Zantac Lawsuit

Researching drug company and regulatory malfeasance for over 16 years
Humanist, humorist

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Happy Holidays: A Year in Review

For the mothers and fathers who have loved and lost.
For the husbands and wives who have loved and lost.

For the brothers and sisters who have loved and lost.
For those of you that have loved and lost friends.

For those of you that have suffered long-term harm.
For those of you who continue to fight the cause.

"Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." ~ Andy Dufresne: Shawshank Redemption

I salute you all.

May this holiday period, whatever you wish to call it, bring you love, light and peace.

Time to put my feet up, crack open a few tinnies and dwell on the past 12 months.

Here are, in no particular order, 10 of the most viewed blog posts for 2019. Thank you for your continued support.

Q&A with Carmine Pariante
An interview with Carmine Pariante, a professor of biological psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College, London, and consultant perinatal psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. The interview didn't go as planned and was abruptly terminated.

50 Years and Still Rockin'
Celebrating with friends - The 50th anniversary of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award show in Los Angeles.

Pariante's Dish of the Day
A short documentary in which Carmine Pariante claimed that he could grow depression in a Petri-dish.

Hashtag Backfires on Twitter
The hashtag #ITakeMyMedsForMentalHealth was heavily promoted on Twitter. Leading psychiatrists jumped up and down, at the same time sending out dangerous information.

Royal College of Psychiatrists in Dubious U-Turn
Years of public denial regarding withdrawal problems then an admittance that there 'may be a problem', this admittance, obviously came with caveats and no apology.

The ADD/ADHD Infomercial
Watch how an ADHD 'expert' diagnoses an audience member with ADHD, it took him less than 30 seconds. David Blaine, eat your heart out!

Suicide Expert Embroiled in Twitter Controversy
UK Suicide 'expert' joins forces with former UKIP press secretary, Jasna Badzak and retweets her outlandish claim that those in the #PrescribedHarm community are nothing more than "a dangerous cult".

PHE Review Dilutes SSRI Problem
Public Health England releases a  review of available data and published evidence on the problems of dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines, but did they dilute it?

UK Suicide Expert: Akathisia Can Make People Suicidal
UK Suicide 'expert' finally admits akathisia can make people suicidal. Controversially, he claims the UK government won't allow him to alter the suicide strategy plan. Was he telling the truth?

The Death of Elisa Lam
A viral video, an endless list of conspiracy theories. I research the case and find startling evidence previously missed.

Thanks for reading, folks.

Bob Fiddaman

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Turning Something Bad Into Good (Spin)

Jacob Polete (16)

Sean Polete shared his concerns about antidepressants and whether a prescription contributed to the suicide death of his 16-year-old son, Jacob Polete, on Nov. 30, 2018.

Jacob's Dr didn't inform him about the black box warning. He didn't inform him that he was prescribing it off-label' and that it wasn’t approved to treat depression in teens.

Jacob's father told the Dayton Daily News:

“I didn’t do the research because I felt like, well, I’m just happy to have somebody giving us some advice. These antidepressants and things have significantly different effects on a child’s brain and it’s much different than the adult brain.”

Step forward the spin doctors.

V. Grace Matheson, MD, PhD

In the same article, Dr. Virginia Grace Matheson, a child psychiatrist at Dayton Children’s Hospital, said:

“For most children, the drugs work. We don’t want them to be afraid of the medicine. The vast majority of cases, the medication will really help the child feel better and if they are having suicidal thoughts as part of their depression, it will relieve those in most cases. But there are those kids who have the adverse effects.”

Matheson added:

“Most of them [antidepressants] work in a very similar way, so we can sort of extrapolate from the adult data. It doesn’t mean that it’s not safe or it doesn’t work. Sometimes a child prescribed antidepressants actually has a form of bipolar disorder that wasn’t detected.”

T.J. Grimm, retail and ambulatory director for University Hospitals in Cleveland, and president-elect of the Ohio Pharmacists Association, added:

“There are people who, because they’ve heard about increased suicides, they’ve heard these medicines don’t work, (they’ve been) scared off. ”

Jacob Polete was just 16-years-old. Part of his online obit reads:

He attended Fairhaven church where he volunteered at Celebration Place, a program serving children 5 to 13 years old coping with life’s tough issues. Jacob was an avid naturalist, a fan of bushcraft, and wilderness survival. He enjoyed hiking in the woods, biking riding, and exploring large cities like New York and rural areas like the Metro Parks. He was not a fan of suburbs. He had recently started working as a bagger at Dorothy Lane Market, and was very proud of himself for saving his earnings to buy himself a new bicycle. Jacob loved food challenges, cooking, and pushing the limits of his taste buds with strong flavors and strange foods. He was fearless and impulsive, and never backed away from a challenge. He had great compassion and love for his furry friend Athena and an intimate circle of friends. His loving yet mischievous personality, combined with his intelligence and innate wisdom, gave the sense of being in the presence of an old soul. He was captivated by Lord of the Rings, both the books and the movies, and the band Pink Floyd. He was a curious experimenter and delved deeply into chemistry and botany. Since early childhood, Jacob was a skilled “deconstructive engineer,” and took apart every object he could get his hands on.

Read the full vomit-inducing spin by the 'experts' here.

In the meantime, this is for Dr Virgina Grace Matheson.

Bob Fiddaman

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Death of Elisa Lam

21-year-old Elisa Lam

This is a blog about the bizarre case of 21-year-old Elisa Lam, a Canadian student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, whose body was recovered from a water tank atop the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles on February 19, 2013.

Many readers may have already seen the related YouTube video which was released by the LAPD. It has gone viral with over 24 million views.

In the footage, below, Lam is seen exiting and re-entering the elevator, talking and gesturing in the hallway outside, and sometimes seeming to hide within the elevator, which itself appears to be malfunctioning. Her actions caught on CCTV prompted many theories about her disappearance and death which include speculations that she was either murdered, died by suicide, or experienced some sort of paranormal activity.

The LAPD was contacted by Lam's parents from their Vancouver home. After an investigation into her whereabouts revealed nothing, the police issued a Missing Person's poster (Fig 1)

(Fig 1)

Here's the CCTV footage

Sometime after the LAPD publicly released the video, guests at the Cecil Hotel had complained about low water pressure and that the water was black. Upon investigation of the rooftop tanks, Lam's body was found naked with her clothes floating next to her.

Two days later the Los Angeles coroner's office issued a finding of accidental drowning, with bipolar disorder as a significant factor. In June of the same year, a full coroner's report was released. This is where we, for the first time, have access to Lam's toxicology report. The full report lists Lam's death as an "accident."

Before reading it, it's interesting to note that days prior to her death, Lam was room sharing at the hotel. The other two roommates complained to hotel management that Lam's behaviour was "odd". Lam was then moved to a room on her own.

Here's the toxicology report that piqued my interest. (Click on images to enlarge)

As you can see, Lam was medicated with Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Seroquel and Effexor, four potent psychiatric drugs. Four drugs, when taken together, throw up major interactions, as seen here.

Given Wellbutrin, Effexor and Lamictal were found in her system (Fig 2), a logical question is did Lam abruptly stop taking Seroquel?

Tiffany Hahn, a licensed Private Investigator in the State of California, raises a very important question about this. She writes, "Elisa Lam has a prescription for Quetiapine. The Quetiapine was prescribed by Dr. Sarah E. Scarfe and filled at London Drugs (Canadian Pharmacy), 604-570-0252, Prescription Number: 7153992; Prescribed 01/11/2013. She was issued 30 tablets. There were still 20 in the bottle. RX Directions: 2 Tabs QHS PRN (QHS = Abbreviation for L. quaque hora somni, every bedtime; PRN: Abbreviation meaning “when necessary”).

