Generic Paxil Suicide Lawsuit

Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award Recipient (Twice)
Humanist, humorist

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guest Post: 17 Year Old Caught in the Psych Drug Trap

In the past I have urged readers to send me in their stories about their time on Seroxat [Paxil in US]

A reader recently sent me a story that is all too familiar to me and, I'm sure, many other parents out there. It is the story of a 17 year old girl who has had a drastic personality change due to psychiatric drugs given to her by professionals who think they know what they are doing. In truth, they don't. Julie's story is evidence of that.

**Both the names of the grandmother and granddaughter have been changed.

17 Year Old Caught in the Psych Drug Trap

Paula is my 17 year old granddaughter and I have custody of her. She had attitude and behavioral problems due to substance abuse. She also had an eating disorder due to self-esteem issues.

When I found out that on the street she had inhaled a chemical computer keyboard cleaner, they call "duster", and that it could cause death, I instituted drastic measures and placed her in a Wilderness Camp. She had home visits and I am sure she was using on these visits even though she was drug tested on return.

There are two problems here. 1. From reading her Facebook correspondence, I ascertained the kids have some pill, (which, by the way they say it makes them feel is probably worse than the marijuana they are trying to hide,) that enables them to pass a drug test even if they've used. 2. "Huffing” doesn't show up on the drug tests they give.

Paula got kicked out of Wilderness Camp because she kept "running". Not to run away, but just to get away for a time, and then for a joke. She never went alone, and on more than one occasion she had several cohorts, both male and female. This disrupted the camp dreadfully; the director described a night in which he and several staff members spent hours chasing kids, so they kicked  Paula  out.

I placed  Paula  at this center where they have a restricted unit. (It wasn't long until she was in it.) After  Paula  was there a few days, I received a call from a nurse. She very lightly and casually said, " Paula  is anxious and a little depressed." the doctor recommends that she be given Zyprexa for anxiety, Paxil for depression and some Trazodone to help her sleep”. (I had heard of Paxil being related to suicide, but  Paula  was not suicidal, so that didn’t register at the time, (I am now aware that it could have made her suicidal,) nor did it register that the nurse failed to mention the connection.) “I do have to tell you that Zyprexa can cause diabetes, but we monitor very closely here for that so you don't have to worry. These meds will just lift her spirits a little bit and help take the edge off so she'll be more receptive to treatment”. I said "OK, give her whatever she needs".

I now realize how incredibly stupid this was of me. The nurse said nothing about them being addictive or anything about the myriad, horrendous, life threatening, debilitating, and life-long side effects. And I did not ask. I had lived my life making a distinction between street drugs and those prescribed for a patient “in a doctor's care”. I had even told  Paula there was a difference. I also had blind faith in doctors. I had never questioned a prescription recommended for myself, my two daughters, when they were young, or any of my five grandchildren. I had never had a problem from any medications prescribed for us. Most importantly, I never dreamed a doctor would prescribe something deadly.

A day or so after that, a nurse called me and said, “ Paula  messed up her hand pretty bad”. I asked what happened and she said  Paula  repeatedly punched a wall with her fist. I was shocked;  Paula  had never done anything like that. The nurse assured me they would take x-rays. When I asked  Paula  why, she said, “I don’t know, I just got SO MAD”. At some point in the midst of all this, a nurse called me and told me that  Paula  was complaining about not being able to concentrate and that the doctor had ordered some Concerta for her. I gave my consent. (I did not know that Concerta was Ritalin, which I know to be Cocaine.)

After a couple of calls about  Paula having to be “restrained”,  Paula  kept telling me she didn’t know why she was doing these things, finally, she said “I don’t know, I just “flipped out”. This is a term my family has used in regard to  Paula's mother, (who is 37 years old and has been addicted to prescription Ritalin for years,) when she has “psychotic breaks”. I then realized that the drugs were making  Paula violent.

I called the nurses’ station and said that the medications were making  Paula violent and I wanted them to take  Paula off of them. The nurse said I would have to talk to the doctor. She said she would leave a message for her to call me. I had nurses leave messages for the doctor to call me a couple of more times. Then I left a voicemail for  Paula's counselor to have the doctor call me and the reason why. The nurses all assured me they had left messages and when I spoke to the counselor, she said she had received my voicemail and she had indeed left a message for the doctor to call me, stating the reason why I wanted to speak with her. It seems like it had been a couple of weeks since I wanted her taken off those medications, when a nurse called me and said Paula had severely scratched a girl’s face. I told her I wanted Paula off those drugs immediately, Dr. or no, the drugs were making Paula violent. She assured me that Paula would not be given any more.

I belatedly looked these drugs up on the internet to see the hazards of stopping them abruptly. This is when I saw the long list of side effects. I considered  Paula's being “impulsively aggressive” as life threatening. The side effects of stopping abruptly were the same as using the “tapering regimen”, with added effects that could be excruciating, but were not deadly. A lot of the side effects of staying on the drugs WERE, deadly, debilitating, and lifelong. The next morning I missed a call from the doctor and received this voicemail that I still have on my phone:

