Coroner Urges Care With Use of Anti-Depressants — (Redorbit)

SSRI Ed note: Man prescribed fluoxetine, diazepam jumps into path of train a couple of months later. Coroner realizes meds were a contributor/cause.

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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..

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Source: Nelson Mail, The