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By Elizabeth Narins
Nov 6, 2015
Victoria Lane, 38, suffered from anxiety and paranoia after surviving a car accident at age 16. While she coped by taking fluoxetine, a prescription antidepressant that’s sold under the brand name Prozac and Serafem, her 17-year-old son recently found her unconscious in their home and paramedics were unable to revive her, according to Metro.co.uk.
While some research suggests that certain antidepressants can increase the risk of suicide, Lane didn’t appear to have taken her own life. Coroners blamed her accidental death on “excessive ingestion of anti-depressants exacerbated by the excessive use of caffeine.” According to Lane’s mother and son, who gave statements to Metro, Lane suffered from dry mouth — a common side effect of fluoxetine. To hydrate herself, she drank upward of 8 liters of Pepsi Max and a liter of vodka a day.
Interestingly, the coroners took issue with the soda, not the alcohol: Lane’s soda habit served up 1,555 milligrams of caffeine per day. (A venti-size Starbucks coffee only has 410 milligrams, just to put things in perspective.)
Everyone knows that drinking too much caffeine can make you jittery and anxious, symptoms that could have led Lane to accidentally OD on her medications to counteract the effects. Still, what actually led to her taking too many pills is unclear.
If your coffee/soda habits are making you feel extra anxious, you’ve definitely reached your upper limit. And if you’re downing anything besides water by the liter to soothe the side effects of your medication, it’s worth looping your doctor in on the habit — just in case.