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St. Louis Post-Dispatch

August 16, 1997

Author: Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D.

Q: Can Prozac trigger violent and irrational reactions? Last year my son, who had been put on Prozac by his psychiatrist, had a gigantic temper tantrum. He destroyed his computer, his car and set himself on fire, burning more than 90 percent of his body. He put out the fire in a shower. He never expressed suicidal tendencies before this episode, and he has fought for his life throughout his treatment for burns. How often do people on Prozac attempt suicide?  I think families should be warned about this complication. I am concerned about the Prozac ads I have been seeing in popular magazines because they barely touch on this potential problem.

A: The issue of violent, self-destructive behavior associated with Prozac is destructive behavior associated with Prozac is controversial. People who are depressed sometimes consider suicide. The company maintains this is no more common with Prozac than with other antidepressants. There have, however, been occasional reports of violent acts connected to Prozac. The ads you have seen include a page of fine print that lists, among other potentially adverse events, agitation, confusion and extreme mood swings. “Suicidal ideation” and “violent behaviors” are also noted. Those taking Prozac should contact their doctor immediately if they begin to feel suicidal or to have violent urges.