|Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Think of
all the world events it could have prevented, including Woody’s
death. If only we knew then, what we know today, Woody would
still be here.
Antidepressants, which were originally designed for major depressive
disorder, are heavily advertised as the „happy pill“
cure-all. You can’t go an hour watching TV or pick up
any magazine without seeing an antidepressant drug ad.
One of the Paxil commercials shows a group of people in a social
setting all wearing nametags with „Hello. My name is _____.“
Insert human emotion (i.e., sad, anxious, nervous). Next, you
see the same group of individuals who, after taking the pill,
are all looking confident and enjoying the party. Their names
have replaced the emotion on the nametag. In a cartoon-like
Zoloft commercial there’s a single, lonely bubble looking
sad amongst all these happy bubbles, with a voiceover saying,
„Do you feel nervous in public? You may have a chemical
imbalance in the brain.“ As soon as the sad bubble takes
Zoloft, he’s happy and able to play with the other happy
You may be thinking since these antidepressants are advertised
on TV and have been FDA approved, they must be safe, right?
That’s what we thought. Think again.
It is estimated that 3-5 percent of the population taking SSRI
antidepressants (e.g. Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, etc) have adverse/severe
side effects with these drugs. There are over 100 million prescriptions
for antidepressants written every year totaling over 11 billion
dollars in sales. Adults and children are being given antidepressants
for a growing number of ailments, including depression, obsessive
compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety, PMDD (Premenstrual
Dysphoric Disorder), menopause, insomnia, pain management, migraines,
etc. Do the math and that‘s a lot of people who potentially
can have serious issues with these powerful, mind-altering drugs.
Woody experienced every known side effect of Zoloft like diarrhea,
night sweats, trembling hands, and his anxiety worsened. He
also had the constant need to be moving around. Woody had become
easily agitated and kept expressing this feeling of his head
being detached from his body. We now know this is called akathisia.
Woody was never told about this potentially deadly side effect
and his doctor might not have even been aware of the side effect.
What is akathisia?
Akathisia can be described as a neurological phenomenon characterized
by extreme internal restlessness, agitation, and emotional turmoil
that is drug induced. In fact, Pfizer’s own scientist,
Dr. Roger Lane explained in his medical journal article that
"most researchers agree that akathisia has a strong psychological
(subjective) component," describing it as "subjective
distress" and "unbearable discomfort." He also
stated that "the subjective components of akathisia are
overwhelming." He went on to state in another peer reviewed-medical
journal article (to which he referred when he admitted that
Zoloft can cause this out-of-body feeling) that "it may
be less of a question of patients experiencing [SSRI]-induced
suicidal ideation, than patients feeling that death is a welcome
result when the acutely discomforting symptoms of akathisia
are experienced on top of already distressing disorders."
In a past wrongful death lawsuit against Pfizer, one of Pfizer’s
own expert witnesses, Dr. John Mann, testified that "akathisia
has the potential, when it is severe, of contributing to suicidality
and aggression." Another drug company expert testified:
"I believe that what akathisia does is it creates a state
of severe anxiety which can exacerbate pre-existing proclivities,
tendencies, in an individual to engage in either suicide or
To top it off, we personally heard the FDA’s Dr. Robert
Temple state, “There isn’t any doubt that these
drug cause akathisia. That’s not in doubt.”
Why then, when the FDA and drug companies have known that these
drugs can cause akathisia and for some people suffering from
akathisia find “death a welcome result“ to escape
its symptoms, haven’t they warned the doctors, patients,
parents and the public about this potentially deadly side effect?
We learned that these types of warnings already exist in other
countries for the same drugs. However, they are just marketed
under different names than in the United States. In fact, the
BBC did an interesting documentary on the effects of „Seroxat“
and other SSRI drugs and warned of the serious, sometimes deadly
side effects. Seroxat is known in the US as Paxil. Lustral is
the same thing as Zoloft manufactured by Pfizer.
Watch the BBC documentary
Between 60-80 percent of all antidepressant prescriptions are
written after about a 5 to 10 minute consultation by general
practice or family doctors who don’t necessarily know
the significance of all the side effects or have the right monitoring
system in place.
In fact, on March 22, 2004, the
FDA told all SSRI manufacturers that they should warn the
public that adults and children who take antidepressants should
be carefully monitored for warning signs of suicide, especially
when they first start taking the pills or change the dosage.
Woody was never warned or told about the need to be closely
monitored when first taking Zoloft for this possible side effect.
In fact, his wife was out of the country for business for the
first two-and-a-half weeks he was on Zoloft. At the same time,
he was never warned about the issue of watching for suicidal
behavior or feelings when the drug dosage changed. The Pfizer
three-week Zoloft sample pack Woody was given automatically
increased the dosage. The FDA’s warning was a little too
late for Woody and his family. If we had been told that there
was even a slight risk, a mention of the word 'suicide,' Woody
would be with us today.
The FDA and the pharmaceutical industry have long been aware
of the suicide risk, certainly since the Prozac-induced suicide
link hearings back in 1991. We’ve learned, in fact, that
they knew of this risk as early as 1984, long before the drugs
even hit the market!. To download PDF, click here. Somehow,
the issue was swept under the rug. Now fast forward 13 plus
years, and we find a whole batch of new antidepressants are
on the market, causing thousands more deaths. Leading experts
on this issue estimate more than 20,000 deaths can be directly
linked to the drugs.
Watch footage from 1991 FDA hearings on Prozac and suicide.
For the right person, being prescribed by the right doctor for
the right diagnosis with the right monitoring, these drugs may
(Although even the efficacy of these drugs has begun to be questioned).
But for others, it can be deadly. Be informed. Do your research
before taking any of these powerful mind-altering drugs.