‘He tried to strangle himself and jump out the window’: Father’s harrowing recount of how his eight-year-old son attempted suicide while on controversial anti-depressants — (The Daily Mail Australia)

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The Daily Mail Australia

By Jacob Polychronis and Yael Brender For Daily Mail Australia

  • A father has claimed that his 8-year-old son became suicidal after taking Zoloft
  • The family was reportedly told that the drug was ‘mild’ and had ‘no side effects’
  • The child tried to jump out of the window and strangle himself, his father shared
  • Zoloft was the subject of a class action lawsuit in 2017 over links to suicide risk

A father whose eight-year-old child tried to kill himself twice while taking a controversial antidepressant has warned parents of the drug’s potential negative side-effects.

New South Wales father John (John’s name has been changed to protect his son’s identity) recounted how his eldest son began taking Sertraline – otherwise known as Zoloft – in 2015 to treat his anxiety.

He began showing positive signs under the drug and suffered fewer meltdowns, until thoughts of self-harm surfaced about six weeks into treatment, John said.

A father has shared the story of how his son, 8, tried to kill himself after taking the drug Zoloft.

John’s son – who was also diagnosed with mild autism – then began to tell his father that he wanted to die at the age of eight.

‘It got to the point where you are sitting with him and he is saying, ‘Just kill me dad, I want to die’, and you are thinking ‘Jesus, what am I supposed to do, I can’t protect him’,’ John told 9 News.

‘Then he tried to jump out the window and strangle himself. It was just a frightening and really tough time for us when that was happening.’

John and his wife took their son to their local hospital’s emergency department, where a decision was made to wean him off the medication.

But the parents were told they were legally obliged to continue to take him to school, despite him dealing with the effects of being taken off the drug.

John said he would take him to school and an ambulance would be called within 20 minutes, followed by the police as his son would run away.

‘They were frightful days … My wife was and still is completely devastated by this. It’s been a tough road for us and we are still getting there,’ John said.

John claimed that doctors told him Zoloft was a ‘mild drug’ with no ‘significant’ side effects when prescribing it to his son.

Zoloft was subject to a class action law suit over claims that research downplayed suicide risks

John’s son’s medical treatment was investigated by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC), who found there was no evidence to suggest his care wasn’t of a reasonable standard.

The report published in September 2017 revealed the child’s psychologist said it was possible Zoloft caused his attempts of self-harm, but could not be confirmed.

John and his wife remain certain the drug led to their son’s suicide attempts, and claim he hasn’t displayed any suicidal thoughts since being taken of medications altogether.

‘We are 100 percent in believing that it was the medication. While he was anxious before, he never made any indications or made any attempts to kill himself,” he said.

Zoloft was subject to a class action law suit in 2017 following claims that it was marketed to doctors on flawed research that downplayed the risk of suicide.