Pills and The Man

April, 12, 2012 | 19 Comments


  1. The intellectual arguement goes on.
    How many hundreds of people have died a harrowing death through anti-ds.

    My personal story is thus:
    The psychiatrist advises my surgery that if I ever stop taking Seroxat, I should be swtiched to Fluoxetine to stop any ‘abrupt discontinuation symptoms’.

    My gp decides to ignore his advice.

    After eight weeks off Seroxat, I am hysterical delirious, psychotic, and I am in the surgery begging to go to a hospital as I feel like I am a time bomb waiting to go off.

    I go to the hospital and virtually ignored for a week and given diazepam.

    I go home and four days later lacerate myself with a knife, try to hang myself and then take an overdose of 28 beta blockers.

    Is this normal. No it is not.

    Nobody ever tells me that Fluoxetine had been recomended as a switch to Paroxetine, not the gp or the psychiatrist.

    When I find out that Fluoxetine had been recommended, eight years later, the psychiatrist say it is ‘not routine procedure to check on the medication given by the gp’.

    So, I almost lose my life in the most harrowing way, the gp does not take the advice of the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist says ‘it is not routine procedure to check on the medication given by the gp.’

    For god’s sake, you couldn’t make up the idiocy and lack of intelligence that was going on here. And I, in the meantime, am expected to put up with this load of crap.

    Professor Healy, enough is enough. I have been dealt a lethal blow to my life by GSK, by the stupid, stupid gp and by the idiotic complacency of the psychiatrist.

  2. Annie I am so sorry for the mess your health professionals led you in to. I hope you have recovered. The same scenario you mentioned about the psychiatrist and the GP happened to my daughter Karen.
    A psychiatrist wrote to her GP recommending blood tests. A new psychiatrist took over when the first retired. The second psychiatrist prescribed Kemadrin (procyclidine) an anti parkinson drug, to combat physical adverse side effects of an neuroleptic drug – this should be used for only 3 months, according to the manufacturers data and the first drug changed if the side effects have not resolved.
    After Karen’s death I questioned the psychiatrist as the GP told me he had not done the blood tests. He assumed the psychiatrist would have done these. The psychiatrist said she assumed the GP would do them. She also had not checked on the amount of Kemadrin being prescribed by the GP – which turned out to be 3 times the dose she had intended – done on a system of repeat prescriptions that were never checked for accuracy. They had been continuously given to Karen for a period of 18months. It was hardly surprising her physical health was deteriorating as her mental health was too.
    One of the efforts I made when we had our conferences was to encourage GPs and psychiatrists to attend. Very few did. It is as if they do not wish to communicate with each other or to learn by their mistakes.
    I recently attended the inquest of a young woman – a vulnerable person suffering from acne and ME who was meant to be cared for by a Harley St Dermatologist, an ME consultant, her GP and a counsellor. The only person who made efforts to prevent her eventual suicide, were her counsellor who called the GP and her brother who wrote to me.
    The two consultants never spoke to each other or to the GP.
    Surely communication between health professionals is at the core of patient safety.
    Millie Kieve founder of APRIL http://www.april.org.uk

  3. I forgot to mention the concoction of drugs prescribed to the young woman suicide victim by her two consultants, or maybe three consultants and GP who as there was probably a psychiatrist in there somewhere. She was taking: Ro-accutane and Dianette (Diane-35) prescribed by the dermatologist who said pregnancy had to be avoided when one takes Ro-accutane. When I pointed out to him that Dianette is not licensed for contraception and is reported by many women as the cause of their depression, a bad choice for an already depressed woman, he did not respond (I don’t think he knew it was not licensed as a contraceptive – as had been illegally promoted as ‘The Pill that gives you beautiful skin”) – but that is another story!
    Oh yes and she was on fluoxetine and zopiclone too! All these drugs have been linked to adverse effects leading to suicide.

