How Many Coroners to turn on that lightbulb?

Coroners Reports

Robin Williams’ close friends have expressed the opinion that the drugs he was prescribed caused his suicide. Following his death, the media frenzy has once again brought ‘mental illness’ to the forefront of peoples’ minds. Opinions have varied hugely, ranging from the unfounded – “vastly underdiagnosed ‘chemical’ depression” to the over-simplification “if [suicide victims] could see the impact their death has had on those left behind, they’d know that their life had value and meaning”.

Despite the opinions of Robin Williams’ close friends, his death has been used to promote the unfounded ‘chemical imbalance’ puffery and push pills to correct this said ‘imbalance’ – a travesty in my opinion. One article quoted Dr David Husted of the JFK Medical Centre psychiatry program, who said “..the general public often doesn’t understand about depression: It’s all connected to brain chemistry. Essentially, there’s a ‘glitch’…”. He went on to state that “depression is treatable if people are willing to give treatments — which include therapy and antidepressant medications – a chance”.

So what if Robin Williams’ friends are right and the drugs are killing people? This March two different coroners, one in the UK and one in Ireland, expressed concerns regarding antidepressants and their ability to induce suicide. It seems that more and more coroners are willing to speak out about prescription drug-induced suicide. Recently, Jacqueline Lake (a UK coroner), sent a report to the NHS regarding the death and subsequent inquest of Susan Poore, aged 65, from Norfolk. This report has been released online.

A regulation 28 report can be filed by a UK coroner, if, following an inquest, he/she perceives a risk of future similar deaths. A coroner has a duty to write a report under regulation 28 of the Coroners (Inquests) Regulations 2013, where there is a risk of further deaths occurring in similar circumstances as the deceased.

In Mrs Poore’s inquest report, the coroner raised concerns over the effect that the prescription drugs had on her.  Mrs Poore was prescribed Mirtazapine on 29th March 2012. 4 weeks later this antidepressant was stopped and changed to the SSRI Fluoxetine (prozac). 10 days later Mrs Poore walked in front of a train and was killed instantly. The coroner stated in her report that the ‘mode of death’ was out of character for Mrs Poore and that her depression deteriorated following the prescription of antidepressant drugs.

While researching regulation 28 reports, I came across another report which was sent by a different coroner, also to the NHS. Nine weeks before Mrs Poore died, a young man in a young offenders institute also died by suicide. Jordon Anthony Buckton, aged 20, was also prescribed Fluoxetine/Prozac a month before his death. Dorset coroner, Sheriff Stanhope Payne, raised a number of concerns in his report, including that the deceased was never monitored for the emergence of suicidality.

Despite the warnings of increased suicidality with all SSRIs, including Prozac, the GP who prescribed the drug to Jordan never actually met him or even checked to ensure he was doing okay. Despite never seeing Jordan, she stated that she ‘felt he was depressed’. An expert witness also gave evidence at the inquest that the NICE guidlines recommend monitoring following the prescription of antidepressants.

So, two suicides, same drug, same time scale, same steps taken – absolutely none! So I ask again, how many coroners will it take? Will Robin Williams’s death serve as the catalyst for opening peoples’ eyes to the dangers of prescription drugs; a posthumous starring role in ‘awakenings the sequel’? 

Coroner Jacqueline Lake’s Reg 28 Report.

Coroner Sheriff Stanhope Payne’s Reg 28 Report.

Friend’s opinion on Robin Williams’ death here and here.

A list of all the coroners who have raised concerns regarding prescription drugs will be compiled very soon.

Dr Tom O’Brien – Treating Depression Without Drugs

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Tom O'Brien

Tom 1Treating depression without drugs. Prescription drugs and illegal drugs can be highly addictive. For anyone suffering from addiction or just needing help, Dr Tom is a really nice guy. A nice Doctor, willing to help – wish I knew him before Shane died. Check out his blog, contact him here or sign up for his workshop. Details above.

Sure it’s the disease Mr Williams, not the drug

RW and MJF

Following the death of Robin Williams last week, two of his friends (Marlon Wayans and Rob Schneider) have publicly blamed his suicide on the prescription drugs he was taking. Normally when medication is blamed for suicide, usually SSRIs, academics will blame the disease, saying it’s the actual depression that causes suicide, not the drug.

One prime example was during a debate with Dr David Healy, where Veronica O’Keane from Trinity College Dublin defended SSRIs, stating “It’s very important that the public are aware, that the problem here is not antidepressants, the problem here is depression. Depression is the real killer.” In another article Professor O’Keane has said that the SSRI Prozac is “one of the few major breakthroughs in the treatment of psychiatric illness in the past 40 years”. She declared a conflict of interest here – with Eli Lilly (the inventor of Prozac).

