Remebering Steph Gatchell: One Of The First Anti-Seroxat Campaigners

Here is the speech that my mother Stephnie Gatchell made at the Brighton convention September04 regarding Seroxat and how it has affected our family.

Being up here this evening, is to say the least, extremely difficult for me.
At the same time, I’m immensely grateful for this opportunity.
We moved permanently from South Africa to the UK in 1999, seeking better opportunities and security for our son and daughter.
Sharise was a shy , somewhat introverted 14 year old and an amazingly talented artist.
On the 25th of May 2003, aged 18, she hanged herself from the loft hatch in our house.
We were away for the bankholiday weekend in Scotland. Sharise hated long car trips….
2 DAYS…2 DAYS later on the 27th of May, GSK  FINALLY decided to hand over the required trial data to the MHRA,
and 2 weeks later the announcement came that SSRI’S should no longer be prescribed to under 18’s….
For Sharise it was just too little, too late…
She took one Seroxat pill daily, for 17 days…
I’m urgently appealing to you to do the following:
Firstly, to totally ban Seroxat for use in especially new patients.
It is obvious that GSK needs to go back to the drawing board….
I’m asking, no begging you, NOT to allow GP’s to prescribe mind altering drugs such as SSRI’s?
They are simply NOT experienced enough to make accurate diagnoses of certain types of depresson, a crucial skill when prescribing SSRI’s, and definitely NOT in the 10 minutes or so that they spend with patients…
My very strong views come from personal experience.
Sharise was first prescribed Seroxat during a consultation with a specialist for delayed menstruation, aged 16…
During the consultation she became emotional. The doctor asked her in my presence:
“Do you sometimes feel like ending it all?”
She replied:”Yes.”
He still proceeded in prescribing Seroxat , already surrounded by controversy regarding self harm and suicide even then.
A situation he , being in the medical profession should’ve been aware of?
I had complete faith in his judgement, had no prior knowledge of it, didn’t know it wasn’t licensed for use in children, and was re-assured that it wasn’t addictive!
Sharise almost instantly underwent a major personality change. She was definitely less inhibited which helped with her social life, but she was also agitated, lost all interest in her school work, gained weight, had irregular sleeping patterns and seemed generally demotivated.
Gone was the almost obsessive regard she had for her health as a vegetarian. The change in her was obvious as she previously was an exteremly diligent pupil.
To my absolute horror I discovered that she was selfharming…. cutting her arms!!!!
NEVER, EVER before did she do anything selfdestructive !!
Desperately worried, I begged her to stop using Seroxat. It was obvious to me that it was having an incredibly negative effect on her.
She reluctantly did ,shortly after…somehow she seemed to ‘enjoy’ the ‘new’ Sharise….
She was never the same again….
She felt awful again and saw a 2nd doctor who prescribed Cipramil after I explained the Seroxat ordeal and insisted that we tried something else.
Apparently no notes of this very important conversation was made…
A month later Sharise decided that it wasn’t helping at all, and stopped taking it.
In desperation she discussed using Seroxat again…I was adamant that she should avoid it.
Being 18 and no longer needing my consent ,she asked the final doctor for it, and received…
She kept it secret from us, hiding the pills underneath her bed, where we discovered it after her death.
I feel DEEPLY let down by the medical profession….
I find it impossible to understand why, the final doctor did not ask a few basic, logical questions ie:
Why did you stop using Seroxat the first time?
Have you ever selfharmed?
Do you ever feel suicidal?
It is WRONG not to have notify parents or friends when someone starts using SSRI’s…
How can an already unstable ,hormonal teenager be prescribed mind altering drugs and her family not be warned to look for danger signs????
It is common knowledge that the first few weeks on SSRI’S is the most dangerous time…
Her doctor made her follow -up appointment 3 weeks later! 
Again 2 days too late…..
Her doctor mentioned during the Inquest that she had no reason to suspect that Sharise was in a really bad state because she seemed chirpy!
Prior to taking Seroxat she was depressed, but nothing like what followed…..Seroxat deepened her depression!
The many questions after Sharise’s death lead me to correspond with a retired South African doctor , Dr. Tinus Uys, who tragically lost his 27 year old son , under similar circumstances….
His investigations lead to the discovery of Prof. Kay Redfield- Jamison’s outstanding work:
“Night falls fast-understanding suicide”
Here are some of his conclusions:
Firstly, the age group cut-off point of 18 years in the use of SSRI’s is absurb.
Sharise’s and his son’s cases are fine examples.
It is NOT about age but about correct diagnoses.
Bipolar depression needs a totally different aproach, because here, SSRI’S can be highly dangerous.
Bipolar depression is more common than is recognized,and even found in toddlers. If you do not ask the right questions, you will miss it.
If Bipolar depression is treated with a SSRI, it can lead to the Switch- phenomenon and result in Mixed- Bipolar depression, the form described by the Prof. as among the most dangerous of  psychopathological conditions…..
I’m convinced that this is what happened to Sharise….
NO PERSON  suffering from Bipolar depression, should EVER be given SSRI’S, whether they are 15 or 44!!!
Bipolar depression should be treated with mood stabilisers.
Please note that SSNRI’S such as EFEXOR is the most dangerous regarding this problem.
ALL this is existing knowledge which seems to be ignored world wide for some reason????
Allowing GP’s to prescribe SSRI’S  is simply irresponsible !
I applaud the MHRA for banning the use in children, and urge them NOT to make an exception of Prozac?
The human brain is after all only fully developed in the early 20’s !
Surely, it MUST be madness to bombard a child’s growing brain with mind altering chemicals on a daily basis????
Two days before she died , Sharise woke up in an unusually good mood after spending about a week in the abyss.
She said to me:” It’s SO nice to feel good again! You know Mommy, I’m sure I’m a Manic- depressive, I’m either way up, or down.”
That day she went on a spending spree and even shoplifted!
That very evening I was chased out of her room in a rage!
The 2 weeks before her death she was extremely agitated. Days were spent in her room, comfort eating and not sleeping properly.
We left for Scotland feeling uneasy and suspicious.So much so, that we returned a day earlier than planned.
She seemed what can best be described as ‘void’ and ‘hostile’.
In a last e-mail to a friend she said that she as feeling terrible and like she was going crazy…
She meant every word…
She left the empty Seroxat packet on her pillow next to her last note…She WANTED me to find it, WHY?
It is not aquestion of HOW Seroxat has affected our lives, but rather of how has it NOT???
Our lives have been TOTALLY… devastated by her loss
There is absolutely NO area that hasn’t been affected.               
NOTHING is the same anymore…
Not holidays or birthdays, Christmas…..nothing.
We are constantly being tormented by the most horror-filled flashbacks of that awful, awful night….
And then…then there is the unbearable pain of her permanent absence……
Her brother Warren, (who isn’t religious) summed it up in a recent e-mail to me. He wrote:
“I  so wish that there really was a Satan, so that I could sell my soul for a chat with Sharise…”
As for GSK and anyone who has ever aided them in spinning their web of deceit…their unscrupulous behaviour has been despicable !!!!
How they can look themselves and the families of those destroyed in the eyes is beyond me !!
Surely they must be parents themselves???
It is selfish human greed at it’s lowest form….
How unimaginably wrenching ,to lose one’s child because drug companies conceal the truth, so as not to impede profit maximization !!!
GSK’s reputation is tarnished beyond repair and they will have to pay dearly for their excessive greed….there where it hurts the most…in their pockets!!
Please restore my faith in mankind?
Please do what is right??
Thank you!!!

