Depression is a serious health condition that can impact every area of your life. Antidepressants can work wonders in treating the symptoms, but there are potentially severe side effects. Increased risk of suicide is a major concern, and both doctors and drug companies may be held liable when tragedies occur. In a recent antidepressant lawsuit case, a woman was awarded $3 million after her husband committed suicide while on this type of medication.
A September 11, 2017 New York Times report highlights an antidepressant lawsuit brought by a Chicago woman named Betty Dolin over her husband’s suicide death. Mr. Dolin had been in treatment for depression and was prescribed the medication Paxil, a common type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Within five days of starting the medication, the man was having dinner with his wife when he complained that it made him feel anxious and jittery. The next morning, as he was waiting for an approaching train to take him to work, he jumped from the platform and killed himself.
Mrs. Dolin eventually sued the makers of Paxil, GlaxoSmithKline, claiming her husband had suffered a side effect known as akathisia. It causes increased physical and psychological agitation, with symptoms so severe that suicide may be seen by sufferers as the only available option. The lawsuit was filed in 2010, and a jury recently awarded her $3 million in damages on the basis that the drug maker was negligent in providing strong enough warnings. The NY Times report states that these types of jury awards are relatively rare, as most cases end up settling out of court.
Antidepressants and Suicide Risks
Paxil is just one of an assortment of antidepressant medications which some patients and their families claim have resulted in increased suicide rates. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) cites numerous studies regarding the dangers, which each showing various levels of risk. An international study conducted in Sweden and Denmark showed that suicide ideology among people taking either SSRIs or similar serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) was roughly 20 percent. Other studies conducted in the U.S. found the likelihood of suicide among people taking antidepressants was as much as six times that of non-users.
The risk is common enough that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires these drugs to use ‘black box’ packaging labels to warn consumers about the potential effects. Doctors are also warned to closely monitor patients taking these medicines.
Reach Out to Us for Help Today
If you or a loved one has been impacted by the side effects of antidepressants and other potentially dangerous medications, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm for help. You may be entitled to compensation following an antidepressant lawsuit. Let us arrange a free case consultation for you with our personal injury attorney in Charleston or at one of our seven locations throughout the Lowcountry and Upstate. We can advise you on how to get justice for loved ones when tragedies occur. Call or contact us online today.