Dr. Jonathan Cole, MD Considered to be the father of Psychopharmacology.
“People often dismiss patient reports forgetting that peer reviewed research is NOT what causes drugs to be pulled from the market. Its purpose is to get drugs approved, not removed.
What got Thalidomide removed from the market? It was the cases of missing arms and legs of the babies born to the mothers of those who took the drug.
This statement on the importance of anecdotal evidence as opposed to peer reviewed double blind studies is from Dr. Johnathan Cole, MD who is considered to be the father of Psychopharmacology:
“The real world is not perfect. Drugs can and do cause adverse effects which can resemble the manifestations of the illness and arguments about the causes and nature of these adverse events, including suicides, must rest on case reports [anecdotal evidence] and data collected in small studies for other purposes. . . If some cases stand out strikingly, there are logically others where the adverse effect is more subtle.”
. . . Dr. Jonathan Cole, MD
This website is a collection of about 5000 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 or in some cases family, friends, law enforcement or coroners have verified the presence of an antidepressant in a perpetrator.
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 in the year 2001 that over 200,000 people a year enter a general hospital with a diagnosed antidepressant-associated mania and/or psychosis. They were shocked by such high figures stating that since it is rare for physicians to recognize the antidepressant as the trigger for the mania that the actual figures of antidepressant-induced mania would be far higher. The subsequent harm from this prescribing can be seen in these about 5000 stories of those who never made it into a hospital before the mania resulted in tragedy for them and those around them.
This web site focuses mainly on the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), of which Prozac was the first and was also marketed as Sarafem (Prozac in a pink pill) for PMS. Other SSRIs are Zoloft, Paxil (Seroxat), Celexa, Lexapro, and Luvox. Other antidepressants included in this list are Anafranil and Trazadone (Desyrel) and the SNRIs Effexor, Serzone, Remeron, Cymbalta, Pristiq, Savella, Stratera given for ADHD as well as the dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant Wellbutrin (also marketed as Zyban).
Because we feel that for many years these cases went unnoticed until Prozac became so widespread and the other SSRIs and SNRIs followed we are particularly interested in gathering the older cases triggered by older antidepressants such as the Tricyclic antidepressants and MAO Inhibitor antidepressants. If you are aware of any cases you can report to our Survivor Stories please do so and if you have any news articles we can include of those older cases please submit them to us to post in this database of cases. Examples of some of the more high profile older cases would be the shooting of John Lennon and President Ronald Reagan by shooters on antidepressants as well as Charles Whitman who shot and killed wife and mother before shooting 14 more people from a tower at the University of Texas in Austin in 1966 plus the sudden death of Elvis Presley on Elavil.
|The Physicians’ Desk Reference lists the following adverse reactions
(side effects) to antidepressants among a host of other physical and neuropsychiatric effects:
- Manic Reaction (Mania, e.g., Kleptomania, Pyromania, Dipsomania)
- Abnormal Thinking
- Personality Disorder
- Abnormal Dreams
- Emotional Lability (Or Instability)
- Alcohol Abuse and/or Craving
- Paranoid Reactions
- Sleep Disorders
- Akathisia (Severe Inner Restlessness)
- Discontinuation (Withdrawal) Syndrome
The FDA has warned that any abrupt change in dose whether starting on, increasing or decreasing or discontinuing the drug, skipping doses by forgetting, or when switching from one antidepressant to another where you are both abruptly decreasing one antidepressant AND abruptly increasing the new antidepressant can cause suicide, hostility or psychosis – generally a manic psychosis which is often diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder or occasionally as Schizophrenia when it is caused by the abrupt change in dose. Another problem can be if another antidepressant is added to one you are already taking thus producing a synergistic affect.
Withdrawal, especially abrupt withdrawal, from any of these medications can cause severe neuropsychiatric as well as physical symptoms, both of which can be life threatening. It is therefore, very important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs, often over a period of a year or more depending upon how long you have been on any antidepressant or mix of antidepressant, under the supervision of a qualified and experienced specialist, if available. We also recommend that you obtain a copy of the safe withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant! (http://store.drugawareness.org/) by our Executive Director, Ann Blake Tracy, which has the safest methods we have found for withdrawal over the past two decades along with helps on rebuilding to rid yourself of any unpleasant after effects.
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.
48+ 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 5000 documented stories only represent the tip of an iceberg since most stories do not make it into the media. There are 68 cases of bizarre behavior, 48 school shootings/incidents, 52 road rage tragedies, 12 air rage incidents, 44 postpartum depression cases, over 600 murders (homicides), over 180 murder-suicides and other acts of violence including workplace violence on this site.
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 Site
To 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:
- ** 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 first character of the “Additional” column is a special character sequence (*,**,+,++), then the moderators of SSRIStories consider that story to be of special interest.
- 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
4. Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen, Curt D. Furberg. Prescription Drugs Associated With Reports of Violence Toward Others. PLoS Medicine: December 15, 2010