    • I can relate. I was referred to a psychiatrist for adult ADD when I started my first year at university. I made a passing complaint to my aunt, who is also a GP, over the summer about some occasional acne around my period. She suggested that I try Diane-35. I was also taking dexedrine at the time, but had not had any problems with it. By the time school started I was an emotional wreck. I was experiencing severe mood swings, depression, anxiety, insatiable appetite, I began gaining weight at an unprecedented rate (in spite of being on amphetamines). My focus, concentration and self-esteem all took a nose dive, and I frequently thought of suicide. I tried exercising harder, as I had been in good shape and athletic before the nightmare began but I just seemed to get weaker and weaker. I just assumed that I wasn’t capable of accomplishing anything and that I was doomed to be a failure. So what was the point in living anyways? My mood never really improved, but eventually I just became apathetic and accepted my unhappiness. My psychiatrist didn’t think to consider Diane-35 as the cause of my symptoms, so his answer was just to feed me more medication until we found something that worked. He admittedly doesn’t know much about hormonal contraceptives.

      It wasn’t until a year and a half later, when I stopped taking Diane that things began to improve. I was still anxious, but slowly I started to get better. I started running again and was amazed at the rate of improvement that I was seeing. I was easily adding a mile every week. It was so totally unlike anything I had experienced before. I assume that this was because my testosterone and DHT levels were no longer being suppressed to the point of non-existence. I stopped menstruating entirely, eventually I noticed a thick layer of oil on my skin, and the development of cysts all over my face. Soon the hair on my head was falling out in clumps. I’d look at my pillow in the morning and it would be covered in long hairs. Then my cheeks began to erupt in pustules. This had never happened before in my life. Before I knew it I was also growing facial hair. I had gone from a healthy, happy, fit and energetic young woman to become… something else entirely. I am now taking two anti-depressants, as well as adderal and yasmin. Now I’m stuck wondering if I would have really needed any of it in the first place if the cause of all my problems had been correctly addressed from the beginning.

      I have lost faith in our doctors. You can’t contradict or correct them if they are missing information. It pisses them off. I mentioned to my family doctor that Diane-35 isn’t legally meant to be prescribed as a means of birth control. He says he prescribes it to young women all the time and that they often complain about the symptoms that I experienced after going off it. You’d think that would be a hint that it is a medication works only in the short term, but with severe repercussions afterwards that maybe its a bad idea.

      The whole system sickens me, where have all the good doctors gone?

  4. Dr. Healy wrote,”Following Louis Appleby’s, Dan Troy’s and FDA’s logic (see Platonic Lies and Pla(u)to) the greatest public health benefit would come from getting the greatest number of people on the greatest amount of medications to ward off all conceivable risks. This clearly isn’t going to work out well.”

    As an avid reader of the b log, I wholeheartedly agree. Getting the greatest number of people on the greatest amount of medications clearly doesn’t benefit society, doesn’t benefit the patient, it benefits the makers of the medications. The logic is crystal clear and self-evident, few would disagree.

    So why then do vaccines get a free pass? The pediatric schedule has increased from 23 doses in 1983 to 48 doses in 2012 before age six. Adults are bombarded with shrill warnings and advertisements for flu, Tdap, shingles, and other vaccines. Walk into a drug store and a clerk who counts pills for a living can give you these shots without knowing a thing about your medical history.

    We unquestioningly accept all these vaccines are needed, beneficial, and safe. No concerns whatsoever is given to interactions or unintended consequences. Why doesn’t everything Dr Healy says above also apply to them?

    This may seem off topic, but the same companies that are working 24/7 to increase prescription drug sales are those making the vaccines. Is there a bad Merck (drugs) and a good Merck (vaccines)? Doubtful.

  5. The MHRA has had to deal with the consequences of outsourcing cheaper generic medicines outside the UK. These can be manufactured in less well regulated circumstances. It would seem that the MHRA leaves monitoring of such medication up to the importer.

    In 2007 it was possible for the system to be infiltrated by 72,000 packs of counterfeit medicines produced in China and brought in via Europe. In the absence of an efficient tracking system, 25,000 packs remain unaccounted for.

    Recently the MHRA has had to warn of 39,000 packs of co-codamol in circulation since the end of December 2011, which have been produced to the wrong strength. They put this down to a “possible manufacturing error”.

    The more links there are in our supply chain, the weaker it must become.

