Sharise Gatchell was just 18 when she hanged herself, an empty blister pack of Seroxat lay next to the suicide note left for her family. Glaxo admitted no liability but just days later doctors in the UK were issued warnings about prescribing Seroxat to children and adolescents.
Today sees the 8th year anniversary of Sharise's death.
As fate would have it, yesterday saw the 10 year anniversary of the death of Sheryl Tilbrook. Sheryl overdosed on citalopram, another SSRi, whose brand names include Cipramil and Celexa.
SSRi type drugs were heralded as safe to take, if one overdosed there shouldn't be a problem, unlike the benzo family of drugs that had been used for years to treat depression/anxiety.
Sheryl overdosed and was admitted to hospital, staff there didn't know what to do, they had no protocol in place, why would they? The pharmaceutical industry had claimed SSRi type drugs were easier to flush from the system.
This is not just about two young women dying, it's about the trail of devastation left behind. Families and friends are left to pick up the pieces, their quest for answers ignored by GlaxoSmithKline [Seroxat] Lundbeck [Cipramil] and the Medicines Healthcare and products Regulatory Agency [MHRA]
Neither the parents of Sharise or Sheryl have ever received an apology from any of the above. Both drugs, despite warnings, are still prescribed to children and adolescents. The MHRA have just made recommendations that doctor's should not prescribe them to kids. Those recommendations come along with the "benefits v risks" factor. In other words, if a doctor thinks either Seroxat or Cipramil will benefit a child in managing their depression then they can still be prescribed, the risk against the benefit just has to be weighed.
It's laughable and highlights how pathetic our medicines regulatory body are. They are, for want of a better word, powerless. To call themselves a 'regulatory agency' is perverse. Kudos has to be given to them for warning doctors but they should have warned them years before the deaths of these two young women. To plead ignorance about the dangers of these drugs is an insult to the memories of Sharise and Sheryl.
The cycle will continue because many doctors have blinkered views when it comes to prescribing drugs like this. Seroxat prescriptions have declined, the death of Sharise has played a major part in that decline, her death highlighted on BBC TV's Panorama. Those who have had the balls to stand up and be counted and speak out against Seroxat should also take a bow.
Cipramil continues to be prescribed to both adults and teens on a regular basis, the suicide of Shane Clancy recently brought it under the spotlight again.
For Sheryl Tilbrook & Sharise Gatchell.
Read the new book, The Evidence, However, Is Clear...The Seroxat Scandal
US/CANADA COPIES HERE
UK/IRELAND FROM CHIPMUNKA PUBLISHING