If there are 10 tablets missing from the bottle, Elisa Lam might have taken them in the 21 days between when they were prescribed (January 11, 2013) and her disappearance (February 1, 2013)."

Keywords here, "When necessary". So, one at bedtime and one whenever she felt like it. What Dr would advise a patient to take Seroquel "when necessary"? Doubling a dose and then halving a dose abruptly can have dire consequences for the patient. We can see that she didn't take one every night as only 10 were missing from her bottle. Missing doses like this can cause an array of problems. The patient information leaflet for Seroquel states: "If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time to take the next dose, wait until then. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten tablet."

Why then did her prescribing psychiatrist tell her to take one at bedtime and one  "when necessary" This would, in essence, be doubling her dose, would it not?

Fig 2

One has to ask why a 21-year-old woman had been prescribed these four drugs given their major interactions when combined. We can see from the report that her prescriber was Dr. Sarah Scarfe, a Psychiatrist who practices at Student Health Services Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, M334-2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, Canada.

On top of this, it is alleged that Lam also made posts on her blog referring to her Hypomania and depression. She also made a post where she detailed making an appointment with a doctor to discuss Electroconvulsive Therapy.

According to some prescribers, "bipolar disorder" may include psychotic episodes. However if, indeed, Lam was suffering "bipolar disorder", why would her condition cause psychosis and suicidal thinking? Aren't the drugs she was given supposed to effectively treat such things?

Let's look at the four prescription drugs, three of which, were found in her system (Effexor, Lamictal and Wellbutrin)

Wellbutrin - norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) (GlaxoSmithKline)
The website VerywellMind tells us, "Antidepressants, including Wellbutrin, are widely used in managing depression in bipolar disorder. There are concerns when it comes to antidepressants and bipolar disease. One of these concerns is called phase switching, which is a shift in mood from depression to mania. This can be a serious problem because mania can result in impulsive or dangerous behavior."

It is used “off-label” to treat bipolar.

Wellbutrin carries a suicide risk on the patient information leaflet. It also carries a warning of akathisia, a condition which is best described as an 'inner restlessness and turmoil' that can become so overwhelming that death is a welcome result.

Lamictal - Antiepileptic (GlaxoSmithKline)
Lamictal was originally developed as an anticonvulsant to treat seizures and is often used with other medications in the treatment of bipolar.

In 2009, the FDA forced manufacturers of all antiepileptic drugs to include new warnings of possible suicide ideation.

The current Lamictal patient information leaflet carries a suicide warning. Akathisia is also listed as a side-effect.

Seroquel - Antipsychotic - AstraZeneca
Seroquel was approved in 2006 for the treatment of depressive episodes in patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It carries a suicide risk warning on the patient information leaflet. People taking Seroquel have a 30% to 40% chance of akathisia.

Seroquel has been the subject of more than 25,000 product liability lawsuits, including one brought by federal prosecutors. The federal litigation and other lawsuits alleged that AstraZeneca (Seroquel's manufacturer) did not disclose certain side effects of the drug, and encouraged doctors to prescribe the drug for treatments not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Effexor - serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) - was introduced by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 1993. Since 2009, it has been marketed by Pfizer
Not indicated for bipolar, however, according to, "If you have bipolar disorder and take an SNRI, you may be at risk for triggering a manic episode."

In addition to birth defect lawsuits, other claims have been made for suicidal thoughts, violent behaviours and discontinuation syndrome, or on behalf of deceased loved ones. 

Effexor carries a suicide warning on its patient information leaflet. Akathisia is also listed as a side-effect.

Four drugs that carry suicide warnings, four drugs prescribed to this 21-year old woman by a psychiatrist, Dr. Scarfe, who works at a university that caters to young people ages 25 and under. The FDA's black box suicide warning for people age 25 and under was supposedly created to help teens and young adults be better informed about critical adverse drug effects. It is not clear whether Dr. Scarfe ever provided informed consent to Elisa. Many psychiatrists fail to provide informed consent and leave it to chance that a young person such as Elisa, would, somehow, automatically know to carefully read the microscopic fine print in each of the four drug leaflets.

Maybe bipolar disorder was a significant factor in this young woman's suicide or maybe, just maybe, the four drugs found in her system, all of which carry suicide warnings, contributed to her obvious psychosis as depicted in the CCTV footage and previous bizarre behaviour with roommates at the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

In September 2013, Lam's parents, David and Yinna Lam, filed a wrongful death suit, claiming the hotel failed to "inspect and seek out hazards in the hotel that presented an unreasonable risk of danger to Lam. In 2015, the suit was dismissed.

Maybe they would have had better luck filing suit against Lam's psychiatrist given the four drugs Lam was prescribed, three of which were in her system at the time of her increasingly "odd" behaviours and sudden death.

Bob Fiddaman

Learn more about akathisia here

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Louis Appleby Knew About Prescription Drug-Induced Akathisia in 2004

Louis Appleby Knew About Prescription Drug-Induced Akathisia in 2004

Following on from my previous post, UK Suicide Expert: Akathisia Can Make People Suicidal, it has come to light that the UK's 'expert' on suicide prevention, Prof. Louis Appleby, was warned about prescription drug-induced akathisia many years ago. Just as he does today, he ignored the akathisia and suicide links.

In 2004, Millie Kieve, founder of the APRIL Charity, called the Manchester Coroner's office as there has been a recent Roaccutane suicide. Millie was, and still is, concerned about the reaction of Professor Louis Appleby and why he fails to warn about medicines causing akathisia and suicide risk for some people. Back in 2004, Millie had written to Appleby but he had pretty much ignored her.

Millie recorded the conversation with the Manchester Coroner's office and tells them of her struggles with Louis Appleby. She also tells them that the 2004 suicide strategy plan, headed by Appleby, had no mention of prescription drug-induced suicides or indeed prescription drug-induced akathisia. She tells the Manchester Coroner's office that Appleby's office 'fobbed her off', claiming that "people might get more energy to kill themselves when they take antidepressants."

The call to the coroner sees Millie raise concerns about Appleby, SSRI drugs and other drugs, including Roaccutane, Dianette and Lariam.

This is a huge concern, so much so that MISSD (The Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin) an American non-profit organization dedicated to honouring the memory of Stewart Dolin and other victims of akathisia, has now reached out to Appleby on Twitter and have urged him to save lives.

Listen to the 14-minute phone conversation here

Bob Fiddaman

Monday, October 28, 2019

UK Suicide Expert: Akathisia Can Make People Suicidal

"When we came to update the strategy a few years ago, the Government wanted as few changes as possible." - UK's leading Suicide Prevention expert, Louis Appleby

I've previously written about the UK's leading Suicide Prevention expert, Louis Appleby, here. It's important you read my previous post first, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the issues raised.

Appleby had been embroiled in controversy after he seemingly joined forces with former UKIP press secretary, Jasna Badzak. Appleby had retweeted Badzak's claim that drug safety advocates enquiring about iatrogenic deaths and akathisia are nothing more than, "a dangerous cult".

He has since removed the offending post from his timeline but offered no apology to those he offended.

Appleby has also been repeatedly asked by drug safety advocates on both Twitter and via email to investigate iatrogenic deaths. He's either ignored these requests or blocked those asking the question.

Patient advocate, Dee Doherty, 43, Wexford, recently emailed Appleby and the correspondence is jaw-dropping.

