Re: The verdict on killer drugs
Nov 03, 2004 02:16 AM
Beware of gifts from the "Big Buck Pharma" hiding behind the "Bush" -- (that
we may have to pay for in more ways than one for at least the next 4 years or
so, no matter who wins this election :-(). Be assured that "Brave New World"
is here, now. LM
Reprinted from the Daily Dose, http://www.realhealthnews.com/rhbindexie.shtml
Prescription for murder?
Much has been made of the risks of antidepressants to our
adolescents, both in these pages and (finally) in the mainstream
press. Not to belabor the issue, but much of the focus has been on
whether or not these drugs cause teenagers to contemplate or
But another question is this: How much study is being directed at
whether or not these poisons cause kids to become violent against
their fellow man?
A current court case seems poised to blow the debate on this topic
wide open. It involves a South Carolina youth named Christopher Pittman,
charged with shot-gunning his grandparents to death in cold blood (then
setting their house on fire) just weeks after starting on the popular
prescription antidepressant Zoloft. He was 12 years old at the time.
Before taking the medication, Pittman showed no pattern of
violence or hostility toward his family or anyone else, according to
his relatives. And a forensic psychologist retained by Pittman's
lawyers contends that the murders were definitely triggered by an
adverse reaction to the drug. Naturally, the drug's maker, Pfizer,
denies this possibility, and has experts of its own "educating" the
South Carolina prosecutor whose task it is to prosecute the youth.
Of course, I don't mean to trivialize these deaths, and I'm all for
the harsh punishment of murderers—regardless of their age. And
while I don't view any drug use (prescription or otherwise) as an
excuse for murder, I must wonder: Would this boy have pulled the
trigger on his guardians if he hadn't been hopped-up on
Beyond this, I wonder if there's evidence of a pattern here. I mean,
has anyone bothered to look into how many other similar crimes
among young adults — school shootings, parental slayings,
murderous assaults, and the like — have been committed while
under the influence of antidepressants? Is there a common thread
of medication running through the Columbine massacre, the
Menendez case, and others?
It's a logical question to ask, especially since among adults,
aggressive behavior is a noted side-effect of antidepressant drugs.
In fact, some highly publicized court cases involving crimes of
violence have been pinned squarely on the makers of these mind-
altering chemicals. In June of 2001, a Wyoming jury ordered
GlaxoSmithKline to pay $6.5 million to the family of a man who
murdered his wife, daughter and granddaughter two days after
starting on their antidepressant Paxil. In light of this kind of
verdict, is it really so unreasonable to conclude that another in this
same class of drug might've sent poor Christopher Pittman over
In my opinion, not at all. But such things need to be studied —
thoroughly and objectively — while sales of these drugs are halted
in the meantime.
As disturbing as the thought may be that medicated kids might kill
themselves or go on murderous rampages at any moment, it's even
more disturbing to learn that these kinds of behaviors may not be
triggered ONLY by drugs aimed at treating those who are
depressed or otherwise in a bad way mentally.
Led by a Michigan Congressman whose son committed suicide
while taking the drug, a bi-partisan group of four lawmakers is
taking the FDA to task about the mental health side-effects of the
prescription drug Accutane. What's this medication for, you ask?
Depression? Bi-polar disorder? Nope...
It's for acne.
That's right. A 20-year-old acne medicine that millions of
American kids are no doubt taking every day has been linked to a
stunning array of negative psychiatric conditions including suicide,
depression, psychosis, violent and aggressive behaviors, mood
swings, emotional instability, paranoia, and changes in personality.
Kind of makes you wonder what other "harmless" drugs out there
could turn you (or your grandchild) into a psychopath or suicide
victim, doesn't it?
According to a recent Associated Press article, the band of
concerned Congressmen I mentioned before have called upon
Tommy Thompson, the Secretary of Health and Human Services,
to force the FDA to pull Accutane from shelves until more
research has been conducted on these adverse affects on our
Will it happen? Not a chance, if the current trend of the FDA to
fiercely protect drug makers from even the slightest loss of profit is
What about loss of life — from acne medication, antidepressants,
or what have you?
To the FDA and drug makers, that's just part of the cost of doing
Murderin' mad about deadly drug deceptions,
William Campbell Douglass II, MD
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