Medications & suicide
Before this present Golden Age of professional psychiatry, clinical
excellence and synthetic medicines: There was a scientific Dark Age, where these profit
making sciences cast no healing light.
In that dark bygone age characterized by ignorance and fear; failed suicides could find themselves
placed in physical restraint and locked away in a mental institution.
Nowdays, failed suicides can find themselves placed in pharmacuetical
restraint and locked away in a mental institution.
Isn't progress marvellous !!!
Volumes are spoken on the subject of mental illness. Vast fortunes and great reputations
have been founded on the belief that mental illness, is an 'illness' - and as such is curable. The greatest advocate of this
message is the pharmaceutical giants.
One of the most common mental health problems is depression. One in 6 people in the UK will suffer from depression
at some point in their life, and it is most prevalent among people aged 25-44.
According to the 2003 WHO fact sheet on mental health in Europe, 33.4 million people in the region suffer
from depression in any given year, and more than 30 million people in the world have now
been prescribed the anti-depressant Prozac.
It is believed that for every successful suicide there are between 20 to 30 others whose attempts
are unsuccessful. A large percentage of these people attend hospital A&E departments voluntarily;
where many are simply regarded as attention seekers/self-harmers, patched up and sent home - even with ligature
marks around their necks. They are simply turned away bewildered afraid and in desperate need of help. It almost seems
that if individuals are able to present themselves to A&E departments ( because they recognise the need
for professional assistance ) the likelihood appears to be that they will simply be referred to their family doctor.
Other people who do not self-refer appear more likely to find themselves 'physically restrained',
'detained' and 'forcibly medicated '
Survivors of 'involuntary hospitalization' and 'pharmacuetical restraint' following a failed suicide attempt
are often released from mental health institutions in a 'pharmacuetically restrained' state of being. Drugged,
disempowered, marginalised, isolated, scared and traumatised. They are abandoned to the
mercy of an indifferent, often hostile society. Where these shattered and heavily stigmatised
individuals are frequently snubbed or shunned by former colleagues and friends. They often encounter rising
levels of exclusion, ostracision and even ridicule.
Not surprisingly this can lead to a more profound depression and an even
greater likelihood of eventual suicide.
Almost 100% of those detained would have been administered anti-depressants exposing
them to a wide range of scary side-effects. Problems of dependency, disturbing withdrawal symptoms, and even suicidal thoughts
and feelings.The widely used SEROXAT (for example) has been linked with a seven-fold increase in
According to 'The Voice': The independent mental health newsletter: Research by the Mental Health
Foundation found that almost 80% of GP's (doctors) prescribe anti-depressants even though they believe other treatments would
be more effective. 66% did this because there was no suitable alternative (such as counselling, exercise, acupuncture) that
they could prescribe. In 2003: there were 26 million prescriptions for anti-depressants
issued in England alone.
The US pharmaceutical industry is one of the most profitable industries in the history of the world.
Drug costs have been the most rapidly rising element in health care spending in recent years. Antidepressant medications rank
third in pharmaceutical sales worldwide, with $13.4 billion in sales last year alone.
Another possible killer medication is Prozac, called fluoxetine by generic name, is a psychiatric drug prescribed to
over 50.000.000. people including millions of children.
The drug was linked to increased suicides and violence as early as 1988, in a recently emerged document. Apparently the
evaluation was known to Prozac's maker ELI LILLY as early as the 'eighties', but was never given to the FDA.
This is the preoccupying picture that emerged just a few days ago, as The BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL passed on documents
to the FDA which it had received from an anonymous whistle blower.
Can such a "head in the sand" policy be characterised as merely overzealous business practice, or is it an indication
of something more devastating?
ELI LILLY is one of the multinational drug companies that have developed the 'TEXAS MEDICATION
ALOGRITHM PROJECT', which is part of George Bush IIs sweeping program to test kids at school as well as pregnant mothers for
'psychiatric disorders'. Prozac is one of the drugs that are to be given to kids who don't meet the evaluating personnel's
standards of 'normal' behaviour'
(Later in the same report)
When recently, antidepressant drugs received FDA mandated warning labels, Prozac wasn't on the list and indeed, in Europe
the drug has been called "safe for children" for yeatrs. Recently, the whole FDA approval system for drugs
has been questioned as being TOO INDUSTRY FRIENDLY, and apparently with good reason. After recent
revelations of heart attack risk for the users of several "new generation" painkillers - Vioxx, Bextra, Celebrex and others,
the FDA's poicy of sustaining the profits of the pharamaceutical industry, in sharp contrast with
it's official mission of protecting patients from dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, has been publicly questioned.
|FDA to review "missing" drug company documents
The US Food and Drug Administration has agreed to review confidential drug company documents that went missing during a
controversial product liability suit more than 10 years ago. The documents appear to suggest a link between the drug fluoxetine
(Prozac), made by Eli Lilly, and suicide attempts and violence.
The missing documents, which were sent to the BMJ by an anonymous source last month, include reviews and memos indicating
that Eli Lilly officials were aware in the 1980s that fluoxetine had troubling side effects and sought to minimise their likely
negative effect on prescribing.
The documents received by the BMJ reportedly went missing during the 1994 Wesbecker case that grew out of a lawsuit filed
on behalf of victims of a work-place shooting in 1989. Joseph Wesbecker, armed with an AK-47, shot eight people dead and wounded
another 12. He then shot and killed himself. Mr Wesbecker, who had a long history of depression, had been placed on fluoxetine
one month before the shootings.
bmj.com 1 Jan
One of the internal company documents, a report of 8 November 1988, entitled "Activation and Sedation in Fluoxetine Clinical
Trials," found that in clinical trials "38% of fluoxetine-treated patients reported new activation but 19% of placebo-treated
patients also reported new activation yielding a difference of 19% attributable to fluoxetine."