  6. Thanks Millie and I am so very sorry about your daughter. The mothers of suicide victims have been so strong in their attempts to find some sort of justice regarding these extremely dangerous drugs.
    I would have recovered if I hadn’t been so traumatised and then seemingly punished for it.
    When someone attempts suicide because of prescription drugs there is nowhere more lonely and disturbing than when personal attacks ensue from the very people who were supposed to be caring and looking out for you.
    I feel like the pilot who flew the plane which crashed killing all on board. Despite engine malfunctions he was accused of killing all on board. He has the black box to prove his actions were above criticism. No arguement, he is vindicated.
    Well, where is our black box. Nowhere to be seen.
    I could write a book about the horrific journey I have been on. The stupidity and ignorance of people you are supposed to look up to and respect and who let you down so badly and all of them, from manufactuer’s of these drugs, to the gps and the psychiatrist who think they are so bloody smart but who are really so small and do not have any intellectual grasp whatsoever of what they are dealing with.
    Pharmageddon indeed.
    One man is standing up to all this and tough for him, is doing his utmost to try to make the world understand what is going on here.

    • Dear Annie thank you for your kind words.
      It makes no difference if a person unintentionally dies by their own hand or by accident if the death was due to the adverse effects of medicines or a vaccine. Karen’s death was due to an accident. There are probably more deaths not due to suicide than anyone realises, caused by prescribed medicines. As in Karen’s case accidents can befall those confused and unfocussed and some people suffer sudden death from iatrogenic (treatment induced) organ failure. Details of one tragedy sent to me by a Coroner, was of a woman on heavy doses of antipsychotic and other drugs. She was a mother who died in police custody, not the first and wont be the last.
      Deaths due to adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in hospitals have increased by 10% from official statistics Imperial College published, over a 10 year period. Admissions due to ADRs in the same period increased by 76.8%.
      Pauline’s comments about the ineffective regulation of medicines by the MHRA also, of course applied to the PIP implants that were licensed in Europe and the MHRA took no responsibility in checking the safety of these. I know from direct discussions with the MHRA that if a drug has been licensed, even thought inquiries are taking place re safety issues, other companies may get generic versions licensed. No further trials or safety checks are needed. The raw data for clinical trials of medicines and vaccines is not inspected by the MHRA before they grant a licence. The manufacturer just has to produce a summary of evidence from the trials.
      A government inquiry in 2005 by the Health Committee at the House of Commons into the ‘Influences of the Pharmaceutical Industry’ found there is a conflict of interests. The MHRA license the drugs while also being responsible for monitoring their safety afterwards.
      The evidence and critical conclusions of the Inquiry, which can be seen on the Parliament web site, or from a link on http://www.april.org.uk has been left to go cold, or ‘brushed under the carpet’.
      The courageous doctors who risked their careers by giving evidence to the Inquiry, including Professor David Healy, must wonder why they bothered.

  7. Annie,

    I know exactly how you feel.
    I was wrongly prescribed many drugs and took Seroxat/Paxil and Effexor was the last one.

    I tapered 225 mg of Effexor very slowly and it took me 18 months to end the process.
    It was hell even doing this way. I didn’t had any help and only read Healy’s protocol and with the help of people at Charles Medawar’s Social Audit.
    My withdrawal story is there but unfortunately this part of the site is not available although it is a great resource.

    After three months off Effexor I could not function and my body and mind suffered all kind of strange feelings.
    My period went crazy, I had feelings I cannot even described because there are no words for that. Seriously, no words for the emotional despair, or anxiety, funny that I was not depressed.
    I sweat during the night and had to change my clothes and the sheets, sometimes twice.
    I felt cold and hot at the same time…
    These are some of the feelings I can remember.

    I almost killed myself, I know what drug-induced suicide ideation is and I wrote about it at my blog.

    The link is only because some people doubt that there is such a thing as violent behavior due to SSRIs.
    I watch these children killing themselves and I know they’ve been through.
    This is criminal.
    They don’t care about the children. Not even the children.

    I was also violent and punched a windshield with my fist, had a quarrel with my neighbor whose door I kicked and other things.

    In the end I had to go back to Effexor because my body is addicted to this thing.

