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Doctors push to ban anti-depressant drugs, citing severe violent behavior

05:28 PM EST on Wednesday, November 5, 2003


Prescriptions for Disaster
Some of the more famous casualties of alleged serotonergic-related incidents:
Phil Hartman
Comedian/Saturday Night Live
His wife, Brynn, shot him and then herself while on Zoloft.
Chris Farley
Comedian/Film star
Had a heart attack while on Prozac.
Eric Harris
Littleton, Co., school shooter
Killed 13 while on Luvox.
Kip Kinkel
Springfield, Ore., school shooter
Killed his parents and killed two fellow students and wounded 22 others while withdrawing from Prozac and Ritalin.
Andrea Yates
Texas housewife
Drowned her five children while on Effexor and Remeron.
Monica Lewinsky
White House intern
Engaged in bizarre sexual activity while on Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor and Phen-Fen.
Jarred Victor
California high school student
The 15-year-old killed his grandmother by stabbing her 61 times while on Paxil.

Jame Tierney, 14, admits she doesn’t have anything to angry about or upset with but when she would shave her legs she would think of using the razor to slit her wrists.

“Little things would trigger it,” Jame said. “I would think about how I would do it, what would happen if I did.”

The teen said her emotions were running high.

“I would want to beat things. I would hit my pillow and I couldn’t stop,” she said. “I was so angry I would scream and I would cry and I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t stop screaming.”

Jame’s mom Jennifer did all the things a parent is supposed to when a child's behavior suddenly changes. She asked about any new friends, checked to see if something hurtful happened at her high school in Winston-Salem.

Jennifer said her daughter was very confrontational, belligerent and deviant, in ways she had never been before.

The one thing she never considered was a little pill that Jame’s doctor prescribed for her migraine headaches.

Doctor Ann Tracey, a national expert on the effects of anti-depressants on children, says the migraine pill Jame was prescribed is an anti depressant called Effexor. She says an alarming number of children who are prescribed anti-depressants turn into monsters overnight.

Delnora Duprey says her 12-year-old grandson Chris Pittman turned into one of those monsters.

“His eyes were vacant,” she said. “He was as rigid as a stone and stared at the ground.

Chris is accused of shooting to death his paternal grandparents and burning their house down in Chester, South Carolina.

“Christopher told me when he did what he did, it was like watching TV and there was nothing he could do to change the outcome of it,” Delnora said.

Chris' dad Joe Pittman believes it was the antidepressant Zoloft that turned his son into a killer.

After 14-years of research, Dr. Tracey is sounding the alarm to the FDA.

“We all are at risk,” she said. “You could be walking down the street some day and somebody lose it on these drugs.”

At a hearing in February 2004 Dr. Tracey will present children like Chris and Jame as prime examples to the FDA that kids should not be prescribed anti-depressants.

“If I can help other people, if I can tell them its not you it’s the drugs, I know you feel like you’ve become a horrible, horrible person and you hate yourself, but it’s not you,” Tracey said.

The drug Jame took, Effexor, is not even FDA approved for anyone under 18. The maker of the drug says it is not FDA approved for the treatment of migraines.

A spokesperson for Jame’s doctor had no comment.

In Chris' case, Zoloft is FDA approved for children. His doctor has apparently closed his South Carolina business.

The prescription of the anti-depressants Paxil and Effexor to anyone under 18, has been banned in Great Britain, Ireland and Canada.

Studies there found kids that take these drugs have a greater risk to commit suicide, suffer from psychosis, mutilate themselves and become violent.

The Food and Drug Administration just recently scheduled a hearing on the effects of anti-depressants on kids.

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