The SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are antidepressants patterned after Prozac (fluoxetine) and include Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, and Zoloft. These and two other non-SSRI antidepressants, Serzone and Remeron, are widely suspected of contributing to suicidal and/or violent behaviors, especially in children. This point of view has recently been adopted by the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) somewhat more slowly than its British counterpart, the Medicines Control Agency. In England, for instance, use of Paxil in children has been banned, amidst allegations of a cover-up by the drug's manufacturer.
In the United States, use of these antidepressants for patients under 18 years has not been approved by FDA, with the exception of Prozac. This means that both the healthcare professional who prescribes or dispenses these drugs for children and adolescents and the pharmaceutical company that promotes this "off-label" (unapproved) use knowingly take a risk with the patient's safety.
SSRIs have become famous for their alleged ability to induce children to violence and suicide in such high profile cases as that of Christopher Pittman who ran away from his home in Florida to his grandparents in South Carolina at age 12. He is suspected of having killed his grandparents and burned down their house after being treated with Paxil followed by Zoloft.
SSRI antidepressants have been implicated in a number of the school shootings: Shooters alleged to be on antidepressants at the time of their attacks include:
18-year old Eric Harris on Luvox who with Dylan Klebold killed 13 and wounded 22 people April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado
15-year-old Kip Kinkel on Prozac killed his parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on classmates, killing two and wounding 22 others
14-year-old Elizabeth Bush on antidepressants when she wounded one student at Bishop Neumann High School in Williamsport, Pa.
18-year-old Jason Hoffman on Effexor and Celexa when he wounded one teacher and three students at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, Calif.
Violent and suicidal behavior linked to SSRIs is not limited to adolescents. Fully one-third of all drug-related suicides since 1990 for which FDA has data are associated with Prozac use, according to Keith Altman of Fibonacci Group.
The warning issued by FDA in a "Dear Health Care Professional" letter against use of SSRIs in children appears to indicate a major shift in national policy that will have major impact on pending lawsuits in this area.
(Feb-27-07) Canadian doctors have been notified that the most commonly prescribed antidepressant has increasingly shown signs of toxic overdose consequences such as seizures and even deaths. Effexor, (venlafaxine) is prescribed to millions of people each year throughout North America. The proper Effexor dose is 75 to 225 milligrams/day in adults, but overdoses requiring hospitalization have occurred in those taking just a little more than the recommended top range. [VANCOUVER SUN: EFFEXOR]
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When I finally received a printout from my pharmacy informing me of the side effects of effexor, I had every symptom except death. I was so sick I could not function. I had asked my pcp's many times, "could this be a med I'm taking". The answer was always no. Thank God I received the info from the pharmacy. I honestly don't believe I would be alive today if I hadn't gotton off the effexor. I still suffer the damages caused by this drug.
Posted by Halcyon
Ive been taking Effexor for at least a year and a half now. I started becoming concerned when I noticed I was aggressive and angry all the time and I felt like my anxiety was going out of control and if that wasn't gapping I would still feel depressed all the time and want to kill myself. I've never had issues with aggression/anger/hostility before! I told my doctor I needed to be off of it after one episode that was so bad because I verbally assaulted this guy and lost my impulse control and that's terrifying. I've been trying to get off of it and it landed me in ER because I was having a severe manic episode(?) where I flipped out completely (I woke up up and broke all the dishes in the kitchen before a friend came over ended up having to take me to two hospital; first asked me to leave and the second did their best to calm me down and monitor me) I experience the glitching and tremors, hot flashes, and its affected my job. Having mood swings/aggression while working customer service is awful and I keep telling my doctor it's bad but they don't seem like they understand what it's doing to me.
I'm in tears from reading other comments because I thought I was just going crazy.
Posted by Washington
While taking effexor I went through stages of rage that almost destroyed my marriage and had my ex-husband affraid of having my daughter with me. Once I started deminishing my dosage I started going through severe withdrawls that have caused dizziness, irritability, inability to sleep, anger stages, and fighting with my family. I am still trying to withdraw and cant walk for more than 100 ft with out getting dizzy, and cant leave the house in fear of loosing my temper and hurting someone.
Posted by Ontario
i feel like im going to die.. i cannot make any money i work a commision only job and this is really hurting my earning ability
Posted by Ontario
I lost my job and now have a criminal record, debts, and am traumatized by the whole thing. My life is in ruins.
Posted by Arizona
I have suffered numerous seizures- caused damage to myself and others- been arrrested for anger and manic episodes and continue to suffer with issues with my stomach and urinary problems.
