Antidepressant warning

By Deborah Condon

The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has said that it is aware of a recommendation from the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that the warnings on a number of common antidepressants should be updated, regarding the risks of suicide and self-harm.

Earlier this week, the FDA issued a public health advisory, providing 'further cautions' to doctors, patients, their families and caregivers, about the need to closely monitor both adults and children with depression, especially at the beginning of treatment, or when the doses are changed.

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"The FDA is asking manufacturers to change the labels of 10 drugs to include stronger cautions and warnings about the need to monitor patients for the worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidal ideation, regardless of the cause of such worsening", it said.

However the FDA emphasised that it is not yet clear whether antidepressants contribute to the emergence of suicidal thinking and behaviour.

The 10 drugs mentioned in the advisory include Seroxat and Prozac, both of which are in use in Ireland.

In a statement to on the matter, the IMB said it is aware of the FDA's recommendation and continues to monitor the safety of all authorised medicinal products here.

"In Ireland, the product information for this group of antidepressants already includes information for healthcare professionals and patients regarding the need for monitoring and the risk of suicide. The IMB will continue to monitor this issue, review any new data that becomes available and initiate any regulatory action considered appropriate", it said.

The FDA's statement on this issue can be seen at...


Anonymous - 11/03/2005 01:42

Is Prothiaden on the list? i have been taking it for a long time now so i hope it is not doing me harm. Would be glad to hear from anyone.

Anonymous - 11/03/2005 08:38

I was on this drug but was also taking st johns wort thinking I was helping myself and I went down to a pier last summer with the full intention of throeing nyself off only a passerby turned up at the last minute I told my Dr and he immediately took me off them and warned me of the dangers of drug interactions!!

Anonymous - 11/03/2005 23:49

thanks for replying and yes i heard about the johns worth and i think thats why they took it off the shelves because people didn't know the danger of it and were mixing it with other medication, you had a lucky escape and someone was looking out for you in sending that person at the right time to stop you doing what you were about to do, am glad it turned out right for you. I am not mixing tablets but having read about this 'list' i wonder if prothiaden is on it, although i suppose i should not really worry as my gp says there are mild and not addictive, and he is very clued in and does not over prescribe and he is keeping an eye on me but still you wonder when you hear things and about this list. so if anyone has heard anything i would be glad to know. good luck to you above and i'm glad you are doing well. all the best

Anonymous - 14/03/2005 23:34

Dont worry 2 much about Prothiaden it is a fairly safe drug I have been having COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY AND AM NOW OFF ALL MEDS AFTER BEING IN THE VERY Depths of despair last summer now back at work and njoying life again!!

Anonymous - 15/03/2005 21:51

Thank you to above for replying. am glad you are improving in yourself and feeling happier. I will get there myself i hope. at the moment while suffering the trauma of court case due to harassment at work and having no job now and feeling my life has been destroyed by these people, i am also in the midst of grief for my lovely husband who died suddenly beside me at home, so all in all i am just hanging in there, taking each day one day at a time, feeling there is not point in doing anything and yet i keep trying to keep going, people assure me that things will get easier for me, i have had such a lot on my plate over the past year, but i hope i will feel better sometime but other times everything is so hard to bear and i'm so lonely even though i have lots of people around me, but it was my hubby who knew me and supported me and loved me and i miss him so much, so i sink into deep deep holes of blackness, but still i do have my good moments and i try hard to keep going and i keep the samaritans number beside me always i havent needed it yet because the one time i got afraid for myself i went to my gp who is very supportive and i got help, but still those black times are very hard, but lately i have managed to actually laugh, inside i mean, not just on the surface, so i know i will get alright again at least i hope so. good luck everyone.

Anonymous - 17/03/2005 05:17

so pleased 2 hear u r feeling a little bit better uve had a really tough time of it so dont b t 2 hard on rself!! say this to urself "yes" I will laugh again

Anonymous - 19/03/2005 23:02

Thank you and yes I will say that to myself, remind me not to be too hard on myself and try and believe I can be happy again. You actually made me smile as your note shows that you use txt, I am beginning to do the same when I am writing finding I am abreviating words and your note made me smile because I now know I'm not the only one! Txt iss actually quite easy and brief and I wonder when it will become the 'norm', think of all our hard lessons in school with the spellings drumed into us and now here we are making up our own words to fit our mobiles etc. -and- yes, I am still smiling, you have cheered me up, thanks for that/ take care.

Anonymous - 07/09/2005 21:03

Hi there, I was on Prothiadin for aprox 1 year. I was put on prothiadin as I was pregnant as it is an older drug and considered one of the safer, ie. there is more research done on it while pregnant.When I had my baby I was then put back on effexor as I was told that it had a better effect. I was fine for a time but then hit an all time low and took an overdose of prothiaden and effexor (I had a bottle of prothiadin pills left over) I ended up on a coronary care unit having an ECG as prothidin is an extremly dangerous drug if even slightly overdosed, Thank God I was ok, but the casualty Dr. warned me about the dangers of prothiadin overdose. I would just query why you were not put on a more 'modern' for the want of a better word, drug like effexor which tends to be more effective and less dangerus if overdosed, not saying that you would but then I never thought I would either! Two lessons to be learned here, 1. Don't keep old drugs in the house as you might be tempted when you hit rock botttom 2. Get to know everything you can about the drugs you are taking,ask your Gp, psychiatrist, internet. You have gone thru a really tough time and I think you are wonderful to be still standing, depression is an awful ilness. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy but all we can do is fight to become stronger, cherish the good days and take one day at a time. I'm doing good now and I will do everything I can to remain this way. I wish you all the hapiness in the world and never forget you are not alone, you can post anytime and someone out there always reaches out. x

