Jailed student’s drunken rage `caused by controversial anti-depressant’, claims doctor — (The Western Mail)

SSRI Ed note: Young man has personality change while taking Seroxat (paroxetine/Paxil), flies into rages, drinks alcohol and drives car into foyer of psychiatric facility.

Original article no longer available

The Western Mail

Oct 23 2002

A STUDENT jailed for crashing his car through the doors of a North Wales psychiatric unit could have been acting under the influence of side-effects of a controversial anti-depressant.

Dr David Healy, a leading expert on the drug Seroxat {Paxil}, will give evidence about Shane Cooke’s condition as part of an appeal against his two-and-a-half-year sentence.  Lawyers have been instructed to proceed with an appeal and Dr Healy, who has given evidence in the US about the effects of Seroxat, has been engaged to prepare a report on Shane’s condition.

Dr Healy, director of the North medicine, believes the evidence so far suggests the drug could have played a part in what happened to Shane.

Seroxat has been linked to both suicidal and homicidal tendencies, including the case of Wyoming grandfather Donald Schell who shot himself, his wife, his daughter and grand-daughter dead just two days after he started taking Seroxat to treat depression.

South Wales law firm Hugh James is now acting on behalf of about 3,000 people across the UK who have experienced unwanted side-effects from Seroxat, known in the US as Paxil.

Shane Cooke’s foster parents said bull” during three violent outbursts after he was prescribed Seroxat in March. His character changed so much Brian and Mary Hennesey no longer recognised him, they said.

“He was a totally different person. The least upset would bring on a major outburst,” Mrs Hennesey said.

A judge at Caernarfon Crown Court jailed the health and social care student, of Meadow Villas, Greenfield, near Holywell, on Monday, saying he was in a drunken rage when he crashed a car through the doors into the foyer of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd on June 2.

But Mr and Mrs Hennesey believe Shane did not understand what was help and “completely lost it” when he was not allowed into the psychiatric unit. They are convinced that – while he had taken alcohol – the main reason for his uncontrollable rage was the effect of Seroxat.

Mr and Mrs Hennesey, who have cared for Shane since he was two, said alcohol was not a factor in the two other violent outbursts. Mrs Hennesey, a special needs teacher in Holywell, said Shane had heard voices and saw visions of his mother when he was first prescribed the drug.

Seroxat manufacturer Glaxo-SmithKline denies the anti-depressant causes addiction or suicidal thoughts.