Gary Kohls, MD writes:
Not too long ago I mentioned in this column the remarkable database of serious “Selective” Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI), the so-called “second generation ‘antidepressants’” adverse reactions that have been documented in the public domain. That website can be accessed at www.ssristories.com. When researching that important website, keep in mind that the vast majority of media reports on seemingly irrational criminal events usually don’t ask the question in the title above – unless the drugs are illicit. So the thousands of examples documented and reported represent just the tip of what surely is an enormous iceberg.), since even the FDA estimates that up to 99% of adverse events from any given drug is never reported to that agency.
SSRI Stories is a collection of 4,800+ news stories (mainly criminal in nature) that have appeared in the media (newspapers, TV, scientific journals) or that were part of FDA public testimony in either 1991, 2004 or 2006, in which psych drugs are mentioned.
<<“SSRI Stories: Senseless violence” may be totally understandable if we are just given the inconvenient facts?>>
The Physicians’ Desk Reference lists the following common adverse reactions (side effects) to SSRI antidepressants (among a host of other physical and neuropsychiatric effects). None of these adverse reactions is listed as Rare.
Manic Reaction (Mania, e.g., Kleptomania, Pyromania, Dipsomania, Nymphomania)
Hypomania (e.g., poor judgment, over spending, impulsivity, etc.)
Alcohol Abuse and/or Craving
Akathisia (Severe Inner Restlessness)
The website emphasizes:
“Adverse reactions are most likely to occur when starting or discontinuing the drug, increasing or lowering the dose or when switching from one SSRI to another. Adverse reactions are often diagnosed as bipolar disorder when the symptoms may be entirely iatrogenic (treatment induced). Withdrawal, especially abrupt withdrawal, from any of these medications can cause severe neuropsychiatric and physical symptoms. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs, often over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified and experienced specialist, if available. Withdrawal is sometimes more severe than the original symptoms or problems.”
So with the list of common adverse effects of these drugs, I present below a “short list” of drug–associated violence over the past decade or two that was perpetrated by mostly young people who were involved in newsworthy shootings and whose psych drugs were identified, published or otherwise somehow reported to the public. Tragically, in the vast majority of psychiatric drug-related suicides, homicides or other types of irrational violence (what the media calls “senseless”) prescription drugs are generally not reported in the corporate-controlled and subsidized media, where pharmaceutical companies advertise heavily, certainly exerting influences on how much investigative journalism is allowed. Again, he who calls the piper calls the tune.
The SSRI Stories website has, among its nearly 5000 entries, a list of 66 school shootings that are overwhelmingly and disproportionately American. The school shooter’s list is often accompanied by suicidality caused by either taking or withdrawing from the drugs. There has been an explosion of such incidents since Prozac was introduced onto an unsuspecting market in 1989. Most of the developed world’s drug regulatory agencies, including the FDA, have not tested these psychotropic drugs for safety or efficacy in humans under the age of 18 (either short term or long term) and therefore have not approved their use for that group (with rare exceptions). Therefore we physicians, when we prescribe these untested drugs to that underage group (that has immature brain development) are doing so “off label” and thus we are exposing ourselves to medico-legal risks.
Here is the sobering list.
Eric Harris age 17 (Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 in Colombine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado, killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and injured 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.
Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.
Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.
Thirteen-year-old Chris Fetters killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
Twelve-year-old Christopher Pittman murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
Thirteen-year-old Mathew Miller hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.
Fifteen-year-old Jarred Viktor stabbed his grandmother 61 times after 5 days on Paxil.
Fifteen-year-old Kip Kinkel (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
Luke Woodham age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
A Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.
Michael Carneal (Ritalin) a 14-year-old opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..
Young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.
Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.
TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.
Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.
James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.
Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania
Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California
Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.
Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.
Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic’s file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.
Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.
Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.
Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself soon after his prescription of Lexapro had been doubled.
Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.
Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family’s Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.
Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara’s parents said “…. the damn doctor wouldn’t take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)
Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002, (Gareth’s father could not accept his son’s death and killed himself)
Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family’s detached garage.
Matthew Miller was 13 saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty and school. The psychiatrist recommended Zoloft for him. Seven days after beginning the Zioloft samples, his mother found him dead… hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.
Kurt Danysh, age 18 and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.
Woody ____, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.
A ten-year-old boy from Houston shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.
15-year-old Hammad Memon shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”
22-year-old culinary student Matti Saari shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.
27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.
18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then he committed suicide.
14-year-old Asa Coon of Cleveland, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.
16-year-old Jon Romano, taking medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.
Huh. And we are supposed to believe that FDA-endorsed drugs are safer than those banned by the Feds? When was the last time a pothead went on a shooting spree?