    I’ll have to take it for the rest of my life.

    I’m just writing to help others that are going through the same.

    I was born healthy but medicine made me sick. It was a hard road to get in terms with it and I still look at my life and there are a lot of things I lost.

    I no longer blog as I did but I publish a post every month but I started another blog about art, literature and politics.

    I came to this site because I just found out that they are claiming that there is a blood test that can diagnose mental illness but I didn’t find any of the psychiatrists I trust talking about it.

    I wanna thank you Dr. Healy for making me see that some people cannot live without these drugs after taking them for a long time.

    • Charles Medawar’s web site Social Audit can be accessed by using the ‘Waybackmachine’ website. It is an Internet Archive free access site. One of the last captures of socialaudit is available at:


      Charles Medawar dedicated years to researching the risk of dependence on SSRI antidepressants. He worked closely with Dr David Healy in an endeavour to break through the resolve of the manufacturers and regulators to play down this and the risk of suicide.
      The medicines regulator, formerly the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM), now the Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) sadly ignored their anecdotal and scientific evidence for far too long.

  8. Annie,

    You have the right to be angry, you have to be angry.
    I share the same with you. I was so angry by the time I discovered everything!
    I’m still angry but I don’t cry anymore.

    And we have to suffer in silence because people don’t understand when we explain and some don’t even want to listen.

    I don’t tell my story to anybody. Sometimes I find people who can understand so I tell.

    Only some people at the internet can understand what we’ve been through and how our lives. body, mind and soul were affected by these drugs.

    Sometimes I feel that there is no more point in living a life whose course was changed. I lost friends, I stopped working and have to find a meaning every morning.

    Ok. I wish I had a car accident. But it was a medicine accident. Nobody understand… and I keep going…

    It is not a nice place to be when you were victim of a crime that is not recognized as such.

    I feel like crying…

    Let’s have strength and try our best.

  9. Ana, the spirit of survival always kicks in. You are surviving and it has to get better as it cannot get worse.
    There is nowhere worse, which is why we tried to escape the pain of adverse reactions to prescription drugs through ending our lives. That was how bad it was. So excruciatingly tortuous that the only way out was to stop living.
    I will tell you this, no one on this planet will understand the torture of being left with ‘no serotonin’. Read these words. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor.
    No serotonin means all the pleasure, all the fun, all the feel good factor, all the things that make life possible are denied and all that is left is the bleak, cold, stark, unyeilding horror of life without the precious serotonin.
    The description says it all. The science of ssris is severely wrong footed. They think they are doing you a favour by keeping serotonin in the brain for longer by inhibiting it’s uptake. What, in fact, is happening is that the normal processes of manufacturing your own serotonin are ceased and, hence, the horrendous place you end up in.
    It is mental torture and the science of it is so scewed and so unyeildingly vicious.
    It wasn’t a good idea, it didn’t work; we have to live with the consequences.
    So, Ana, you are a highly articulate woman who has described what life is like without serotonin and I would like to thank you for having the guts and honesty to describe it to us all.
    Once you get a grasp of the ‘science’ of ssris you can start getting your life back, as long as your serotonin starts working by itself again.
    I fear, for some, that this normal procedure may have been halted for good and it is taking enormous mental effort to regain it. You have to get a psychological grasp on living without serotonin and then getting it back on its own terms.
    Trust your own brain to get you through this, it is all you have.
    You will, Ana, because I recognise everything single thing you said as if you were me and if I can get through this, so can you.

  10. Here in Australia I believe that drug records are not kept for those thought to have died from suicide. Due to my interest in this topic, I studied two high-profile possible suicides at The Gap, a cliff in Sydney which averaged about 50 suicides p.a. until a couple of years ago when anti-suicide measures were introduced.

    TV personality Charmaine Dragun took Effexor for about 10 years, then in October 2007 about a month before her November 2 suicide leap at The Gap, her doctor began a program to wean her off Effexor, putting her on Lexapro, plus up to 12 fish oil tablets daily. Although Charmaine’s mum on TV blamed the new meds (not the withdrawal from the old med) for her daughter’s suicide, your website and this one http://www.madambipolar.com/2011/07/haunting.html suggest otherwise.

