are for suicide. The Department uses this tool to inform
current efforts and initiatives. []

According to the Armed Forces
Medical Examiner System (AFMES), in January 2010 there were 24 confirmed

suicides, all in Regular Components within the DoD. In calendar year 2009, AFMES
reported that there were 312 confirmed suicides, with 286 confirmed in Regular
Components and 26 confirmed in the Reserve Components. Demographic risk factors
include: male, Caucasian, E-1 to E-4, younger than 25 years old, GED or less
than high school education, divorced, and in the Active Duty Component. Other
factors associated with suicide, which are consistent with data from civilian
populations, are: substance abuse, relationship issues, and legal,
administrative (Article 15), and financial problems. Although the impact of
deployment is still under investigation, a majority of suicides do not occur in
the theaters of operation. 16% of suicides occurred in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Despite the knowledge gained and data collected, it is important to resist
oversimplifying or generalizing statistics. Each suicide is as different as a
person is unique.

According to AFMES, there were 26 confirmed suicides in
calendar year 2009 among the Reserve Components, which include all Active Guard
and Reserves. Due to the unique nature of their service, there are challenges
associated with capturing all suicide completions, preparatory behavior and self
harm without intent to die among National Guard and Reserve populations when
they are not on active or activated status. To address this issue, DoD is
examining ways to utilize information gathered from existing tracking and
reporting systems including, but not limited to, insurance and benefit data. The
DoD continues to support National Guard and Reserve populations through numerous
initiatives to increase outreach, care, and resources on all fronts.

numbers also tell us that prevention is not enough, as 36% of military suicides

had a history of a mental disorder. The integrated efforts of prevention,
intervention, and treatment are essential to DoD’s approach to tackle the
challenge of suicide.

Facilitating Partnerships

collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other federal,
private, and academic organizations is a key part of DoD’s overall

Conferences serve as dissemination and outreach platforms by
providing local and regional coordinators with innovative ideas to implement
within their communities and providing DoD and VA with the opportunity to gather
feedback on communities’ needs. The annual DoD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference
provides such a forum. With over 900 attendees, the 2010 conference shared
practical applications, results from research and pilot studies, guidance from
senior DoD and VA leaders on the way forward, and testimonies emphasizing the
importance of seeking help.

We work closely with our partners at the VA
to ensure that the transition out of service and into VA care is seamless and
that service members, veterans, and families receive the care they deserve. The
DCoE coordinates information and resources with VA’s National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK), and National Resource Directory. As part of this
partnership, DCoE worked with VA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration (SAMHSA) in December of 2009 to modify the introductory
message on the Lifeline, so that callers are instructed to press “1” if they
are a United States military veteran or Active Duty Service Member (ADSM) or are
calling about one. This expansion increases the scope of services that are
available to ADSMs who may be in crisis.

Collaborative care is an example

of an immediate solution that DoD is aggressively implementing. According to
DoDSER data, 36 percent of completed suicides had a history of a mental health
condition. Providing mental health services in conjunction with primary care is
an important part of our prevention strategy because early detection and
intervention is a key to preventing suicide behaviors. Each Service is
developing collaborative care models based on recommendations from a National
Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study. The DCoE collaborates with the Services
to integrate the best practices from these models to develop consistent
standards across DoD. DCoE is currently implementing a controlled trial study at
six sites and 18 clinics of collaborative primary care to inform future

In August 2009, the DoD Suicide Prevention Task Force was
established under the purview of the Defense Health Board. The goal of the task
force is to provide recommendations to legislative and administrative bodies on
suicide prevention within the military.

The Department recognizes the
importance of eliminating the toxic threat of stigma by transforming its culture
from reactionary to a more proactive environment by engaging leadership to
encourage transparency, accountability, candor, and respect. The DoD is
promoting awareness among leaders and urging them to lead by example in matters
related to health and well-being. In addition, changes in policies and messages
to all levels help create a safe culture to seek help. One significant change
was the revision of question 21 on the questionnaire for security clearances on
whether a service member has sought mental or behavioral help in the past year.
DoD believes that service members should not have to deny themselves the care
they need and deserve out of fear of repercussions. Our efforts to combat stigma
will continue alongside our efforts to provide the best prevention, intervention
and treatment options.

Additionally, DoD is undergoing a cultural
transformation to push care closer to the service members and their families. An
emphasis on early intervention for antecedent issues such as post- traumatic
stress, depression, and substance abuse can help address needs before they
develop into bigger issues that could contribute to suicides. This population
based approach enables DoD to engage multiple audiences including peers,
families, units, and communities to support suicide prevention, risk reduction,
and overall health promotion. The Services also have programs to address needs
before they develop into issues that must be addressed in a specialty care

DCoE helps combat stigma through the Real Warriors Campaign, a
public education initiative that reinforces the notion that reaching out is a
sign of strength. Under the theme of “Real Warriors, Real Battles, Real
Strengths,” this effort provides concrete examples of service members who sought
care for psychological health issues and are maintaining a successful military
career. While primarily focused on stigma, the Real Warriors Campaign is
actively engaged in the fight against military suicide in a number of


The website prominently displays the National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline on every page;-Two video profiles of service members involved in the
campaign openly discuss their struggles with suicidal ideation from a position
of strength and optimism having reached out for care that is working; and-The
site allows service members, veterans, families and health professionals to
confidentially reach out to health consultants around the clock through the Real
Warriors Live Chat feature or by calling the DCoE Outreach Center.

Campaign’s message boards include numerous posts from service members who share
their coping strategies for dealing with suicidal ideation. The site includes
content that focuses on suicide prevention and substance abuse. Short,
documentary-style videos illustrate the resilience exhibited by service members,
their families, and caregivers.

Since the Real Warriors Campaign launched
in May 2009, the website,,
saw more than 45,500 unique visitors from 127 countries, with more than 69,128
visits and 450,000 page views. The DoD believes that stigma can be defeated by
encouraging and supporting service members to reach out when help is

critical component of DoD’s strategy is advancing research. As
part of DoD’s research portfolio, the RAND Center for Military Health Policy
Research is reviewing and cataloguing suicide prevention programs across the
Services with recommendations for enhancements of current programs. The results
will be released March 2010 and disseminated to inform future program

A pilot study that showed promise in the civilian sector is
the Caring Letters Program. In a randomized clinical trial, sending brief
letters of concern and reminders of treatment to patients admitted for suicide
attempt, ideation, or for a psychiatric condition was shown to dramatically
reduce the risk of death by suicide. In an effort to determine the applicability
to military populations, the National Center for TeleHealth and Technology (T2)
is piloting a program at Ft Lewis, Washington. The goals of the Caring Letters
Pilot are to (1) test the feasibility of expanding the program to other military
treatment facilities, (2) collect preliminary outcome data, and (3) evaluate the
method of letter transmittal (email vs. postal mail). Since its inception in
July 2009, 81 letters have been sent. Efforts are currently underway to plan a
multi-site randomized control trial.

