Sligo Tragedy

22 Jul

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

21 Jul

 

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

12 Jul

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.

The Bishop, The Pope and The 3 Sinners

6 Jun

Message From Pope Francis

Pope 11

Myself, Maria and our friend Stephanie decided that we needed to approach a major celebrity in order to publicise the dangerous side-effects of prescription drugs and the overprescribing of same. Maria came up with a bright idea, ‘what about Pope Francis’? I knew my friend in the UK had approached the Archbishop of Canterbury with the same intent and was politely but firmly brushed off. So ignoring my inner scepticism, knowing that once Maria gets a notion in her head it’s better to go with the flow, contacting the Pope it was. I did ignore her though when she started spouting something about donkeys and the Vatican! Maybe we’d have better luck than our English counterparts?

We initially contacted Archbishop Diarmuid Martin who agreed to meet with us. We met with the Archbishop and Monsignor Paul Callan who had organised the meeting. Both men were surprisingly open, honest and were perfect gentlemen; far too nice for us three irreverent sinners. Having had previous experience with a very callous priest following Shane’s death, I have learned that some priests can be extremely unchristian. I wouldn’t be a fan of Ireland’s Catholic think-tank ‘the Iona Institute’ either. We were pleasantly surprised by the Archbishop though and we all enjoyed our meetings.

My one previous Papal experience consisted of an excursion to the phoenix park for Pope John Paul’s visit in 1979. I was 14 and assigned to accompany my grandmother on the bus which was leaving from Sallynoggin at some ungodly hour; pardon the pun. The rest of my family on the other hand,  promptly went off in a different direction, leaving myself and my granny to our own devices. She was actually great fun and I loved her dearly. She had a fondness for a glass of sherry though and for high shoes, which didn’t always go together it has to be said.

Being the original Imelda Marcos, with shoe sizes and walking being minor issues, my granny’s poor feet were crippled with corns. Needless to say, the papal visit was memorable for all the wrong reasons: a ‘shortcut’ I brought her on to save her poor toes, getting lost, missing the return bus, a tad too much sherry, an unfortunate trip to the men’s toilets and an annoyed and very drunk taxi man we had to drag from the pub and beg to take us home. I kid you not!

So, although religion is not normally uppermost on my mind, I agreed once again to some papal interaction. We, that is myself, Maria and Stephanie, sent a letter off to Pope Francis explaining what we wanted and asking if he was willing to do something about it. Archbishop Dermot was also on the case, having agreed to meet with Professor David Healy whom we railroaded into the archbishop’s house. I honestly believe that the Catholic church cannot ignore experts who are saying that these drugs can cause so much death and destruction. This remains to be seen.

This week we got a short reply from the Pope. Whether it’s a good reply or not is anyone’s guess, but he is now aware. Maybe the fact that he knows what an ‘iatrogenic death’ is, is a good thing?

Watch this space.

Papal Reply below:

 

Pope Francis

 

My husband’s deaf, not dumb

28 May

Tony going deafWhat is it with my family and doctors? Admittedly I have a deep distrust of the medical profession following Shane’s death and my family and I would have to be at death’s door before consulting a doctor. I can’t say I dislike doctors as I think they usually mean well, I assume they don’t get up in the morning and think “who will I harm today?”.

Yesterday I sent the poor long-suffering husband off to see the doctor. He was driving us all demented with his dodgy ears; he was becoming as deaf as a post ye see. Surely that’s grounds for divorce? Most mornings we ALL awakened at 6am to the sound of his alarm shrieking continuously, while he slept like a baby. I think he was beginning to enjoy the benefits of oblivion. We on the other hand might as well have been taking to the wall. 

Although I have a deep distrust of doctors, I knew that they couldn’t do much harm just having a look at his ears. In fairness to the doctor, he did a great job with the husband’s ears, using some newfangled contraption. He was very thorough and also took his blood pressure, which was fine. The doctor then gave him a clean bill of health but understandably said he should give up smoking. The bold husband agreed, having absolutely no intention as he’s totally addicted to nicotine. That’s when the doctor recommended this ‘new’ drug – Chantix (aka Varenicline). Coincidentally David Healy had written a blog on Chantix yesterday here.

Well Tony (the poor husband) of course was well aware of the dangers of this particular drug and said an emphatic NO! The doctor looked bemused and said, and I quote – ‘but this is a new wonder drug’. Tony told him that he would be very concerned about the side effects of chantix whereupon the doctor said “no, no this is only a new drug, it’s a good drug and less risky than the patches”. Needless to say he left without the prescription, having muttered something about informed consent and probably had a smoke outside to calm his nerves.

Chantix come with a range of warnings, including heart risks, suicide and violence, which this doctor clearly knew nothing about. Even the pharma funded Irish Medicines Board recommend:

Patients should be advised of the possibility of psychiatric adverse effects when taking varenicline and to contact their doctor immediately if they develop suicidal thoughts or behaviour. Patients should be closely monitored during use of varenicline and it should be discontinued immediately if agitation, depressed mood, or changes in behaviour are observed that are of concern for the doctor, patient, family, or caregiver”.

The strange thing is that he only went in with a blocked ear and if he wasn’t aware of the dangers, would have left with a prescription for a drug that potentially could have killed him.

Tony was frogmarched back down to the practice with a RxISK report and this PLOS ONE study showing that Chantix has the worst record for iatrogenic violence. He’s waiting for a call back as the doctor was busy when he went back. I’m not mentioning names as we’ll be barred from every practice from here to County Cork. If it wasn’t so tragic, it would be funny. I’m just glad my husband was only deaf, not blind or stupid. The doc on the other hand… 

IMB Warning

FDA Chantix warning 

Fatality Reports on Chantix

 

COI- Condition or Iatrogenic?

