June 2010 , halfway through the year already. My, does time fly. It is difficult to believe that it is almost 8 years since I came off Seroxat(Paxil), a drug that kept me prisoner for almost 4 years; a drug that devastated my early twenties; with side effects so frightening I will never forget them; withdrawal symptoms so devastating that the nightmares still linger in my mind; Seroxat- a horrible drug that almost killed me…
It saddens me to read about victims like Sara Carlin, Shane Clancy and many other young people, in the prime of their life; young bright lives extinguished from the effects of dangerous SSRI medications. It saddens me all the more because I realize I was one of the lucky ones, I survived Seroxat; even though the drug was compelling me to kill myself, to harm myself and to harm others. I was lucky, even though the drug took away the best years of my life, and also even though I suffered for many years after my last toxic dose, I was lucky…
For more on Shane Clancy, Sara Carlin, and what these completely unnecessary drugs are doing to the younger generation, please read the following links :
Shane Clancy inquest to open
An inquest into the death of 22-year-old Shane Clancy, who stabbed another 22-year-old man to death before turning the knife on himself last summer, will open on Thursday.
Clancy, from Dalkey in south Dublin, stabbed Sebastian Creane at his home in Bray in Co Wicklow, before turning the knife on himself on 16 August.
Toxicology results have found that Clancy had a “potentially fatal dosage” of antidepressants in his system.
An inquest into the death of 22-year-old Shane Clancy has returned an open verdict.
Mr Clancy stabbed another man, 22-year-old Sebastian Creane, to death in Bray last August, before turning the knife on himself.
His mother told the inquest she believed his actions were the result of his taking prescribed anti-depressants.
The jury heard evidence that Mr Clancy was known as a kind and charitable young man.
But after he broke up with girlfriend Jennifer Hannigan in April last year, he changed and became depressed.
According to Ms Hannigan he became jealous of her new partner, Mr Creane, and began behaving strangely.
In July he was prescribed anti-depressant Cipramol, and according to his mother quickly became agitated, and tried to take his own life.
Earlier, the inquest heard from Detective Inspector Frank Keneghan from Bray Garda Station who headed up the investigation into Mr Creane and Mr Clancy’s deaths.
He outlined the series of events leading up to the deaths, which began with a night out involving Shane Clancy and Sebastian Creane, who shared mutual friends.
He said after the night out, Mr Clancy and Mr Creane arrived at Mr Creane’s house at Cuala Grove in Bray at around 3.20am.
After a period, Mr Clancy, from Dalkey, Co Dublin, left and went to Dunnes Stores in Cornelscourt and bought a block of five knives.
In the meantime, Ms Hannigan, who was Mr Creane’s girlfriend and an ex-girlfriend of Mr Clancy, arrived at Mr Creane’s house.
She then got a text message from Shane Clancy saying he had done something stupid and was going to die.
She rang him, and while on the phone saw him outside the house, holding his chest.
Mr Creane went outside to help and was stabbed once in the chest by Mr Clancy.
Mr Creane then managed to go upstairs to his brother Dylan, who was in bed with his girlfriend and told him he had been stabbed. Sebastian Creane then went into his parent’s room where he was later found dead.
Mr Clancy then forced his way into the sitting room where Ms Hannigan was and attacked her, stabbing her in the back with the same knife.
During this, the handle broke and the knife remained in her back. Mr Clancy then went to the kitchen and got another knife which he used to stab Dylan Creane, who had come downstairs, nine times.
Mr Clancy then went into the garden and stabbed himself 19 times. His body was later found in a crouching position in a shrubbery in a pool of blood, with the knife next to him.
Det Insp Keneghan said on the basis of the evidence, it was decided that the gardaí did not need to seek anyone else in relation to the case.
In a moving deposition which she delivered to the court herself, Shane Clancy’s mother Leonie said she firmly believes his actions were the result of taking prescribed anti-depressants.
She said she could not do much now to undo what had been done, but she could highlight the issue.
She also said she believed an investigation was required.
Ms Fennell described her son as a kind, caring, charming and charitable young man.
She apologised to the Creane family and to Jennifer Hannigan for what her son had done and said she could not justify what he had done.
But she said it was not in his make-up to do what he did.
She described how he had become depressed after splitting up with Jennifer Hannigan, and how that depression had worsened over the course of months.
