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The Daily Telegraph
Edition 1 - StateTHU 17 JUN 2004, Page 005
How one patient battled with medication's downside
By ANNA PATTY

FOR Alicia Quartermain, Aropax was doing more harm then good.
About a year ago, the then-18-year-old slammed her mother against the wall and began cutting her own arms.
Even after she stopped taking the anti-depressant, she said it took her another six months to feel better.
Now Ms Quartermain, from the Northern Beaches, wants to warn others about the drug's potential side effects.
``I was on it for about 2 1/2 months, [along with Serapax and Hepnogram],'' Ms Quartermain said.
``I was suicidal. I even slammed my mother against the wall -- which was totally out of character for me. I couldn't control myself.''
Australian psychiatrists have divided opinions about the risks versus benefits of the medication for children's use.
For some children, Aropax has meant the difference between life and death. For others, it has made them feel more suicidal.
For Rebecca, 25, of Melbourne, who took Aropax when she was 18, the drug turned out to be her saviour. It had to a large extent suppressed her suicidal tendencies and had helped her through her final year high school exams.
``It was quite positive on my mental state,'' she said yesterday.
``It made a big difference to me. It got me through my VCA and kept me stable.''

Caption:  Highs and lows ... Alicia Quartermain yesterday told how she came off Aropax because it increased her mood swings and depression. Picture: JUSTIN LLOYD
Illus:  Photo
Section:  LOCAL

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