Professor O’Keane is not alone in her opinion that ‘it’s the disease, not the drugs’. For example: following the death of my son ‘The College of Psychiatry of Ireland’ collectively stated “Anecdotal cases of suicide sometimes mistakenly attribute these tragic events to the treatment rather than the illness itself” here. An ‘internal’ College email regarding this statement entitled ‘The Shane Clancy Affair’ was then inexplicably forwarded to the implicated drug company, Lundbeck pharmaceuticals. It seems the pharmaceutical industry are never far away once prescription drugs are in the dock. So it came as no surprise, following prescription drugs being implicated for Robin Williams’ death, to see a BBC article entitled ‘Depression more common in early Parkinson’s’. The article once again blamed the illness, not the drugs.

Professor David Burn from the University of Newcastle, said depression can be an early sign of Parkinson’s. He said ‘It is well-recognised that people do get depression and anxiety up to 10 years before they develop Parkinson’s disease’ and further that ‘the disease actually starts in the brain, affecting certain chemicals’. In 2008 Professor Burn co-authored a parkinson’s disease study which proclaimed that Rasagiline (aka Azilect) slowed the progression of Parkinson’s disease. He described the results as ‘exciting’ here. The U.S. medicines regulator (FDA) were not so ‘excited’ it seems and in 2011 voted 17-0 against approving Azilect for that use, saying the study results were not convincing.

Lundbeck and Teva Pharmaceuticals hold joint marketing rights for Azilect. Professor Burn declared conflict of interests to a number of Pharmaceutical companies who make drugs for Parkinson’s disease, including Teva and Lundbeck here. In one particular Azilect study, 16 participants were on the active drug – 3 withdrew and one suffered a Transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke). Not a good result by anyone’s standards.

Michael J. Fox is probably the most high profile Parkinson’s sufferer; he regularly funds Parkinson’s research through his foundation. Before his diagnosis, Robin Williams supported the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF). Here’s the tricky bit – For the last two years the MJFF have funded Parkinson’s research projects by Lundbeck, naively in my opinion. Depression is listed on the Azilect PIL as one of the most common side effects, hallucinations being also common. It should be noted that Lundbeck are also the makers of two commonly prescribed antidepressants: Celexa and Lexapro (same drug, different story).

Sadly, if Robin Williams was on Azilect, Celexa or Lexapro, he would have had no inkling that he was supporting a drug company that manufactures a drug which possibly killed him. The latter is obviously conjecture but whatever medication Robin Williams was on, the pharmaceutical industry will be in damage limitation mode. Our newspapers and TVs will be bombarded with more articles like the BBCs, more pharma funded studies and more ‘experts’ with conflicts of interests as long as your arm.

It now seems though, that the public are maybe not quite as stupid as the pharmaceutical industry previously thought.

P.S I’m not having a go at The MJFF, no doubt their intentions were good. I love Michael J. Fox; he’s fab in The Good Wife.

Drug slows progression of Parkinson’s, says study

FDA unamimously votes down Azilect

TV3’s BAI Statement.

This is a quickie. For anyone who is contemplating involving themselves with TV3, be advised, their ethics and professionalism are questionable. I took part in a documentary entitled ‘Search For Justice: Death in Bray’ in March 2014. TV3 made numerous promises which were not adhered to.

By the way, I’m not a victim here. My son and the young man whose life he also took in August 2009 are dead; they are the real victims. My only reason for making a complaint to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland was because I had this ridiculous idea that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, even my son and I!

Marlon Wayans on Robin Williams – Iatrogenic Death?

Marlon Wayans on Robin Williams’ Suicide.

Whatever the reasons behind Robin Williams’ death, there will be a stunned, grieving family, looking for answers. Not surprisingly, the media have gone into overdrive, blaming his death on financial pressure, depression and even a recent diagnosis of parkinsons disease. Yet going on the facts provided, there may be an equally obvious cause.

Marlon Wayans, an American comedian and actor/director has publicly said what a lot of us were thinking. Did Robin Williams die from an antidepressant-induced suicide? (Courtesy of @FusionLiveTV) It’s great to see Marlon Wayans voicing his opinion, putting his neck on the line without any fear of repercussions; good for him. Makes a change from (or a welcome addition to) Dr David Healy and the CEP.

Rest in peace Mr Williams.

