– SSRI Stories Antidepressant Nightmares (SSRI Stories):
“We Speak for the Dead to Protect the Living”
Withdrawal can often be more dangerous than continuing on a medication. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs, usually over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified specialist. Withdrawal is sometimes more severe than the original
symptoms or problems.
This website is a collection of 4,800+ news stories with the full media article available, mainly criminal in nature, that have appeared in the media (newspapers, TV, scientific journals) or that were part of FDA testimony in either 1991, 2004 or 2006, in which antidepressants are mentioned.
This web site focuses on the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), of which Prozac (fluoxetine) was the first. Other SSRIs are Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine) (known in the UK as Seroxat), Celexa (citalopam), Lexapro (escitalopram), and Luvox (fluvoxamine). Other newer antidepressants included in this list are Remeron (mirtazapine), Anafranil (clomipramine) and the SNRIs Effexor (venlafaxine), Cymbalta (duloxetine) and Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) as well as the dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant Wellbutrin (bupropion) (also marketed as Zyban).
Although SSRI Stories only features cases which have appeared in the media, starting March 2012 there will be a Website: http://www.rxisk.org/ which will allow personal stories to appear in a different Website from SSRI Stories. This is the work of Dr. David Healy http://davidhealy.org/welcome-to-data-based-medicine
As Dr. David Healy notes in his article “Welcome to Data Based Medicine”, ‘Third: This site will in due course have a category of posts for people who have been through the system, people who have had partners, parents, children or friends injured by treatments and who have found themselves trapped in a Kafkaesque world when they have sought help from doctors, regulators or others who seem to be there to help us. These stories are aimed at highlighting the lunacy of the current system but also showing how someone who is determined can change everything. These stories will likely migrate to: http://www.rxisk.org/ when it is up and running.’ Sign up now and be prepared to tell your story.
Antidepressants have been recognized as potential inducers of mania and psychosis since their introduction in the 1950s. Klein and Fink1 described psychosis as an adverse effect of the older tricyclic antidepressant imipramine. Since the introduction of Prozac in December, 1987, there has been a massive increase in the number of people taking antidepressants. Preda and Bowers2 reported that over 200,000 people a year in the U.S. enter a hospital with antidepressant-associated mania and/or psychosis. The subsequent harm from this prescribing can be seen in these 4,800+ stories.
Before the introduction of Prozac in Dec. 1987, less than one percent of the population in the U.S. was diagnosed with bipolar disorder – also known as manic depression. Now, with the widespread prescribing of antidepressants, the percent of the population in the United States that is diagnosed with bipolar disorder (swing from depression to mania or vice versa) has risen to 4.4%3 . This is almost one out of every 23 people in the U.S.
The Physicians’ Desk Reference
Adverse reactions are most likely to occur when starting or discontinuing the drug, increasing or lowering the dose or when switching from one SSRI to another. Adverse reactions are often diagnosed as bipolar disorder when the symptoms may be entirely iatrogenic (treatment induced). Withdrawal, especially abrupt withdrawal, from any of these medications can cause severe neuropsychiatric and physical symptoms. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs, often over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified and experienced specialist, if available. Withdrawal is sometimes more severe than the original symptoms or problems.
66 School Shootings/Incidents Involving SSRIs
Most of the stories on this site describe events that occurred after the year 2000. The increase in online news material and the efficiency of search engines has greatly increased the ability to track stories. Even these 4,800+ documented stories only represent the tip of an iceberg since most stories do not make it into the media. There are 115 cases of bizarre behavior, 66 school shootings/incidents, 68 road rage tragedies, 19 air rage incidents, 101 arson cases, 70 postpartum depression cases, over 1,000 murders (homicides) or murder attempts, over 300 murder-suicides (30% committed by women) and other acts of violence including workplace violence on this site. There are also over 100 Journal Articles and FDA reports listed in the Index. They are at the top of the Index immediately below the 66 school shootings/incidents and the 29 “won” criminal cases.
FDA Public Health Advisory
- On March 22, 2004 the FDA published a Public Health Advisory that reiterates several of these side effects and states (in part) “Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and non-psychiatric.” (Click Links button at bottom of this page for a direct link to this FDA Warning.)
- On September 14, 2004 the FDA added a Black Box Warning in regard to antidepressants & suicidality in those under age 18.
- On September 14, 2004 the FDA mandated that pharmacies provide to all parents or guardians for those younger than 18 an Antidepressant Patient Medication Guide. This guide reads (in part) “Call healthcare provider right away if you or your family member has any of the following symptoms: Acting aggressive, being angry, or violent & acting on dangerous impulses.” This Antidepressant Patient Medication Guide also states “Never stop an antidepressant medicine without first talking to a healthcare provider. Stopping an antidepressant medicine suddenly can cause other symptoms.” (Click Links button at bottom of this page for a direct link to this FDA Antidepressant Guide.)
- On December 13, 2006, the Black Box Warning for suicidality was updated to include those under age 25. The Black Box Warning is included in the insert to the drugs and in the Physicians’ Desk reference.
An Absence of Controlled Scientific Evidence
In the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 14, Number 1, Spring 2009, there is a journal article by Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D., which is titled: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Drugs: More Risk Than Benefits?” In reference to SSRIStories.com, Dr. Kaufmann made the following statement: “Since no clinical trial involving multiple homicides is ever likely to be run, no firmer evidence is likely to be found. Healy noted that much of the evidence for suicide and murder came from the efforts of journalists and lawyers”.
To read the full article go to the Links page on this site (click the button at the bottom of this page).
Japanese Warning on Violence
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan has investigated reports where people on antidepressants have committed sudden acts of violence against others. The agency has decided to revise the warnings on the medication guide to read, “There are cases where we cannot rule out a causal relationship with the medication.”
A Public Health Problem of Epidemic Proportions
There is a grave concern among advocates that adverse reactions are greatly underestimated by the public, the medical profession, and the regulatory authorities. Each of these stories in our list can be interpreted as an adverse reaction and in most cases we have highlighted the portion of the article that refers to evidence of bizarre behavioral change consistent with drug reaction. In some stories causation is acknowledged and the juxtaposition of these stories with those where it goes unrecognized as well as the repetition of themes and circumstances is chilling. If indeed medications played a significant role in all these tragedies, then this is a public health problem of epidemic proportions on a global scale.
How to Use This Web SiteTo enter the site, click on the button below. This will bring up the site index. The index contains 5 columns, each with its own column header displayed in red. Clicking on the column header will re-sort the index according to that heading. A link to the complete media article or testimony, often with a summary heading, is available by clicking on the “What” column entry displayed in blue.
There are 2 flags set in the index which have special meaning as follows:
- If the first character of the “Additional” column is a special character sequence (*,**,+,++), then the moderators of SSRIStories consider that story to be of special interest.
- ** Indicates a school shooting or school incident.
- * Indicates a legal case won using SSRI defense.
- ++ Indicates an important journal article.
- + Indicates a highly publicized case.
- If the last character of the “Drug” column is an asterisk, it indicates some expert has indicated the drug contributed to the events documented in the story.
1 Klein DF, Fink M. Psychiatric Reaction Patterns to Imipramine. Am Journal Psychiatry 1962; 119: 432-438
2 Preda and Bowers. Antidepressant-Associated Mania and Psychosis Resulting in Psychiatric Admissions . Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2001: 62: 30-33
3 National Institute of Mental Health: Health Magazine 2010
4Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen, Curt D. Furberg. Prescription Drugs Associated With Reports of Violence Toward Others. PLoS Medicine: December 15, 2010