24 May

Conflict of InterestDoes anybody actually care about the conflict of interests which exist between the medical professionals and drug companies? Just suppose these inherent conflict of interests, particularly within the ‘mental health’ field, are actually causing many deaths, not curtailing them? Will it matter then?

Example:

Nessa Childers tweeted today “Call to action?: Mental illness can reduce life expectancy more than smoking” and added a link to this article. The article concerned the reduction of life expectancy in people suffering from ‘mental illness’. Excerpt below:

The researchers found the average reduction in life expectancy in people with bipolar disorder is between nine and 20 years. It is 10 to 20 years for schizophrenia, nine and 24 years for drug and alcohol abuse, and around seven to 11 years for recurrent depression. This was due to “high-risk behaviours” in psychiatric patients including drug abuse and suicide.” 

The article was published on the ‘BlackDogTribe’ website which then linked to Sane, a self-professed ‘leading UK mental health charity’. In December 2012 Sane acquired the BlackDogTribe website, amalgamating both. Sane is supported by Lundbeck pharmaceuticals that happen to make drugs for both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The article quoted Mark Winstanley of ‘Rethink Mental Illness’ who said it was “a scandal that people with mental illness are at risk of dying 20 years younger than average, because of preventable physical health problems”. Rethink Mental Illness is incidentally also supported by Lundbeck pharmaceuticals. 

Dr Seena Fazel from Oxford University said that these deaths were due to “high-risk behaviours in psychiatric patients including drug abuse and suicide”. Dr Fazel was a speaker at the 2012 SIRS (Schizophrenia International Research Society) conference, sponsored by the usual pharmaceutical companies: Lundbeck, Lilly, Pfizer Et cetera. He delared no conflict of interest, so I guess he must have been speaking pro bono and must have paid his own air fares to Florence. He also spoke at last months SIRS conference (April 2014), again in Florence. Interestingly Dr Fazel was one of the medical professionals who recently put his name to a letter defending psychiatric drugs. This came in the wake of the CEP (Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry) publicly stating that psychiatric drugs are causing death, illness and in fact doing more harm than good. Incidentally, two of Dr Fazel’s literary colleagues, Professors Guy Goodwin and David Nutt, appeared in the recent Panorama programme ‘Who’s Paying Your Doctor?’

What the CEP are saying, is that the increasing deaths are due to the drugs and not the illness. David Healy et al have been saying the same thing for a long time; here’s an excerpt from his blog on schizophrenia:

“Patients with schizophrenia are 10 times more likely to be dead at the end of the first year of treatment than they were 100 years ago. There is no other illness in medicine where such a statement could be made… So what causes the suicides? The evidence points to the antipsychotics. In placebo controlled double blind trials these drugs show an excess of suicides and suicidal acts with drugs like Zyprexa having the highest suicide and suicidal act rate in clinical trial history. This is good news because if most deaths in young people with schizophrenia come from suicide and the antipsychotics make a contribution to this, there is an opportunity to correct the problem. The problem almost certainly stems from drug induced dysphoria. Patients are not on the right drug for them.” 

Is it really incidental that the medical professionals and mental health charities who are reliant on pharma funding, blame the illness and defend the drugs? Is it further coincidental that independent researchers and academics have concluded that it is in fact the drugs that are causing the deaths.

Does the conflict of interest really not matter, or will it only become an issue when you find the dead and lifeless body of your much loved son, daughter or sibling? I know who I’d believe.

http://www.sane.org.uk/uploads/black_dog_tribe_press_release.pdf

Prozac, Seroxat and Celexa Violence.

11 May

This week WBTV News (A US Channel) told the story of two separate families, each concerning SSRI violence.

Uncommon Killers

 

Kim Crespi was happily married to her husband David, a bank official. They had five children, the youngest being twins, Samantha and Tessara, age 5. David was feeling depressed and found it hard to sleep; he was prescribed Prozac. A week after being prescribed this SSRI, Kim’s husband killed his little daughters by stabbing them multiple times. When Kim heard what had happened, she immediately knew this terrible tragedy was caused by the drugs he’d been prescribed. David Crespi is now serving serving two life sentences.

The other story mentioned on WBTV News is David Carmichaels. He was also on Prozac, prescribed for depression brought on by sleep deprivation. He was happily married with two children, a son and daughter. He started taking Seroxat (aka Paxil) a few days before he strangled his 11-year-old son, Ian. He was found ‘not criminally responsible’ but also believes the drug caused him to act so extremely out of character. He wrote this post for my blog in 2010.

How many families, academics, pathologists and coroners does it take to stand up and scream for help before the regulators warn unsuspecting consumers of the dangers of these mind altering drugs? People with ‘mental health difficulties’ are not usually violent. Tragically, sad people who are medicated with mind-altering drugs sometimes are. Ireland’s Health Service Executive’s ‘preferred’ drug for depression, Citalopram, is the same drug that my son was prescribed 17 days before he killed himself and another young man. Don’t let it be your family – be informed. Check out the RxISK website, David Healy’s Blog and the newly launched Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry (CEP).

Last week Brian from AntiDepAware reported on an article that Peter Hitchens from the Mail on Sunday wrote. Mr Hitchens, who has been screaming about this issue for a long-time, wrote:

“Can we please now have a  simple rule for all coroners, magistrates  and judges? Wherever someone has taken his own life, or wherever someone is accused of taking someone else’s life, or of an act of dangerous violence, the police, doctors and pathologists involved should be required to discover whether that person has ever been a user of mind-altering drugs, whether legally prescribed, or illegal. I believe that if this question is asked, it will become plain that there is a frightening correlation between such drugs and such acts. Then, at last, we can do something.”

Click on the picture to see the 15 minute News segment on Kim Crespi and David Carmichael. Kim’s blog is here.

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