Many programs are currently in place
to raise awareness among service members, train civilian providers supporting
our service members and communities, and increase leadership involvement in
behavioral health efforts. The programs are on all levels, from the national
level down into local communities. These initiatives, including programs that
provide face-to-face support or online support, demonstrate DoD’s multi-pronged
approach and commitment to ensuring service members and families have access to
the best resources. Some examples of these efforts are detailed

Each Service has its own suicide prevention initiatives tailored
to its culture. In November 2007, DoD established the DCoE to offer a central
coordinating point for activities related to psychological health concerns and
traumatic brain injuries. DCoE focuses on the full continuum of care and
prevention to enhance coordination among the Services, federal agencies, and
civilian organizations. DCoE works to identify best practices and disseminate
practical resources to affected communities. In this effort, emphasis is placed
on building resilience, supporting recovery, and promoting reintegration to
ensure a comprehensive, multi-faceted, and proactive approach in promoting
health and wellbeing.

The Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Committee
(SPARRC), chaired by DCoE, provides a forum for inter-Service and VA partnership
and coordination. Members include Suicide Prevention Program Managers from the
Services and representatives from the National Guard Bureau, Reserve Affairs,
VA, Office of Armed Forces Medical Examiner, T2, Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration, and others. This committee is the main venue for
ensuring collaboration and consistency in system-wide communication related to
suicide, risk reduction policy initiatives, and suicide surveillance metrics
across the military. A SPARRC website is currently in development to serve as a
“clearinghouse” for suicide prevention information, contacts, innovative
approaches, and tools.

Additionally, the DCoE Outreach Center coordinates
with Military OneSource, accessible by phone at 1-800-342-9647. Licensed mental
health consultants are available to listen, answer questions, and refer callers
to a wide range of services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Military OneSource provides services on a range of other topics including
education, relocation, and parenting.

Another DoD program that encourages
seeking care is inTransition, which provides a bridge of support for service
members while they are transitioning between health care systems or providers.
The program assigns credentialed “Supercoaches” on a one-on-one basis to service
members in transition. These “Supercoaches” provide support, encouragement, and
promote continued use of behavioral health services.

In an effort to
increase access to resources and align with modern communication platforms, DoD
is harnessing technology and social media tools., an
interactive website developed by T2, provides service members and families
behavioral health information using an anonymous platform. This mental wellness
resource is designed to help service members and families manage the challenges
faced after a deployment. In addition, launched a series of

free podcasts, available on iTunes, discussing a variety of mental health issues
affecting service members and families. Since the rollout in August 2008, has seen 86,083 visits to its website.
is currently developing both a mobile version of the site and a mobile
application. The portability will allow access to resources regardless of

Telebehavioral health refers to use of telecommunications and
information technology for clinical and non-clinical behavioral health care
services. Telebehavioral health may include the use of videoconferencing,
web-based cameras, email and telephone. T2 is exploring ways to supply timely
telebehavioral health services to service members in theater and during health
screenings immediately upon return to the continental United States. The use of

technology provides service members and their families access to psychological
health care even in the most extreme and/or remote circumstances. Medication and
Suicide Risk

The Department supports the use of psychopharmacological
treatments as a key component of mental health care. Scientific evidence over
the past several decades points to the role of medications in limiting the
severity and duration of illness as well as for preventing relapses and
recurrences. These findings have been translated into recommendations for
clinicians in the VA-DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines for Major Depressive
Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychoses and Substance Use Disorder.
These guidelines are updated periodically as required to reflect the most
current knowledge concerning each of these conditions. Recognizing that all

medications carry potential risks as well as benefits, clinicians must exercise
their judgment in applying these guidelines and determining the most effective
use of medications, other therapies which include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,
Cognitive Processing Therapy and/or Prolonged Exposure treatment, or a
combination of medication and therapy. Therapy must be monitored, with careful
attention to diagnosis, dosing, clinical response and potential adverse

In recent years, antidepressant medications, particularly the use
of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) have been closely evaluated
for the increased risk of suicide-related behaviors in adolescents and young
adults associated with their use. In recognition of this risk, the FDA’s
requires a “black box” warning in the product labeling of all antidepressant

medications that advises clinicians to closely monitor any worsening in
depression, emergence of suicidal thinking or behavior, or unusual changes in
behavior, such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from social
situations. Close monitoring is especially important during the first four weeks
of treatment. The FDA also recognizes that depression and other psychiatric
disorders are themselves associated with increased risks for

Accordingly, the Department uses multiple tools to address the
identified risk for antidepressant as well as other medications, as scientific
evidence reaches the threshold for action. These methods include dissemination
of safety alerts to clinicians, patient information sheets, pharmacy monitoring
for harmful combinations of prescribed medications, adherence to The Joint
Commission standards governing medication reconciliation, compliance with the
reporting of adverse events, increasingly sophisticated use pharmacotherapeutic
analysis as well as training and education programs in evidence-based modalities
reflecting the most current clinical practice guidelines.

The DoDSER data
base, while still maturing, provides an unprecedented repository of Service
suicide surveillance data that will continue to inform our efforts. Further, we
look forward to the payoff from continued research investments.


Suicide is a problem that needs solutions now. DoD is focused on
rapidly translating best practices into applicable tools for service members and
families. At the same time, DoD continues to improve on collaborative
relationships across the Services and with national experts, collecting data,
and in research efforts that will accelerate improvements in current services
and programs as well as spur new innovations. In addition, DoD will also
continue to evolve and leverage our population-based system to push innovations
in prevention and care toward the service member and family.

current initiatives to address the challenges placed on service members and
their families are progressing, but we recognize that there is still much to be
done. In order to build on our current efforts and successfully shift to a model

of population-based care, we identified the following areas of additional

An issue of increasing concern is suicides of military family
members and how to support surviving families. At this point in time, DoD does
not track suicides of military family members. However, DoD recognizes the
importance of engaging and supporting this population, as their sacrifices
deserve our recognition. The DoD Suicide Prevention Task Force met this year
with surviving families at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
Seminar. The DoD Task Force will provide recommendations to the Secretary of

Defense and Congress. Efforts will be focused on increasing outreach to
families; providing families with more education and training to recognize the
signs of suicidal behavior and where to seek help; and supporting families after
a suicide event. In addition, for calendar year 2010, SPARRC partnered with TAPS
to form a sub-committee to identify additional needs of families and to
recommend concrete solutions.

Postvention, which refers to all activities
and response after a suicide event, is another area of growing attention. The
goals of postvention include: (1) promote healing, (2) reduce risk of contagion,
and (3) identify those at risk and connect them to help. Postvention is also
viewed as a form of prevention for survivors. This year, DoD will work with the
Services to promote consistent postvention protocols across

Connect/Frameworks Suicide Postvention Program is a civilian
program that utilizes evidenced supported protocols to promote an integrated
community based response to suicides. Postvention protocols and guidelines
include topics such as discussing cause and method of death; how to address
needs of families; memorial service activities; and media coverage and

In addition to prevention, intervention, and treatment, DoD is
shifting attention to increasing resilience. DoD promotes a holistic approach
that optimizes the physical, psychological, and spiritual components of the
human condition. The DoD is also piloting resilience programs in military
settings to determine applicability and effectiveness within military
populations. While the impact of deployment on suicide is still under
investigation, it cannot be denied that an era of high operational tempo and
persistent conflict increases pressure on our warriors. A comprehensive approach
to enhancing resilience actively confronts the increasing stressors service
members face in this environment.

