Saturday, July 30, 2005

Mothers Who Kill

Group Says Antidepressants Can Induce Violence and Suicide

Contact: Ann Blake Tracy of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, 801-209-1800 or atracyphd1@aol.com (additional contacts listed below)

The following was released on Thursday this week by the Prozac Survivors Support Group and the International Coalition for Drug Awareness:

-- As Dyer, Indiana woman stands accused of murdering her children while on an antidepressant, group accuses FDA of withholding violent and suicidal effects of antidepressants for more than 14 years.

Mrs. Bonnie Leitsch, founder of "Prozac Survivors Support Group" (PSSG), has joined with Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, Ph.D., founder of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness (ICFDA) in calling for immediate federal action to warn the public that antidepressants not only can induce suicidality in adult patients -- but also acts of violence. Just last week, 30-year-old Indiana mother Magdalena Lopez was charged with murdering her two sons, aged 2 and 9. According to relatives and neighbors, she had been taking an antidepressant.

In June, the FDA issued its second warning that adults taking antidepressants should be monitored for suicidal ideation and worsening depression.

Mrs. Leitsch says that it is unconscionable that new mothers are being prescribed drugs that have been known to induce psychosis, violence and suicidality for more than a decade. "In 1991, there was evidence of 500 deaths associated with antidepressants presented to an FDA Psychopharmacological Drugs Advisory Committee hearing investigating Prozac," says Mrs. Leitsch. "The failure to issue the warning has led to more suicides, homicides, school shooters and mothers killing their own children." PSSG has the original film footage from the 1991 FDA hearings, where dozens of testimonies were given by family members of those who had either killed themselves, or loved ones, or individuals who had attempted suicide which they directly attributed to taking an antidepressant.

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? says, "These are extremely dangerous drugs that should have been banned, as similar drugs were in the past. Federal investigations into the violence-inducing effects of these drugs are long overdue." For over 15 years Dr. Tracy has been an outspoken critic of SSRI antidepressant drugs and has testified as an expert witness in numerous court cases involving such drugs. "The scientific evidence behind this has been out there for decades. All anyone ever had to do was read it," she says.

Magdalena Lopez joins a long list of women who have murdered their children while under the influence of antidepressants known to cause violence, psychosis, and suicide in adults.

Here are just a handful of similar cases of mothers taking antidepressants who killed their children:

-- Annie Mae Haskew smothered her 10-week-old son in October of 2002. Before the murder she had been diagnosed with postpartum depression and had been taking antidepressants.

-- Andrea Yates drowned her five children, aged 6 months to 7 years in the family bathtub on Nov. 22, 2004, while taking two antidepressants Effexor and Remeron, both had been given at maximum dose.

-- Dena Schlosser killed her 10-month-old infant daughter in November 2004 by severing her baby's arms. She had been diagnosed with postpartum depression, hospitalized and prescribed psychiatric "medication for depression" before the crime.

-- Mary Ellen Moffitt suffocated her 5-week-old daughter and herself July 26, 2004. Before this she had been diagnosed with postpartum depression and had been taking the antidepressant Paxil.

-- Emiri Padron smothered her baby daughter in her crib on June 22, 2004 and then stabbed herself twice in the chest. Emiri was receiving psychiatric treatment before the incident and investigators found the antidepressant Zoloft in the apartment where the crime took place.

-- Mine Ener used a kitchen knife to cut the throat of her 6-month-old daughter on Aug. 4, 2003, after being diagnosed with postpartum depression and taking "medication" for the condition.

Mrs. Leitsch says that the FDA's claim that it could take a year to review the suicide adverse effects of antidepressant drugs is negligent. "They must warn the public that not only can the drugs include suicide -- but heinous acts of violence -- mothers killing their own children, or children killing other children. Many of the school shooters were being prescribed these drugs, including Eric Harris, Kip Kinkel and the latest school shooter from Red Lake, Minnesota, Jeff Wiese. How many more drug-induced murders must we have before someone takes notice? Before the government takes action?"

Mrs. Leitsch presented Sen. Grassley with a video of key testimony from the September 20, 1991 FDA hearings demonstrating that the FDA was informed of antidepressant dangers 14 years ago. "Today, 36 million Americans are taking the drugs and deserve to know the truth," said Mrs. Lietsch.

For interviews or more information, contact:

Ann Blake Tracy, Ph.D., executive director, International Coalition For Drug Awareness, 801-209-1800 or atracyphd1@aol.com

Mrs. Bonnie Lietsch, national director, PSSG, 502-459-2086

Mrs. Rosie Mysenberg, assistant national director, PSSG, 214-328-1984

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