Transcript of the doctor's voice mail message on 12/23/2011 @ 11:04am (03:41)

from ___-___-2904 Hi, this is Dr. ________ calling from __________ for Julie -------, Miss -------, I’m the psychiatrist at __________ for Paula and I’d like to talk with you about her medication, I understand that you were concerned, are concerned, about her psychiatric medication and stopped her psychiatric medication last night, and I met with Paula this morning, and she had a very difficult evening and morning, very abruptly stopping both Paxil and Zyprexa is dangerous, she became very labile and got into a fight and not to say there wasn’t some antagonism on the other girls part, however Paula scratched the child’s face quite severely she’s somewhat better this morning however very agitated, very …. very labile, she does feel much better on her medication on the Zyprexa and the Paxil, and she, well I saw her yesterday afternoon, she was calm, she was much better and she really does need to be on the Paxil and the Zyprexa, not on the Concerta, we took her off the Concerta because that was causing her to be irritable and she and I both realized that she did not need that medication, she asked me to put her back on it because she thought she needed it for concentration but she actually had side effects when I put her back on it so we took it away and she felt much better so she really does need to be on the Zyprexa, 10mgs at bedtime the Paxil, 40mgs at bedtime for depression, and the Trazodone for sleep so I really do want you to be aware and consent for her to take those medications or she’s really going to have significant problems and not be able to progress here in the program. She did cause some significant scratches on this other young woman’s face and I’m very concerned about that, I know Paula wants to progress in the program and transition out of the girls more restrictive ________ House and I’m concerned that she may not be able to do that if she remains so “labile” and “impulsively aggressive”. So if you wouldn't mind calling the nurse’s station, I’m gonna be leaving not too long from now the nurses’ station, you might know the number.. ___-___-____ and I’ll be happy to talk with to you on Tuesday when I’m back in the office.

This message infers that the reason Paula scratched the girls face was because I stopped her meds. When in fact, I stopped her meds because, she scratched the girls face.

After hearing this voicemail, I wrote a “To Whom It May Concern”, letter stating that these drugs were making Paula violent and she was not to be given any medications. I also pointed out that  Paula  has an addictive personality and I did not want  Paula  to become a "Rageaholic", a person that, as I understand it, can become addicted to the chemical changes in the brain with rage, and is full of rage at all times with frequent outbursts. I reiterated what I had told the nurses and the counselor before, that  Paula  had never been violent, that  Paula  and I had “butted heads” a few times since she started using drugs and that I had been “in her face”, I have seen  Paula  angry and there was never even a “hint” of violence in her. In her seventeen years she had never been close to being in a fight. After being reassured by the nurses that Paula  would not be given any more “meds”, I did not fax this letter.

On Christmas Day, I arrived at the Camp to visit  Paula . I arrived at 8:30am. I got an audience with the doctor, who again said that  Paula needs these medications; I said they were making  Paula violent, and I don’t want  Paula to take them. The doctor said the side effects of abruptly stopping these medications can be dangerous, I said headaches, nausea, and dizziness, nothing as life-threatening as being impulsively aggressive, right? I took her non response as affirming. She said "we “can absolutely” stop all meds, we can absolutely do that".

After leaving the premises,  Paula said that after I had told them no more meds, the doctor had made her take the Trazodone.  Paula said that the doctor did not make her take the Paxil, but she did make her take the Trazodone. I had the letter that I had typed on the 23rd of December with me, so when I returned  Paula at 9:00pm, on Christmas, I took the letter in, signed it, put the present date, December 25, 2011 by my name, had the nurse make a copy, gave one to the nurse and the other to  Paula with the instructions that if anyone tries to give her drugs, she was to hand the letter to them.


My comment

As I said in my opening ramble, stories like this are becoming more common. Here we have a 17 year old girl with behavioral problems. Her grandmother, like many people, put her faith in the medical profession. She was thrown a lifeline that, in essence, had sharks on one end and Hades on the other.

Paula was given drugs for no other reason than to calm her down, chemical babysitters, if you will. What followed was a complete change in personality which included fits of rage and acts of voilence.

For a quack to prescribe someone so young 40mg of Paxil was, at best, sheer incompetence. Firstly, Paxil is not recommended for  17 year-olds, in fact no child or teen beyond the age of 24. Secondly, the recommended daily dose is 20mg. I'm also left wondering how Paula's doctor diagnosed her with depression that warranted an all out assault on her brain with such a concoction of medication. Did her doctor merely guess that Paula had depression or did he carry out extensive brain scans? I think we already know the answer to that question, don't we?

To prescribe Trazodone on top of Paxil was utter lunacy too. The 'Drug Information Online' is a database used by many healthcare professionals. It flags Paxil and Trazodone use as a major contraindication. The use of Paxil and Zyprexa has also been flagged on the database as has Trazodone and Zyprexa.

More importantly, and what the prescribing quack failed to understand, is the 'street drugs' that Paula had been taking prior to her admission into the centre. Did he ask her what street drugs she had used, did he check to see if it was safe to administer Paxil, Zyprexa and Trazodone on top of what she had already allegedly taken? Judging by the doctor's reluctance to check if the three aforementioned drugs were contraindicated it would appear that no history check of substance abuse was carried out by the prescribing physician. That's deeply worrying and highlights the incompetence and lack of knowledge these quacks have.

It's fair to say that Julie was at her wits end with her granddaughter, Paula. A profession [ahem] offered Julie a solution but those responsible became irresponsible the minute they started administering a cocktail of mind-altering drugs that interacted with each other and were not recommended for use.

They may as well have given  Paula a spoon, a lighter and a syringe.

Paula has an astute grandmother who has read about the dangers of psychiatric drugs. Julie has done her homework, unlike the quack that prescribed her granddaughter a dangerous concoction of toxic medication.

Paula should thank her grandmother for being so astute. There are others, many others, that have been less fortunate because back in the day when pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession had no opposition they were duping parents with their hard sell. They were trusted, they failed, they harmed, they killed. Had those left behind known about the dangers of psychiatric medication, had they have been given the chance to read what Julie had read then those featured in the video [below] would probably still be here today. It is in their deaths that folk like Julie have learned. It is they who are the voices, the regulators...the way to the truth.

It is they who should be respected.

Bob Fiddaman




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