2010 will also provide DoD further
opportunities to demonstrate a public health model of prevention, by supporting
peer-to-peer programs in the Services and continuing to increase the number of

mental health providers in communities. DoD is actively engaged in hiring more
mental health providers and providing them with quality and continued training.

Through our united and concerted efforts, we can continue
making a change for the better. DoD recognizes the need to provide the resources
and programs necessary to maintain the resilience and motivation of our service
members and families. We will continue to emphasize education as we deliver our
core messages. “You are not alone; treatment works; the earlier the intervention
the better; and reaching out is an act of courage and strength.”

We are
devoted to this effort and will continue to work aggressively to prevent the
unnecessary loss of life.

With the Committee’s continued assistance and
support, we will ensure our brave men and women in uniform and their families
have access to the resources they require.

On behalf of the DoD, thank
you for the opportunity to highlight these vital issues. I look forward to your

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Antidepressant-Induced Violence in America

Paragraphs 23 through 25 read:  “Breggin studied medical
and other records of 50 cases of the newer antidepressants and violence, suicide
or disruptive behavior for his book, he said.”

In one case, a man
on an antidepressant wanted to die so badly that he ran into a police
officer with his car so he could knock him down, get his gun and try to shoot
Breggin said the police officer
didn’t press for a lengthy jail sentence because he thought the drug had
essentially driven the man crazy.”

“He said there is

no question that antidepressants can lead to

Are claims just an excuse?

Poyner said she’s aware that critics will charge that antidepressant
claims merely offer criminals an excuse.

“I know that and I would have
said the same thing until I read this research,” Poyner said. “I worked
in prisons. I’ve treated inmates and so I tend to be very skeptical of somebody
trying to blame something on something else, especially a medication that is
prescribed by a doctor. But now I’m taking a second look at that thought and
saying, ‘Wait a minute.’”

Oklahoma experts look at antidepressants
Recent violence in Fort Hood,
Nichols Hills has some looking at links with medication

Published: November 22, 2009

As soon as news hit that the alleged Fort
, Texas,
shooter was a military psychiatrist, a disturbing thought struck Oklahoma
psychologist Gail Poyner.

  • Questions
    about risk to public
  • 11/22/2009 The debate over whether antidepressants play a role in suicides
    and homicides has taken twists and turns over the years. Drug company
    GlaxoSmithKline sent a…
“I wondered if….

“I think it would be interesting to know if
he had been taking an SSRI (antidepressant). It seems, based on news reports,
that he was very depressed. He may have taken an SSRI and that may have played a
part. Hopefully that will be investigated to determine,” said Poyner, a Ph.D.
with a practice in Choctaw.

Poyner was out of state and was shocked to
hear of the local allegations against Dr.
Stephen Paul Wolf
, jailed on murder and assault complaints in connection
with the recent stabbing death of his 9-year-old son, Tommy. The Nichols
doctor told the medical licensure board that he took antidepressants,
records show.

Wolf told the board he was hospitalized for depression and
under psychotherapy until his 1988 graduation from medical school at the University
of Oklahoma

He told the board in 1996 that he was hospitalized
again for three days in 1995 for acute depression.

“I suffered this as a
result of all of the stress in my busy practice of internal medicine and all the
demands in making the final arrangements for my marriage,” Wolf wrote in a
letter to the board. “I returned to work after my hospitalization on adjusted
dosages of antidepressants.”

It is unclear whether antidepressant usage
might have played any role in the Nov. 16 stabbing.

“Crimes that involve
this horrendous departure from one’s character and typical behavior may warrant
an investigation,” Poyner said. “Investigators may want to look into a possible
connection between his behavior and a recent introduction or increase in an


She added that every crime committed by someone taking
an antidepressant isn’t necessarily related to the antidepressant. A small
percentage of people have a genetic abnormality that can cause a violent
reaction to certain antidepressants, she said.

“We’re finding there are
cases of criminal behavior, especially violent and out-of-character criminal
behavior, that may be linked to these antidepressants,” Poyner said.

there’s blood on someone’s hands, investigate whether antidepressants were in

their systems, some experts say. The drugs are considered particularly dangerous
when certain patients are just beginning antidepressants, increasing the dosage
or getting off antidepressants, Poyner said.

But other experts say
there’s no clear evidence that antidepressants and violence go hand-in-hand.

Fort Hood raises questions
Peter Breggin
, a medical doctor, former Johns
Hopkins University
faculty associate and author of “Medication Madness: The
Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Violence, Suicide and Murder,” said he immediately
wondered if Maj.
Nidal Hasan
was self-medicating.

“I think it was very likely,”
Breggin said.

Hasan was charged recently with 13 premeditated murder
counts stemming from the shootings. Investigators have made allegations about
Hasan exchanging e-mail with a radical imam, connecting with al-Qaida

members, lionizing suicide bombings and yelling “Allahu Akbar!” as the shootings
began. But Breggin said something more subtle might have been missed.

“It’s very possible that if he was … self-medicating, it could have
been Xanax.
I would say not that the drug did it but it might have pushed him over. But we
don’t know,” Breggin said.

He said that, as a psychiatrist, Hasan could
have easily taken antidepressant samples, and he could write his own
prescriptions for antidepressants. The FBI
removed possible evidence from Hasan’s apartment and then allowed media into the
dingy rooms. Among the things reported left behind were bottles of medications,
including some that he prescribed to himself.

Some call studies
For some people, Breggin said, newer antidepressants are “a
virtual prescription for violence.”

Jayson Hymes
, though, said the studies are somewhat inconclusive. Some
research suggests the newer family of antidepressants, SSRIs (selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors), might have a role in causing violence. But
British studies show they decrease the likelihood, he noted.

past a bottle of antidepressants is not going to do anything,” Hymes said. “It
sounds to me, in this situation, that a lot of things just got missed by a lot
of people.”

He said the drugs under question are those antidepressants

that have become popular in the past 10 or 15 years: drugs such as Zoloft
and Celexa.
Probably the most violent behavior is a desire in some people to commit suicide,
he said.

A personal theory Hymes has developed indicates that along with
the suicidal thoughts come fatigue and the inability to make a decision and act
on it. The SSRIs work fast so the person’s energy level increases more quickly
than the mood elevation, he said. So the patient, particularly children and
young people, may still feel depressed and suicidal but suddenly has the energy
to act out.

Researcher claims violence tie
Breggin studied medical
and other records of 50 cases of the newer antidepressants and violence, suicide
or disruptive behavior for his book, he said.

