Kathleen Lynch, the Irish minister responsible for mental health, has agreed to meet with former state pathologist Declan Gilsenan, Leonie Fennell, the mother of Shane Clancy, who killed a man and took his own life after a short time on Cipramil [Celexa], psychiatrist Prof David Healy, and a former government minister.
Gilsenan had earlier this month spoke about his concerns regarding the amount of suicides he had seen where the victim had recently started taking a course of antidepressant type medication.
Today's Irish Examiner writes:
He [Gilsenan] said in his 30-year experience carrying out postmortems, he had seen "too many suicides" after people had recently started taking the drugs. At Mr Clancy’s inquest, Dr Gilsenan testified there were "toxic" levels of citalopram (brand name Celexa or Cipramil) in Mr Clancy’s blood.This move by the Irish minister comes after many patient advocates, including Healy himself, have raised concerns about the antidepressant/suicide link to the British drug regulator, the MHRA. Years of campaigning and meetings with the MHRA have, it appears, fallen on deaf ears and the MHRA continue to give drugs, such as Cipramil, a clean bill of health.
Fennell, who has been threatened in the past by Irish psychiatrist Patricia Casey, hopes the meeting will give Lynch an insight into the lack of warnings provided with these medications.
It will be interesting to see if Kathleen Lynch takes this huge problem by the horns and actually does something about it. A meeting with pharmaceutical executives would be a start as would access to the raw data used in clinical trials to determining whether or not taking these drugs is proving to be more risky than beneficial.
My glass is half-empty on this but I applaud the efforts of Healy, Gilsenan and Fennell for bringing it to the attention of Lynch. It seems Ireland is waking up, my only hope is that Lynch doesn't, like the MHRA, hit the snooze button.
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