Dee has kindly passed on the emails to me and they are published here for the first time.

Appleby can complain that they are private emails if he wishes but he is a public figure and the public has a right to know his claims regarding antidepressant use, suicide prevention and the UK government.

What is immediately striking, to me at least is that Appleby passes the buck and asks a patient advocate to do what he should be doing. Maybe I'm misreading what he is relaying to Dee Doherty in these series of emails, but you can be the judge.

It is also striking his final admittance, albeit privately, that SSRIs can cause akathisia which, in his own words, "can make people feel desperate and suicidal." If this is the case then why is he advising a patient safety advocate to contact the departments he should be contacting?

Contrast his private statement to Dee to the one he made publicly in the Suicide Prevention Interim Report (2016-17)

“Whilst we heard concerns in some written submissions about the role of drug treatments and suicide, the evidence we heard from Professor Louis Appleby, Chair of the Government’s suicide prevention advisory group, and Professor Carmine Pariante of the Institute of Psychiatry was that there is greater risk from not using medication where appropriate, provided that this is following evidence-based guidelines.”

Did Appleby raise the issue of akathisia back then or, indeed, did he stress that akathisia "can make people feel desperate and suicidal."?

Reading through the 26-page draft it appears that neither he or Professor Carmine Pariante raised the issue of antidepressant-induced akathisia making people feel desperate and suicidal.

Pariante, in 2017, claimed that he told  Suicide Prevention Interim Report committee members, "In a nutshell, there is evidence that some antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidality, especially in children and adolescents, but there is no evidence that antidepressants increase the risk of suicide, neither in adults nor in children and adolescents." Parianted added, "Suicide is the act of purposely ending one's life. Suicidality is a set of thoughts and behaviours that are related to suicide but are less likely to be lethal; it includes thoughts and preoccupations about suicide as well as acts of self-harm such as cutting." (Source)

Bizarrely, in 2019 Pariante told me in an interview, "I accept that it is possible that some patients might have died as a consequence of taking antidepressants, and my heart goes to them and to their families." (See here)

Louis Appleby

Why is Appleby saying one thing behind closed doors (in a private email) and another thing publically? Why is he blocking patient safety advocates on Twitter who raise the issue of antidepressant-induced akathisia? Could it possibly be that he doesn't want to talk about this issue under public scrutiny because he will be asked why he is, seemingly, failing to reduce the UK's suicide statistics?

Appleby needs to open up to the government and the public about his stance on antidepressant use. He needs to publically declare what he has told Dee Doherty in the series of emails below. Because he hasn't, I feel I should. Keeping akathisia and antidepressant-induced suicides 'in-house' shows signs of incredible weakness. It also puts the public at risk.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Dee Doherty for passing the correspondence on to me so we, the public, can finally get a window into how the UK government and, indeed, Louis Appleby, are steering the ship, or not, as the case may be.

We should all applaud patient advocates like Dee Doherty. Her tenacity in getting to the truth is highly commendable and by going public she is very brave.

*Emphasis has been added by me in some of Appleby's email replies.

Here are the emails...


Deirdre Doherty <> Mon, Sep 23, 2019 at 7:10 PM

Dear Professor Appleby,

I am writing to you and the Human Rights Ombudsman regarding your position as UK Head of Suicide Prevention and how, as the Head of Suicide Prevention in the UK, a paid Public Official, Informed Consent and Human Rights laws must pertain to the role.

Where a Head of  Suicide Prevention must   be   aware   that   likely   over   500   medications  including SSRIs, antipsychotics, some antibiotics, acne medications, heart medications – and in rising prescription rates for these drugs can cause the Adverse Drug Effect akathisia which can cause self-harm or suicide even in healthy people, I am providing some literature on akathisia for others who may be less well versed.

Further, at a time when ADRS more generally are the 4th leading cause of death ‐ in hospitals alone and where there is someone to observe.

Briefly, I am a former teacher, published writer, and a potentially litigating Seroxat victim now disabled.

Prior to a needless and catastrophic prescription for Seroxat in 1999 in Belfast, I was healthy, generally happy by nature, well educated, highly qualified and highly ambitious.

As pertains, I suffered from akathisia a few times without warning & almost lost my life to it. Twenty years later my stepdaughter, a teenager, was prescribed Sertraline – also without Informed Consent to her parents regarding the possibility of akathisia – much less what to do that may save her life in this event.

Non-blood related, you can imagine my horror to see the child agitated, pacing, waling, unable to sit still or even in the same room, and demanding her parents help her kill herself: after missing one pill.

Both bewildered parents witnessed this “scare”.

It took me some time to process. Not least that 20 years later this could happen, and to a child, without warning nor remotely adequate training in doctors to recognise this potentially life-threatening, under-recognised Adverse Drug Effect.

To be clear, I am not in any way anti‐medications. This is often claimed, of many apparent tactics, to avoid addressing critical evidence-based issues costing lives.

After suffering many horrific Informed Consent and Human Rights abuses which caused irreparable damage to me as a young adult, I am however Pro-Informed Consent and Human Rights as established in UK Courts, Supreme Courts, and in accordance with Medical Council Directives. And as I would have assumed a Head of Suicide Prevention would be also.

Yet I believe both the UK Head of Suicide Prevention and the Head of the Royal College of Psychiatrists have repeatedly refused to answer a respectfully made simple Informed Consent and Human Rights question by Bob Fiddaman and Kristina K Gerhki, who lost a child to iatrogenic suicide, as to whether SSRIs can cause self-harm and suicide?

Other bereaved parents are compassionately respected by you.

I am dismayed that the leads in Suicide Prevention are happy to allow preventable deaths, and in children, to a rarely warned of, under-recognised, but treatable Adverse Drug Effect of likely 500 medications.

The continued negligence and, despite the evidence, appeals to reason and humanity, are surely bordering on intent at this stage and in rising rates of self-harm and suicide in the young.

Further where there exists a Free Accredited Course in Akathisia to reduce preventable deaths to akathisia for doctors, psychiatrists, parents, carers, patients. And where patients, some doctors and some trainee doctors have said to the Royal College that they would like to be more educated in this ADR towards saving lives and preventing misdiagnosis.

Also, a time when severe withdrawal from SSRIs, which alone raises the risk of suicide beyond the raised risk of akathisia, has now been somewhat recognised in the UK.

Beyond the wilful refusal of a Head of Suicide Prevention to answer a simple Informed Consent question respectfully made to him many times by a mother bereaved to iatrogenic suicide, adding to her suffering as you have added  to mine, and  that of many other Informed Consent and Patient Safety advocates, a new low in professionalism, ethics, and morality was also reached yesterday.

On a post by the UK Head of Suicide Prevention on Twitter yesterday, it was alleged that it was not owing to the topic that you blocked so many valid and well-evidenced concerns about what you were doing to prevent iatrogenic suicides also. But that you had done so as you wished to protect distressed bereaved parents (excluding the iatrogenically bereaved), for abuse & harassment (of you presumably), their behaviour.

I personally believe that avoiding critical issues and valid evidence-based concerns regarding a known cause of self-harm and suicide which is not being responsibly addressed in rising rates of self-harm and suicide rates, by pitting bereaved parents against bereaved parents is unconscionable. I don’t know what you were referring to but I believe this allegation was well addressed by others in other relevant threads.

Sufficiently distressed and concerned for my teen stepdaughter, neither did I engage in any of the behaviours you have used as an excuse to block me and my concerns also I assume.

