On August 24, 25, and 26, between 9 am and 5 pm, prominent activists from all over the nation will join victims and family members who have lost love ones due to these drugs to raise public awareness about their potential dangers.
They will specifically target the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which include: Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Luvox, Citalopram, Celexa, Lexapro, and Paroxetine.
Allen Routhier who lost his 40 year-old wife Diane 2 years ago to suicide while she was on the antidepressant Wellbutrin, will be leading the rally along with his 2 sons.
Other attendees include Mark Taylor and his mother, Donna. Mark was shot during the Columbine rampage by Eric Harris who was on an SSRI at the time.
Another leader in the fight against the over-prescribing of these drugs, who will attend the rally is the world renowned expert on SRRIs, Dr Anne Blake Tracy, Director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness.
She has specialized in adverse reactions to SSRIs and has testified before the FDA and congressional committees on their adverse affects. Since 1992 Dr Tracy has also served as an expert consultant and witness in SSRI related civil and criminal court cases all around the world.
A full force of advocacy groups will be represented with members of Mothers Against Manufactured Madness, Alliance to Stop Psychiatry's Influence in Religion and Education, and Mindfreedom.
An important part of the message that the public needs to know, is that drug makers have known about the adverse affects of SSRIs since before they received FDA approval. For example, in March 1985, three full years before Prozac was approved, Dr Richard Kapit reviewed the drug and warned it posed a risk of worsening "vegetative aspects of depressive illness" for some patients. He noted that out of 1427 exposures "there were two completed suicides" and "13 patients who attempted suicide. " He stated that "it may be appropriate" to include a "warning" on the label "that certain signs and symptoms of depression may be exacerbated by this drug."
Drug makers have also known that SSRIs are practically useless in treating children. For instance, in December 2004, ABC News uncovered documents that revealed GlaxoSmithKline, maker Paxil, failed to disclose the results of studies as far back as 1997, which determined that Paxil had little or no effect in treating depression in children and also showed the company was aware of suicide-related behaviors in young patients taking the drug.
Yet in 2001, Glaxo sent out a memo to its sales force touting the drug's "remarkable efficacy and safety in the treatment of adolescent depression."
Bonnie Leitsch is the founder of "Prozac Survivors Support Group," and along with Dr Tracy, is calling for immediate federal action to warn the public that this class of antidepressants not only can induce suicide in adult patients, but can also cause psychosis and acts of violence.
The FDA cannot continue to play dumb. Leitsch's group has 14-year-old film footage of the 1991 FDA hearings, where dozens of family members testified about relatives who had either killed themselves, or loved ones, or who had attempted suicide which they directly attributed to being on SSRIs.