Posted by Florida
UTI like symptoms, recurrent varicoceles, urgent bladder, prostate inflammation, high blood-pressure and sexual dysfunction when on Effexor for some 3+ years. All this started after taking Effexor and hasn't completely subsided since.
Posted by Texas
I have lost my husband of 17 years, his love, freindship, companionship, and his financial contributions.
Posted by California
Electric buzz in my head; vertigo, sleeplessness; depression; heart racing and pain; thoughts of suicide; loss of memory and concentration; blurred vision; hives; constipation and weight gain. Tingling in mouth; severe headaches; chronic fatigue.
Posted by Washington
I am a writer, lyricist and composer by trade. My mental capacity is critical to my work, and selling my intellectual property is my main source of income. I have noticed since being on Effexor that writing has become increasingly difficult; I have a hard time staying focused on tasks at hand and even remembering what I am working on. I began Effexor in 2003, going up to a daily dose of 150 mgs. With the help of a psychiatrist I have been taking myself off of this toxic drug, ramping down in 37 mg doses. The side-effects of withdrawal are very unpleasant ('brain shivers' being the most painful and distracting). I had hoped that once I had less Effexor in my system that I would regain mental clarity and be able to hold thoughts for longer periods of time. I am now on 37 mg per day and my mental symptoms are continuing. I fear that Effexor may have done permanent damage to my brain.
Posted by Nevada
In the past month I have been in jail once and in and out of a mental health hospital 3 times. I was involved in a stand off with the Las Vegas SWAT Team which landed on the news the first time and the third time I tried to commit suicide by cop by charging at them with a knife. I have also lost my career and was evicted from my apartment and have been forced to live with my father until I can get the criminal charges against me sorted out so I can move on with my life. All of my actions over the past month have been completely out of character for me and have caused a tremendous amount of stress and turmoil in my personal life.
Posted by Oregon
Over the last ten years I have become more chronically depressed. I am terrified that: decline in my vision means effexor has caused permanent damage to my penal gland; that weight gain and worsening depression means my adrenal system is completely exhausted; and that the levels of effexor I have been prescribed (before knowing any better) have reached a level of toxicity. (600mg per day) I am unable to get off of effexor and even Wyeth's own patient line has told me if I quit it could kill me. They also took a medical history and made a report.
Posted by Virginia
Suicide attempts-doctor increased dosage after I had told him that I was having sucidal thoughts. 3 weeks later, I tried to commit sucide,
3 days in hospital
5 days in mental health facility
Trouble with vision
Job performance is suffering due to severe side affects.
My gyn doctor said that the dosage that my therapist had me on was way too high. After I tried to commit sucide, I refused to take the large dosage and I am now down to 37.5 mg a day but I can not stop completely because of the brain electrical shocks and jiggles and extreme anxiety withdrawal symptoms. I have tried several times.
Posted by New Jersey
Her first attempt at suicide was an overdose of Tylenol PM and Ibuprofin on 4/14/07. The 2nd attempt at suicide was on 6/14/07, still on Effexor, by driving her car well over 60mph head-on into a telephone pole on purpose. She is currently in a Psych ward waiting for a bed to open at a long term facility. AND they still have her on Effexor. They took her off the other 2 meds she was on??? I am waiting for a call back from Doc now. But no one took her off ANY meds after her 1st attempt. Not the hospital, not the in-patient care facility, not the After-care program and not the Doc. All who knew what meds she was taking.
Posted by Ontario
I suffered serious side effects after taking Effexor. My GP prescribed Effexor in August 2006 for my symptoms of depression. I was given a sample pack where I took 4 X 37.5mg caplets, from Mon Aug 14-17, 2006. On the 5th day, Fri Aug 18, 2006, I suffered extreme mental confusion, involuntary muscle spasms/contractions, severe depression and suicidal thoughts. This suicidality came up suddenly and was out of character for me. The Effexor altered my thought processes, I truly believed that death was the only solution and found relief in that concept. I felt I now had the strength to go through with ending my life. This mindset prevailed to such an extent that 5 days later, Wed Aug 23, 2006, I tried to commit suicide by taking 10 sleeping pills and locked myself in the garage with the car running to attempt death by carbon monoxide poisioning. After 5 hours in the garage, I came to and called 911 where I was taken to the hospital. I was eventually taken to Humber River Regional Hospital and remained there until released on Mon Aug 28/06.
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