Anonymous - 08/09/2005 13:54

What a lovely reply from the person above and I thank you so much. I had no idea about the dangers of overdosing on Prothiaden but I am careful to keep to the dose. I take out what I am to take for hte day and keep the tablets in a little box so I can know if I have taken them as sometimes i forget if i have. I too had a pile of medication built up, god knows what I was thinking but somewhere in my mind it was my escape route but without ever thinking deeply about it, it was like my safety blanket, but when I got help from a bereavement lady, i went over to the doctor and dumped the lot on his desk. I think he nearly had a heart attack, the look on his face was one of such shock but it made it clear to him that i was suffering, i couldn't explain properly to him what the pain was like deep down inside and a rushed visit into the surgery does not give you time, anyway he sorted me out again, he is a lovely GP but i dont' think he understood just how desperate i was. Anyhow I am sort of ok since, I just feel so tired at times, i try to do what people say, keep going, getting out etc but it wears me down all this trying and yet you have to do it. I wonder sometimes if taking these anti-depressants and tranquilisers can make you worse, I mean making you tired and dopey sort of, but when I have missed taking them i feel the difference, for a short while I am on top of the world with energy, but I go onto a complete high, Hyper if you like, and then crash down with a bang. Does anyone know what i am saying, it is very hard to explain. I was told that i am trying too hard, that i am not relaxed, and that i should allow myself to have a bad day and try to rest and relax, easier said that done. Sometimes i could sleep all day but i feel miserable if i lie in late in the mornings, i can't sleep during the day as you would not want to be around me when i wake up!! and sleep at night is long gone, i can't fall asleep for ages, if I do get to sleep and then wake up in the early hours so my sleep is all over the place. My new resolve now is to stop worrying about it all and to go with the flow. I decided lately to splurge on myself (a treat as money is tight) and i had an Indian Head Massage, you should have heard the clicks of tension coming out of my neck and shoulders, it as the best experience and so relaxing, i was so much at peace that i was mortified when in the middle of it, I burst out crying, but i felt great afterwards, and also the stuff they rub into your hair is lovely, it made mine so soft like a babies hair and so shiney and healthy looking, so anyone who can go for one of these massages i strongly recommend it, its great. I will finish, thank you to the person above, you sound like a very kind person, good luck all.

worried. - 10/01/2006 04:39

I'm 22. I am very sensetive to drugs and I only took prothiaden ONCE and I got erection problems almost immediatley, stopped taking it, but the side effect hasnt gone away and its been well over a month, probably closer to two. Just really frustrated and I want to whats going on? Will it ever go?? :( help.

Tallaght - 20/07/2006 09:41

I know its a while since anyone posted to this list, but I\'m having a go anyway in case someone ends up here by accident through Google as I did myself. My doctor uses Prothiadin short-term to help me over a hump, but most of the time I am not on medication. Instead, I attend a weekly mutual support group called Recovery ( for a list of meetings in Ireland. I had been treated for depression on and off for over forty years, and Recovery has given me tools I never even knew existed. Of course, as Recovery says \"its simple but not easy\". I work on my mental health every day, many times a day. But I can honestly say the change in me over the past five years (since attending Recovery) has been very surprising, especially to both myself and my family. Yes, I do still occasionally have a down period, and have to go back on the medication. But it is a temporary set-back, and I know I need patience, again quoting Recovery\'s Dr Low who said: \"If my patients had patience, I\'d have no patients!\" Regards everyone

Anonymous - 02/02/2007 16:08

I have really been trying to go off Effexor for the past couple of months and cant. I keep getting light headed, feeling anxious and sick. How can i make it easier? Also, do these make you put on weight as i have done and i am wondering if it is down to them?

heart - 15/02/2007 21:29

Hi, about coming off the effexor, you should only do it under medical supervision and never just stop. It is possible to come off it, there will be unpleasant side effects but there are side effects to coming off anything you are taking long term really. The question is are you ready to come off it? If you are still feeling anxious I think you should take a look at the big picture. I too feel that it has affected my weight and thought that I would wean off it slowly but when I started to take a lower dose I found a radical change in my mood. So I kind of thought which is better, be a little overweight or seriously depressed, my weight gets me down but not depressed if you know what I mean?! I'm sure if you discussed it with your doctor (which I intend to do 2) he might be able to help perhaps recommend an alternative drug? If you are feeling that you don't need effexor anymore I know through friends who have that it is possible to come off it sucessfully but ONLY under medical supervision to control the side effects. Best of luck!

Anonymous - 16/02/2007 12:18

Heart, thank you very much for your response. I will go to my doctor but on occasion i have mentioned it and she was very blaze about it, but i will go to her again. My moods have chnages as well trying to go off it, so i may just keep taking it until i am ready to cope with kids, work, and everything else that comes along. Appreciate your help!!!!

almera - 30/03/2007 08:32

i have over the past 4 months had a roller coaster ride of good weeks feeling very ''normal'' and weeks where i felt my mind racing accompanied by real anxiety and total disinterest in things i'm now on PROTHIADEN 150mg (2x75mg) also rivotril 1mg per day i cant seem to shake the negativity off. the treatment started only 3 weeks ago after other meds were abandoned due to my recurrences of depression im now very frustrated and frightened by these ups and downs only 2 weeks ago i felt great before a complete collapse last week this has been the trend since november. a week or 2 bad and a week or 3 feeling quite good the good periods were very normal good not excessive, i just feel desperate, any advice most welcome, has anyone gone thru periods like this ? d

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