I hope a Court may consider any anger and dismay at your refusal to recognise Informed Consent and Human Rights laws or to do anything to also help prevent Iatrogenic suicides in rising rates of suicide and under your remit, regarding your role and behaviour, as legitimate.

Both my stepdaughter and I were only lucky to have survived akathisia.

We are just one family.

With likely over 500 medications which can cause akathisia or drug-induced suicide and in rising prescription rates for these drugs, I, like too many who suffered this torture, remain kept awake at night wondering God knows how many people, including children, you are allowing to die agonising preventable deaths every day – correlative with accessed data and Independent Evidence-Based Studies, data from many Independent sources.

Up to eight people will be heavily impacted by every suicide. And further for families of iatrogenic suicide by no validation, no compassion nor support for people like Dr Peter Gordon by his own colleagues. Nor for Antony who died after suffering from akathisia and severe withdrawal from Seroxat. Nor for his bereaved mother burying him next week and who had requested recognition.

Further to blocking me and others with valid complaints and concerns for other families, you then justified doing publicly so by posting a tweet from a woman (had you done your research) who had been reported for wilfully misrepresenting and abusing an iatrogenically disabled Senior Citizen recognised Patient Safety Advocate.

Not least as “anti‐medicine”, “the Leader of an Anti‐Medicine Cult”, a “Scientologist”, “bots”, “stupid”, “idiots” etc, for many weeks before the Head of Suicide Prevention in the UK decided to repost this woman’s attitude towards bereaved and harmed Informed Consent and Patient Safety advocates with valid and well-evidenced concerns on his own account. And as justification for his own misleading and shameful behaviour.

This woman had been fact-checked regarding medical myths she perpetuated and regarding false allegations made to no avail and had been reported a week prior. I am unsure if she remains a convicted fraud.

More generally, you will be more than aware that the disabled, including the iatrogenically disabled, are also at greater risk of suicide.

You will also be well aware that disbelief, invalidation, stigma, social isolation, and marginalisation,  re‐victimisation, particularly by trusted bodies, also raises suicide risks. Further where many have already suffered disability owing to a lack of Informed Consent, inadequate concerns for Patient safety, loss of career, relationships, finances, trust ‐ already raised known suicide risks.

In rising rates of self-harm and suicide in the young, many contributory causes, of course, no doubt, common sense and your job would dictate that all causes of self-harm and suicide must be considered and that the aim must be to reduce self-harm and suicide and iatrogenic self-harm and iatrogenic suicide if rates are to be reduced.

Avoiding this long-overdue critical issue causing preventable deaths any longer, whatever the motivation, must by now surely be bordering on Human Rights abuses: if it didn’t already. Not least akathisia, no one immune, Russian Roulette, is recognised as a form of mental torture.

Common sense and compassion would also dictate that all bereaved parents, all traumatised survivors of suicide attempts, be they non-iatrogenically or iatrogenically caused, are afforded equal compassion and equal rights.

Our confusion and despair, on the evidence, and well over twenty years after well-documented warnings of akathisia risks and of withdrawal risks extend to despair for science, humanity, human rights, the  “caring” profession with a duty of care.

We will have to continue, unpaid and both my stepdaughter and I now on Disability, grateful and indebted to the extraordinary hard work of so many organisations and advocates you ignore, or you have blocked, for saving my own life from iatrogenic suicide. And for educating me sufficiently to be able to educate the parents of my stepdaughter where her doctors did not, of the risk of akathisia ‐ and what we should do in this event.

Where Informed Consent and Human Rights laws exist, it was already a terrible indictment on you that we and so many affected and bereaved feel compelled to do so at all.

I trust we may be afforded a response where distress has already been caused ‐ and specifically to each issue raised here.

If not and whatever the motivation of a Head of Suicide Prevention may be to refuse to also help to prevent the needless loss of life, including children’s lives, to an under-recognised but treatable ADR of hundreds of common medications, it cannot be the case  that you are above Informed Consent laws, Human Rights laws, Medical Directives, or your paid for by the public job description.

As this issue should be paramount in many declared Public Health Crises and in rising self-harm and suicide rates, I hope there will be an enquiry regarding potential Human Rights abuses and that this may be found. And where you do use your Twitter account to keep the public abreast of Suicide related issues and Suicide Prevention news.

Yours Sincerely,

Deirdre Doherty


Louis Appleby <> Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 10:30 AM
To: Deirdre Doherty <>

Dear Mrs Doherty

I want to let you know I’ve deleted that tweet, given your concern about it. After all, my comment on it was actually about ensuring a positive atmosphere on my timeline.

I can assure you the safety of antidepressants is seen as an important issue in suicide prevention.

Caution over suicide risk is in NICE guidance and the side effect of restlessness is referred to in the national suicide prevention strategy.

With best wishes

Louis Appleby


Deirdre Doherty <> Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 11:43 PM
To: Louis Appleby <>

Dear Professor Appleby,

I, with great distress caused to my family and others, no responsibility taken; no apology; no addressing all the issues; no unblocking (unless you have evidence that I was distressing bereaved families, harassed and abused bereaved families – or you?) Will I at least be reassured that you don't think of myself and my teen stepdaughter (aware that I was reaching out to you with her concern for herself and for others after her experience of missing one Sertraline pill) and of others - as part of a "dangerous cult"?

More crucially, I do not understand your response on the far more critical issue of akathisia at all, particularly in rising rates of Self Harm and Suicide?

This remains urgent, and for my family:

Despite the fact that I was a Study 329 victim, the mother of my teen stepdaughter thinks I'm a Conspiracy Theorist.

The child is now withdrawing, not with me, and I am very concerned after her previous experience upon missing one pill - already related to you in my letter.

Can SSRIs (along with many other medications) induce death by self-harm so the teen’s mother may take it from you, whom I had sought confirmation from?

I don’t want to have to keep asking this valid question also.

Please imagine if it were your child.


Deirdre Doherty


Deirdre Doherty <> Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 12:55 PM
To: Louis Appleby <>

Dear Professor Appleby

My apologies, I neglected to request where "restlessness" as a side effect appears and regarding SSRIs, in the Govt Suicide Prevention Strategy and this has been requested by others.

As I struggle with cognitive impairments direction or sharing would be great. I am very confused and with different information from the FDA in 2007 and Montgomery Informed Consent Laws.

Thank you and for any appreciation of our family circumstances,

Deirdre Doherty


Louis Appleby <> Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 7:19 PM
To: Deirdre Doherty <>

Dear Mrs Doherty

Thanks for replying. I want to try to answer your questions in the most helpful way, so it makes sense to start with my understanding of the main issue you have raised.

SSRI antidepressants can cause akathisia. I have seen many patients with akathisia, caused by different drugs, and it is an extremely unpleasant condition that at its most severe can make people feel desperate and suicidal.

It's hard to estimate how often it causes suicide or self-harm, partly because what makes people suicidal is often a mixture of problems - it is rarely caused by one thing. However, the risk is sufficiently concerning for us to be cautious at all times, especially when starting or stopping treatment. It's essential that the doctor who prescribes SSRIs should inform the patient about this risk, as you say, though I do understand that doctors don't want to put a patient off taking treatment & getting the balanced message of risks and benefits right can be hard.

On the national suicide prevention strategy, I need to explain a little of the background. When we came to update the strategy a few years ago, the Government wanted as few changes as possible. We were keen to add something about antidepressants after hearing from families who felt strongly about this and we thought it was best done in the section on treatment of depression in primary care which was mainly about the risks of getting no treatment. So we added a line to the key messages of this section, as follows:

"There are also risks in the early stages of drug treatment when some patients feel more agitated." (page 27).

