Spiral of Violence Blamed on Prozac

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Spiral Of Violence Blamed On Prozac

By Anthony Browne - Health Editor - The Observer

http://newsunlimited.co.uk/Print/0,3858,3973045,00.html 3-14-00

Prozac, the world's best-selling anti-depressant, is being blamed for turning healthy, placid people violent. It is thought to have led to crimes that include murder.

Clinical research to be published soon will show that up to one in 10 adults who take Prozac can become belligerent and pose a risk to others and themselves. The study is the strongest vindication yet of mental health campaigners, who claim dozens of people have been wrongly imprisoned because of the effects Prozac has had on their behaviour. In the US, school shootings have been linked to number of children given Prozac and other anti-depressants.

In the first clinical trial of its kind, Dr David Healy, director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Wales, gave Prozac to a volunteer group of mentally healthy adults and found even their behaviour was affected. He said: 'We can make healthy volunteers belligerent, fearful, suicidal, and even pose a risk to others.'

Healy says between one in 20 and one in 10 people who take Prozac can be affected by akathisia, whereby they become mentally restless or manic and lose all inhibitions about their actions 'People don't care about the consequences as you'd normally expect. They're not bothered about contemplating something they would usually be scared of,' he said. The study is a potentially devastating blow for the US drug company Eli Lilly, which has made millions from Prozac. In a statement last night the company said: 'Since its discovery in 1972, Prozac has become one of the world's most studied drugs. An extensive review of scientific evidence has demonstrated no causal link between Prozac and aggressive behaviour.' Previous studies linking Prozac to violence have been discredited because aggressive behaviour could be caused by patients' personality disorders, not the drug. Healy's study is the first to show Prozac can affect even healthy individuals.

Pam Armstrong, co-founder of the Counselling and Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction helpline, said: 'I have come across a huge number of cases, from bizarre behaviour to aggression.'

Stephen Bryson, a surgical nurse, was prescribed Prozac after a close friend died, and his associates were alarmed by his increasingly bizarre behaviour. 'I was swearing, touching friends up in private parts and would pick arguments for the sake of it and threaten their lives. I ran around town stark naked and ran up debts of #10,000. I became quite violent,' said Bryson. 'I had no awareness of ... right from wrong. I was high as a kite.'

Bryson eventually attacked his partner with a knife. 'He was saved by the bell. If the phone hadn't rung, I would have killed him.' Bryson was given a 12-month jail sentence. Three months after ditching Prozac, he was 'back to my old self'.

Ramzia Kabbani, who set up the Prozac Survivors Support Group a year ago, said: 'People are going to prison for what amounts to medical negligence. If they're throwing the book at vulnerable individuals, they should be throwing the book at the doctors who prescribe the medicine as well.'

In the US, the widespread use of anti-depressants and easy availability of guns is thought to be responsible for mass killings. Eric Harris, 18, from Columbine High School in Colorado, who last year shot 12 fellow students and a teacher, had been taking Luvox, similar to Prozac. In 1998 Kip Kinkel, 14, killed his parents before going on a shooting spree at his high school in Springfield, Oregon, killing two and injuring 22. He took Prozac.

Last month a US judge in Connecticut acquitted a bank robber who blamed his behaviour on Prozac. In what is thought to be the first ruling of its kind, Superior Court Judge Richard Arnold freed Christopher DeAngelo, a 28-year-old insurance agent, because the defendant was unable to appreciate his actions were wrong. Defence lawyer John Williams said: 'This was someone who was driven to commit crimes because of prescription drugs.'

Eli Lilly said it has been successful in helping defeat 70 other cases where alleged criminals blamed their behaviour on Prozac. However, Healy said: 'Eli Lilly is legally trapped. They might like to admit that Prozac causes violence, but they could open themselves up to all sorts of claims.'


* Prozac Survivors Support Group helpline: 0161 682 3296; Counselling & Tranquilliser Addiction helpline 0151 949 0102

(c) Copyright Guardian Media Group plc. 2000

-- suzy (suzy@nowhere.com), March 14, 2000


I stand by what I said the first time this thread was posted:

I've been on Ritalin for ten years now, for ADD. I haven't had a problem with it. Ritalin is the most studied drug because it was originally engineered as a diet drug; it was found to have a good effect on people suffering from ADD (then it was know as "minimal brain dysfunction"). As a LCSW, I have many clients who are on Prozac. I, myself, am not able to dispense drugs, FYI, just to provide counseling services. I haven't encountered anyone nor even heard of anyone who has had violent episodes due to Prozac specifically. Those whom I know to have had violent episodes had the episdoes before they started the drug.

You should be aware that the Church of Scientology is opposed to psychiatric drugs, and psychotherapy in general, because their beliefs preclude beinging those people into their clut for the purposes of scamming money from them The Church of Scientology uses several satellite organizations that are affiliated with the church that spread lies and disinormation about psychotherapy and psychoactive drugs. For more information, check out http://xenu.net/.

-- Anonymous (onritalin@knowsaboutprozac.com), March 13, 2000.

-- Anonymous (onritalin@knowsaboutprozac.com), March 14, 2000.

A discussion is currently going on in this thread with same title and same article:


-- Lynx (links@re.us), March 14, 2000.

The trouble is, these people aren't "normal" controls from the population who suddenly become violent. They are people with mental illness. Prozac has also been blamed for people who commit suicide while on it, but I feel this is incorrect for the same reason: while very depressed, people don't have the energy to carry out their suicidal/homicidal ideations, but when they start recovering on their SSRI they do, causing these crimes of violence.

In a way, the occasional guy attacking someone else or himself shows these drugs work. Remember, they are given to LOTS of people. If associated violence was a real problem, they'd be off the market by now.

Just a j6p with an unfounded opinion,


-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), March 14, 2000.

The problem does not reside in treatment of chemical imbalance with the proper therapeutic protocol. The problem is "fashionable"therapies: In working with child protective service clients back in the eighties there was an increasing use of the tri- cyclic antidepressants in the adult (parent) population. After that trend had established itself, research found that the tricyclics tend to lower the threshold for agression. Therefore..... Consumers in the medical milieu are less at the mercy of their providers due to information available on the net and disclosure requirements of side effects of medications as mandated by law.However, any psychoactive medication poses risks. Caveat emptor.

-- mike in houston (mmorris67@hotmail.com), March 14, 2000.

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