Angela Heck — (2006 FDA Hearings)

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THE FDA PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGIC DRUGS ADVISORY COMMITTEE HEARINGS 2006

DR. PINE: Thank you.

The next speaker is Angela Heck.
HECK: Hello. My name is Angela Heck. My husband William and I are both here of our own accord from Toledo, Ohio. My husband and I had been together for 12 years at the time he attacked me tried to kill me with a knife (weeping).
Approximately, three years ago, my husband was prescribed Paxil for anxiety. My husband is not an alcoholic. He has never tried illegal drugs in his lifetime. In addition, he has no prior history of assault, violence, or aggressiveness issues. He does not have any history of mental illness. He is a normal, healthy male.
Do you know what it is like to be trapped in your own bedroom thinking you’re going to be wrapped in a blanket and your parents are not going to know what happened to you? Or, do you know what it’s like to wonder how you could do something so terrible, so contradictory to your values and beliefs?
My husband and I do because of what a well-respected psychiatrist stated in the attached letter regarding the whole incident, and I quote:

“I find it to be consistent with dissociative episode and in all likelihood caused by serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Paxil. You are
familiar with the details of the unfortunate assault on his wife during that dissociative episode.”

To this day, he still does not remember what happened on that horrible day. He only knows what has happened from me telling him. This tragic event turned out lives upside down.
Resentment and anger do not even begin to describe how we feel towards the makers of these dangerous antidepressants. I always knew that money made the world go around, but I did not think a company was so greedy that they would not care how many people’s lives are ruined or lost.I know some people have trouble believing that a drug like Paxil could cause something like this. If it wasn’t me and how well I know my husband, I would probably be one of those people.
There is no doubt in my mind that these drugs have several terrible side-effects. If I had any doubt, I would not be back with my husband.
I also strongly believe that the drug companies are aware of these side-effects as well or they would not have hidden the clinical trials for so long.
I strongly urge the FDA to do something about SSRIs and how they are prescribed. These drugs are being given to people as though they are as safe as Tylenol®. We all know this is not the case.
Antidepressants are something that either should not be used at all or as a last resort.
They have become the first choice for all sorts of problems due to a lot of expensive marketing by the drug companies.
We trusted the medical profession, drug companies, and the FDA to give us safe medication,and that obviously has not happened. The drug companies have gained control of the entire process with their deep pockets.
We hope and pray that the FDA finally makes a drastic change regarding antidepressants as these drugs are extremely dangerous and family physicians should not be prescribing.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
(Applause.)
DR. PINE: Thank you.