In one case, a man on an

antidepressant wanted to die so badly that he ran into a police officer with his
car so he could knock him down, get his gun and try to shoot himself. Breggin
said the police officer didn’t press for a lengthy jail sentence because he
thought the drug had essentially driven the man crazy.

He said there is
no question that antidepressants can lead to violence.

But Hymes said
controversy over antidepressants can lead to frightening people away from drugs
that they may need.

“People can … moan about antidepressants all day
until they look at a loved one lying on the couch, only able to get up and go to
the bathroom and that’s it. In which case, it’s like, ‘Where’s that

antidepressant?’” Hymes said.

Oklahoma’s Poyner recently testified as an
expert witness in a murder case in which the defendant had been on
antidepressants. In the weeks leading up to the trial she examined studies and
stories on the correlation of antidepressants and violence. That research opened
her eyes to the possibilities of some famous cases such as housewife Andrea
’ drowning of her five children in 2001. But she remains shocked about
the horrible nature of such crimes, she said.

Are claims just an

Poyner said she’s aware that critics will charge that antidepressant
claims merely offer criminals an excuse.

“I know that and I would have
said the same thing until I read this research,” Poyner said. “I worked in
prisons. I’ve treated inmates and so I tend to be very skeptical of somebody
trying to blame something on something else, especially a medication that is
prescribed by a doctor. But now I’m taking a second look at that thought and
saying, ‘Wait a minute.’”

Read more:

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Senator Asks How Many Soldiers are On Antidepressants

Paragraph two reads:  “Citing the rising number of suicides among active-duty
soldiers in the U.S. Army,
a senator wrote to the
secretary of defense this week asking for the ‘estimated number and percentage
of troops since June 2005 who have been prescribed antidepressant

medications while serving in Iraq and

  • November 12, 2009, 10:11 AM ET

Senator Asks How Many Troops Are on


By Jacob Goldstein

For people in their late teens
and early 20s, taking an antidepressant may actually increase
the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors
, at least during initial
treatment. So it’s important that those patients are carefully

Citing the rising number of
among active-duty soldiers in the U.S. Army, a senator wrote to the
secretary of defense this week asking for the “estimated number and percentage
of troops since June 2005 who have been prescribed antidepressant medications
while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The  letter is from
Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat. He said Congress must:

examine the extent to which DoD is prescribing antidepressants to its
service members, especially those deployed in-theatre, and the methods it is
employing to ensure that sufficient observation periods are conducted by
properly trained mental health providers. In short, my concern is how DoD is
managing the sheer volume and manner by which antidepressant drugs are being
administered to our service men and women overseas.

We called
and emailed the Department of Defense to ask for a reply, but they didn’t
immediately respond to our request. We’ll update this post when we hear

Hat Tip: Pharmalot;
Photo: iStockphoto

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: 42% of suicides in One Indiana County Were on Antidepressants

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (
Note the title of this article and how they are blaming increased
suicide with the economy. The economy does increase suicide in several ways but
the two most common denominators in the economy doing this is that these drugs
are more often prescribed due to depression being more common with a poor
economy and people already on antidepressants not being able to keep up their
insurance so that they can afford the drugs thus forcing people into abrupt
withdrawal. The FDA has already warned that abrupt withdrawal from an
antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis.
How, how, how can there be such a high rate of suicide
associated with the use of antidepressants and the article STILL complain that
people have a stigma about “getting help” which in their terms means getting
drugged with an antidepressant?! Oh yes, and we are suppose to believe that
counseling is supposed to help that be less fatal.
These drugs have been shown over and over again to increase
the rate of suicide. But as Hitler said, if you tell a lie often enough people
will believe it. Drug companies have that practice perfected. They will tell you
that black is white and day is night all day long.
Although the report shows a high rate of suicide (42%)
associated with antidepressant use, what is NOT addressed is how many had
recently been taking antidepressants and were in withdrawal which can cause
additional suicidal risks.
Second paragraph from the end reads:  “Of the 17
deaths in the first half of 2009, seven people were taking antidepressant
, but only one was seeing a counselor. Chappell and Groves
said studies show doing both works best.”

SSRI Stories note:  So

forty-two percent of the people who committed suicide were taking
an antidepressant.  This is an exceedingly high

Economy-related suicides up

Groves: Overall numbers consistent with 2008

  • By Gavin

  • Posted September 7, 2009 at 11:40 p.m. , updated September 8, 2009 at 9:35
Source: Vanderburgh County Coroner’s Office

Vanderburgh County had the same number of suicides through the first half of

this year as it did in the first six months of 2008, though officials say there
has been a marked increase in self-inflicted deaths tied to the faltering

Of the 17 suicides reported through June 30, six of them
occurred after the person lost his job.

That compares with only one

job-related suicide in the first half of 2008.

Coroner Annie Groves
called it a big concern, especially given the recent news that Whirlpool will
shut down next year, taking 1,100 jobs with it. “When you lose your job, you
lose your home, you lose hope,” Groves said. “That worries me with this

The coroner’s office recently released data on suicides in
advance of Suicide Awareness and Prevention Week, which continues through
Saturday in Evansville. It ends with the LifeSavers Walk, an annual event that
raises awareness and funds for addressing the suicide problem. Registration
starts at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Evansville State Hospital, 3400 Lincoln

Local efforts toward combating suicides grew in 2007, when
Vanderburgh County ended the year with a record 40 self-inflicted deaths.

The numbers went down slightly in 2008, when 38 were reported by year’s
end, and are on pace this year to finish down again.

In addition to the
increase in job-related suicides, Groves said there also has been a steady
increase in self-inflicted deaths by people ages 20 to 39. There were 11 such
deaths in the first six months of the year compared with just five during that
span last year, 14 in all of 2008 and 16 in all of 2007.

“That’s an area
I’m very concerned about,” Groves said. “… It used to be 50 to 59 was our
higher ones.”

The 17 deaths recorded through the end of June include only
confirmed suicides.

Groves said there likely are six more suicides among
14 cases officially ruled accidental overdoses, but that a lack of hard evidence
prevents her from ruling those deaths intentional.

But on another front,
the numbers could be construed as artificially high: The 17 self-inflicted
deaths include seven people who committed a suicidal act in another county but
died here after being airlifted to an Evansville hospital.

In any event,
Groves said seeing the numbers come down from the record-setting 2007 figures is
a good sign.

She credits the dip with multiple prevention efforts: the
walk, frequent classes that teach the signs and symptoms of suicide and
brochures and billboards that increase awareness.

“We’re so busy focusing

on how many we’ve lost, we sometimes forget to focus on how many we’ve saved,”
Groves said.

Janie Chappell, chairwoman of the Southwestern Indiana
Suicide Prevention Coalition, said awareness efforts increasingly will focus on
encouraging people suffering from depression to seek medication and

Of the 17 deaths in the first half of 2009, seven people were

taking antidepressant medication, but only one was seeing a counselor. Chappell
and Groves said studies show doing both works best.

“But there’s still so
much stigma surrounding mental health, people are reluctant to get help,”
Chappell said.