GSK Licence to Kill

As a side note, I have discovered that my blog name and concept has been used in an article on the health-wyze magazine blog. Kinda flattered..

Licensed To Kill: Andrew Witty Stars In Pharmakeia Royale
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( 1 Vote )
Written by Sarah Cain
Thursday, 13 May 2010 17:38
The name’s Witty: Andrew Witty, and he’ll be having that shaken, not stirred.

GlaxoSmithKline has just started to settle lawsuits, because their diabetes drug Avandia causes heart attacks. This minor complication would be resolved in a criminal court on murder charges if any of us mere mortals gave people drugs which killed them, but GlaxoSmithKline has a license to kill. They like to call it F.D.A. approval, but we know what it is. It’s somewhat coincidental that their cancer drugs cause diabetes, and then the diabetes drugs cause heart disease. The corporate agenda is unmistakable.

The F.D.A. recommended that Avandia be removed from the market after it caused a “substantial excess number” of heart attacks and heart failures. How many heart attacks are acceptable? How many have to die before their deaths are counted as an ‘excess’? How many deaths before their license to kill is revoked?

Reuters reported that Avandia is no longer a big product for GlaxoSmithKline, as the patent on the drug will run out in just two years. It is convenient that the public is notified of the danger only as the patent expires. That will teach those generic drug manufacturers to ride the gravy train! You see, drug companies don’t make decisions on which drug is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ based upon efficacy or safety. The decisions are made based solely upon profit-making ability. Avandia has become a P.R. problem, and it’s not making that much money anyway. They might as well kill those generic manufacturers while bailing out of the Avandia market.

“In its first-quarter financial report last month, Glaxo increased the reserves budgeted for legal matters by 210 million pounds ($325 million), some of which is expected to go towards settling Avandia cases.”

— Reuters

Pharmaceutical companies actually store a war chest to deal with lawsuits. If they can afford to do that easily with some money always being left over, then surely they are not being fined enough. It would be far more rational to revoke their licenses to kill and imprison them like we would imprison any citizen who had poisoned someone to death.

At the same time as settling these lawsuits, Glaxo has stopped a trial on a resveratrol-based drug that caused blood cancer in some patients. Resveratrol is an ingredient that is found in grapes, and it is known to slow aging, removes excess iron in men, prevents heart disease and Alzheimer’s Disease (in its natural form). Only the pharmaceutical companies could find a way to make it poisonous. The study has been halted while they ‘interpret the results’ to see if there is a substantially excessive number of “complications” (collateral damage).

We believe that it is time to disarm these weapons of mass destruction, and hold these people accountable for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Each year, it is more than the total that died from the entire Vietnam War.