Prozac: Warning Labels and Side Effects Moira Dolan, M.D., Medical Accountability Network.
Hi, I’m Dr. Moira Dolan, internal medical physician with the Medical Accountability Network. A lot of people have been asking, “What is the connection between violence, suicide and homicide and antidepressant medications?”
Let’s take a look at this. There are numerous examples of people who have gone off on a shooting rampage and killed their classmates, their co-workers, members of their family and often took their own lives, then it was shortly discovered that they were taking an antidepressant. The apparency is that the person was mentally ill and went on a rage but when these cases have actually been looked at closer, what we find is that the person did not have any violent tendencies and in most cases was not even suicidal before they started treatment with their antidepressant medication.
Let’s take a look at what the manufacturers say about their own drugs in this class called antidepressants. I’m going to be reading here from package labels of various antidepressant medications. Now, the labeling is something that is required by the FDA, the wording of the labeling is “FDA Approved and Required.” Let’s take a look at what the FDA has required the manufacturers to reveal in their product labeling in their anti-depressant drugs regarding violence, homicide, and suicide.
I’m going to start by looking at the packaging insert for Prozac. Prozac is also known as fluoxitine. And here are some things that the manufacturer [Eli Lilly and Co.] themselves say about Prozac. One of the things that the manufacturer warns us and the FDA requires the manufacturer to let us know on the labels: These drugs can cause what is known as akathisia. Akathisia is a medical word that literally means “can’t sit still.” And it has two parts to it. The first part is what you can actually see in a person; the motor part of it, a person cannot sit still. They have restlessness, toe-tapping, shifting from leg to leg, pacing, in any case, they can’t sit still. They try to sit down or even to lie down and next thing you know, they’re hopping up again and they’re pacing, they look and act agitated. This [akathisia] is a straight-forward chemical effect of the drug.
SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are the pharmaceutical companies latest cash cows. Their use has skyrocketed in the last ten years. Nicknamed "Chemical Babysitters" and designated anti depressants, they are causing dozens of murders, thousands of psychoses and are altering the minds of millions of users. All but a very few of the latest "Mass Murderers" have been on these drugs. Schools encourage parents to put their children on these drugs for the smallest signs of "non conformity". Schools receive more money for "disabled" students.
The Scourge of Prozac
When I first heard about the Columbine High School massacre, my initial thought was, "Lord help us, were they taking Prozac?" Nine days later, it was reported that Eric Harris, one of the shooters, was taking Luvox, which, like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, belongs to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). In one out of every 25 children taking it, Luvox causes mania, "a psychosis characterized by exalted feelings, delusions of grandeur…and overproduction of ideas."
Likely due to pressure from the pharmaceutical industry-heavy advertisers in all media-the national debate on the epidemic of teen violence has ignored the widespread use of prescription drugs in teens and particularly those who have committed monstrous acts. However, the drug-violence link is frighteningly common. Fifteen-year-old Shawn Cooper of Notus, Idaho, fired a shotgun at students and school staff. According to his stepfather, he had been taking an SSRI. Thirteen-year-old Chris Fetters of Iowa killed her favorite aunt. She was taking Prozac. Kip Kinkel, a 15-year-old youth, went on a rampage in Oregon. He first shot and killed his parents, spent the night with the bodies (characteristic of the dissociative reaction these drugs often cause), then killed two and wounded 22 of his fellow students at Thurston High School. He was taking Prozac.
Look, folks, these are the acts of monsters. The accessibility of guns and violent movies alone does not create monsters out of children. But prescription drugs that markedly alter brain chemistry can-and do! Particularly drugs like Prozac, which are, in my opinion, the chemical equivalent of a ghoulish Stephen King monster hiding in the closet. A few people have tried to warn the neighborhood, but no one is listening. And SSRIs don't backfire in children only. In November 1991, 66-year-old Barbara Mortenson attacked her 81-year-old mother, biting her more than 20 times and leaving chunks of flesh strewn on the floor. Barbara had been taking Prozac for the previous two weeks. Kristine Marie Cushing, age 39, had been separated from her husband for several months. In October 1991, she took a .38-caliber pistol and shot and killed both of her children, Elizabeth age 8, and Stephanie Marie, age 4, while they lay sleeping in their beds, then shot herself, inflicting a non-fatal wound. Prosecutors stated that they "couldn't find one iota of information to show that she was anything but a very giving, caring and sweet human being." After a plea of insanity, she was committed to a mental institution. What made her snap? She had been taking Prozac. Ann Blake Tracy, Ph.D., author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?, has been studying the violent, dark side of SSRI drugs for ten years. She has researched 32 murder/suicides that involved women and their children. By interviewing their families and studying autopsy reports, news accounts and medical histories, she has determined that in 24 of these 32 cases, the women were taking Prozac or another SSRI.
An in depth look at school shootings, and the commonly known side effects of SSRIs, reveals the drugs to be a primary factor leading to violence.
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Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs, are commonly used to treat depression in children and adolescents. In 2005, the Center for Disease Control reported that 118 million prescriptions had been written for anti-depressants, and that the number of people using anti-depressants had “almost tripled between the periods 1988-1994 and 1999-2000”. One popular SSRI drug called Prozac has been prescribed to more than 38 million people worldwide.
As more and more people are given SSRIs to combat depression, mounting evidence suggests that the side effects of SSRIs can lead to violent behavior and suicide. Many of the high fatality school shootings of the past 10 years have involved shooters who had been prescribed SSRIs. An in depth look at school shootings, and the commonly known side effects of SSRIs, reveals the drugs to be a primary factor leading to violence.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors work by altering the patient’s brain chemistry. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is released by one neuron to make another neuron fire, and is linked to mood and behavior. Serotonin is released into the space between neurons, called the synapse. In the natural course of events, the serotonin is then reabsorbed into the neuron it originally came from. SSRIs block this reuptake of the serotonin into the neuron. The idea is that with more serotonin in the synapse, the activity of the neurons will increase, which theoretically leads to better moods for some patients.
Unfortunately SSRIs can cause many different side effects. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV is the most widely used source of diagnostic information for mental health by health professionals. It has “consistently confirmed that all anti-depressants can cause mania” which is a “potentially psychotic condition of intense mental and emotional excitement”. Mania often involves feelings of invulnerability, extreme power, farfetched and elaborate plans, as well as the urge to commit violence. A recent controlled clinical trial of the SSRI Prozac showed that it caused mania in six percent of the test subjects. Other side effects of Prozac include agitation, anxiety, instability, confusion, hallucinations, hostility and psychosis. Studies have also repeatedly shown an increased risk of suicide for people taking an SSRI.