Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy – SSRI Induced?

Courtesy of the Irish Times

Yet again Ireland has suffered another horrific familicide. This time a retired couple, Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy from County Donegal, were found dead in their home. Their son Julian, a mechanical engineer, has been detained by Gardaí; an axe found at the family home is believed to be the murder weapon.

The Irish Times reported that Julian Cuddihy had been ‘medically assessed recently after concerns were expressed about his mental health’. He had been found close to the scene with a legally held shotgun and was suicidal. Most of the newspapers reported that he had recently ‘suffered from depression’, as if this somehow explained the tragedy. More stated that there is no clear motive, that Julian was very close to his parents and that the community is in shock. One source said that there was ‘certainly no issue between himself and the parents’ and that ‘there was nothing to suggest that this was coming’. He further stated that the community’s heart goes out to Julian as well as his parents.

Friends of Julian said that he had been ‘angry and agitated’ this week, which they found odd. The Irish Independent quoted a friend as saying “Julian is a normally quiet soul, well educated and articulate but he just didn’t appear to be himself in recent days”.

So how then could this happen? As was the case with the other recent Irish familicides, Julian had recent ‘medical intervention’. What was he prescribed? Was he prescribed an SSRI (Selective Serotonin ReuUptake Inhibitor), known to double the risk of suicide and violence. If so, did the drug cause mania, psychosis or akathisia (a well known precursor to suicide and violence). Certainly the agitation Julian demonstrated points to akathisia. Was he prescribed an SSRI for the first time or was his medication changed while he was being accessed? This tragedy certainly seems to have all the hallmarks of an SSRI tragedy. Similar to the O’Driscoll and Skeffington tragedies, by all accounts Julian was a nice guy, this tragedy was ‘out of the blue’, was uncharacteristic and he had recently been ‘medically accessed’.

The 3 experts who went to Leinster House and told Kathleen Lynch that SSRIs are causing many deaths, even suicide and homicide, may be shocked to realise that the Irish Government have done nothing. As with my son Shane’s case, if this Donegal tragedy is SSRI induced, as I suspect it is, the Irish Government should hang their heads in shame. My sincere condolences to the Cuddihy family.

For more information, see RxISK.org, Peter Gøtzsche et al and fellow Irishman Professor David Healy.

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

Similarities in ireland’s Siblicides.

Irish Times Article.

George Werb, Another Iatrogenic Death?

George Werb

How many dead children does it take before the medicine regulators take action? How many parents screaming ‘STOP’ will it take before this medication madness is banned?

This week another inquest sheds light on the dangers of prescribing SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) to children. George Werb was 15 when he was admitted to the Priory Hospital in Southampton. He had previously been prescribed Olanzapine/Zyprexa and expressed concern that he was suffering from adverse effects of the drug. George’s parents also expressed concern that the drugs were harming him and asked for him to be taken off them. His mother, Joanne Werb, told his psychiatrist (Dr Carlos Hoyos) of George’s desperation to come off Olanzapine. Despite this, George and his parents’ concerns were ignored, the drugs were increased and Fluoxetine/Prozac was added to the mix.

According to this article, George had previously had an adverse reaction to fluoxetine, yet inexplicably he was prescribed it again and sent home. The following day (28/June/2013) George stepped in front of a train and was killed.

Defending his position, Dr Hoyos explained that “there is no significant evidence that the particular anti-depressants George was prescribed caused suicidal tendencies”. Seriously, what an absolute idiot! Dr Hoyos should be struck off for that one ill-informed sentence. If Dr Hoyos would care to open a packet of Fluoxetine, he would find a reference to suicidal tendencies in the PIL. I guess the supposed ‘expert’ never read the warnings or heard of a black-box then?  Sadly for George, the ‘expert’ was no expert.

Similar to Tom Boomer’s family (Tom aged 14), George’s family said at no time were the risks of starting Fluoxetine or the risk of suicide discussed. Again, Maria Bradshaw whose son Toran (aged 17) died from a Prozac induced death, was not informed that SSRIs doubled the risk of suicide and violence. The drug company in Toran’s case (Mylan) admitted that Prozac was the ‘probable cause’ of his death. Despite the dire FDA and EMA warnings of prescribing antidepressants to children, there is widespread opinion among GPs and Psychiatry that Prozac is safer than other SSRIs in Paediatrics. ‘Not so’ according to Dr David Healy, the leading expert in SSRIs. He stated that “Prozac is no safer than other SSRIs for children“.

Earlier this year the Irish Independent reported that another Irish child (age 14) had died following a prescription for Prozac. His mother said “that she had no idea about the side effects of Prozac and that she would never have agreed to him taking it if she had” and that “NO mother in her right mind would let their child have a drug that can cause suicide and self-harm when they are suffering from those symptoms in the first place.” 

So how many children will have to die before the multiple evidence before our eyes is believed?

Update, 07/Oct/2014 – Similar to the findings at Shane’s Inquest, George’s inquest found that despite walking in from of a train, George did not take his own life. A serious case review into George’s treatment at the Priory is under way – http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-devon-29520139

Good Golly; it’s the Dubs

Golly

Ramblings.

Okay, so the perfect day will never happen. Shane’s not here, so that puts the kibosh on that particular idea; the days of laughing till we cried at ‘You’ve Been Framed’ are but a distant, albeit very happy, memory. I wonder sometimes if a child has died in a car accident or through cancer, is it easier to heal? – I have a notion that it’s not. Anyway, this is not a grieving mother’s rant, it’s just a random amusing musing.