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Four Soldiers From the 1451st Transport Co. Kill Themselves

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy ( How many soldiers do we need to lose to suicide before we wake up to the fact that the FDA has warned about increased suicide in those in this age group who take antidepressants??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paragraph 38 reads: “Even if a veteran seeks out that help, it might not be enough. It wasn’t in Blaylock’s case — or, for that matter, in any of the cases of the four members of the 1451st who came home and committed suicide. Each of the four made at least some effort to get help from the VA, and each was prescribed an antidepressant.”

Day 4: ‘Where’s the line between people’s rights and enforcing help?’

Military, VA confront host of thorny issues in trying to prevent veterans’ suicides

By Konrad Marshall

Posted: September 2, 2009Read Comments(6)RecommendE-mail Print ShareA A If there is something that might help returning soldiers better adjust to civilian life — something that might help tame the inner demons of war — it is mandatory, intensive and long-term counseling.

It wasn’t required when Sgt. Jacob Blaylock and three other soldiers in the 1451st Transportation Company returned home nearly 2 1/2 years ago and later ended their own lives. Although some are receiving more counseling now, that follow-up work still is not required and, for various reasons, might never be.

There are numerous obstacles, but these are foremost: It’s difficult to determine how likely someone is to commit suicide — an issue made more difficult because soldiers often don’t seek help or acknowledge and discuss problems. Also, requiring extensive screenings and follow-ups could infringe on the rights of veterans who are now civilians.

The military and the Department of Veterans Affairs are left to perform something akin to mental health triage — a focus on the most obvious and severe cases. For the rest, it’s a quick assessment and an along-you-go, hope-for-the-best.

That works fine for many. But the VA and military have no effective way to monitor and counsel those whose anguish is more subtle — or purposely masked — whose depression deepens over time amid the nightmares of war and troubles at work or at home.

The military puts most of its effort into its demobilization process, required of all returning soldiers. The process is designed to prepare soldiers for a return to civilian life and to assess their physical and mental health.

When Blaylock and his comrades in the 1451st demobilized at Camp Atterbury, it was a three- to five-day process. Today, it’s a five- to seven-day process in which soldiers undergo mandatory reintegration briefings and one-on-one sessions with mental health counselors.

But it is also during demobilization that two competing interests emerge. Mental health workers want to make sure soldiers are OK. Soldiers want to go home.

“They ask you, ‘Do you have any issues?’ You say, ‘No,’ because a soldier wants to get home,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Mullis, an active-duty commander with the 1451st in Boone, N.C. “All these things they ask you about, the answer is ‘No,’ because you want to get home. Then you get home and you have medical issues or employment issues, or you figure out maybe you should have had counseling.”

Lt. Col. Timothy Holtke, director of Personnel and Civilian Affairs at Camp Atterbury, said the Army understands that and is getting better about probing each soldier’s mind-set.

“We want to dig a little deeper than ‘Hey, soldier, how are you doing?’ ” Holtke said. “If they’re having an issue, we want to pull it out of them.”

That said, Holtke and others acknowledged that soldiers will try to placate clinicians in order to finish faster.

“We know soldiers do that,” said Dr. Marsha Rockey, the only psychologist with the Department of Behavioral Health at Camp Atterbury, where more than 7,000 soldiers are processed each year. “Do we catch 100 percent of them? I’m sure we don’t. But we tell them: ‘Our goal is not to keep you; it’s to keep you safe.’ ”

Staff Sgt. Brian Laguardia is a national advocate for returning veterans and one of five former soldiers who did a national public service announcement with Tom Hanks for the group Welcome Back Vets. He also was a member of the 1451st and a friend of Blaylock’s.

Recalling the 1451st’s demobilization at Camp Atterbury, Laguardia said, “They did as little as they could to hold us back, to keep us from going home. Really quickly, they had us out of there. There’s a real need to make the transfer slower, more than a couple of weeks even.”

But there is a practical concern: Bringing troops home earlier to give them more time to demobilize would require calling up other troops more quickly.

Holtke said that already is a problem.

“Nobody anticipated that these contingency operations would go on as long as they have,” he said. “You have reserve soldiers going on third and fourth tours, which was just inconceivable 20 years ago.”

Mullis said another issue is the timing of demobilization. He advocates going home for two weeks, then being required to report to the demobilization site, “so you know what issues you’re facing.”

Dr. Cheryl Sweeney, who works every day with veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, understands this all too clearly.

“We live in a society that wants to be about peace and friendliness and understanding, and combat veterans — especially fresh combat veterans — are about protection and defensiveness and sometimes a lot of anger and hostility,” she said. “It’s hard to mesh those two realities.”

Rick Blaylock, Jacob’s father, and many others said they think there should be mandatory check-ins and behavioral screenings long after deployment, whether quarterly or every six months, to detect and treat symptoms that appear over time.

As it is, once they leave the military, the onus is on individual veterans to seek help.

And that’s not always the way of a soldier.

“When you come back from overseas,” Mullis said, “you’re a different creature than when you left. Things change in a year. It’s hard. Life’s hard. People see stuff. They experience stuff that changes them. There’s personal guilt.

“I think some don’t seek the help they need soon enough. Pride gets in the way. All your military life you’re told you’re strong enough.”

At Camp Atterbury, there are signs that try to cut through that culture: “Never Leave a Fallen Comrade: Buddies Can Prevent Suicide” and “Not All Wounds Are Visible.”

Laguardia supports the VA but thinks the Army should make it mandatory for soldiers to register there.

“Check in on them. That’s why you’re in charge,” he said. “Just like when you’re a sergeant and you come off mission and you say, ‘I know you’re exhausted right now, but you have to clean your weapons.’ I think there’s such a stigma on going to a mental health screening that they have to make it mandatory.”

But can they?

“In some ways, we do wish that we were able to do that,” said Jan Kemp, the national suicide prevention coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “In other ways, veterans have truly left the military, and their control over their own lives is important. I think we walk a fine line there.”

Sweeney, who is the Seamless Transition psychiatrist with the Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis, agrees.

“So where’s the line between people’s rights and enforcing help?” she said. “I wish there were no pain in the world. But philosophically — not to mention practically — you’re kind of stuck.”

Kemp noted that a number of systems are in place to help veterans through their problems, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which has taken more than 150,000 calls in two years; the suicide prevention coordinators put in place at all VA offices; and the Seamless Transition staff designed to deal with veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army has its own programs, such as the Yellow Ribbon campaign and Military OneSource — tools for checking up on soldiers and dealing with the issues they face. But all the programs are voluntary.

“That’s probably my biggest concern,” Rockey said. “I wish there was some system set up, because they don’t know what issues they’ll have in 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or 180 days.

“We try to tell them where to go, what their resources are, but when they’re coming through here (during demobilization), you see it — ‘La la la.’ ‘What do I have to do?’ ‘What’s my next checked box?’ — so how much they retain is a big question mark.”