    Model Caroline Byrne’s death at The Gap led to Sydney’s most infamous murder trial, with the Appeal judges this year releasing her boyfriend from prison due to “fiction” in the murder case and the possibility that she committed suicide. Caroline was prescribed Diane 35 (= Dianette) a month before she died, and told her GP two days before she died that she’d been very depressed for a week and a bit depressed for a month. Diane 35 is widely prescribed in both Australia and NZ for both contraception and acne, with less warnings of its dangers than in say UK.

    When I googled “dianette suicidc” and compared to my googling of “roaccutane suicide”, “champix suicide”, “chantix suicide” and “effexor suicide”,
    the relative volume of actual personal stories (anecdotes) on forums about the suicidal effects from taking Dianette was much higher than for the other drugs – but it’s the other drugs that are the ones more linked to suicide in the “official” (non-anecdotal) world. Seemed odd to me. Could this possible anomaly be due to more people using Dianette than the other drugs, I wondered? Perhaps not …,

    I located an Irish paper by Tzarina Middelkoop, quoted in Liam Grant’s presentation to the FDA and in a book by O’Donnell as being a big part of the evidence for Roaccutane having much higher suicide risk than Dianettte, but I found an (apparent?) massive error in Middelkoop’s data. Her Roaccutane figures are based on the supplier Roche’s figures, but her Dianette numbers are based on WHO figures. She compares “like” with “unlike”. The chances of a suicide/dianette case making it all the way to WHO’s data are very small. My guess is that this makes the info presented to the FDA etc misleading.

    I then looked up the official Australian Government data about suicide rates for girls aged 18-24 (acne age) in various countries. This rate was much higher in Australia and NZ (where Dianette is prescribed more) than elsewhere – in fact in these two countries suicide is the number one cause of death for young women’ of that age, unlike most States of USA (I think). In USA Dianette is almost banned due to its blood-clotting risks.

    Based on all this anecdotal and other data, I think it’s possible that the suicide dangers of Dianette, and of withdrawal from Effexor, are higher than most people think. but I might be wrong. I have no idea if my unofficial look into all this is worthy of more investigation.

    If anyone is interested in this and would like to contact me, then please ask this website (or me) to give you my email address.

    • I’m very interested in your investigation. I’m a biology student at the University of Calgary, Canada. My experience with Diane-35 was terrifying. I have since been looking into the mechanisms of the Diane-35 combination pill. I’m trying to piece together the reason for these side effects, hopefully I can provide some valuable insight into how it can affect female physiology.

  11. Peter, in response to your comments about Diane-35 (Dianette) which contains cyproterone acetate an anti androgen linked to serious psychiatric adverse effects. The charity APRIL had featured Dianette (Diane-35) and the link to depression on the web site. We received over 100 reports of depression, self harm and suicidal feelings from women linked to this drug.
    Consequently I asked the Director of the UK regulator, the MHRA to look at the anecdotal (as they like to refer to these reports) evidence we had collected.
    I was concerned about the over prescribing, lack of warnings for patients and doctors of the link to depression. Also higher risk of thrombosis than for other drugs used as contraceptives. No warning had been issued to doctors by the MHRA since 2002, about the risk of thrombosis and a reminder Dianette is not licensed for contraception (probably due to the risk). I also impressed on the MHRA that many women were prescribed antidepressants without being told to stop Dianette and not warned Dianette may be the cause of their depression.
    Significanly many stated gratitude at finding the information on our web site and once they stopped Dianette, their depressive feelings went away or ‘ the cloud lifted’ .
    Eventually the MHRA informed me they would review the drug. An article was published in The Guardian Newspaper about this review and my concerns. This triggered 50 emails within a period of 2 weeks to APRIL. One young woman told me she had tried to kill herself 2 weeks before she read about the link to depression and was so thankful to know, what she now felt was the cause of her severe mood change. She said ” I am so glad I am still alive”. I have suspected for a long time that many suicides may be linked to adverse reactions to prescribed medicines other than SSRIs – including Dianette. We need to inform Coroners to be on the look out – not an easy task as in the UK they do not share their knowledge and do not have a data base for possible causes of suicide and unexpected sudden death. If you send me your email address I will send you these reports, without names of course, to add to your invaluable effort to find evidence that Diane- 35 is linked to suicide attempts.

