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The Perils of Prozac
Part III

Note: If you or anyone you know are currently taking an SSRI and are doing well on it do not discontinue your medication based upon this article. Although the information presented here may be disturbing, it does not mean that you will become violent while taking SSRIs. In fact, if you discontinue a medication that is working well for you, you may risk withdrawal symptoms, depression or suicidal feelings. You should never discontinue any medication on your own. Always consult your physician first.

INTRODUCTION

In Part I we examined the speculated link between SSRIs like Prozac, Luvox and Zoloft and the rising rates of certain violent crimes. In Part II we read about one woman's true experience with violent feelings while on Prozac and learned what some experts say about why these bad reactions occur in a small percentage of patients. This week we will look at what you can do if you've had an adverse reaction.

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION

Drugs like Prozac have saved many lives. They also may have had a devastating effect on a rare few individuals. This is not to say that SSRIs should be labeled as dangerous or taken off the market. Rather we need to arm ourselves with information. Sometimes people do become suicidal or violent in the early stages of treatment. Blame it on the drug or the disease, this is still a fact. It is highly important during the initial stages of treatment with an SSRI that you are monitored by your friends, family, or physician. If you begin having irrational thoughts and feelings you may not recognize them as such. An outside observer can become a necessary lifeline if you get in trouble.

For further information:

International Coalition for Drug Awareness
This is a group which is working to make the public aware of the downsides of prescription medications.
Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology
Dr. Peter Breggin's Web site.

IF YOU'VE ALREADY HAD AN ADVERSE REACTION

First and foremost if you've had a bad experience with any medication is finding emotional support and learning to go on with your life. Here are some sites on the Web for "Prozac Survivors":

Prozac Survivors Support Group
A support group for those who've had a bad Prozac experience.
Prozac Survivor
This Web site was put together by a Prozac survivor.

SSRIS ON TRIAL

Let's face it. We do live in a litigious society. With most other forms of revenge being either illegal or immoral, lawsuits are the only outlet we have left to inflict vengeance on those who have hurt us. The SSRIs have certainly brought their share of lawsuits. Here are just a few from recent years. There are many, many more not listed here.

The Forsyth Case
Williamson vs. Eli Lilly
Christian vs. Eli Lilly
Hartmann Wrongful Death Case

Is this the route you should seek? Thus far no precedent setting cases are out there to guarantee you success. As you can see, however, this is not stopping anyone.

Should you choose this route for yourself, you will probably have no problem locating a lawyer to help you. I found these three without breaking a sweat:

Justiceseekers.com
Law firm which specializes in patients who believe they have been injured by SSRI drugs. Site contains information about a few high profile cases.
Parker and Waichman
Firm which handled the first Prozac litigation brought before a US court.
Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford, and Downey
Firm which handled the Forsyth vs. Eli Lilly Case.

IN CONCLUSION

As this article comes to a close I just want to leave you with a few words of advice. Although the SSRIs are a vast improvement over previous medications, they are not a panacea. Do use them, but with care. Educate yourself and keep your eyes open. Do not have blind faith in a drug to work miracles in your life. Drugs such as Prozac do not change reality or resolve issues. What they can do is can bring quick relief to crippling depression and set the stage for you to learn the coping skills you need to rebuild your life.

 Go back to the beginning of this article. 

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