Even if a veteran seeks out that help, it might not be enough. It wasn’t in Blaylock’s case — or, for that matter, in any of the cases of the four members of the 1451st who came home and committed suicide. Each of the four made at least some effort to get help from the VA, and each was prescribed an antidepressant.

Blaylock’s medical records indicate he was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and possible traumatic brain injury, and that he was talking and thinking about suicide. His father thinks that should have been enough to “keep him off the streets.”

Sweeney acknowledged that circumstances often suggest a suicide could have been prevented somehow.

“But how?” she asked. “The bottom line is that a veteran can only be forced into 72-hour supervised care if they are imminently suicidal. Not like, ‘Some day we think this could turn bad.’ More like, ‘Today. If we let you go home we’re afraid you’ll kill yourself today.’ ”

Although it may be difficult to know just when a soldier such as Blaylock becomes imminently suicidal, it was clear in his case that he had issues.

The psychologists at the VA knew. His friends, fiancee and members of his family knew. His fellow soldiers knew. He knew.

And it appears the Army knew, almost from the beginning of his service.

Blaylock entered the Army at age 17 and was discharged two years later after suffering from depression and being diagnosed with a personality disorder that was not discussed further in his medical records.

He was recalled for active duty four years later. But during training, more than one fellow soldier told Army mental health staff they had concerns about Blaylock’s state of mind.

Blaylock was deemed fit to serve, however, and by all accounts served his country well.

Ultimately, the more difficult question may be whether Blaylock was fit to return home. The timing of the explosion that killed his two friends — and left him riddled with guilt — couldn’t have been much worse.

In Iraq, he had developed close relationships with people he thought understood what he had been through. He was especially close to those, like himself, who were members of the Individual Ready Reserve — soldiers who were brought back to fulfill military commitments.

Leaving Iraq meant leaving the war, but it also ripped a fragile, sensitive young man from the people he trusted most — his IRR brothers — at a time when he needed them the most.

Sgt. Riley Palmertree, 29, served in the 1451st and was a friend of Blaylock’s. He is building a library of material for a documentary about the suicides. He has heard people ask whether it would have been prudent to keep the unit in Iraq for a month or two after the deaths of Sgts. Brandon Wallace and Joshua Schmit so close to the end of their deployment.

He even answers the question as part of a treatment he wants to submit to magazines:

“We could know the future no more than we could have stayed together forever in Neverland. I know for some it must be hard to understand, how such a hellish place could be likened to that, but it wasn’t the place; it was the IRR. We were the place. I do know that with us, Jackie was safe. Of that I am certain.”

Palmertree likened the situation to “boys at camp.”

“I think Jackie craved that as much as I did, as much as the rest of us did,” Palmertree told The Star. “He loved it, every moment of it, every time we wrestled with him. He was like a little dog nipping at our heels.”

Sweeney said there is no simple solution to the problem — that keeping a unit together for the sake of one at-risk soldier, even for a few weeks, could put other soldiers at risk.

“Who’s to say the best thing for a given soldier might not be to go home?” Sweeney said. “That’s the challenge that command faces.

“You’ve got to keep in mind you’re dealing with millions of people, and automatically that means you’re dealing with thousands of answers. What’s right for one person is going to be the worst possible thing for someone else.”

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: 77 Year Old Man Commits Suicide: England

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy: Another example of just how truly amazing these antidepressants are! In growing up I do not recall ever hearing of someone this age committing suicide, much less a more violent suicide as we see with SSRI antidepressants! Now we not only have suicides and violent ones, but we have horribly violent murder/suicides in this age group! It is all so very sickening!!
Second paragraph reads:  “Bernard Jeenes, 77, was found dead in his kitchen, in Cayman Close, Popley, Basingstoke, on June 7, after taking an overdose of anti-depressants and hanging himself.”

Suicidal man ‘let down’ by system

12:30pm Friday 21st August 2009

#show Comments (0) Have your say »

A GRIEVING son said his father should have been cared for at a Basingstoke psychiatric hospital to stop him from killing himself.

Bernard Jeenes, 77, was found dead in his kitchen, in Cayman Close, Popley, Basingstoke, on June 7, after taking an overdose of anti-depressants and hanging himself.

His son Mark, who found his body, told an inquest into his death that his father had begged to be admitted to the mental health unit at Parklands Hospital after a suicide attempt the week before he died.

Now he is calling for changes. Mr Jeenes, a 33-year-old decorator from Barbel Avenue, in Riverdene, told the inquest at Alton magistrates court: “I feel like my father has been let down and if he got the help he wanted he would still be here today.”

He said a week before he died, his father was admitted to Basingstoke hospital after taking an overdose of anti-depressants. He then asked to be transferred to neighbouring Parklands psychiatric hospital.

He told the coroner: “That should have got alarm bells ringing, but the doctor just said he would be better off at home. My father said he wanted to kill himself.”

He said his father had emerged “a new man” after a spell at Parklands in 2002.

However, the dead man’s psychiatric nurse, Chris Dale, told the inquest Mr Jeenes had been referred by a GP after he had phoned Parklands directly.

He said: “I saw him several times before his death and he didn’t tell me about wanting to go to Parklands. He mentioned he had some suicidal thoughts but that he had no plan or intent to take his life. He told me he wanted to avoid Parklands, and do things on his own.

“The last time I saw him, he was more positive.”

Recording a verdict of suicide, North East Hampshire coroner, Andrew Bradley, said: “Clearly what Mr Jeenes was sharing with his son was different from what he was sharing with Chris Dale.

“The concerns were there, the bells were ringing but the assessment pushed him out the Basingstoke hospital door.”

After the inquest, a spokesman for Hampshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Parklands Hospital, said staff who knew him had been deeply saddened by the death of Mr Jeenes.

An initial review into the circumstances had concluded that the right clinical decisions were made.

The spokesman added: “A further more detailed review is being carried out. It is important to note that the coroner, in full possession of all the facts, did not make any recommendations for the trust to implement.”

He said if a clinician wanted a patient admitted, a bed would be found.

Mr Jeenes’ story has come to light just weeks after The Gazette reported the inquest of Terry Thomas, aged 54, of Kenilworth Road, Winklebury, who died after jumping from a bridge on Ringway West A340 on April 1.

His widow Jane told an inquest he had been turned away from Parklands Hospital the day before his death, despite a failed suicide attempt.

Following that story, Gazette reader Hailey Newton Roast, aged 35, of Kings Furlong Centre, off Wessex Close, Basingstoke, contacted the newsdesk to speak of her experience.

She said: “I have manic depression and have tried to commit suicide a few times. Each time I was told I didn’t meet the criteria to be admitted to Parklands.

“The mental health services here are terrible and I’ve written several times to complain.”

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4/18/2001 – Paxil Is Approved for Anxiety Disorder?!

Incredible! The FDA continues to undermine the health and safety of America
with this latest approval – as if doctors had ever noticed that Paxil was NOT
approved for anxiety before this. They have been handing it out like candy
for any and everything they can think of for years.