Hate Mail, TV3 and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

Shane and Henry 2

This week Sallyanne Clarke told how she had received hate mail following her son’s death. Andrew Clarke was 16 when he died by suicide. Toxicology tests showed traces of cocaine and benzodiazepines in his system at the time of his death. One anonymous letter writer said she had obviously abandonded her son and maybe Andrew had just wanted to get away from her. This begs the question, does speaking out publicly by a grieving family give permission for a ‘no holds barred’ debate?

I can empathise with the Clarkes. I have received plenty of hate mail following Shane’s death; I thought I was the only one. I’ve had a fair few Tom, Dick and Harrys who’ve insisted on telling me why I’m delusional  and why they know better than I. One person thought it was for my own good, ‘cruel to be kind’ he said. After all, hadn’t I put myself ‘out there for debate‘. You eventually get used to the nastiness, at least I did, and that awful feeling following each ‘cruel to be kind’ correspondence lessens over time.

Since when did putting yourself out there for debate equate to agreeing to a ‘free for all’ though? I can honestly say that the worst experience I’ve had was with TV3 Television Network Ltd, when I agreed to take part in a documentary concerning my son’s death. I felt trampled on, exploited and further traumatised by TV3’s callous attitude and blatant lies.

The documentary itself wasn’t an issue, I was happy enough once Professor David Healy was given the opportunity to speak. Despite his opinion that we were marching into a stitch-up, he did the interview and has since said that he ‘remains happy to engage with Vincent Browne properly‘. My main issue was the promises I was given all the way through, that we would be fully informed. While I tentatively agreed to take part, it was on the condition that I could see the documentary before it aired and retract ‘all or part’ of my participation if I felt it necessary. When I saw a TV3 tweet publicising the upcoming documentary, which showed footage of my son that I had never seen, I retracted my permission and said I wanted my part taken out. The idea that footage of my son’s last night alive (which I didn’t know existed) could be shown for the amusement of viewers without warning or showing me first, still astounds me. TV3 went ahead and aired the documentary, ignoring my retraction.

Following the documentary I wrote to TV3 and Vincent Browne expressing my disappointment, which they ignored. I then contacted the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), using the complaints procedure. The BAI, as is usual, referred my complaint back to TV3. The initial niceties and pretence at sympathy by TV3 quickly turned into what I can only describe as a bitter tirade of vitriol, attacking me personally. It seemed I deserved everything I got and sure shouldn’t I be thankful that TV3 didn’t do a reconstruction with ‘knives and blood’ (TV3’s words, not mine).

This week I received the BAI decision which upheld the majority of my complaint. It states that TV3 will now be requested ‘to air the BAI committee’s statement’ – an apology of sorts. Was it worth it? Hell no! It still amazes me that I had to go to all that effort to squeeze it out of them, to acknowledge wrongdoing. TV3 are supposed to be professional, with legal teams employed to go over every minute detail, and yet they thought they were perfectly entitled to trample all over my family’s feelings.

The BAI committee found that TV3 did not demonstrate due care towards me, did not sufficiently inform me of the contents of the programme, did not fully meet the terms agreed beforehand and potentially misled viewers by referring to my son’s letters as a journal.

I have to admit I was shocked and disgusted by the way I was treated by TV3 and by Vincent Browne’s producer. Having survived Shane’s death, albeit through 5 years of shellshock, I feel I’ve been fairly toughened up. From Jim Cusack (a week after my son’s death) writing in the Independent that Shane was a working class boy trying to ingratiate himself into the ‘middle classes’ with a girlfriend ‘above his station’, to (on the day of his funeral) Catholic priest Father Fergus O’Donoghue who said he was just ‘plain evil’.

So yes, I’m fairly used to ignorant bullies being ‘cruel to be kind’ but some things are just plain wrong, and I never agreed to a ‘free for all’, particulary not with TV3.

Psychiatric Drugs: Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball?

Smoke ball 1

Psychiatric Drugs: Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball?

 

For decades doctors and psychiatrists have defended the use and efficacy of psychiatric drugs, from declaring that they ‘revolutionised the treatment of depression’[1] to just plain ‘lifesaving’[2]. Indeed Irish Psychiatrist Patricia Casey has proclaimed that antidepressants are lifesaving and that for early improvement in ‘clinical’ depression, ‘antidepressants are the best and often the only option’[3]. Today the most widely prescribed psychiatric drugs are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – SSRI antidepressants. Yet tragically for many, SSRIs are also thought to be the most dangerous. According to Dr David Healy, incidentally also an Irish psychiatrist, but additionally a scientist and psychopharmacologist “90% of school shootings over more than a decade have been linked to a widely prescribed type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.” Dr Healy argues the opposite to Casey, stating:

“there is no research evidence to suggest that anyone’s life is saved by taking an antidepressant but if there are lives saved the research makes it clear that for every life saved there must be another lost. There are probably something between 1000-1500 extra suicides in the US each year, triggered by an antidepressant – an extra 2000 -2500 in Europe. The data is similar for violence[4].” 

