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Thursday, October 06, 2016

Paxil Induced Akathisia - Jury Awards $11.9 Million





Paxil (Seroxat) is in the news again, is it ever out of the news?

This time, it appears, we have a clear-cut case of Paxil inducing akathisia which, in turn, led to the induced suicide of a prisoner.

For those who do not yet know what akathisia is, here's two popular blog posts of mine that go into detail about SSRI induced akathisia (here and here)

It's news like this that Paxil manufacturer, GSK, and their highly paid defense attorneys don't want in the public domain, particularly the court documents relating to the case.

I've managed to grab some of those court documents and they are very telling.

Pizza shop owner, Mumun "Marty" Barbaros, 46, (Pictured above) was, in 2009, jail awaiting a preliminary hearing on charges that he vandalized two competing pizza shops.

PrimeCare Medical and several of its employees, who provided medical care at the county jail, were sued by the family of Barbaros for failing to properly evaluate him for suicide risk. Furthermore, the medical provider made mistakes that kept Barbaros from receiving his antidepressants.

The douments from the trial, which I've had access to, show the following...


  • Before entering jail, Barbaros was being treated for depression with Paxil.
  • For the first several days in jail, despite his request, his medication was not given to him.
  • It was during these first few days that Barbaros developed a condition  known as SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome and exhibited withdrawal symptoms.
  • On March 21, 2009, Barbaros received a dose of Paxil, according to court records it was an "inappropriate dosage" (30mg)
  • A day later Barbaros was found in his cell. He had stuffed his shredded T-shirt down his throat and died.


For years GSK, the manufacturer of Paxil, denied there was a link in Paxil usage and adult suicide. Only recently have they updated the patient information leaflet that comes as an insert in Paxil boxes.

They write...

Some patients who take Seroxat (Paxil) develop something called akathisia, where they feel restless and feel like they can’t sit or stand still.

Thing is, ladies and gentlemen, GlaxoSmithKline only ever give patients half truths. The warning on the leaflet means nothing when you learn of the real truth, which is this...

Akathisia is a disorder, induced by SSRI medications, which can cause a person to experience such intense inner restlessness that the sufferer is driven to violence and/or suicide.

Paxil is a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI)

Now, more from the court documents...

On the day Barbaros was re-administered his Paxil,  he was seen "...pacing the floor and during third shift there is a notation that he exhibited bizarre behavior."

There's no elaboration, in the court documents I've read at least, on exactly what this 'bizarre behaviour' was.

Interesting to note the following though, "pacing the floor".

Let's look at the warning on the Paxil information leaflet again...

Some patients who take Seroxat (Paxil) develop something called akathisia, where they feel restless and feel like they can’t sit or stand still.

So, pacing the floor kind of tell us that Barbaros had, indeed, developed akathisia, which is a known precursor to suicide.

Had the authorities known about this then maybe, just maybe, they would have put Barbaros on suicide watch. Sadly, Glaxo's patient information leaflet for Paxil only gives us half the truth.

Would Barbaros still be alive if Glaxo extended their warning to , "An akathisia sufferer can experience such intense inner restlessness that the sufferer is driven to violence and/or suicide."?

I'm sure, if I was working for a medical health unit and I read that then I'd raise a red flag, wouldn't you? Part of me feels sorry for PrimeCare Medical Inc. If they were going by the patient information leaflet Glaxo wrote then they, like most healthcare providers, would have been completely oblivious to the Paxil suicide link in adults.

Upshot was, Barbaros killed himself. He was deprived Paxil for almost three days, in other words he had missed his regular doses. Skipping doses when taking Paxil can cause severe side-effects, I know, I've personally experienced them. Once again, Glaxo play these horrific side effects down. On his third day in jail Paxil was reinstated but not at his normal dosage. Hours later he is seen 'pacing his cell'. The next day he is found dead - death by induced suicide - prescripticide, if you will.

Shortly after his death, Monroe County Commissioner, Donna Asure, said the death has been ruled a "suicide".

You see, coroners are missing the point. Suicide is an act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally.

Here's the rub, if a substance can cause a person an intense inner restlessness, so intense that the person is driven to violence and/or suicide then shouldn't we, or indeed coroners, be looking more at that substance?

Surviving family members filed suit in 2011, earlier this week they were awarded  $11.9 Million after a jury found negligence on behalf of PrimeCare Medical Inc. and several of its employees.

At no point were GlaxoSmithKline, or any of its employees, asked to testify.

It's difficult to return a verdict of death by poison as Paxil isn't poisonous - maybe death by Paxil toxicity may be the way forward for coroners when carrying out inquests into 'suicides' where its blatantly obvious that the prescribed drug played a major role. Or maybe, just maybe, they can start using the terminology, "death by induced akathisia caused by X,Y, or Z."

To date, the CEO of the British drug regulator, Dr Ian Hudson, has not retracted any of his statements in a deposition he gave in the year 2000. Hudson claimed, at the time, that he did not believe that Paxil could induce akathisia. (Video deposition)

Barbaros leaves behind a wife, Miryem, and two children.

At the start of next year Wendy Dolin, widow of Stewart Dolin, goes to trial in Illinois. Wendy alleges that Paxil caused akathisia in her husband. Moments before jumping in front of a train witnesses said they saw Stewart 'pacing the platform in an agitated manner.'

Open and shut case if you ask me.

Your move GSK.


Bob Fiddaman.







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