What is so disconcerting about this is that anxiety can be caused by two
disorders in particular – low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or seizure activity.
Paxil can trigger both hypoglycemia and seizures. So, if a doctor does not
check to see if the patient is suffering from either of those disorders (and
that is hard to do in the three minutes it has been reported that it usually
takes for a doctor to recommend one of these SSRIs), the Paxil could throw
the patient into serious blood sugar problems or seizures.

Did the FDA consider any of that information before this approval?
Considering the number of drugs pulled from the market in the last few years,
chances are slim that they did.

So now many more ethical doctors who were not handing out Paxil for anxiety
before will feel that with the FDA’s approval they can do so without worry.
No one has warned them that the patient will be lucky to live through the
horrific withdrawal though. As Dr. Nancy Snyderman pointed out in the 20/20
special last August, it may take patients up to a year to get off this drug
safely. (Something I have been saying for years.)

Once again we have the FDA to thank. Isn’t it long past time for them to be
sued for the lives being lost to their incompetence? I guess I just see too
many families wiped out in murder/suicides and too many mothers killing their
children and too many school shootings and workplace violence incidences
induced by Paxil to be patient any longer about this.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness

April 17, 2001

Paxil Is Approved for Anxiety Disorder


WASHINGTON, April 16 (Bloomberg News) — Glaxo- SmithKline P.L.C. has won the
Food and Drug Administration’s approval to market its antidepressant Paxil
for treating general anxiety disorder, a new use for the drug.

That makes Paxil the first drug in its class to be approved for the
condition, which affects about 10 million Americans and involves excessive,
often debilitating worrying, the company said today.

“Generalized anxiety disorder can paralyze sufferers with uncontrollable
worry, devastating people’s lives,” said Jack Gorman, a professor in the
department of psychiatry at Columbia University. “Paxil provides a new
alternative to help sufferers regain control over their lives.”

Paxil is already approved for treating depression, obsessive- compulsive
disorder, social phobia and panic disorder. With sales of $2.4 billion, Paxil
was the world’s seventh top-selling drug in 2000, according to figures
compiled by the prescription drug tracker IMS Health Inc.

New indications are important to the company’s efforts to defend Paxil, which
belongs to same class as Eli Lilly’s Prozac, against generic competitors.

In a different class of medicines, two antidepressants, Effexor from American
Home Products and Buspar from Bristol-Myers Squibb, are also approved to
treat general anxiety disorder.

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5/9/2000 – Prozac Revisited

Prozac revisited
As drug gets remade, concerns about suicides surface

By Leah R. Garnett, Globe Staff, 5/7/2000

Just as the 14-year patent on Prozac is about to expire and the
drug’s maker, Eli Lilly and Co., is preparing to launch a new
version, a body of evidence has come to light revealing the
antidepressant’s dark side.

The company’s internal documents, some dating to the
mid-1980s, as well as government applications and patents,
indicate that the pharmaceutical giant has known for years that
its best-selling drug could cause suicidal reactions in a small
but significant number of patients. The reports could become
critical as Lilly seeks government approval for its new Prozac.

Among the findings:

– Internal documents show that in 1990, Lilly scientists were
pressured by corporate executives to alter records on physician
experiences with Prozac, changing mentions of suicide attempt
to “overdose” and suicidal thoughts to “depression.”

– Three years before Prozac received approval by the US Food
and Drug Administration in late 1987, the German BGA, that
country’s FDA equivalent, had such serious reservations about
Prozac’s safety that it refused to approve the antidepressant
based on Lilly’s studies showing that previously nonsuicidal
patients who took the drug had a fivefold higher rate of suicides
and suicide attempts than those on older antidepressants, and
a threefold higher rate than those taking placebos.

– Lilly’s own figures, in reports made available to the Globe,
indicate that 1 in 100 previously nonsuicidal patients who took
the drug in early clinical trials developed a severe form of anxiety
and agitation called akathisia, causing them to attempt or
commit suicide during the studies.

– Though Lilly has steadfastly defended the drug’s safety and
downplayed studies linking Prozac to suicide, the patent for the
new Prozac, R-fluoxetine, expected to be marketed by Lilly
beginning in 2002, notes that the new version will not produce
several existing side effects including “akathisia, suicidal
thoughts, and self-mutilation,” which the patent calls “one of its
more significant side effects.”

– A McLean Hospital researcher and associate professor at
Harvard Medical School, Dr. Martin Teicher, whose early 1990s
studies linked Prozac to akathisia and suicide, is a co-inventor of
the new Prozac, which Lilly plans to market, along with Timothy J.
Barberich, the CEO of Sepracor Inc., a Marlborough drug
company, and James W. Young.

– A just-published book, “Prozac Backlash,” by a Cambridge
psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, has drawn Lilly’s ire for
discussing Prozac’s link to suicide, tics, withdrawal symptoms,
and other side effects of Prozac and similar antidepressants.

Lilly officials continue to defend the drug’s effectiveness, saying
its track record is borne out by the fact it is still the most widely
prescribed drug of its kind. In a written statement, Jeff Newton, a
Lilly spokesman, said: “There is no credible evidence that
establishes a causal link between Prozac and violent or suicidal
behavior. There is, to the contrary, scientific evidence showing
that Prozac and medicines like it actually protect against such

Using figures on Prozac both from Lilly and independent
research, however, Dr. David Healy, an expert on the brain’s
serotonin system and director of the North Wales Department of
Psychological Medicine at the University of Wales, estimated that
“probably 50,000 people have committed suicide on Prozac
since its launch, over and above the number who would have
done so if left untreated.”

Healy, meanwhile, is conducting a new study that he says is the
first of its kind, giving antidepressants to healthy people to study
possible links to suicide. The results are expected to be
published in June.

Prozac’s success is certainly unquestioned. The introduction of
the drug to the US market in the late 1980s changed the way
Americans viewed their most intimate emotions and limitations.
Billed as a wonder drug to combat depression by boosting
levels of the brain chemical serotonin, Prozac and others like it
were also said to remedy a host of human frailties from poor
self-esteem and concentration to fear of rejection.

By the end of last year, more than 35 million people worldwide
were using the drug, which provided Lilly with more than 25
percent of its $10 billion in 1999 revenue.

Yet the problems with Prozac were known even before it was
introduced to the US market. Figures in a 1984 Lilly document
indicated that akathisia, the severe agitation that can lead to
suicide, occurs in at least 1 percent of patients, a level
considered a “frequent” event, and as such must be disclosed in
a company’s product literature and package inserts. But there is
no such disclosure in Prozac’s US literature, and it is not clear
whether the FDA panel charged with approving Prozac simply
overlooked or did not have access to certain critical data of

As a result, researchers say that most US doctors do not know to
warn patients of the potentially dangerous effect which,
according to published literature on the topic, can be alleviated
with sedatives or by going off the drug.

German regulators, who eventually approved Prozac for use in
that country, require a warning label about the risk of suicide and
suggest the concurrent use of sedatives when necessary.