This may not sound a lot but at the time it seemed an important and unusual acknowledgement to appear in a Government strategy. We used "agitated" because it was a document for the general public rather than clinical guidance for doctors - that's the job of NICE - or information for patients, which is overseen by the regulator, the MHRA. Current NICE guidance says something more specific about the need for careful monitoring in the early period of treatment, especially in younger people, because of suicide risk.

I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties your step-daughter has faced. If she has had severe akathisia on withdrawal, it's an important point of safety to withdraw more slowly, to avoid the distress I've mentioned. Most people can come off antidepressants if it's done over the right time period, and that can vary for different people.

I hope I've answered what you were asking about your step-daughter but if I've misunderstood please feel able to come back to me. Of course, I've "unblocked" you - happy to do this - but being in touch by email is a lot better than twitter.

With best wishes

Louis Appleby


Deirdre Doherty <> Fri, Oct 4, 2019 at 4:04 PM
To: Louis Appleby <>

Dear Prof. Appleby,

From what I can understand, and of UK legislation, especially as akathisia is an adverse drug effect of so many increasingly prescribed medications and as suicide rates may be reduced with greater awareness both of the signs of suicide and of the signs of akathisia, would you kindly support an Informed Consent & Patient Safety petition regarding the material risk of akathisia?

The petition would go something like this:

We, the undersigned, were aghast to learn via recent communication with Prof. Louis Appleby, a UK Suicide Prevention expert, that the government are restricting safety information in suicide prevention strategies. We find this incomprehensible, given the admittance by Prof. Appleby that "SSRI antidepressants can cause akathisia." Adding further, "it is an extremely unpleasant condition that at its most severe can make people feel desperate and suicidal."

Do we have your backing on this, Prof. Appleby?

Thanks for taking this very seriously,

Deirdre Doherty


Louis Appleby <> Wed, Oct 9, 2019 at 6:43 PM
To: Deirdre Doherty <>

Dear Mrs Doherty

I'm approaching this in a slightly different way but I hope it's helpful.

The problem of petitioning the Government is that they will see this as a clinical issue, something that falls within NICE's independent remit. I think it would be better to go direct to NICE - they are the main source of guidance to GPs and other health professionals. I've been in touch with them about the best way for you to do this, as they are still working on their depression guideline.

NICE depression guidance currently advises careful monitoring when people, especially young people, first start antidepressants because of suicide risk but it doesn't link this risk to agitation or akathisia. The depression guidance for children & adolescents, 18 & younger, is very cautious about the use of antidepressants at all and stresses the importance of patients being fully informed, and keeping a written record of this.

Given the points you've raised with me, your request to NICE could be that (1) it could include a reference to agitation/akathisia as a warning sign of suicide risk (2) the recording of informed consent could be extended to cover young adults in the adult guidance.

One way to do this is to write to NICE at this email, either personally or via any organisation you work with, to say that you want to provide information about safety:

The other thing is to open a NICE account to receive information & comment on guidelines when they are out for consultation. Link here:

It may sound a bit bureaucratic but all this is part of NICE being strictly independent, doing everything by the book.

If you find you aren't getting the right response, come back to me & I'll contact them again.

With best wishes

Louis Appleby


Louis Appleby <> Thu, Oct 10, 2019 at 10:49 AM
To: Deirdre Doherty <>

Dear Mrs Doherty

I meant to add that the other way to approach this is via the Royal College of General Practitioners who oversee training for GPs. They are the main prescribers of SSRIs and getting your messages into their training would reach a lot of people. Let me know if you want to follow this up.

I'm conscious this is taking you into the way the various national health care bodies work & that can seem complicated if it is unfamiliar. Come back to me if you want me to clarify any of this.

With best wishes

Louis Appleby


Deirdre Doherty <> Thu, Oct 10, 2019 at 4:28 PM
To: Louis Appleby <>

Dear Professor Appleby

Thank you for all these different suggestions to follow up. Yes, I am understandably confused about how these different processes work but I’m happy you will help me help others be more aware of the suicide risks related to akathisia. My family was left in the dark and we are lucky we survived akathisia at its worst.

It’s not good for me or our efforts that I appear like a lone wolf in wanting to clearly communicate akathisia and the big differences between akathisia and agitation. I would feel more comfortable following up on your suggestions if I can talk with someone who is already familiar with your previous efforts to add akathisia to the national suicide prevention strategy. Can you please give me the names and contact info of those who you previously spoke with when you tried to make these changes so I can also seek their support?

Akathisia awareness has really increased since you last worked with the government to add akathisia info and related suicide risks to the national strategy. I don’t think the word akathisia should continue to be left out because of some out-dated, false assumption that it is too clinical a word for families to understand. I will do my best to work with you and other professionals in this field to make these needed changes to the national strategy, to NICE and to all doctors’ training. Other families need to be better informed than my family was.

I feel sorry that you’ve received so much negative flak on Twitter given that I now know you made previous efforts to include akathisia risks in the national strategy. I think the best way forward is to petition the government and include the dilemmas you faced when trying to improve suicide prevention strategy. If the public can see the government are not supporting a suicide prevention expert, more people will probably support a petition. Also, since I’m still suffering from adverse drug effects, I’m hopeful a petition will bring new people with different skills who can work with us towards these goals.

Best wishes,

Deirdre Doherty


Louis Appleby <> Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 10:43 AM
To: Deirdre Doherty <>

Dear Mrs Doherty

Sorry not to reply before now, I've been away.

To clarify, the Government doesn't make decisions about clinical practice or training. It delegates these issues to expert bodies that are independent and have the necessary expertise. NICE are the body that puts out clinical guidance to health professionals. Royal Colleges oversee training. These are the organisations that can change practice in the way you want.

It was quite unusual for the national strategy to include a specific clinical point. In that sense the Dept of Health supported me, it wouldn't be correct to suggest otherwise. A national strategy is an overall statement about the importance of an issue such as suicide prevention, intended to support and inform the NHS, local authorities, etc. It doesn't instruct them on what to do - that is decided in each local area.

I can see you would like to influence the Government on the issue of akathisia but their response is likely to be that this is the role of NICE. Of course, it's your decision how to proceed - I'm just concerned you could put a lot of effort into pursuing this in a way that would, in the end, be frustrating for you.

In the meantime, I'll assume you want me to approach the RCGP, as I mentioned in my previous email, and I'll now do this.

With best wishes

Louis Appleby


Deirdre Doherty <> Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 4:10 PM
To: Louis Appleby <>

Dear Professor Appleby,

I will organise the Petition with my original wording.

Can you confirm in writing that you support the Petition or are you now saying the Government never imposed restrictions?

I'm confused.

We, the undersigned, were aghast to learn via recent communication with Prof. Louis Appleby, a UK Suicide Prevention expert, that the Government are restricting Safety Information in Suicide Prevention strategies. We find this incomprehensible, given the admittance by Prof. Appleby that "SSRI antidepressants can cause akathisia." Adding further, "it is an extremely unpleasant condition that at its most severe can make people feel desperate and suicidal."

We learned that the Suicide Strategy Plan is severely lacking in concise information. Prof Appleby, via correspondence, told us, "When we came to update the strategy a few years ago, the Government wanted as few changes as possible."

We urge the Government to rethink their stance and demand to know why they feel few changes are needed.

Best wishes,

Deirdre Doherty


Louis Appleby <> Sun, Oct 20, 2019 at 8:24 PM
To: Deirdre Doherty <>

Dear Mrs Doherty

I'm very willing to help but there's a misunderstanding here about the role of the Government. It might help if I explained a bit more.

