Woman dies from citalopram overdose, family sues for $3.7 million — (The Edmonton Sun)

SSRI Ed note: Woman prescribed Celexa by GP overdoses, is not monitored, dies by overdose the nest year. Family sues.

Original article no longer available

The Edmonton Sun

CALGARY — The drug-overdose death of an Edmonton woman was the result of negligence by her physician and pharmacists, a $3.7-million lawsuit claims.

The legal action, filed in Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench, says Dawn Merrill Johansson wasn’t properly monitored while on antidepressants, even though she had survived an earlier overdose.

Johansson, 49, died on Sept. 25, 2006, after consuming a fatal dose of the drug citalopram, under the brand name Celexa.

Her statement of claim, a copy of which was obtained yesterday by Sun Media, says the Edmonton woman was first prescribed the drug by her physician, Dr. Dianne Schuldhaus, in February, 2004.

“Schuldhaus did not monitor, adequately or at all, Dawn’s consumption of citalopram,” says the claim, filed by Calgary lawyer John Anderson.

On Aug. 28, 2005, Johansson consumed more than 100 pills and was hospitalized.

“Following Dawn’s release from hospital, Schuldhaus failed to regulate or otherwise restrict access by Dawn to lethal quantities of medication,” the lawsuit alleges.

Pharmacists at the Great Canadian Superstore where Johansson had her prescriptions filled were also negligent for “filling a prescription for an antidepressant which the defendants knew or ought to have known was associated with … suicidal ideation,” claims the suit.

The claim seeks $1 million in damages for the woman’s estate, $2.5 million for her widower, Ulf Johansson, and $200,000 in punitive and exemplary damages.

Statements of defence disputing the unproven allegations contained in Johansson’s claim have not yet been filed.