Coroner Reiterates Warnings on SSRIs: Another Suicide

Paragraph 1 reads:  "A coroner has again reiterated warnings for careful consultation and monitoring of patients prescribed a type of anti-depressant medication, after an Appleby man took his own life within months of being prescribed it. Coroner Ian Smith held an inquest on Tuesday into the death of Jeremy Reece Fortune, 33, in Nelson."

Paragraphs 2 & 3 read:  "Detective Karl Parfitt of the Nelson CIB said Mr Fortune ran an orchard contracting business and began suffering anxiety in March 2007. He was prescribed fluoxetine [Prozac] for depression and diazepam to calm his anxiety."

"Mr Fortune took his own life by running into the path of a freight truck on the Appleby Highway on May 14."

SSRI Stories has reported on three previous cases where Coroner Ian Smith urged care with the use of antidepressants.  These cases involved three men, Shaun Penney, Nigel Wooburn and David Stringer,  who had taken an SSRI and committed suicide.       

http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1401178/coroner_urges_care_with_use_of_antidepressants/

Coroner Urges Care With Use of Anti-Depressants

Posted on: Saturday, 24 May 2008, 15:00 CDT

A coroner has again reiterated warnings for careful consultation and monitoring of patients prescribed a type of anti-depressant medication, after an Appleby man took his own life within months of being prescribed it. Coroner Ian Smith held an inquest on Tuesday into the death of Jeremy Reece Fortune, 33, in Nelson.

Detective Karl Parfitt of the Nelson CIB said Mr Fortune ran an orchard contracting business and began suffering anxiety in March 2007. He was prescribed fluoxetine for depression and diazepam to calm his anxiety.

Mr Fortune took his own life by running into the path of a freight truck on the Appleby Highway on May 14.

A port-mortem showed that he died of aortic, liver and brain injuries. He had fluoxetine and diazepam in his system at therapeutic levels, as well as as THC at five milligrams per litre of blood. Mr Smith said the level of THC was consistent with Mr Fortune smoking a single cannabis cigarette within 3.5 hours of his death.

Mr Smith said it was well known that he was critical of SSRI drugs like fluoxetine, and believed that counselling went "hand in hand" with their use.

He didn't want to see them not used, but believed that their use needed to be closely monitored and the possible side effects fully explained to the patient and their family.

The court heard that the doctors who prescribed the medications to Mr Fortune explained their main side effects and informed him that Nelson's Mobile Community Team was available if he needed more help.

Mr Smith said he would be producing a full written finding.

Help available: DHB Mental Health Crisis Services (03) 546 1800; Victim Support (03) 546 3847; Youthline 0800 376 633, text 027 4YOUTHS or cellphone (call free) 0800 211 211; Lifeline (03) 546 8899 or 0800 423 743.

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Source: Nelson Mail, The