The Government at that time had a policy of supporting local independence, so it wasn't keen on national strategies which were seen as "top-down", ie telling local people what their priorities should be. We did get agreement to relaunch the national suicide prevention strategy but it had to be an update, not a new strategy.

It's very important to know what a strategy like this is for. It is a broad statement of how we should approach a problem, it is not a detailed list of actions that people should take. Organisations like the NHS or local government are expected to respond by providing the detail for their staff. It isn't the role of the national strategy to issue clinical advice to doctors - that is for NICE or the regulator, the MHRA.

So the Government did not restrict safety advice or fail to support me. In fact, it went beyond its remit by allowing me to refer to the risk on starting treatment for depression after people had raised this with me. I told you about this so that you would know that their concerns, which are similar to yours, were not ignored.

My advice is to focus on what matters most to you, the problem of akathisia and the importance of informed consent, where you are making a powerful point. The main issue could get lost if the petition is about the Government.

Of course, it's your decision. The help I can give is more about how to get through to the organisations that actually influence prescribing practice, such as NICE and the Royal Colleges. I can also advise you on how our complex health system works - I do understand it must seem confusing.

With best wishes

Louis Appleby



Bob Fiddaman

Further Reading

Platonic Lies ~ Louis Appleby responds to mother regarding the death of her son.
Akathisia and suicide ~ Email from Dr Peter Gordon to Louis Appleby and Wendy Burn.
National Suicide Prevention Strategy ~ Louis Appleby makes claims of feeling 'threatened'.
Suicide Prevention: ~ Oral evidence given to the House of Commons by Louis Appleby and Carmine Pariante
Kindness, attention and respect ~ Appleby, Gerada, Wessley all singing from the same hymnsheet
Q&A with Carmine Pariante ~ Communication breakdown

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Suicide Expert Embroilled in Twitter Controversy

Louis Appleby, (above) the UK's leading expert on suicidology, has sparked controversy on Twitter after seemingly joining forces with former UKIP press secretary, Jasna Badzak.

Appleby, who has been repeatedly asked by drug safety advocates on both Twitter and via email to investigate iatrogenic deaths, (suicides) recently retweeted Jasna Badzak's claim that drug safety advocates enquiring about iatrogenic deaths and akathisia are nothing more than, "a dangerous cult".

Badzak's tweet featured screenshots from just four patient safety advocates, myself included. This prompted Appleby to block anyone who wanted to ask him about akathisia and/or iatrogenic deaths caused by antidepressants.

Remarkably, the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wendy Burn, then retweeted Appleby. If anything, this highlights how both Appleby and Burn are not adept in research skills. Worrisome, given their positions and influence in the mental health field.

Despite many people pointing out to Appleby that Badzak allegedly has a less than savoury history when it comes to her online activities, Appleby's and Burn's tweets remain. (Badzak back-stories at the end of this post)

Let's just dissect what Appleby wrote. He claims that the behaviour of people asking questions about iatrogenic deaths and akathisia are actually causing distress to bereaved families. I find this odd given that all the questions have been aimed at Appleby. Is Appleby using the excuse of bereaved families to not answer specific questions about antidepressant-induced deaths and/or akathisia?

Earlier this month I emailed both Appleby and Wendy Burn and asked them if SSRI's can cause self-harm fatalities. Neither of them answered. I repeatedly asked them both on Twitter, they both evaded the question.

This is a matter of informed consent and as a patient, they are violating my human rights by not answering me. Other patients and former patients have also asked them the same question via Twitter. Again, they have failed to answer.

As I mentioned, Appleby shared with his 19,000+ followers a tweet that made assertions that people who ask questions that are, seemingly, difficult for him to answer are "a dangerous cult".

The four people Badzak highlighted were myself, Fiona French, Dee Doherty, and Wren Cage.

Personally, it's water off a duck's back to a seasoned blogger like me. I have been writing and researching about the dangers of antidepressants for over 13 years during which time I've been targeted by my very own cyberbully. But Fiona, Dee, and Wren are patients who have been seriously harmed by prescription drugs. Questioning a suicide prevention 'expert' about the iatrogenic/akathisia link shouldn't be treated in this manner particularly when Appleby knows very little about their backgrounds.

Questions should now be asked whether he should be employed by the UK government as a suicidologist given cyberbullying, of which he is retweeting, can, by his own admission lead to suicide, at least, he claims, in teenagers. French, Doherty and Cage aren't teenagers but they are three women who have suffered at the hands of psychiatric medication and through tenacity seek answers so they can protect patients from future harms.

Fiona French, 65, Aberdeen, who it appears has been the target of attacks from Badzak, told me, "I was horrified and dismayed when I saw Prof Appleby’s retweet. First, he has stated that he blocks people because of their behaviour.  I am blocked and have only asked him pertinent questions about SSRIs and suicide. Second, he had retweeted Jasna Badzak who has been harassing and insulting myself and other campaigners, making false accusations and generally being abusive. "

On Badzak, Fiona told me, "I first encountered Jasna in a thread on 8th September.  Dr David Gorski was criticising an article written by David Lazarus about his own experience of antidepressant withdrawal.  Jasna made a comment about chemical imbalances and I said there was no scientific evidence for chemical imbalances. Caroline Ost entered the thread and we spoke about withdrawal.  Jasna then accused me of harming people." (see below)

Click image to enlarge

It comes to something when a pensioner cannot voice her opinion online without being verbally attacked by a former UKIP Press Secretary. Fiona has collected many more images from Badzaks timeline. Fiona was prescribed Nitrazepam for 40 years for myoclonic jerks and many different antidepressants for depression over 35 years, latterly Effexor for 15 years.  Tapered off Nitrazepam in 2013, on medical advice. She tapered off Effexor in 2015. The shock of withdrawal rendered her largely bedridden for 4-5 years.

Dee Doherty, 43, Wexford, who was also targeted by Badzak and subsequently retweeted by Appleby, was prescribed Seroxat at the age of 21. Whilst, years later, trying desperately hard to try and taper from Seroxat she lost her job. She was then prescribed Effexor and a whole host of other drugs during the next 20 years. Her symptoms of akathisia have never been acknowledged by any mental health professional. Dee, upon seeing Appleby's retweet from Badzak felt compelled to send him an email, she also included the UK's Human Rights Ombudsman. Her email to Appleby can be seen here. To date, he has not responded.

Wren Cage, 57, from the United States, has made four suicide attempts whilst trying to taper from psychiatric medication. On Appleby's retweet, she told me, "I don’t think his retweeting it was as much as agreeing with her, as it was an “F you” to all of us and the work we do to advocate for informed consent and against prescribed harm."

Who is Jasna Badzak?

In 2013, Badzak (above) was convicted of forgery and fraud. Judge Michael Gledhill QC told her she would have been jailed for a year had she not been the sole carer for her 15-year-old son, who is studying for his GCSEs.

Instead, he suspended her 12-month prison sentence for two years.

Passing sentence, Judge Gledhill told her: "In November 2011 you were taken on by Gerard Batten on a three-month contract and you were to be paid by the European Parliament.

"You knew there would be a delay in payments and you were not to be paid until January.

"In fact, the European Parliament paid people earlier than expected, in December.

"You doctored your online bank statement with your NatWest account by removing the £2,500 payment so someone looking at the statement would think it had not been paid. That was flagrant dishonesty."

It's my understanding that Badzak appealed the sentence.