The FDA recently issued a warning that antidepressants can cause a cluster of "activating" or stimulating symptoms such
as agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, and aggressiveness. Dr Joseph Glenmullen, a Harvard psychiatrist and author of The
Antidepressant Solution, published by Free Press, said it should come as little surprise that fluoxetine might cause serious
behavioural disturbances, as it is similar to cocaine in its effects on serotonin.
Dr Richard Kapit, the FDA clinical reviewer who approved fluoxetine, said he was not given the Lilly data. "These data
are very important. If this report was done by Lilly or for Lilly, it was their responsibility to report it to us and to publish
Congressman Maurice Hinchey's office is currently reviewing the documents to determine whether Lilly withheld data from
the public and the FDA. Mr Hinchey (Democrat, New York) said: "This is an alarming study that should have been shared with
the public and the FDA from the get-go, not 16 years later.
"This case demonstrates the need for Congress to mandate the complete disclosure of all clinical studies for FDA-approved
drugs so that patients and their doctors, not the drug companies, decide whether the benefits of taking a certain medicine
outweigh the risks."
The plaintiffs in the Wesbecker product liability sought to show that Eli Lilly withheld negative study data from the FDA
and that fluoxetine tipped Wesbecker over into a homicidal rage. Lilly won a 9 to 3 jury verdict in late 1994 and subsequently
claimed that it was "proven in a court of law... that Prozac is safe and effective."
The trial judge, Justice John Potter, suspecting that a secret deal had been struck, pursued Lilly and the plaintiffs,
eventually forcing Lilly in 1997 to admit that it had made a secret settlement with the plaintiffs during the trial. Infuriated
by Lilly's actions, Judge Potter ordered the finding changed from a verdict in Lilly's favour to one of "dismissed as settled
with prejudice," saying, "Lilly sought to buy not just the verdict but the court's judgment as well."
David Graham, currently associate director in the FDA's Office of Drug Safety, criticised the analysis of post-marketing
surveillance data submitted by Lilly to the FDA. After discovering that Lilly failed to obtain systematic assessments of violence
and had excluded 76 of 97 cases of reported suicidality, Dr Graham concluded in a memo dated 11 September 1990 that "because
of apparent large-scale underreporting, [Lilly's] analysis cannot be considered as proving that fluoxetine and violent behavior
An FDA advisory panel was convened in 1991 to review the fluoxetine data. It concluded that fluoxetine was safe despite
the concerns raised by Dr Graham and others, leading critics to point out that several of the panellists had financial ties
to Eli Lilly.
Dr Glenmullen said the missing documents obtained by the BMJ provide "the missing link" between the recent advisory issued
by the FDA and what Lilly scientists knew 16 years ago.
Since the 1991 FDA hearings Dr Peter Breggin, who served as the medical expert in the Wesbecker case, has warned that the
stimulant effects of fluoxetine can cause suicide and violence. He cautions that the 38% activation rate reported in the missing
document is probably low because "it doesn't include other symptoms of activation such as panic attacks, hypomania, and mania."
Dr Kapit, the original reviewer for fluoxetine, told the BMJ, "If we have good evidence that we were misled and data were
withheld then I would change my mind [about the safety of fluoxetine]. I do agree now that these stimulatory side effects,
especially in regards to suicidal ideation and homicidal ideation, are worse than I thought at the time that I reviewed the
Lilly declined to be interviewed but issued a written statement saying, "Prozac has helped to significantly improve millions
of lives. It is one of the most studied drugs in the history of medicine, and has been prescribed for more than 50 million
people worldwide. The safety and efficacy of Prozac is well studied, well documented, and well established."
Antidepressants are said to work for 35 to 45% of the depressed population, while more recent figures suggest as low
as 30%. Standard antidepressants, SSRIs such as PROZAC, PAXHIL (AROPAX) and ZOLOFT, have recently been revealed to have serious
risks, and are linked to SUICIDE, violence, psychosis, abnormal bleeding and brain tumors.
Antidepressants Cited in Suicide
The negative side effects of the anti-depressant prescription medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
(SSRIs) have been long suspected, and may have contributed to several schoolyard shootings including the Columbine massacre.
Now, if a pending court case goes forward, there may even be a link proven to suicide.
A story in Fortune magazine details the case of Tim "Woody" Witczak, whose wife Kimberly is claiming her husband's suicide
two years ago was directly caused by the SSRI Zoloft. As the story outlines it, Mr Witczak had very little reason to take
his own life: "Shortly before his death he had been named vice president of sales at a startup that sold energy-efficient
lighting." But when "anxiety about the new job" caused insomnia, he was prescribed Zoloft. After a couple of weeks on the
medication, he reportedly began experiencing "nightmares, profound agitation, and eerie sensory experiences." According to
his wife, at one point he said he felt as if his head was detatched from his body,only to calm down shortly thereafter. But
within another couple of weeks - about five weeks after his first dose - he hanged himself from the rafters in their garage
when Kim was out of town, leaving no suicide note.
Kim is suing Pfizer, maker of the drug, alleging that Zoloft induced the suicide and that the company failed to warn
about the drug's potential to cause perilous side effects. Pfizer is of course denying any responsibility for the death, or
any connections between it and their medications. The FDA slapped a so-called "black-box warning" on all SSRIs last year,
in the face of repeated stories about children with adverse reactions. As far as Columbine goes, there are additional reports
that go well beyond the hypothesis that drugs are responsible for the entire affair. Questions have been raised, but never
conclusively answered, about the variety of outside involvement. And these questions linger, much as questions about 9/11