To put that number into perspective – 206 people have died since 2007 from bird flu, yet there was mass hysteria and a huge media frenzy. If Dr Healy’s statistics are correct, at least 3000-4000 suicides are induced by antidepressants each year, every year. Yet despite this huge number, the media seem reluctant to go up against the drug companies, their paid experts or the medicines regulators. Dr David Graham, who worked at the drug safety department with the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, stated that ‘all of these drugs appear to have the ability to increase the risk of suicidal behavior’. What was particularly disturbing is that he revealed the FDA (America’s Drug Safety Regulator) had suppressed a colleague’s report which found that most antidepressants don’t actually work in treating children[5]. I assume he says ‘most’ because Eli Lilly’s Fluoxetine was approved by the FDA in the treatment of children. Yet John Virapen, who worked for Eli Lilly for 35 years, testified that he used bribery and corruption to get Fluoxetine approved, knowing full well what Lilly knew all along, that Fluoxetine increased the risk of suicide and homicide[6].

The regulatory warnings for increased suicidality which were eventually attached to SSRIs are for children and young people up to the age of 25. This implies that SSRIs are safe in people older than 25, an implication which is extremely misleading. In 2006 an inquest was held in Dublin, Ireland, for a 62 year old businessman. His self inflicted death occured 5 days after starting Lundbeck’s SSRI Escitalopram/Lexapro. At the inquest his wife pointed out that Lexapro was associated with suicide, a fact that she wasn’t made aware of beforehand. Professor Casey, who attended the inquest, argued that “scientific research indicates that children under 18 who are prescribed SSRI antidepressants were at increased risk of ‘suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts’ but people of 30 years and older were not affected similarly”. Not so according to Dr Healy who says the risk of drug induced suicide and violence affect all age groups, not just the young[7]. He is not alone. Peter Gøtzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre also came to the same conclusion. He stated “SSRIs likely increase the risk of suicide at all ages. These drugs are immensely harmful[8]”. A retired psychiatrist and former inspector of mental health hospitals noted that SSRIs increased Ireland’s suicide rate. Dr Dermot Walsh stated in the British Medical Journal:

“In the context of the current debate on the efficacy of antidepressants the following may be of interest. Ireland’s suicide rate has risen threefold since antidepressants became available with the greatest increase occurring following the introduction of the SSRIs[9].”

Not surprisingly the drug companies rarely admit liability, usually testifying that it was ‘the underlying illness’ to blame, not their drug. Despite the many contradictions to this, their ‘underlying illness’ mantra rarely changes. People like Woody Witczak are dismissed as anecdotal. Woody was 37 and lived in the US. He was prescribed Pfizer’s SSRI Sertraline, not for depression but for insomnia. Five weeks later, this ‘upbeat and happy’ man killed himself. Following his death Woody’s wife Kim acquired some internal confidential documents from Pfizer[10]. One of these confidential documents was from Pfizer to The Irish Medicines Board (IMB). The documents referred to Pfizer’s clinical studies on Sertraline which concluded that the age group with the highest suicide rate was 31-40 and that the most dangerous time is 15-30 days after starting this medication. She also discovered that 54 of the 252 suicides that Pfizer investigated were found to be causally related to Sertraline.

In 2011 another inquest was held in Ireland, this time for Nicholas Maguire, aged 52, again a businessman. Mr Maguire’s family raised concerns over his recent prescription for Sertraline/Zoloft. They said their brother had been ‘driven mad’ by the pills and that there had been a dramatic change in his personality while taking Sertraline. Following the inquest Irish psychiatrist Timothy Dinan defended the drug, stating ‘The use of Sertraline helps to reduce suicidality and reduce depression’. Despite being on the Advisory Committee for Human Medicines at the IMB, Professor Dinan also stated ‘The public should have no concerns about these drugs’[11].

There is growing concern among academia that these drugs have little or no efficacy[12] and are in fact doing more harm than good[13]. Many will be aware of the curious case of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company[14] where a unilateral contract was offered by a company advertisment to the world at large. The company proclaimed that using their smoke ball would prevent the user from contracting influenza. Mrs Carlill did and the smoke ball didn’t! The company argued that they didn’t intend to be taken seriously, that the advertisment was in fact mere ‘sales puff’ and therefore not legally binding; the court held otherwise.

