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Harvard Psychiatrist: Studies Needed
|The Associated Press
B O S T O N, May 15 — Dr. Jonathan O. Cole, a Harvard psychiatrist who has suggested a link between antidepressants like Prozac and suicide, says drug manufacturers and the federal government haven’t adequately investigated the problem.
In the decade since Cole and Harvard colleagues first reported on early cases of extreme agitation among people taking Prozac and related antidepressants, use of these drugs — called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs — has reached 84 million prescriptions a year, according to The Boston Globe.
No one has done the large-scale studies necessary to pin down the frequency of SSRI-related suicides, Cole said in a document filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City in support of a lawsuit brought by the family of Matthew Miller, a Missouri teenager.
Miller, 13, had been taking Zoloft, a chemical cousin of Prozac, for only a week when he hanged himself in his bedroom closet July 28, 1997.
Evidence of a Link
However lawyers for Pfizer Inc., maker of Zoloft, said there is no credible scientific evidence that Zoloft and related drugs precipitate suicide.
Dr. Anthony J. Rothschild of the University of Massachusetts Medical School said he thinks drug manufacturers, specifically Eli Lilly and Co., Prozac’s maker and the FDA have adequately addressed their critics’ concerns.
“The thing that disturbs me” about current SSRI critics, Rothschild said, “is the tone that suggests there’s almost a conspiracy to cover up information, and not do the right studies.”
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