Glenn McIntosh family has to introduce their 12-year-old daughter Caitlin
with a photograph because that is all they have left. Caitlin committed
suicide eight weeks after being prescribed the SSRIs Paxil and Zoloft.
"We were told that
antidepressants like Paxil and Zoloft were wonder drugs, that they were
safe and effective for children. We were lied to," Caitlin's father said.
According to Glenn, his daughter was a straight-A student, an artist, and
a talented musician who loved animals and wanted to be a veterinarian.
With the onset of puberty, Caitlin seemed to be having trouble coping, and
was also having sleeping problems due to a mild seizure disorder.
"We wanted to help, of course," her father explains, "so we took her to
our family physician who prescribed her Paxil."
Right off the bat, Caitlin did not do well on Paxil, so the doctor took
her off the drug. About a week later the family went to see a psychiatrist
and Caitlin was put on Zoloft.
According to Glenn, "She then started having strong suicidal ideations,
along with severe agitation known as akathisia and hallucinations, and she
was put in the adolescent ward of a mental hospital to balance her meds."
Once she entered the hospital, the situation got worse as Caitlin was put
on more and more psychiatric drugs to treat symptoms and behaviors that
Glenn says he now realizes were caused by the SSRIs to begin with.
When she was released from the hospital, the downward spiral continued
until the day that Caitlin used her shoelaces to hang herself in a
bathroom at school.
"Let me be very clear about something," Glenn said, "the dramatic and
severe symptoms that led to my daughter's suicide manifested only after
she started taking antidepressant drugs."
"The pharmaceutical companies have known for years that these drugs could
cause suicide in some patients," Glenn said. "Why didn't we?"
Grieving the loss of their 14-year-old daughter Dominique, Lorraine and
Robert Slater also make the point that, "informed parental consent is only
possible as long as full disclosure is made by the pharmaceutical
companies, the FDA, and the medical community."
"How can teenagers be allowed to be given antidepressants that were never
approved for adolescent consumption, only for adults?" Lorraine wants to
know. "How come the medical profession doesn't fully disclose the possible
harmful and fatal effects of medication as well as watch carefully for
diverse effects on its adolescent population?"
Shortly after she was prescribed Celexa, Dominique attempted suicide. She
was treated by several mental health professionals after her initial
adverse reaction to the first SSRI.
And, each time they met with professionals, her parents explained that the
drugs seemed to maker Dominique's condition worse rather than better.
Unfortunately, as so often happens, the adverse reactions and behaviors
caused by the SSRIs were treated as a worsening of an underlying condition
and Dominique was prescribed other drugs from the same class.
"Dominique's mind and behavior were slowly being altered to the point that
she became very agitated, irrational, ultimately suicidal," her mother
recounts, "because none of the so-called medical professionals
acknowledged the drug's role in her irrational and suicidal behavior or
properly withdrew her from their suicidal effects."
On February 6, 2003, Dominique was switched to the SSRI Effexor, and
during the two weeks that followed, her doctor doubled the dose.
On the morning of February 21, 2003, Robert dropped his daughter off at
school and they said goodbye as usual. Around 11 am, Dominique told her
teacher she needed to go outside for some fresh air. She left classroom
and never returned.
Next to nothing is known about Dominique's activities from the time she
left school on February 21, until her body was found three weeks later in
the Delta Mendota canal in California on April 14, 2003.
Lorraine is still racked with guilt and blames herself for giving her
daughter the prescribed medication. "How can you imagine I feel, knowing
now that I was slowly poisoning my daughter every day as I was dispensing
her antidepressant medication?" she said.
Tom and Kathy Woodward's daughter Julie, who had no history of suicide or
self-harm, hung herself in a matter of days after being prescribed Zoloft.
"Julie began experiencing akathisia almost immediately," Tom recalls.
But he knew nothing about Zoloft's side effect of "akathisia" at the time.
The doctor had stressed that Zoloft was safe and had very few side
effects. He never advised Tom and Kathy about the possibility of violence,
self-harm, or suicidal acts and the information they received with the
drug never mentioned self-harm or suicide either.
According to her parents, Julie was a young woman who had everything to
live for. Just weeks before her death, she had scored high on her SATs and
was excited about starting college.
However, "instead of picking out colleges with our daughter, my wife and I
had to pick out a cemetery plot for her," Tom said. "Instead of looking
forward to visiting Julie at school, we now visit her grave," he added.
Like so many other cases of suicides of young people on SSRIs, Julie's
body apparently could not handle the drug. "We now know from a blood test
from the coroner's office, that she was not metabolizing the drug," Tom
Tom and Kathy are angry at government officials. "The FDA has placed the
interests of the drug industry over protecting the American public," Tom
said, "if the trials don't favor a drug, the public never hears of them."
"It is clear that the FDA is a political entity," he continued, "and its
leadership has protected the economic interests of the drug industry."
Tom believes that suppressing unfavorable studies should be illegal. "The
drug industry must be compelled to produce all of their findings and
studies," he said.
Cheryl and Mark Miller lost their 13-year-old son Matthew to suicide after
a psychiatrist gave him Zoloft. His parents were told that Matt had a
chemical imbalance that could be helped by a new, wonder drug called
"It was safe, effective, only two minor side effects were cautioned with
us -- insomnia, indigestion," they said.
While on the drug, Matt became agitated, could not eat, sleep or sit
still. The night before the family was set to leave for vacation, Matt
hung himself in a bedroom closet from a hook, barely higher than he was
"To commit this unthinkable act," Mark said, "he was able to pull his legs
up off the floor and hold himself that way until he lost consciousness."
His parents had no warning of their son's plan to kill himself. Mark had
never spoken about suicide or threatened to commit suicide.
Mark and Cheryle have since learned that Matt's doctor has served as "a
well-paid spokesman for Pfizer," the maker of Zoloft.
Terri Williams' 14-year-old son Jacob was an exceptional athlete and
participated in both the varsity and junior varsity football teams at his
In September 2000, Jacob seemed to lose interest in school activities
except for football, and a conflict arose with regard to his grades and
school attendance. As a result, his parents attended a conference in
October 2000, at which the school administrator suggested that Jacob might
be depressed and recommended seeking medical help.
Terri contacted Jacob's pediatrician and made an appointment for the same
afternoon. The doctor prescribed Prozac, and three weeks later increased
Shortly after he started taking the drug, Jacob complained of having
strange bad dreams and shortly after the dose was increased, his mother
noticed an aggressive behavior which had not been there before. "Jacob
also became destructive and destroyed some of his favorite things," Terri
When questioned, Jacob told his mother, "I don't know what is making me do
this." Terri wrote it off to normal adolescent behavior and did not pursue
the issue further.
On December 5, 2000, Terri found Jacob's body hanging from the rafter in
their attic. He had hung himself with his own belt. He left a letter on
the ladder leading up to the attic for his parents, thanking them for
giving him 14 years of a happy life.
After her son's death, his friends told Terri that they had noticed the
same changes in Jacob, that he had become short tempered and verbally
"Had I known that this was a potential side effect, suicide," Terri said,
"I would have never allowed my son to take the drug Prozac."
And the sad fact is, the FDA could have warned Terri, because by 1998,
according to the FDA's adverse reaction reporting system, Prozac alone had
already accumulated over 40,000 adverse reaction reports, including over
2,100 deaths, far more than any other drug in the history of the reporting
is a columnist for Independent Media TV and an investigative journalist
focused on exposing corruption in government. She can be reached at:
* More information for injured parties can be found at
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