In November 2014, she was sent a cease-and-desist notice by the Metropolitan Police, alleging that she had harassed another former party worker "by providing information to reporter Glen Owen [of The Mail on Sunday] of a false nature"

In 2016, Jason Lee, a researcher, human rights campaigner, and writer alleged that he too had come under harassment from Badzak. He writes:

"Just recently, one such woman, by the name of Jasna Badzak, despite having a police warning against her, and having been served with a cease and desist notice, not to abuse or harass me, decided to have another go at me. Yes, she has done this before, hence the police warning and cease and desist notice."

Way to go, Appleby! The UK's suicide expert aligning himself with someone who, allegedly, has a history of online abuse and making false claims. There was me thinking Appleby's job was to keep the suicide figures down. I wonder if he knows that targets of bullying and cyberbullying are at a greater risk than others of both self-harm and suicidal behaviours?

If Appleby wants to discredit me and others in the prescribed harm community he should do so with some facts. Maybe he could release the figures for suicides by iatrogenic deaths and also show evidence that akathisia cannot lead to a person ending their suffering via death by 'suicide'. Going down the route of retweeting a disgraced former UKIP secretary who makes claims that those harmed by prescribed medicines are "a dangerous cult" is both morally and ethically wrong, moreover, in my opinion, I believe it's an abhorrent attempt to stifle voices.

Being stalked or cyberbullied is an unpleasant experience. As I mentioned earlier, I should know, as I was the victim of an online-abuser some years ago. This only ended when the abuser eventually gave up after a four-year campaign of harassment, targeting me and the parents of the dead children I wrote about. The abuser died recently but his 'handy-work' still remains on blogs and forums, albeit under pseudonyms, such was the cowardice of the man.

Appleby should remove the offending tweet and apologise to those involved and also apologise to his 19,000+ followers for getting it inordinately wrong. Either that or he should resign from his position. He should also explain to the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, of which he is the chair, why he chose to align himself with Jasna Badzak. The President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wendy Burn, who, seemingly, supports Appleby's allegiance with Badzak, should also apologise and/or resign from her position.

Appleby's and Burn's support of Badzak's "dangerous cult" quote came days after International Akathisia Awareness Day was announced

Make of that what you will.

Bob Fiddaman

Friday, September 20, 2019


Within the last five hours, the following press release has been picked up by media outlets.
This is just a small sample of some of those outlets.

International Akathisia Awareness Day Spotlights Critical Adverse Drug Effects

Accurate Info Improves Patient Safety
The World Health Organization states adverse drug effects and inaccurate or delayed diagnosis are common causes of patient harm affecting millions of people every year.”
— Wendy Dolin
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES, September 20, 2019 / -- International Akathisia Awareness Day Spotlights Critical Adverse Drug Effects
International Akathisia Awareness Day, September 20th, is an opportunity for all stakeholders in healthcare to work together to save lives by increasing knowledge of a potentially fatal adverse drug effect. Akathisia is a disorder, induced by more than 100 different types of medications, which can cause a person to experience such intense inner restlessness that the sufferer is driven to violence and/or suicide.
“September is suicide prevention month and while akathisia-induced deaths are not prompted by depression, if we are unequivocally committed to saving lives, we must increase the public’s knowledge of akathisia,” said Wendy Dolin, Founder of the Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin (MISSD).
The Akathisia Matters campaign sponsored by MISSD offers many educational resources freely available to all. They include: Two public health videos highlighting several signs and symptoms of akathisia; an accredited, 1-hour online course open to anyone at any time; educational brochures; and a podcast series called “Akathisia Stories” available on iTunes, Studio C, Spotify, and the MISSD YouTube channel.
“The World Health Organization states adverse drug effects and inaccurate or delayed diagnosis are common causes of patient harm affecting millions of people every year,” said Dolin. “Unfortunately, akathisia is an adverse drug effect that is often misdiagnosed and/or improperly treated. Akathisia is everybody’s business given that nobody is immune to akathisia.”
Preventing adverse medical events and promoting patient safety requires a team effort. Healthcare consumers, prescribers, caregivers and charitable organizations can work together to better ensure patient safety by: Discussing the risks and benefits of proposed medications and obtaining informed consent; identifying a “medication buddy” to help monitor for any unusual changes in behaviors whenever stopping, starting or changing dose or type of certain medications; carefully reading the medication leaflet that accompanies prescriptions and reviewing the info with the attending pharmacist; and requesting that mental health and suicide prevention organizations publicize akathisia and related governmental drug warnings.
MISSD brings akathisia education and prevention info to all corners of the world and presents to a variety of stakeholders. “This year MISSD has been welcomed by US veterans’ groups, the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ International Congress in London, university medical and healthcare programs, social workers’ organizations, community groups and places of worship,” said Dolin. “MISSD is a unique, independent nonprofit: We take no money from pharma and our presentations are always free.”
To learn more about akathisia and inquire about MISSD presentations, please see If you or a loved one has an akathisia experience to share, please see the guest blog guidelines posted on the MISSD website.

The Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin, (MISSD), is a unique 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the memory of Stewart and other victims of akathisia by raising awareness and educating the public about the dangers of akathisia. MISSD aims to ensure that people suffering from akathisia's symptoms are accurately diagnosed so that needless deaths are prevented. MISSD is not anti-drug; we are for truth in disclosure, honesty in reporting and legitimate drug trials.
For more information about MISSD, please visit and follow us on Twitter: @MISSDFoundation and #AkathisiaMatters.
Wendy Dolin
+1 847-910-2346
email us here

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

PHE Review Dilutes SSRI Problem

Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone who worked hard to get this review to the table. The list is extensive, you all know who you are.

This post is dedicated to three warriors who were active within the prescribed harm community, they all recently died by prescription drug-induced suicide.

Thank you for fighting the cause:

Jo Dennison
Kata Balint
Shelley Johnson 

This post is in two parts. Part one is about the recent PHE review regarding the evidence for dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines in the UK. Part two is about the current suicide 'expert' in the UK, Prof. Louis Appleby, and the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wendy Burn. Both parts are intertwined, one is about dependency, the other is about self-harm fatalities. I'll also be calling upon the current suicide prevention minister, Nadine Dorries, to carefully consider the serious issues raised here.

Report of the review of the evidence for dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and Public Health England (PHE) released a public health evidence review of available data and published evidence on the problems of dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines.


PHE review expert reference group members included Yasir Abbasi, Navjot Ahluwalia and Louis Appleby.

Abbasi has received honorarium for advisory board meetings or travel and accommodation for conferences from Indivior Pharma, Martindale Pharma, Bite Medical Pharma and Mundi Pharma.

Indivior market and manufacture Opioid addiction treatment drugs. Martindale, now known as Ethypharm, manufacture a whole host of drugs, including, but not limited to, painkillers. A Google search of Bite Medical Pharma shows no such company, but Bite Medical Consulting do exist. It appears as though they are a communications company. Safe to say that this means they ghostwrite. Some of their clients include Abbot and Lilly, both drug companies who market and manufacture brand and/or generic antidepressants. Mudi manufacture and market addiction medicines.

Ahluwalia carries out expert witness work and is the Executive Medical Director and Consultant Psychiatrist for Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

Appleby is a Professor of Psychiatry who leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England and directs the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. More about Appleby later.

The Review

The review covered many aspects of prescription drugs, in particular, the withdrawal and dependency problems people face when trying to come off them. There was, however, a mixed message for the SSRI family of drugs.
Benzodiazepines, z-drugs, opioid pain medicines and gabapentinoids are associated with a risk of dependence and withdrawal.
Antidepressants are associated with withdrawal
PHE found that dependency exists on benzos, z-drugs, opioids and gabapentinoids but not antidepressants (SSRIs).

