SSRI Ed note: Man prescribed amitriptyline, Prozac for depression gets more depressed, dies of overdose right after he is put on new medication. Depression blamed.

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The Watford Observer

11 Jul 1998

A NAZEING chauffeur with a long history of depression was found dead in his home surrounded by tablets and tablet packets, an inquest heard.

Michael Dimmock, 48, of John Eliot Close, died from a massive overdose of amitryptaline, contained in his prescribed anti-depressants.

The level in his blood was 3.8 milligrams per millilitre, with anything over one milligram being potentially fatal.

At Thursday’s Epping inquest, his partner, Susan Coates, who had known Mr Dimmock for more than 17 years, said she believed he had suffered from depression all his life, but that this year it had got worse.

He was prescribed Prozac, but she said: “I don’t think it was doing him a lot of good.”

On the morning that he died, Ms Coates and Mr Dimmock had both gone to work, although the inquest heard he had been feeling nauseous that morning and had had to lie down.

Ms Coates tried to telephone him several times through the afternoon, without any reply. At around 7.30pm, after visiting his mother in hospital, she returned home.

After looking downstairs in the lounge for Mr Dimmock she went upstairs to find him lying in bed, with the bedcovers pulled back.

She then tried to telephone an ambulance, but was unable to get a dialling tone at first, not realising that the telephone had been unplugged.

It was after the ambulance arrived that Ms Coates found a six-page note written by her partner before he died.

On the bed were several packets of tablets including paracetamol — some empty and some still with tablets in — although assistant deputy coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said: “We don’t know how many were in the boxes before.”

She concluded: “It would appear he had a long history of suffering from depression and had been in the last few months particularly depressed.

He had been to the GP and put on new medication. A note was found and in view of the method that he used and the contents of this note I am satisfied that unfortunately he did indeed intend to take his own life.”

She recorded a verdict of suicide.