The drug company literature now readily admit that SSRIs are associated with an increased risk of suicide and violence[15]. Could it be that psychiatrys’ medical model is actually the equivalent of a latter-day carbolic smoke ball? Yet unlike the harmless smoke ball, psychiatry’s medical model is actually causing many, many deaths. Will our future decendants see the demise of the SSRI as just another fraudulent snakeoil or smoke ball generation? The defenders of the medical model may yet be exposed as prescription drug pushers, albeit disguised as the caring psychiatrist or doctor.

Iatrogenic death, or prescription drug induced death, is an issue which most lay people will thankfully be oblivious to. Where Iatrogenesis is slowly becoming apparent though is in the courtroom. This was seen recently in Manitoba, where Justice Robert Heinrichs found that a 16 year old boy was driven to commit an unprovoked murder because of the adverse affects of taking Fluoxetine/Prozac[16]. Dr Peter Breggin testified that the teenager’s actions were drug induced and he would not have committed the violence if he had not been given the antidepressant[17]. Dr Breggin has warned of the dangers of SSRIs for decades and has been an expert witness in a number of successful drug induced cases[18].

It seems that deciphering scientific evidence and whether the ‘independent’ expert is in fact a paid pharma shill has yet to be argued in the courtroom. The European judiciary largely defers to the psychiatric expert when determining ‘mental health’ cases; seemingly reluctant to use its own discretion, rather deferring to the possibly biased opinion of the individual psychiatrist. According to Herxheimer et al:[19]

“Many judges and coroners have not addressed these questions clearly and have not used expert witnesses consistently, on occasion disregarding scientific evidence. Courts need to appoint experts to explain and interpret the scientific evidence. Few judges are equipped to resolve contradictions between different experts” and “The reluctance of legal processes to implicate drugs as a possible cause of violent behaviour leads to injustice. Courts must be required to obtain appropriate expert evidence, and be given independent data on which drugs can cause such behaviour.”

A recent Plos One study ‘Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others’found that 31 drugs were disproportionally associated with violence[20]. 11 of these were antidepressants.

Far from finding justice, as Herxheimer said, the reluctance of the courts to implicate prescription drugs can lead to injustice. An article in the 2012 Law Society Gazette reviewed a book entitled ‘You Can’t Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom’ by journalist and author Nick Cohen. The reviewer stated that “Lawyers do not figure highly in the estimation of newspaper columnist Nick Cohen. His broadside at censorship in a liberal age paints solicitors, barristers and judges as the lackeys of oligarchs and snake-oil sellers and conspirators in liberal silence when the going gets tough”[21].

It is submitted that Mr Cohen may have a valid point. Despite the lack of evidence or any available test to confirm or deny any ‘mental illness’, once the psychiatric expert has given his opinion either way, the fate of the accused is sealed. It is very, very rare that prescription drug induced violence is put forward as a defence, most likely because the psychiatric expert will deny all knowledge of Iatrogenesis and the courts will defer to such wisdom. It is further submitted that a puff of the aforementioned smoke ball would be much less risky than taking a chance with an SSRI.

Declaration of Interest

In 2009 my son died by stabbing himself multiple times. He took the life of another young man on the same night. He had been prescribed Lundbeck’s Citalopram/Celexa 17 days beforehand, not for any mental illness but for a break-up with his girlfriend. He was never diagnosed with any illness, mental or otherwise, apart from a posthumous diagnosis on national TV by Professor Patricia Casey. From early on I was aware that Citalopram caused my son’s death and enabled him to take the life of another human being. I shouted this from the rooftops to anyone who would listen. Some did, some didn’t.

Dr David Healy testified at my son’s inquest stating that Citalopram (and all SSRIs) could cause a person to become suicidal and homicidal. He opined that Citalopram caused both my son’s death and the death of the other young man. The College of Psychiatry of Ireland intervened and involved themselves before, during and after the inquest. The college collectively denied that this family of drug could cause a person to become suicidal or homicidal. Professor Casey attended my son’s inquest, representing the college of psychiatry. She was refused permission to testify by the Coroner, Cahal Louth. Despite this, immediately following the inquest she stood outside the Coroner’s court and spoke on national TV stating that there were ‘issues’ with the evidence. A press statement was subsequently released by the college stating that the sworn expert evidence (by Dr David Healy) was, in their view, speculative. Referring to him as ‘the expert’, never once mentioning his name, the college of psychiatry proceeded to contradict his testimony and defend the drug[22]. Similar to the drug companies, they blamed the ‘underlying illness’ not the drug, eg “Anecdotal cases of suicide sometimes mistakenly attribute these tragic events to the treatment rather than the illness itself”. The college denied there was any evidence linking SSRIs to suicide or violence. They further stated that “Antidepressants do not cause violence. Neither are they, nor can they be expected to be, an inoculation against violence.”

