Original article no longer available
Thursday, May 1, 1997
The deaths of a San Jose man and his two young children whose bodies were found in a bathtub late Tuesday night were probably a murder-suicide, San Jose police said yesterday.
Computer technician Reynaldo Lacuzong, 35, left a suicide note in his north San Jose home indicating that he had killed his daughter, Rechelle, 9, and his son, Reneil, 5, and then himself, police said. Police were unsure of Lacuzong’s motive.
The bodies were found by the children’s mother, who called 911 in hysterics shortly before midnight.
The same case is referenced in Dr Peter Breggin’s book Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, Springer Publishing, 2008. The following is from Page 400:
The Lacuzong Case
Reynaldo Lacuzong drowned himself and his two small children in a bathtub. There was no evidence of previous suicidality or violence on his part or of any animosity toward his children. He had never seen a psychiatrist, been to counselling, or displayed symptoms of psychiatric problems. For years, Reynaldo had received outstanding evaluations as an employee at a high-tech firm.
What had changed in his life? He was on the third day of taking Paxil 10 mg, the smallest available dose. It had been prescribed, most likely, to help him with the tension involved in giving up his customary one or two alcoholic beverages each evening.
Reynaldo quickly developed akathisia – agitation accompanied by a compulsive need to move – as well as other maniclike symptoms of irritability and anxiety. As described in Chapters 6 and 7, antidepressant-induced akathisia can cause violence, suicide, psychosis, and an overall worsening of the patient’s mental condition.
I became a medical expert in Reynaldo’s case and was authorized by the judge to examine the enormous volume of sealed drug company files concerning Paxil contained in GSK’s record room. Attorney Don Farber and I, with the help of my assistant, Ian Goddard, devoted several days to examining the materials, including clinical trial data, adverse drug reaction reports and analyses, and telltale correspondence between the drug company and the FDA.
My July 24, 2001 expert report in the Lacuzong case was very lengthy and detailed charges of negligent behavior on the part of GSK, including the drug company’s practices in developing and marketing Paxil and, in particular, its mishandling of information about the drug’s dangerousness in regards to producing violence and suicide.
The Lacuzong product liability case against GSK was eventually resolved to the satisfaction of of the Lacuzong family. The company of course denied, and continues to deny, all of the allegations made against it in the lawsuit. The settlement amount was not disclosed, but Mr Farber went from working out of his home to working in a private office and has become one of a handful of highly experienced attorneys in the area of antidepressant litigation.
Editor’s note: Mr Farber testified in the 2010 government hearings to determine if medications were safe for US forces and veterans. See Summary of Hearings to consider the relationship between medication and veteran suicide — (US House of Reps Committee on Veterans’ Affairs)