Quite often, I’m asked ‘does it ever get better?’ The answer to that is – I haven’t a clue; maybe some days. The last few weeks have been strange, from boogying at a wedding and a 70s night respectively, to introducing an influx of little relations to the highly-entertaining mastery of ‘Golly fishing‘. Considering that ‘almost 50s’ boogying is not a pretty sight, I thought I’d share the art of Golly fishing instead, with the unfortunates that happen to live outside of Wicklow.

A Golly, by the way, is a Wicklow crab. The art is to bait the crabs with meat bones (cooked or uncooked), reel them in and collect them in a bucket, before releasing them back into the water – hopefully none the worse for wear from their encounter with humans. In our case butcher’s sausages were all we could find in the fridge, but they did the trick all the same. My friend Polly seems to think that a Dub would be useless at this particular art, considering it’s a sport native to Wicklow and we are in fact what is widely referred to as ‘blow-ins’. Meh!

While the Dubs can be spotted heard a mile away with their high decipel screams, the Wicklowites are far more civilised. The Dub’s screams of ‘geh de buckeh’, which translated into the queen’s English means ‘Get the bucket’, can be heard far and wide, much to the bemused mild disgust of the locals. My little nieces and nephews who came from Dubai, London, Ballybrack and Greystones, despite the terror of being bitten, concluded that it was the best fun EVER!

My brother Leo, who knows everything about everything, attempted to show us how it’s done and picked up a Golly with his bare hands – how brave. He screamed like a bloody banshee when he was nipped by the poor crab, much to the delight/terror of the children. Granny, the one with nerves of steel, had no such qualms and showed us how it’s done. It should be noted that she also looked on with a face of mild disgust, at the antics and roars of her children. She said the grandchildren at least had an excuse, being mostly under the age of 6. I’ve noticed the same look when I do my own version of riverdance, anytime a wasp comes anywhere near me. Seriously though, if you haven’t made a ‘holy show’ of your mother, you haven’t lived long enough.

While we started off with 3 buckets and 3 fishing lines, due to the aforementioned brother’s overenthusiastic 2 year old, we came home with no buckets and 2 fishing lines. Hopefully we won’t be fined for polluting the Leitrim river. Maybe the lone bucket, which was last seen floating down to the sea with a full catch of crabs, might make it’s way to the Liffey so the Dubs can get in on the act. I highly recommend it – the best free fun ever – apart from making a holy show of your mother that is.

Golly 1

Similarities in Ireland’s Siblicides

O'Driscoll Brothers

Barely 6 weeks after the awful tragedy in Sligo, where Shane Skeffington (20) killed his little brother Brandon (9) and himself, Ireland is once again dealing with a shocking murder/suicide involving young brothers. Jonathan O’Driscoll, aged 21, killed his twin brothers Thomas and Paddy (aged 9) and then himself, this time in Cork.

The media are divided, one newspaper states that the Gardaí believe “Jonathan flipped and killed the tragic 
youngsters in a spur-of-the-moment attack” while another states that the Gardaí “strongly suspected that Jonathan’s murderous last act was not a spontaneous violent combustion from a mentally ill man, but something he had planned, possibly for some time”. 

Despite their unimaginable suffering, both families have behaved with unbelievably dignity and understanding throughout. Jonathan’s mother has reportedly said she already forgives him. Bernadette, a sister of the 3 boys, spoke at the funeral today and said: “To my three brothers, Jonathan, Paddy and Tom Tom, your memories of laughter that we shared together as a family growing up together; I will treasure for the rest of my life. “I will always love you and I will always miss you. Forever, our family’s heart is broken. “Also, from our hearts, we say a fond farewell to the three of ye. God will be waiting at the Gates of Heaven to take ye in.” 

Reports state that Jonathan ‘doted on his younger brothers’, that all three were ‘very close’ and that ‘Jonathan made the whole family happy’. So why then did this happen? Some reports have suggested that Jonathan was a troubled young man who was ‘fixated’ with being an adopted son, while the two boys were biological children. One newspaper reported that Gardaí were investigating whether he killed his brothers ‘in a jealous rage after learning he was adopted’, but this theory was later discounted by insiders.

There are similarities between the O’Driscoll and Skeffington tragedies. In Sligo, Shane Skeffington had been receiving psychiatric treatment in the days before he killed his brother and himself. In Cork, Jonathan O’Driscoll was also receiving psychiatric treatment before he killed his brothers and himself. According to the Irish Times, he had also ‘recently engaged’ with mental health services. Another newspaper reported that Jonathan was “on a lot of medication and he had various health issues”.

A recent article by Paul Gilligan, chief executive of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services in Dublin, stated that murder-suicides are “not typically associated with mental health difficulties”. He stated that these incidents “require a great deal more premeditation and planning” than suicide alone and places the blame solely on the perpetrator: Article here. So if, as according to Mr Gilligan, murder-suicide is not caused by ‘mental health’ issues, are we to assume that Shane Skeffington and Jonathan O’Driscoll were evil murderers? I do not believe that for one second. What of the ‘care’ that these young men received shortly before these tragedies? Is it co-incidental that mental health drugs, usually SSRIs, double the risk of suicide and violence? Is it coincidental that the European Medicines Agency have warned of suicide and violence with these drugs and that they come with a black-boxed warning in the U.S.?

If these young men did not suffer from mental health issues, as Mr Gilligan suggests, then any drugs prescribed to these young men were wrongly prescribed. As a mother directly affected by a similar tragedy, whose son was also ‘recently prescribed’ these drugs beforehand, I feel a thorough investigation is required.

We have learned a lot since my son’s death in 2009. I have complied this information here for anyone who’s interested. Rest in peace to all these boys.

Considering Irish Psychiatrys’ usual defense of psychiatric drugs, it comes as no surprise that Mr Gilligan’s article has pride of place on their website, here.

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

Tags

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.

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