Original article no longer available
Story filed by Lisa Kaplan
June 7, 2004
Madison County, KY Antidepressant drugs have given millions of Americans their lives back, but one Central Kentucky family believes the medicine took a life.
Just a few months ago, the FDA asked manufacturers of ten widely-used antidepressants to add a warning to the labels — the drugs may be linked to worsening depression and even suicide. It’s a warning that came too late for the Taylor family.
“It’s still hard to get used to the fact that he’s not here anymore,” said Jeff Taylor.
More than five months after Wayne Taylor’s death, his family is still in shock.
“It’s almost like we’re still in a nightmare and we haven’t awakened from yet,” said Cindy Taylor Anderkin, Taylor’s daughter.
They say the loving husband, father of three, grandfather of eight, deacon and avid sports fan struggled with mild seasonal depression for several years. It didn’t interfere with his life, but he was tired and having trouble sleeping, so his doctor prescribed Remeron, an antidepressant.
The day after he started taking it, he had an unusual episode.
“He said I can’t explain it, I’ve never felt this way, I feel really weird,” Cindy said.
His family says they now realize it was a major warning sign. Three days later, Wayne Taylor pulled his truck off a main highway, stepped out and shot himself. It didn’t make any sense.
“When he would hear of somebody committing suicide in the past, he would say – he just didn’t see how anybody could do that to their family,” said Jeff Taylor, Taylor’s son.
Searching for answers, they were stunned to learn of the rare, alarming side effects of the antidepressant.
“The most important thing is that once you start someone on a medication, that they require close monitoring. And I point out to all of my patients, if you start feeling worse instead of better, to stop taking the medicine and give me a call,” said Dr. Mark Wright, psychiatrist.
Wayne Taylor’s loved ones urge other families to beware.
“There are people who anti-depressants work wonderfully for, but there are those, even though it’s not a large number, it’s a significant number of people who have negative side effects,” said Cindy.
The recent FDA warning regarding Remeron and the other antidepressants advises doctors, patients and family members to look for signs of worsening depression and suicidal thoughts — especially at the beginning of treatment.