The 152-page review includes a definition of dependence. PHE writes:
Dependence ~ An adaptation to repeated exposure to some drugs and medicines usually characterised by tolerance and withdrawal, though tolerance may not occur with some. Dependence is an inevitable (and often acceptable) consequence of long-term use of some medicines and is distinguished here from addiction.
I'm confused?

Are SSRIs addictive or do people become dependent upon them, or is it neither?

On withdrawal, PHE defines it as: Physiological reactions when a drug or medicine that has been taken repeatedly is removed.

I'm still confused.

Confusion aside, it's nice to see they recognised the daily stigma patients, former patients and drug safety advocates face on a daily basis whenever they publicly share their adverse experiences withdrawing from SSRIs.

The recommendations made by PHE are as follows:

1 ~ Increasing the availability and use of data on the prescribing of medicines that can cause dependence or withdrawal to support greater transparency and accountability and help ensure practice is consistent and in line with guidance.

2 ~ Enhancing clinical guidance and the likelihood it will be followed.

3 ~ Improving information for patients and carers on prescribed medicines and other treatments, and increasing informed choice and shared decision-making between clinicians and patients.

4 ~ Improving the support available from the healthcare system for patients experiencing dependence on, or withdrawal from, prescribed medicines.

5 ~ Further research on the prevention and treatment of dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines.

(1) You don't have the data, the drug companies have it. You will never be allowed to see any of the raw data.

(2) You cannot guide if you don't have the data

(3) Where will this information come from?

(4) Improving? This would imply that support is already in place and just needs tweaking. It isn't. It never has been!

(5) Research is meaningless without the raw data

For what it's worth, recommendations are meaningless words. I've written about this terminology before, it gives people false hope and allows those in charge to continue as they were, so to speak. It's not a law, it's not a rule, it's not punishable if prescribers fail to adhere. Call me cynical, but I dare say meaningless recommendations also serve to help systems stall buy some more time to avoid real action.

Back in 2010, a jury at the inquest of Canadian teen, Sara Carlin, returned a list of 17 recommendations. Sara died a violent, akathisia-induced death after ingesting an SSRI known as Paxil in Canada, better known as Seroxat in the UK. These iatrogenic deaths from drug-induced delirium and self harm are typically labeled suicides by coroners. So it is possible Prof. Appleby and organizations purported to reduce suicides could recognize the loss of Sara today. But it is improbable that will happen given Sara's death doesn't help them promote more drugs ("treatments").

Today, nine years after Sara's death, guess how many of those 17 recommendations have been implemented?




Sara's death was a kick in the butt for me personally. It made me rethink why I became an advocate/activist. People are dying as a result of taking SSRIs and whilst withdrawal/dependency/addiction (delete where necessary) are important topics, I feel iatrogenic deaths also need to be immediately addressed.

The SSRI withdrawal issue will never be resolved as long as there is no alternative drug in the pipeline waiting to be promoted. In the meantime, the public will continue to be informed of recommendations that are little more than token gestures. These gestures may serve to keep some advocates quiet and give med organizations and rampant prescribers a break from public scrutiny and accountability. As I tweeted early this morning, barbiturates were viewed as having no problems until benzos arrived on the scene. Benzos were viewed as having no problems until SSRIs arrived on the scene. SSRI risks will be played down until a different class of drug arrives on the scene to take a lucrative centre stage.

Don't worry, folks, that may happen sooner than you think. A new way of administering depression treatment is already on the market. Spravato (esketamine) is used as a nasal spray to treat treatment-resistant depression (TRD)

TRD is basically a term used when all else fails or when the drugs a person is currently taking stop working. Janssen, the drug manufacturer, provided the FDA with modest evidence it worked and then only in limited trials. It presented no information about the safety of Spravato for long-term use beyond 60 weeks. Now get this, three patients who received the drug died by suicide during the clinical trials, compared with none in the placebo group. But hey, this never stopped the FDA from granting it a licence.

Come back to this blog of mine in 10 years and you'll probably see me writing, "I told you so."

Eventually, and if they have their way, drugs like esketamine will flood the market. Then, and only then, will prescribers speak out en masse about the terrible dependency SSRIs cause.

The Apple That Burns

Earlier I mentioned the three PHE review expert reference group members. The third, Louis Appleby, leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England. He is failing on a grand scale.

A few weeks ago Appleby chastised a member of the prescribed harm community on Twitter. Appleby was soon joined by the Royal College of Psychiatrists leader, Wendy Burn in the condemnation of the website host of antidepaware. The website promotes awareness of the dangers of antidepressants and includes links to reports of inquests held in England and Wales since 2003. The antidepaware author lost a son to SSRI-induced suicide in 2009 and since the creation of the website, in 2014, has tried to make the public aware of the dangers that are, in the main, dismissed by prescribers.

Appleby and Burn were wrong to target a fellow-advocate, particularly given antidepaware has done more than what they have to reduce the ever-increasing rate of suicide in the UK. Many other advocates threw their support behind antidepaware. Appleby, the man who apparently takes all forms of suicide seriously, responded by blocking them. He even blocked parents whose children have died as a result of SSRI-induced suicide.

With this in mind, I threw out a question to both Appleby and Burn on Twitter, a straightforward question that neither has answered despite being asked by me in nine repeated tweets. I have also sent both an email, and both have failed to respond. Here's the question they refuse to answer, or even acknowledge: "Can SSRIs induce death by self-harm?"

One has to ask why Appleby and Burn are refusing to answer a simple, relevant question. Burn in the past has claimed how important informed consent is but when push comes to shove she cannot provide me, or the public for that matter, with an answer regarding whether SSRIs can induce death by self-harm. Instead, Burn's Twitter timeline has been full of Lithium promotion, cat photos, and Play-Doh images.

Both Appleby and Burn need to resign. Appleby's treatment of those who inquire about SSRI-induced deaths has been abhorrent to watch from the sidelines. Burn's failure in recognising the SSRI withdrawal problem also needs to be condemned, as does both of their silence stances surrounding informed consent.

Shortly, I'll be writing to the current suicide prevention minister, Nadine Dorries, to voice my concerns regarding Appleby and Burn. I've written to ministers before and they've been pretty useless in their responses. I don't expect Dorries will intervene but I have an ethical obligation to try.

Suicide Prevention Day is about prevention. By refusing to speak with safety advocates and the bereaved just because their children, wives, husbands, brothers or sisters died iatrogenic deaths does nothing to reduce suicides and increase awareness of adverse drug effects that precipitate these violent, avoidable deaths.

If you want to prevent something from happening, you cover all bases and not just the ones that suit your blinkered views. Shame on Burn and shame on Appleby for keeping me, and others, in the dark regarding informed consent. Informed consent is a basic human right. Without accurate info, there can be no real medical freedom of choice.

On a final note, I want to also condemn Wendy Burn's college in general. On the day when suicide prevention was the paramount message they tweeted the following:

Those online resources they refer to include medications that are associated with suicidal thoughts and suicidal completion. Shame on them.

If you think all of the above is just the rantings of a conspiratorial mad man then read how Wendy Burn and her colleagues treated a fellow psychiatrist when he brought to their attention the dangers of Seroxat, a drug, that after many years he is still trying to withdraw from.

"You’d think that my colleagues would be generally sympathetic. However, I have been marginalised, ignored and vilified as a troublemaker — and a leading member of the RCPsych even wrote to my employer questioning my sanity." ~ Peter Gordon, Psychiatrist

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Bob Fiddaman

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