Psychiatry's Pills That Kill

It is, by now, common knowledge that there is a connection between antidepressant use and suicidal ideation and behavior, as evidenced by dozens of international drug regulatory agency warnings over the last few years.  Among these actions are the FDA's "black box" warnings on newer antipsychotic drugs when used in the elderly and modern antidepressants when used in children under 18 years old.

In addition to governments, the maker of one particularly controversial antidepressant recently voluntarily issued its own warning to doctors stating an increased risk of suicide attempts by adults taking their drug.

These warnings have rightly resulted in a nearly 20% drop in antidepressant prescriptions for children.  On October 8, 2005, The Washington Post reported that "The unprecedented fall of what were once considered wonder drugs…undermined the claims of industry-funded drug trials, raising thorny questions about the ways in which drugs are being tested, marketed and used."

Regulatory actions are not unique to antidepressants; they have also been issued on antipsychotic drugs and the classes of drugs used in the treatment of so-called "ADD" and "ADHD."

These warnings are of special interest to consumers who may have experienced these potentially lethal side-effects and thought it merely symptomatic of their "disease." It is also of interest to the legal profession as these consumers, realizing they have risked their lives and health due to deceptive advertising hype and psychiatrists' glib assurances, are increasingly seeking to take legal action.

Antidepressant maker admits increased suicide risk

On May 12, 2006, pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline sent letters to doctors warning that clinical trials of its antidepressant Paxil showed an increased risk of suicide attempts in some young adults.

The analysis found that 11 out of 3,455 adults, mostly between ages 18 and 30, who took the drug for depression attempted suicide, compared with 1 in 1,978 taking placebo in the trials — a more than fivefold increase.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration statement recommended that "consumers and prescribers follow current advice to carefully observe adults being treated with antidepressants for worsening of depression and for increased suicidal thinking and behavior."

Recap of recent psychiatric drug warnings, alerts and bans

September 29, 2005: FDA requires ADHD drug Strattera to carry a "black box" warning, the strongest required by U.S. regulators.  On the same day, the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) alerts the public that they were looking into the drug's health risks following clinical trials which identified an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children taking it.

September 28, 2005: UK's National Institute of Clinical Excellence published guidelines for treating depression in people under 18 years of age, ordering doctors to stop prescribing antidepressants blamed for suicidal feelings.

August 19, 2005: The Commission of the European Communities, representing 25 countries, issued its decision to issue the strongest warning yet against child antidepressant use as recommended by Europe's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).  This followed a review of clinical trials that showed the drugs cause suicidal behavior including suicide attempts and suicidal ideation, aggression, hostility and/or related behavior.

June 30, 2005: The FDA issued a Public Health Advisory entitled "Suicidality in Adults Being Treated with Antidepressant Medications," recommending that physicians monitor adults who take antidepressants for suicidal tendencies.

June 29, 2005: The FDA announced they would make labeling changes for Concerta and other methylphenidate products used to treat ADHD to include, "psychiatric events such as visual hallucinations, suicidal ideation, psychotic behavior, as well as aggression or violent behavior."

April 25, 2005: The European Medicines Agency's scientific committee, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, completed its review of two classes of antidepressants and concluded that they should not be used in children and adolescents because of suicide-related behavior and hostility observed during clinical trials of the drugs.

April 11, 2005: The FDA issued a Public Health Advisory regarding the use of atypical (second generation) antipsychotic drugs in elderly patients for dementia, citing a nearly two-fold increase in death rates and calling for a boxed warning to include that such drugs were not approved for the treatment of dementia.

February 9, 2005: The FDA in a Public Health Advisory and an Alert for Healthcare Professionals, announced that Health Canada suspended marketing of ADHD drug Adderall from the Canadian market due to concern about reports of sudden unexplained death in children taking the drug.

December 17, 2004: The FDA required that a new warning be added to the packaging of the ADHD drug Strattera, that it be discontinued in patients who develop jaundice or liver damage, which "may progress to liver failure resulting in death or the need for a liver transplant in a small percentage of patients."

October 15, 2004: The FDA ordered pharmaceutical companies to add a "black box" warning to antidepressants, saying the drugs could cause suicidal thoughts and actions in children and teenagers.

August 20, 2004: The FDA announced that a Columbia University review of the pediatric clinical trials of several modern antidepressants found that young people who took them were more likely than those taking a placebo to experience suicidal thoughts or actions.

April 2004: The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products, which represents the 25 countries of the European Union, conducted a review of the psychiatric drug paroxetine (generic name for Paxil) and found its use associated with increased risk of suicidal behavior and hostility and determined that it should not be used in children and adolescents.

March 24, 2004: The FDA issued a public health advisory on the use of antidepressants in both adults and children and requested the manufacturers of ten of the drugs to include a stronger cautionary warning about the emergence of suicidal ideation in all individuals taking the drugs.

Human suffering is NOT "mental illness"

People do get depressed.  They can become overwhelmed by their emotions and start to feel that their minds or bodies are out of control.  There is always a reason for this, whether it be an emotional upset, a loss or a situation with the body that is best addressed by a medical doctor or allied practitioner, such as a nutritionist or chiropractor. People suffer.  But when this suffering is labeled "mental illness," it is a guarantee that the patient will never experience a recovery.

In 1994, psychiatrist Norman Sartorius, president of the World Psychiatric Association (1996-1999), declared at a meeting of a congress of the Association of European Psychiatrists, "The time when psychiatrists considered that they could cure the mentally ill is gone.  In the future the mentally ill have to learn to live with their illness."

Psychiatry is NOT medicine

It is easy to see that psychiatry is completely divorced from the practice of medicine.  Their diagnostic system, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), is a dictionary whose entries describe behaviors that psychiatry terms "disorders."

None of the 374 disorders listed in the DSM can be physically diagnosed.  This is not to say that people do not have problems—sometimes very serious—but it does mean that they have been mislead about the nature of these for the sake of profit and, often, at the expense of people's lives.

Based on the DSM, psychiatrists declare that their drugs and other treatments work to improve mental illness, even though psychiatrists admit that they do not know how or why these drugs "work."

Psychiatry treats nearly every patient it encounters with the drugs discussed earlier.  These drugs have come under greater and greater regulatory controls as the public continues to decry the harms they cause and will soon go the way of Thalidomide.*

Individuals experiencing emotional or mental distress should first visit a competent, non-psychiatric medical doctor who can examine them for any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the problem.  Conversely, doctors should follow the British National Health Service's Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) medical advisory, which recommends that first line treatment for mental or emotional problems involve non-harmful medical solutions, including regular sleep, exercise and nutrition.

* Generic name for a sedative introduced in the 1950s and promoted to pregnant women as a treatment for morning sickness. It was found to cause birth deformities and was pulled from the market internationally.


  • CCHR's website contains a section for attorneys where case summaries can be viewed.  These include cases of psychiatric drug damage.  If you would like information on any of these, Contact CCHR.

  • If you are conducting a civil or criminal prosecution in which the defendant is a psychiatrist, psychologist or other psychotherapist, contact CCHR for assistance in locating expert witnesses and for other assistance in your case.

  • If you are dealing with reluctant witnesses or plaintiffs in a case against a psychotherapist, CCHR can provide assistance, support and act as a stabilizing influence.  Contact CCHR.

  • Check CCHR's database at and search the 800+ names of therapists that have been criminally convicted.

  • Visit CCHR's new museum in Los Angeles, "Psychiatry: An Industry of Death" to find out the history of psychiatry.

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