Media Release: Was the Role of Paxil in the Carmichael Murder Trial Covered Up?

Was the Role of Paxil in the Carmichael Murder Trial Covered Up? Angela Bischoff.

Media Release – October 2, 2005, Toronto.

As antipsychiatry and social justice activists, we are deeply concerned that there was little if any testimony or evidence presented about the high risks of suicide and violence or aggression triggered by the antidepressant Paxil, which David Carmichael of Toronto, Ontario had started taking just 3 weeks prior to killing his son. Paxil might well have been a major factor in driving Carmichael to violence or murder. He was found not criminally responsible because of psychosis, precisely what may be expected for some in the first weeks of an antidepressant drug regimen.

Paxil is an extremely dangerous SSRI antidepressant. A few of Paxil’s many serious effects include depression, mania (sudden outbursts of excitement), agitation, hostility, sudden and unpredictable aggression or violence, suicidal ideation, and suicide – all which have been documented in medical literature. A meta-analysis was published in Feb. of this year in the British Medical Journal, carried out by Canadian researcher Dean Fergusson and colleagues, which “documented a more then twofold increase in the rate of suicide attempts in patients receiving SSRIs compared with placebos”. In another study published in the BMJ in July, Moncrieff and Hirsch found that “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) had no clinically meaningful advantage over placebo which is consistent with other meta-analyses”. In other words, antidepressants are no more effective than sugar pills but have serious adverse reactions.

Although we have no statistics on murder related to Paxil and other antidepressants, the violence and murder committed by people, such as Joseph Wesbecker as well as a number of young students while under the influence of antidepressants, has been well-documented (see Peter Breggin’s Talking Back to Prozac, 1994; Breggin & Cohen, Your Drug May Be Your Problem, 1999; Let Them Eat Prozac, David Healy, 2003).

Despite the fact these alarming findings have been reported in the media and medical journals for years, Health Canada has done very little to publicize these disturbing facts, and failed to educate and protect the public. In contrast, the UK is currently phasing out all antidepressants for children. The US FDA has implemented black box labeling for the benefit of all consumers.

To prevent further tragedies, we call upon Health Canada to immediately issue safety advisories for all antidepressants, which would include the risks of suicidal ideation, suicide, and violence as well as other reactions, stating how often such reactions occur. These safety advisories should also include specific information on withdrawal symptoms as well as alternative, non-pharmacologic approaches to the treatment of depression. This information should be standardized for all pharmacies, written by Health Canada under direction of a public advisory group, and given to patients every time they get a prescription for antidepressant drugs. Health Canada should also ban use of SSRIs to adolescents. We also implore the media and the justice system to take note of the serious, ongoing role of antidepressants in violence, suicide and murder.

For more info:
Angela Bischoff, Tooker Gomberg Activist Fund,
Don Weitz, on behalf of Resistance Against Psychiatry, ph: (416) 545-0796