She said he was prescribed a course of the anti-depressant Cipramil and within days became very agitated and tried to take his own life by overdosing on them.
He then went back to another doctor and explained what he had done and how he was feeling.
She said she was surprised that he came out with a further course of the same anti-depressant at a lower dosage.
A little over a week later he carried out the murder suicide.
Speaking after the verdict was delivered, clinical psychiatrist Prof Patricia Casey, who was at the inquest representing the College of Psychiatry of Ireland, read a statement in which she expressed the college’s disappointment at the Coroner’s decision to not allow it give evidence.
She said there were aspects of the evidence which the college took issue with and it would elaborate further on the details in the coming days.
Inquest jury rejects suicide verdict on account of Shane Clancy’s SSRI levels
The jury in the Shane Clancy inquest returned an ‘open verdict’ following evidence given at Wicklow Coroner’s Court on 15 April 2010 and the coroner’s instruction that their choice of verdict had to be either suicide or an open verdict.
Earlier, expert witness Dr David Healy, Professor of Psychiatry at Cardiff University in Wales, told the court that behaviour such as suicidal or violent thinking or actions, seen in patients prescribed SSRIs, such as the Cipramil tablets taken by Mr Clancy, arose not from the patient’s condition but from the drugs.
Sara Carlin : SSRI Induced Suicide
The girl with every reason to live
By MICHELE MANDEL, Toronto Sun
Last Updated: June 10, 2010 8:18pm
Sara Carlin had everything to live for: She was smart, athletic, beautiful and pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor.
But on May 6, 2007, that bright future ended abruptly with a piece of electrical wire.
The promising 18-year-old had hung herself in her family’s Oakville basement and her grieving parents blame her suicide on the Paxil antidepressant she’d been prescribed more than a year before.
In emotional testimony that left many fighting back tears, Sara’s mother Rhonda told a coroner’s inquest that her daughter earned 90’s in school, played baseball and women’s hockey, held a part-time job at an optometrist’s office and tutored other kids in math.
“She was a pretty exceptional girl, she was absolutely loving and she was beautiful,” her mom proudly recalled Wednesday before the presiding coroner, Dr. Bert Lauwers. “She really was an exceptional daughter.”
But in the early part of 2006, Sara began to change. During the family’s March break vacation to Palm Springs, she wouldn’t get out of bed most days and got drunk at dinner. “It was so unlike her,” her mom said.
It was only later that she learned Sara had complained of anxiety and depression to her family doctor and had recently been prescribed Paxil, one of the antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
“I said, ‘Why on earth, Sara would you be on antidepressants?’ I was astounded,” she recalled for the five-member jury. “Why, why would he be giving these to her? This was a wonderful, happy girl.”
While Sara lost her much older brother to a drug overdose in 2000, her mother believed her daughter had coped well with his death and never wanted the counselling she’d been offered.
So this need for antidepressants, she said, came out of the blue.
“She was very troubled, much more troubled than any of us knew,” her mother acknowledged.
While her parents repeatedly voiced their reservations about Paxil, Sara brushed them off, saying her doctor told her it would make her feel better. “I didn’t even know the horrific side effects of Paxil at that time,” her mom said. “I certainly didn’t know what I know now.”
Health Canada issued warnings in 2003 and 2004 that prescribing antidepressants to teens could lead to behavioural or emotional changes that might put them at increased risk of suicidal behaviour.
Over the next few months, Sara’s behaviour changed even more. She suddenly quit her job and stopped playing hockey. Her mom said she was unaware Sara was drinking and doing cocaine; she just knew she wasn’t herself.
“She was really lethargic and tired and pale. She’d lost weight. We were concerned. “
Just as she was starting her first year in health sciences at the University of Western Ontario, Sara was diagnosed with mononeucleosis. Her parents were almost relieved, hoping it explained the change in their daughter.
But her downward spiral continued at university to the point where she had drug debts, was missing classes and was eventually taken by ambulance to a London emergency room after mixing her prescription medications with alcohol and cocaine.
She withdrew from school and came home to Oakville.
It was the first time her mom learned Sara was doing coke and was now on four prescribed medications: Paxil, a second antidepressant, Ativan and a sleeping pill.
The night before her suicide, Sara held a pre-drink for friends in her basement and then headed to a local pub where she continued drinking. A friend eventually drove her home, but not before stopping at a home where he thinks she picked up drugs.
