Thursday, January 01, 2009

Widespread off-label drug prescription raises safety concerns

From the Ottawa Citizen:
When she looks back, Susan Dudley says that never in her life had she imagined one day wanting to harm herself.

In 2002, the registered nurse was working, raising three children and leading what she describes as a perfectly normal life when her doctor prescribed a new drug for nerve pain in her leg.

About seven weeks later, Dudley knew something was wrong. She was feeling sad and depressed, and thinking "really bad thoughts." Then one day she woke up, and all she wanted was to go to the kitchen, break a glass and cut her arms.

Soon, Dudley was thinking of ways to harm herself the way other people might think about things to add to their grocery lists.

She searched online. She thought about standing in front of a truck on a highway. She thought about poisoning herself with carbon monoxide in her car, and even drove to the hardware store. Standing in the aisle, looking at the tubes and pipes, she wondered, "How do people do this?"

Dudley had no idea that the drug she was taking for nerve pain, gabapentin, had been approved in Canada only for epilepsy, and not for pain. Nor could she know that six years later - this past month - the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would announce it will require the makers of gabapentin and other anti-epileptics to warn that their use increases the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour. ...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am very interested in this article. I was given prozac 18 years ago for back pain. I went crazy after taking prozac had a list of now known side effects from a terrible reaction. At the time little was know about prozac and I had no idea it could cuase any psychological reactions not to mention the physical side effects which were extensive. I was told it was a pain medication it was given by a specialist and not followed up by anyone. As a result of this lack of information symptoms of the side effects and withdrawals were treated for year with subsequent antidepressant drugs which have literally ruined my life. I would love to get the name of Susan Dudley's lawyer and I am sure there are millions of others that have been mistreated this very same way in fact I know there are. I hope you follow this story up with more information re: legal respresentation.