Akathisia is listed in Lilly’s US product literature, but as an
infrequent event in Prozac users. No mention is made of its
potential relationship to suicide.

A relationship, however, was found in a Globe search of US
patents. The patent for the new Prozac or R-fluoxetine (US Patent
no. 5,708,035), which Lilly will market after the existing patent
expires in 2001, contains a wealth of information about the
original Prozac. According to the patent, the new Prozac will
decrease side effects of the existing Prozac such as headaches,
nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia, as well as “inner
restlessness (akathisia), suicidal thoughts and self-mutilation” –
the same effect Lilly has contended has not occurred in any
substantial way in some 200 lawsuits against it over the past
decade. Most of the suits were settled out of court and the terms
kept confidential.

A 1990 communique

In an electronic communique obtained by author Glenmullen
dated Nov. 13, 1990, from Claude Bouchy, a Lilly employee in
Germany, to three Lilly corporate executives at the company’s
Indianapolis headquarters, Bouchy says he and a colleague
“have problems with the directions our safety people are getting
from the corporate group (Drug Epidemiology Unit) and
requesting that we change the identification of events as they are
reported by the physicians. . . . Our safety staff is requested to
change the event term `suicide attempt’ [as reported by the
physician] to `overdose.’ ”

Bouchy continued that “. . . it is requested that we change . . .
`suicidal ideation’ to `depression.’ ”

And then Bouchy makes an appeal to his US Lilly colleagues: “I
do not think I could explain to the BGA, to a judge, to a reporter or
even to my family why we would do this especially on the
sensitive issue of suicide and suicide ideation. At least not with
the explanations that have been given to our staff so far.”

Lilly has also aggressively sought to discredit researchers who
published data linking its product to suicide. One of its early
targets was Dr. Martin Teicher, an associate professor of
psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a McLean Hospital
researcher, who wrote a crucial paper on the link between
suicide and Prozac in 1990; he found that 3.5 percent of patients
put on Prozac either attempt or commit suicide due to severe
agitation from akathisia. As a result of Lilly’s campaign, many in
the psychiatric community say they believe Teicher has
distanced himself from his original work. But in a rare interview
with the Globe, Teicher said that he stood by his work, and that
the ability of Prozac to induce suicide in a minority of patients “is
a real phenomenon.”

Teicher, Barberich, and Young filed their patent for the new
Prozac in August 1993, the same year Teicher published another
report, this one in the journal Drug Safety titled “Antidepressant
Drugs and the Emergence of Suicidal Tendencies.”

The paper was a direct challenge to data reported in the March
1991 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry by Drs. Maurizio
Fava and Jerrold Rosenbaum of Massachusetts General
Hospital. Their study found no significant difference in “suicidal
ideation” in patients treated with fluoxetine compared to those
receiving other antidepressants.

Teicher wrote in his 1993 paper that Fava and Rosenbaum’s
statistics were flawed. Using Fava and Rosenbaum’s data,
Teicher came to the opposite conclusion: namely, that patients
on Prozac were at least three times more likely to become
suicidal than those on older antidepressants.

The FDA came up with similar results even before Teicher
published his 1993 data. Dr. David Graham, chief of the FDA’s
Epidemiology Branch, wrote on Sept. 11, 1990, that Lilly’s data
on suicide and Prozac, as well as the Fava and Rosenbaum
study, were insufficient to prove that Prozac was safe. In an
internal FDA memo, Graham wrote: “Because of apparent
large-scale underreporting, the firm’s analysis cannot be
considered as proving that fluoxetine and violent behavior are

“Prozac Backlash”

Now a decade later, Lilly has targeted Dr. Joseph Glenmullen,
whose book “Prozac Backlash” has apparently incensed Lilly

Glenmullen, a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical
School and a clinician at the Harvard University Health Services,
says he wrote the book because he was alarmed by the number
of patients who were reporting severe side effects from the
serotonin-boosting antidepressants including Prozac, Paxil,
Zoloft, and Luvox. “The two most upsetting side effects were
patients becoming suicidal on the drugs, and the development
of disfiguring facial tics,” he said in an interview.

After obtaining hundreds of pages of FDA documents through
the Freedom of Information Act, as well as internal Lilly memos
that are part of the public record in lawsuits filed against the drug
company, Glenmullen wrote that Lilly had tried to downplay side
effects of Prozac for years.

Lilly alerted newspapers and TV stations to the book and began
a campaign to discredit the author, saying that Harvard Medical
School professors were unfamiliar with his work and didn’t
recognize his name. Glenmullen, a graduate of Harvard Medical
School, is one of 415 clinical instructors in medicine at Harvard.

Blast from a critic

Chief among Glenmullen’s critics is Mass. General’s
Rosenbaum, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical
School, who, in a written statement sent to the Globe calls
“Prozac Backlash” a “dishonest book” that is ” manipulative” and

But Rosenbaum’s objectivity has also been questioned. Not only
was his 1991 study on Prozac and suicide criticized by at least
two sets of researchers as well as the FDA, documents obtained
by the Globe show that Rosenbaum’s relationship to Lilly is a
cozy one: he has served as a Prozac researcher and sat on a
marketing advisory panel for Lilly before Prozac was launched.

When asked in an interview why he was speaking out against
Glenmullen’s book, Rosenbaum said that the suicide
controversy was “old news” and that the book presents the
information as new research. He noted that akathisia is “pretty
rare” and that “it doesn’t occur more than in people given a

But because there is no official reporting system for drug side
effects, no one knows how common drug side effects are, said
Larry Sasich, a research analyst at Public Citizen in Washington,

“There is no active surveillance system to look at adverse
events,” he said. “Unless something very unfortunate happens
and a large number of people are harmed in a unique way, no
one is going to look at it; nobody ever puts two and two together.”

Sepracor’s patent

On April 12, the Federal Trade Commission opened the way for
Lilly to market Teicher’s, Barberich’s, and Young’s new Prozac,
for which Sepracor holds the patent. The new Prozac,
R-fluoxetine, is a modified form of an ingredient found in Prozac,
which, according to Sepracor, not only has fewer side effects but
more potential uses and benefits than the original.

In making the decision, the FTC rejected arguments from its
lawyers and the generic drug industry that the agreement unfairly
limits generic Prozac competition.

According to a Sepracor press release dated April 13, the
company will receive an upfront payment and license fee of $20
million from Lilly and an additional $70 million based on the
progression of the drug. Sepracor will receive royalties, and in
exchange, Lilly will get the exclusive world rights to R-fluoxetine
for all indications and uses. Lilly will be responsible for the
development of the drug, regulatory submissions, product
manufacturing, marketing and sales, according to the release.

Glenmullen wonders whether the new Prozac will, in fact, be little
more than an effort to prolong the life of a product with a
soon-to-expire patent.

Although it is touted as having fewer side effects, no one knows
what effects may surface once large numbers of people begin
taking it for months or years. In the epilogue to his book, he
simply says: “Like any new drug, it too will be an ongoing

This story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on 5/7/2000. ©
Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

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