Professor Timothy Dinan also spoke to the media afterwards. He said that he could say with “100 per cent certainty, without any fear of contradiction, that modern anti-depressants such as the drug Citalopram … do not cause people to commit murder”. He also added that there was no evidence that the drugs can cause suicide[23].

It should be noted that professors Casey and Dinan both received numerous honoraria from Lundbeck, the implicated drug company. Professor Dinan has received honoraria from and is a member of the speakers’/advisory board for Lilly, Lundbeck, Organon and Pfizer the inventor of Sertraline, the same SSRI he defended following Mr Maguire’s inquest. Despite being in attendance at the inquest, Lundbeck’s representative remained silent. I later discovered through a Freedom of Information request that the college statement regarding my son was forwarded, via internal college email, to the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck. The ethicality of Irish psychiatry’s involvement in my son’s inquest is questionable. Individual psychiatrists defending a drug while simultaneously working for the same drug company is surely a bias too far?

Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball?

 

References

[1] L. White, G. Duncan, and W. Baumle, Medical Surgical Nursing: An Integrated Approach, 3rd edn., Delmar, 2012, p. 1286.

[2] P. Casey Sometimes words are not enough to lift depression, Irish Independent, 08/01/2010 http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/sometimes-words-are-not-enough-to-lift-depression-(accessed 30/June/2014).

[3]ibid

[4]D. Healy  ‘Prozac and SSRIs: Twenty-fifth Anniversary’ 6 February 2013 http://davidhealy.org/prozac-and-ssris-twenty-fifth-anniversary/  (accessed 30/June/2014)

[5]M. Loudon  30 August 2005 The FDA Exposed: An Interview With DrDavid Graham, the Vioxx Whistleblower’ (accessed 30/June/2014)

[6]J. Virapen J ‘Side Effects Death’ Virtualbookworm.com Publishing Inc. 2010 Introduction p. ix

[7]D. Healy ‘Guilty’ 15 January 2014 http://davidhealy.org/guilty-2/

(accessed 30/June/2014)

[8] Peter C. Gotzsche Deadly Medicines and Organised CrimeRadcliffe Publishing Ltd 2013P.224

[9]D. Walsh ‘Antidepressants and suicide in Ireland’ BMJ Rapid Response 21 July 2004 http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/30/antidepressants-and-suicide-ireland (accessed 1/July/2014)

[10]Youtube. (12th March 2012) ‘Kim Witczak’s Testimony to the FDA Advisory Committee’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIjy4p9-LDY&list=UUh_XlTLw71KOqlM_ELnAu8w

[11]E. English ‘Family calls for more research into anti-depressants’ Irish Examiner 06 May 2011 http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/health/family-calls-for-more-research-into-anti-depressants-153706.html (accessed 30/June/2014)

[12]Kirsch I, Deacon BJ, Huedo-Medina TB, Scoboria A, Moore TJ, et al. (2008) Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLoS Med 5(2): e45. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045

[13]Whitaker R Medical Hypotheses (2004) ‘The case against antipsychotic drugs: a 50-year record of doing more harm than good’ Medical Hypotheses (2004) 62, 5–13

[14] [1893] Q.B. 256

[15]Healy D, Herxheimer A, Menkes DB (2006) ‘Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law’. PLoS Med 3(9): e372. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030372

[16]M. McIntrye(17 September 2011). “Judge Agrees Prozac Made Teen a Killer,” Winnipeg Free Press.http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/judge-agrees-prozac-made-teen-a-killer-130010278.html (accessed 30/June/2014)

[17]P Breggin ‘Psychiatric Drug Facts’ http://breggin.com/ (accessed 30/June/2014)

[18]Suicidality, violence and mania caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): A review and analysis∗ IOS Press International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine 16 (2003/2004) 31–49 31

[19] Herxheimer et al ‘Case histories as evidence’ Int J Risk Saf Med. 2012; 24(1):23-9.

[20]Moore et al. Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others. PLoS ONE 5(12): e15337.

