Prozac: Warning Labels and Side Effects Moira Dolan, M.D., Medical Accountability Network.
Hi, I’m Dr. Moira Dolan, internal medical physician with the Medical Accountability Network. A lot of people have been asking, “What is the connection between violence, suicide and homicide and antidepressant medications?”
Let’s take a look at this. There are numerous examples of people who have gone off on a shooting rampage and killed their classmates, their co-workers, members of their family and often took their own lives, then it was shortly discovered that they were taking an antidepressant. The apparency is that the person was mentally ill and went on a rage but when these cases have actually been looked at closer, what we find is that the person did not have any violent tendencies and in most cases was not even suicidal before they started treatment with their antidepressant medication.
Let’s take a look at what the manufacturers say about their own drugs in this class called antidepressants. I’m going to be reading here from package labels of various antidepressant medications. Now, the labeling is something that is required by the FDA, the wording of the labeling is “FDA Approved and Required.” Let’s take a look at what the FDA has required the manufacturers to reveal in their product labeling in their anti-depressant drugs regarding violence, homicide, and suicide.
I’m going to start by looking at the packaging insert for Prozac. Prozac is also known as fluoxitine. And here are some things that the manufacturer [Eli Lilly and Co.] themselves say about Prozac. One of the things that the manufacturer warns us and the FDA requires the manufacturer to let us know on the labels: These drugs can cause what is known as akathisia. Akathisia is a medical word that literally means “can’t sit still.” And it has two parts to it. The first part is what you can actually see in a person; the motor part of it, a person cannot sit still. They have restlessness, toe-tapping, shifting from leg to leg, pacing, in any case, they can’t sit still. They try to sit down or even to lie down and next thing you know, they’re hopping up again and they’re pacing, they look and act agitated. This [akathisia] is a straight-forward chemical effect of the drug.
It [antidepressant drug] causes not just the motor action, in other words the muscles to be jumpy and to get the person to be jumping around, it also causes an internal restlessness. So, a person has a real sense of unease, they feel like their body has to move. They feel compelled to action. It’s called psycho motor agitation. Not are only they mentally agitated but their body is expressing that. They have a subjective sense of distress, something’s gotta happen, gotta do something.
Now, let’s have a look at what the manufacturer says, in fact, about violence: These drugs [antidepressants] can cause agitation, psychosis, hallucinations, hyperkinesia, (again that’s the agitated movements). These drugs can cause a sense of depersonalization [A state in which the normal sense of personal identity and reality is lost.] , that’s when the person feels everything around them is not real, a dream-like state. These are listed as adverse effects of the drugs on the labels as required by the FDA. They list as a frequent side effect: agitation, amnesia (no memory took place), confusion, emotional libility, which means moods all over the place; and sleep disorder. Now, the sleep disorder could be excessive sleepiness or insomnia.
If you add lack of sleep on top of the tendency of Prozac to cause psycho-motor agitation—a feeling of the person they’ve got to go do something—along with the depersonalization that they can get, you really have cooked up the chemically induced ingredients for a mass murder..
Well, Prozac has been the label that I’ve been reading here and it is a so called SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). In fact, these drugs are not selective, they work on several different brain chemicals, including serotonin, norepephrine, dopamine, and others. And what they do is simply not block reuptake but they have many actions of receptors throughout the brain. There are also 20 known serotonins in the brain, so exactly what serotonin levels are being provoked, increased or decreased, up-regulated or down-regulated, by the so called SSRIs is not really well-known.
In fact, on the label for Prozac, and again, I’m reading from the label. We find the mechanism of action is in fact unknown. You will find that the mechanism for action of all the so called SSRIs is unknown. Theories abound and the labels goes into detail about what the theories are and what the drug might be doing, but in fact the mechanism for action is entirely unknown. What we can witness is what effect it has on the body and on behavior.
So back to the adverse effects section of the Prozac label. I’m going to read to you some of the other Central Nervous System effects that Prozac can have.
Side Effects of Prozac
-- Ataxia, this means unbalanced walking.
-- Bugoglossia (?) syndrome, this means lip, and cheek mouth sort of smacking, spasmodic, movements.
-- Depression of the central nervous system.
-- Stimulation of the central nervous system.
-- Fast movements
-- Increased muscle tone
-- Increased sensations, in other words they feel things at a heightened level, but it can also cause a decreased sensation, the inability to feel normal things such as pain and pressure that a normal person would feel.
-- Paranoid reaction
So here we have hostility, paranoia, agitation, combined with the akathisia, which is the sense that I’ve got to do something, and you can see how these can all add up to irrational murders. The string of school shootings that we have seen is strictly a phenomena that coincides with the massive use of antidepressant drugs over the past 15 to 20 years. It was not something that was seen in the 20 years earlier. In the 20 years that we have seen an increase in mass murders and people who are chemically altered by antidepressant medications, there’s been nothing but an increase in gun control. [Also, crimes have become more bizarre and in some cases unimaginable.]
So we do have the suicide warning for the 26 and under across this group of drugs [antidepressants], as well as akathisia, hostility, psycho-motor agitation, paranoid ideas, hostility, and of course what comes out of that is violence.