Suzanne Robbins — (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. Suzanne Robbins    

MS. ROBBINS: I am head of the Indiana Prozac Survivors Group. For the record, this is not a religious issue. We are of all faiths. There may be Scientologists here, I do not know. I happen to belong to the Christian Church. I was a victim. Lilly, you answer me, you tell me what happened to me.

I was prescribed Prozac following surgery that had upset my exercise routine and left me feeling just like the doctor said, “a little blue.” I had never taken antidepressant before, so I asked about the possible side effects. He told me the drug was so safe it should be put into the drinking water. My first reaction came at two weeks. I remember sitting in the car and I reached over and I grabbed my husband and I said, “I feel like I’m dying.” I felt like I was leaving my body. The feeling passed in about 30 seconds, so I thought no more about it.

I was sitting in a classroom two days later, when all of a sudden it happened again, only this time I’m shaking, I’m covered in hives, and my mind is racing faster and faster. You can’t grab the thoughts, they won’t stop. I go to the office. I call the doctor. The nurse says, “Oh, let me look in the PDR.” She looked and said, “Oh, honey, that’s not Prozac.” I said, “Well, what’s happening to me?” Two more days passed. I was sitting in the classroom again. This time I excused myself from the children. I said, “I must leave. I’ll be back.” I called the doctor’s office again and was told, not Prozac. I’m crying by this time. They have to send me home. I get home and I call the doctor’s office again. I said, “I have to see him, something’s wrong with me.” They said he couldn’t see me until Saturday. I said, “You don’t understand. Something’s wrong with me.” He finally saw me the next day, took one look at me, now covered in hives, I’m shaking, I can’t think, I can’t formulate a thought, and he said, “Oh, you’re having a panic attack. It’s not Prozac.”

So I went home and I thought I’m going to die. There’s something really wrong with me. Saturday I went through the day. It was a blur. I just remember feeling strange. On Sunday, I’m a Sunday School teacher, I went to Sunday School and I handed them my Sunday School papers and I said, “Something’s wrong with me, I have to get out of here.” I left the church and got into my car and I’m driving the interstate, trying to hold on to the wheel. The thoughts are racing so fast and it’s saying “you’re going to die,” and I have to hold onto the wheel to keep from going off the road. This is real, people. This is real. I finally admitted myself to a stress center. I begged them, “Lock me up because I’m going to die and I don’t want to die.” The internist walked in, and I remember the day so well, she took one look at me and she said, “Prozac. – You’re not my first victim.” She said, “The last one I saw they had doubled the dose and she was in full psychosis.” I knew at that moment I would live, but I didn’t understand the horrors that this drug would not leave my system right away. They had to sit by my bed and they would hold me down as I shook and they would tell me, they would say, “You’re going through drug withdrawal.” My God, it was horrible. I shook and I shook.

Finally, I was released after nine days. I’m fortunate. I have doctor records. It’s in my record, Eli Lilly. They put it was your drug that caused this reaction. It’s in my medical records.

By the way, my daughter is a mental health therapist. Guess what, people? It is a street drug. She’s treating adolescents right now. They’re begging for this drug on the street. We’ve got to get this drug off the market before it kills someone else. Thank you.