[21]M Cross. Book Reviews: A broadside at censorship in a liberal age – (2012) LS Gaz, 8 Mar, 17 (2)

[22] The College of Psychiatry of Ireland13 May 2010 ‘Antidepressant Medication – Clarification13 May 2010’

http://www.irishpsychiatry.ie/Libraries/External_Affairs/CPsychI_Press_statement_antidressant_medicaiton_clarification_13_05_10_NO_Mobiles.sflb.ashx (accessed 30/June/2014)

[23] R. McGreevy Violence link to medication rejected by psychiatrist 27 April 2010 Irish Times http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-21922198.html (accessed 30/June/2014)

 

Sligo Tragedy

Shane and Brandon

The recent tragedy unfolding in Sligo (Sunday July 20th 2014) is currently a huge media story in Ireland. Two parents, Shane senior and Carmel Skeffington, came home from a shopping trip to find two of their sons dead. Shane (20) who was babysitting, had stabbed his brother Brandon (9) twice, before hanging himself in the garden shed. Brandon died from his wounds a short time after his parents came home and found him. The community are devastated, no-one saw this coming. Little Brandon idolised his older brother and newspaper reports say they had a great relationship. The media frenzy is palpable, from laying the blame at a couple of minor drug offences, to the ease of access to kitchen knives.

I suppose I should be prepared for my own son’s story to be linked whenever a murder/suicide occurs. Today’s Irish Daily Mail referred to my son, also Shane, and the ‘rise in kitchen-knife killings’. My new found friends, whose children have tragically killed themselves, and sometimes others, might have an opinion on whether to lock up the bathroom presses (medication), kitchen cupboards (knives), garden sheds (hoses, ropes and shears), or maybe someone should confiscate grandma’s knitting needles and sewing scissors? Maybe, just maybe, the newspapers need to focus on another similarity?

The tragedy unfolding in Sligo has revealed that Shane (the older brother) was recently released from Sligo General Hospital where he was receiving psychiatric ‘care’. We know what psychiatric ‘care’ usually consists of: pills, pills and more pills – mind altering drugs which double the risk of suicide and violence. The investigation should start with what drug this young man was prescribed; was it cipramil, the same as my son? Most likely it was an SSRI antidepressant (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), the family of drug which can cause suicide, violence, worsening depression, mania etc, etc.

Was this young man suffering from akathisia, a severe reaction which occurs with SSRIs, where a person cannot sit still and feels the urgent need to escape from their own body? A full investigation would examine the effects of the ‘care’ this young man received- it certainly didn’t work. Someone needs to answer for these two deaths, blaming it on a 20 year old boy ‘who loved his brother and all his family’ is not good enough!

Brian from AntiDepAware has compiled a list of over 2000 suicides and homicides where antidepressant were involved. The evidence is there if you look for it.

This tragedy has all the hallmarks of being SSRI-induced. The signs to look out for are (1) out of character (2) recently been to the doctor or psychiatrist and (3) totally out of the blue. Dr David Healy did a comprenhensive  report for my son’s inquest. He testified to the dangers of these drugs and that he believed the drug Citalopram (aka Cipramil or Celexa) caused my son to behave so uncharacteristically. The inquest jury rejected a suicide verdict on account of Dr Healy’s testimony. His report is here.

The devastation left behind in Sligo is mind-numbing; 2 boys suffering a violent death, parents left in devasted bewilderment, in a world which will never be the same again. I believe with all my heart that the mental health care Shane Skeffington received is to blame for these two deaths! I also believe that these deaths were preventable. Kathleen Lynch, the minister with responsibility for mental health, was informed (by 3 experts) of the dangers of these drugs; she did nothing. Enda Kenny and James Reilly were also made aware; they did nothing!

Not Tonight Aphrodite; Pass Me My Meds

 

Aphrodite and Adonis

So what makes the latest adverse effects of SSRI antidepressants so special? What makes sexual dysfunction any different or more important than suicide, homicide and birth defects? Why the outrage? Will sexual dysfunction be the final nail in SSRIs coffin, or will we in the Western world die out while the unmedicated masses take over the world? Okay, I’m being a tad facetious here but it’s not entirely outside the realms of science considering the increasing numbers being prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.

According to Dr David Healy ‘All drugs that cause sexual dysfunction can also cause birth defects’. Not surprisingly he further states that ‘Sexual-DEATH not uncommonly leaves death by suicide, marriage break-up, job loss and other serious problems in its wake’. He states that treatment-emergent sexual dysfunction can start as early as a week after exposure to these drugs and can  last for 5 or 10 years, or sometimes permanently.