When her mom found her room empty the next morning, she just assumed Sara had gone out early for breakfast. As the day wore on, she and her husband Neil became increasingly worried when no one could locate her.
“Then I heard Neil just screaming, screaming and you could hear it all the way in the backyard,” she recalled, the tears rolling down her face. “Neil was screaming, ‘She hung herself.’”
Read Mandel Wednesday through Saturday. firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-947-2231
Antidepressants: Are They Effective or Just a Placebo? (Time Magazine 2010)
Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010
In the early 1990s, everyone was listening to Prozac — right up until they weren’t anymore. By the middle of that decade, the media had begun spotlighting disasters involving the life-changing wonder drug — cases of suicide, even mass murder, apparently spurred by Prozac and similar medications. And by 2005, the Food and Drug Administration had mandated a black-box warning on all antidepressants, cautioning against an increase in suicide risk in certain patients.
Since then, a small but vocal minority of researchers have also questioned whether the mood-enhancing benefit of antidepressants amounts to anything more than a psychological artifact. They point to studies that suggest the drugs’ seemingly powerful effects are the same as those of a sugar pill. Most recently, a headline-grabbing Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) paper published in January found that antidepressants worked no better than a placebo in patients with mild or moderate depression (but the study did conclude that medication helped the most persistent and severe cases). For some observers, however, the judgment was sealed. That month, Newsweek ran a cover story bemoaning “The Depressing News About Antidepressants.” (See a brief history of antidepressants.)
But how can the same drug be at once poison, panacea and placebo? With about 7% of the American population estimated to suffer from depression at any given time, and some 67 million prescriptions written for the top three antidepressants alone in 2009, the answer is of wide public-health and economic interest.
The Placebo Studies
Less emphasized than the study’s findings was that fact that the January paper in JAMA was a meta-analysis — not an original clinical trial, but a review of the combined results of multiple previous studies. Although meta-analyses can be useful for summarizing large amounts of data, they can sometimes be misleading. For one thing, such papers are only as good as the studies on which they rely, and in cases like this, in which individual responses to a class of medication vary widely — some people improve dramatically, while others get much worse — the particular studies the authors decide to include can sway the results.
The JAMA meta-analysis wound up including just six studies — out of the more than 2,000 the authors considered — on only two drugs, the selective serotonin uptake inhibitor (SSRI) Paxil and an older tricyclic drug called imipramine, though there are dozens of antidepressants on the market. (Paxil happens to be the most controversial of all SSRIs; it is most strongly associated with negative side effects that many similar medications do not have, such as weight gain, withdrawal symptoms and possibly even birth defects.) The meta-analysis also did not include studies that had a “placebo washout period” — those that start all patients on placebo before introducing the antidepressant, in order to identify and eliminate people who get better on their own. While drug companies argue that these studies help them gauge the real effects of the drug, critics say they give antidepressants an advantage that doesn’t reflect clinical practice — either way, eliminating these studies strengthens the placebo effect in a meta-analysis. (See how to prevent mental illness.)
Further, when data are aggregated, patients’ opposing responses to antidepressants can cancel each other out. If one patient’s depression score drops 20 points while taking medication, and another’s increases by the same amount, in aggregate there has been no effect. “You can have an overall slightly significant change in active treatment vs. placebo, but what you may see when you look at the figures on a patient-by-patient level is that there are dramatic differences,” says Richard Tranter, a psychiatrist and consultant with the North West Wales NHS Trust in the U.K., who was not involved in the JAMA study.
Overall, the scientific evidence confirms that not all patients respond the same way to antidepressants, and not all antidepressants — even those in the same class — work the same way in any given individual. One drug can, in fact, have profoundly different effects in the same patient at different times in his or her life.
Yet even with its narrow selection of studies, the JAMA review still showed improvement in people with severe depression and those whose illness was mild but chronic. And the troublesome data from placebo-controlled antidepressant trials is not unique to this type of drug. Notably, about half of all clinical trials of opioid painkillers like OxyContin, which are powerful and known to work, show the drug to be no more effective than placebo, according to Dr. Gavril Pasternak, an opioid expert at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Again, it’s not because the medication is ineffective, but because of the huge variance in individual response and metabolism of the drug.