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Antidepressants Accountable for High Suicide Rates

As suicide becomes a worldwide problem, the World Health Organization (WHO) devotes time and effort for its prevention.  It has found that the reason for suicide in Europe and America is depression and other mental disorders. Depression does not merely rely on antidepressants and the relief it can give because the fight against depression and suicide has been cultural and social. It needs community involvement and awareness. 

The WHO notes that almost one million people die from suicide every year and that for every 40 seconds, a death occurs.In the United States, it is the tenth leading cause of death especially among teenagers.  Depression and substance abuse which are common among depressed men and women are the main reasons for this.  Stress alone cannot cause suicide.Scientifically, research shows that they are influenced by neurotransmitters such as serotonin at a decreasing level.  At this juncture, antidepressants are mainly involved.
Serotonin which boosts a person’s happy thoughts is controlled and reinforced by antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates one’s “happy” emotions. For this purpose, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) manufactured an antidepressant named Paxil. However, studies showed that Paxil may cause suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior among children users and adolescents as well.  Due to this finding, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed a contraindication in Paxil labels indicating the same. Unfortunately the FDA warning only accomplished little to prevent suicides. 
Paxil user Susan Antoinette Silva took her own life on April 13, 2006.  Media reports say that her doctor, Dr. Isabel Lopez-Colberg, gave her a year’s prescription of Paxil and did not supervise and monitor her progress.  Her family noticed a strange behavior on her prior to the incident coupled with irrational impulses and drastic behavioral shifts. She also complained that Paxil made her feel uncomfortable and court documents supported that Paxil indeed made her ill. Because of this tragic happenstance, a suit was lodged against GSK and Dr. Colberg for medical malpractice.  The court entered a verdict late last year awarding Susan Silva’s estate $ 3.02 million, $ 100,000 to each of her parents and $ 20,000 to each of her siblings.
Paxil has been linked to many other side effects, as were shown in various studies. This has prompted several lawsuits against GSK and caused them to set aside almost $ 1 billion corporate budget for these litigation proceedings. The side effects of Paxil are grave enough to be a cause for concern. Paxil use or that of other antidepressants should be supervised and monitored, not only to prevent substance abuse but to prevent another loss of life. 

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