Troy Couple Addresses Congress On Drug Safety — (WHIO News 7)

SSRI Ed note: Teenager given Paxil for anxiety becomes worse, commits suicide just before the FDA belatedly requires manufacturers to add a partial warning to packaging.

Original article no longer available

WHIO News 7

POSTED: 3:54 pm EDT June 29, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Troy couple is making a personal plea to Congress to stop the drug industry from hiding important safety information. It is a move that they said could have saved their son’s life.

Daniel and Cathy Harter told Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill that if they had known what they know now about Paxil, their son Steven might still be alive.

Cathy Harter is on a personal crusade to change drug safety guidelines before another life is lost. Harter, along with other families and several representatives Thursday called for hearings on bi-partisan drug safety legislation that has been stalled in Congress.

Cathy blames the Federal Drug Administration and pharmaceutical companies for not revealing the findings of critical side effect studies. Cathy said her 19-year-old son started taking Paxil on Sept. 14, 2004 for anxiety. She said 12 days later she noticed drastic changes in his mood.

She said he was upset and crying. She said she was worried and that this was not like him. Cathy said an hour later, her son was found dead in the family garage. He had committed suicide.

According to Cathy, two weeks after her son’s funeral, the “FDA directed the manufacturers of all antidepressant medications to add a black box warning that describes the increased risk of suicide in children and adolescents.”

The FDA released the following warning. It called for special black box labels on certain antidepressants, like the one Steven took. Studies had indicated that certain drugs caused increased suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents.

The FDA did not respond to requests by NewsCenter 7 for the most recent changes in safety guidelines for antidepressants.