  12. A couple of years ago I was asked to consult on a teenage boy who was believed to be in a coma but no-one could understand why. I’ll try to make this harrowing tale as short as possible. The boy, a big, strong athlete had undergone a change of behaviour and had been using street drugs – at that time, no-one knew how many. It very quickly became clear to me that he was in a pseudocoma and chart notes indicated many withdrawal symptoms still going on and unrecognized. My suggestion was that he be left alone while being monitored for a few days and he would come out of it on his own and to stop all meds. This did in fact happen. Then our story really begins. He was treated first by 8 sessions of ECT that made him worse. He was then put on a regimen of a cocktail of meds including benzodiazepines, SSRIs and antipsychotics. He became violent and spent much of his time in five point restraints. He was then put on olanzepine and developed a huge appetite, gaining over 60 lbs in three months. While this was happening, a school friend who had also been involved in the drug abuse and was living in the community, had been prescribed a number of antidepressants and BZPs by his GP, was feeling desperate and approached the same hospital seeking admission. He was told that there were no beds available. He went home and, apparently in a violent rage, stabbed his mother, killing her. He then tried to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of a truck that stopped just in time. He ended up in the same hospital, in the next room to his school friend. Only because I suggested that his lawyer investigate the effects of the meds was he not tried for first degree murder but involuntary manslaughter.
    Meanwhile, the first young man was allowed out on a home visit during which he committed suicide by standing on a dark highway until hit by a car.
    I am far beyond anger at what is happening to youngsters, misidentified and then poisoned by what seems most often to be a set of drugs given in a “one from column 1, two from column 2” fashion. And I’ve been unable to find any way to rectify this tragic situation.

  13. There is a not unreasonable argument that physicians should be made aware of the adverse effects of psychotropic drugs rather than rely on the blandishments of pharma salespersons and encouragement to prescribe the flavour of the month. It has been, in my experience, that many physicians haven’t cracked a journal since medical school but, that aside – don’t they notice the number of patients who are getting worse? Would this ever be a reason to increase the dosage? And isn’t suicide of a patient something anyone would recall? Has the average IQ gone down when I wasn’t looking? I know the ability to think logically is as extinct as the Dodo – or so it seems. O Brave New World! Welcome to the Outer Anhedonias!

  14. ‘I fear, for some, that this normal procedure may have been halted for good and it is taking enormous mental effort to regain ”

    Anne Marie,

    Yes, you’re right. To tell you the truth, I hide it from everybody, I don’t know what to do.
    The only thing that helps me is talking to people over the internet about politics studying and searching.

    I don’t leave home for more than one year, don’t feel like doing anything. I could be diagnosed as depressed but I’m not.
    I know I’m not but I’m paralyzed. Pleasure? When I watch my dog, when I find people to discuss on the internet or find something interesting.

    But I know that deep inside I’m not depressed. Headaches, tinnitus and some physical symptoms. All of a sudden I feel like crying. But it doesn’t come from my heart but it end up being because I’ve been suffering because of these drugs for too long. I start thinking of what I lost and all the problems I had. But it is not because of them that I feel like crying.
    I don’t even know if I’m sad. I don’t feel sad. Numb maybe.
    It’s very hard to describe.

    My life was destroyed. I had to stop working because I was under side effects or withdrawal symptoms. We end up stop living. I’m jealous of people who have problems, the “normal” problems and keep going.

    I’m exhausted.

    I wanted to go to hell again and taper 75 mg of Effexor but they took the tablets from the market and only the capsules are available.

    I’m exhausted, people don’t understand, lost friends… .

    If I feel like killing myself? Yes. I would consider it as euthanasia.

    I hope those who know my blogs don’t read it. If you do… yes… this is how I’m doing.

    I’ll go to Charles Medawar. I wrote under the alias Joana Golding.
    The story of my withdrawal is there.
    At least I was able to take only 150 mg and not the 225 mg I was taking. It made some differences.

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