So what percentage of consumers will suffer from sexual dysfunction? According to a study funded by Eli Lilly ‘Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction and it’s Management’, treatment-emergent sexual dysfunction is a common occurrence with SSRI antidepressants and can affect between 30% to 70% of users. Peter Gøtzsche of the ‘Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry’ has said the number is around 50%. According to RxISK, certain doctors have reported the number to be almost 60%.

In fact SSRIs are not alone. Many widely prescribed drugs can cause sexual dysfunction; e.g. Statins, Acne Medication, Blood Pressure Medication, Hair loss Medication, Antipsychotics, Benzodiazepines,  H2 blockers and Epilepsy drugs. Last year a consultant vascular surgeon, Sherif Sultan, was gagged by Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) for stating that statin medication can do more harm than good in healthy individuals. Mr Sultan’s paper entitled “The Ugly Side of Statins; Systemic Appraisal of the Contemporary Un-Known Unknowns” stated that “An additional side-effect of statin therapy is erectile dysfunction, which is 10 times more in young men taking the lowest dose of statin”. The HSE gagging order was eventually lifted but remains unexplained.

The latest emerging prescription drug which causes sexual dysfunction is a hair loss drug Finasteride (Propecia). Tragically, Finasteride, just like SSRIs, are being prescribed to children. Dr. Maurice Collins, a surgeon in the Blackrock Clinic, admitted on the Derek Mooney show here (at 3.20 mins) that he put a 14 year old child on Finasteride. Strangely, contrary to emerging evidence, he said in his experience once the medication is stopped “in 100% of cases the side-effects disappear” here. Paul tells a different story. His Finasteride story was publicised on ITV’s This Morning recently.

What untold harm are these drugs doing to innocent children? It remains to be seen whether this reckless prescribing is creating a sexless, depersonalised generation. One thing is for sure, there’s an awful lot of unhappy people walking around. See Paul’s ITV interview below:

Tom

Tom BoomerTom Boomer was 14. According to his headmaster he was “a polite, smart and talented student. He enjoyed music, was passionate about rugby and had a good future ahead of him”.

An article in the Oxford Mail stated that Tom had moved schools in January of this year and was ‘quite upset’. On March 20th 2014 Tom was prescribed Fluoxetine, aka Prozac, for depression. 11 days later on March 31st, Tom jumped from a multi-storey car park and was pronounced dead that day.

At Tom’s inquest this week his dad stated that his family were not adequately consulted on the risks of Tom being put on Prozac. He told the coroner’s court that he and his wife were not involved in the decision-making process regarding Tom taking this drug, which they felt was “presented as a done deal”.

Dr Ann Rowlands, ‘child and adolescent psychiatrist’ for Oxford Health, headed Tom’s treatment. She argued that it wasn’t a done-deal and that she had discussed the increased risks of self-harm with his parents. She acknowledged that medical consensus was that Prozac could increase the risk of self-harm or suicide among young people within the first two or three days of use, but stated that the “risks are extremely low”.

The Oxfordshire coroner, Darren Salter, recorded a verdict that Tom took his own life.

Both AntiDepAware and Bob Fiddaman have written about Tom’s inquest this week. They made a couple of extremely valid points:

AntiDepAware: “In my research, I have never heard even the most committed proponent of SSRIs state that a period of suicidal ideation would last for a period of just two to three days” and

Bob Fiddaman: “If Slater (the coroner) delved deeper into the side effects of Prozac he would have learned that suicidal completion is a side effect and has been reported and acknowledged by makers of generic Prozac, Mylan. If he had bothered to research he would not have returned such a ludicrous statement”. 

While I assume that Dr Rowlands and her team at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service had Tom’s best interests at heart, the fact is he was 14, prescribed Prozac (which doubles the risk of suicide) and is now dead. Tom’s story is very similar to an Irish child whose death was reported in the Irish Times earlier this year. Jake was also 14, was also prescribed Prozac and is also now dead. Both sets of parents have said they were not warned of the risks before their children were put on this drug.

The European and American drug regulators have provided stark warnings on the suicidal risk with this drug (and all SSRIs), particularly in children and under 25s. The sad fact is that lessons are not being learned because doctors and psychiatrists are still denying the evidence provided by the deaths of children like Tom and Jake. How many more Toms, Jakes or Torans will there be before the blinkers will finally come off?

(Jake’s inquest is ongoing)

Irish Prozac PIL (Patient Information Leaflet). American Prozac PIL. On the RxISK website there are 1,380 suicides associated with Prozac alone. This week’s paper ‘Why I think Antidepressants Do More Harm Than Good’, written by Peter Gøtzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Center, is free for anyone looking for more information.

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