Susan Williams — (1991 FDA Hearings)

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Department Of Health And Human Services Public Health Service Food And Drug Administration

FDA Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Hearings

Friday, September 20, 1991

DR. CASEY: Thank you very much. Susan Williams?

MS. WILLIAMS: Susan Williams. I didn’t really want to bring my daughter with me today. Unfortunately, she was so traumatized by my going out of town that I had to bring her.

Lindsay’s mother began taking Prozac in August of 1988 for treatment of depression and alcoholism. She became very suicidal on the drug. She was a slight woman, she weighed 98 pounds. She was kind of hyper, to begin with, and the drug made her very, very aggravated. I looked it up in the dictionary: Aggravation is “to make worse, to annoy or to irritate.” So essentially Prozac made her problems worse.

She ultimately committed suicide.

One woman earlier spoke of nearly committing suicide in front of her children. My sister did commit suicide in front of Lindsay.

Another woman spoke of hollow-point bullets. That’s what my sister used to do it.

Okay, the plot thickens here. A year and a half later, Lindsay’s father went in for treatment for drug addiction. They began treating him with Prozac and Valium.

He was a very passive man, to begin with. He became highly, highly hostile, very aggressive, ultimately committed a homicide and then suicide while on Prozac.

I’m Lindsay’s mom now. I’ve  adopted her. And if you want to talk  Prozac victim, this is a Prozac victim here, and this is not going to go away. Lindsay will tell you that her parents died of drug addiction, and when you hear that, you think she’s speaking of cocaine or some other illegal drug. She’s talking about Prozac. Prozac caused her parents to kill themselves.

I’m not a zealot and I’m not here with any anecdotes . This is my story and it’s hard to talk about it.

Life goes on and I’m a very positive person and I hope that Lindsay grows up and will be very positive with me.

I understand that Loban is being considered being approved now for weight loss. Being such a weight-conscious society that we are, think of all the young men and women who are going to want to take this drug for weight loss. You’re going to have a lot more people that are becoming suicidal  and/or homicidal on this drug. I really, really think that you should consider changing the warnings on Prozac or, at the very most, removing it from the market.

Someone else spoke about the European group that was trying to decide something. Who cares what Europe is doing?

This is the United States. It’s not Scientology. Everyone seems to put it “us versus them,” Eli Lilly or the FDA versus us, or us versus them, or the Scientologists versus everyone else. We’re all in this together. There’s obviously a problem with this drug and I don’t understand why someone isn’t doing something about it.

Yes, I believe that there are mentally ill people that probably do need to be treated with something, but there are plenty of other drugs on the market that don’t seem to have had this problem. I don’t see why you can’t prescribe that drug to them and take Prozac off the market, even if it is temporarily, until you, the medical community, can decide what is causing this.

No one has ever really explained what Prozac does.  I’ve heard that it taps neurons in the brain. Well, perhaps  it taps certain neurons in certain peoples’ brain that tap suicidal ideation. Who knows? No one has ever explained  that. All I’ve heard is the Scientology issue. I’m not a Scientologist but I don’t understand why nobody has ever  really addressed the technical side of how it affects the  brain and why it is causing these people to do such gross  things.

My sister would have never, ever have killed herself in front of this little girl. She would have never done that. Prozac induced her to do that.

DR. CASEY : One minute, please.

WILLIAMS: Oh, God, I’ve got another minute.

CASEY : No, you are not required.

WILLIAMS: I know that, but I feel, you know, that I should be here when everybody else did such a good job. I hear people applauding pro-Prozac. I hear people applauding for the people that are against Prozac. I’m  against Prozac, because I think it’s dangerous, but I think  there are other alternatives to Prozac. There are other drugs  out there that apparently have been proven to be good drugs.

Let the people that are using Prozac or having adverse reactions to it use that drug until the medical community can decide what the problem is with this drug. There is a problem. If you choose not to do anything and then you do approve Loban, you’re going to have to go through all of this again. And this little girl is going to grow up having to deal with all of that and she’ll be fighting in our place where we are now. If you do consider changing the labeling of Prozac, I think it is the very least you should do for it.

Otherwise, I think you should take it off the market all together.

Thank you.