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Suicide after taking anti-depressant – industry guy’s warning

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CX was disturbed to take a call from a long term associate whose thirty year old son had just committed suicide. The young man hanged himself, despite taking an anti-depressant known as Loxalate (a medicine containing the active ingredient(s) escitalopram).

In his deep distress preparing for the funeral, our associate – who does not want to be named – begged CX to raise this. Which we do here, now.

Research into this reveals no side effect on the consumer medicine information leaflet, other than warnings as follows:

“….high fever, agitation, confusion, trembling and abrupt contractions of muscles may be signs of a rare condition called serotonin syndrome# * mania# * hallucinations * seizures, tremors, movement disorders (involuntary movements of the muscles)# ….”

Note that the hash ( # ) denotes very rare instances.

But a series of posts at www.drugs.com has unverified claims by people who knew of others so affected, and at least one user who had continual suicidal impulses while on a similarly named drug.

Notice: Medical professionals can and do make crucial decisions based on their knowledge of a patient, and this article should not be relied on to challenge a professional decision. In the vast majority of cases, anti-depressants make a huge difference and allow better function than not.

With our staggering industry suicide rate (one in twelve backstage workers have attempted suicide, against one in thirty across the broader population) this is a timely topic, and one to watch out for. The writer almost lost someone well loved who suffers from depression, and made a late night dash to find the street full of flashing lights and the dogs crying in distress as she was carried out through the smashed in door.

Look after your mates. Look after yourself. Ask: ‘Are you OK?’ and don’t be afraid to say; ‘Are you going to harm yourself?’

These words may help too: ‘I really care about you’; ‘This is bad and I want to sit with you for a while’; ‘I don’t know how bad you feel but I know this is bad and I really want to help’.

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