ITHACA, N.Y., Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Canadian Winnipeg Free Press tells the story: "Judge Agrees Prozac Made Teen a Killer." Judge Robert Heinrich listened to expert psychiatric testimony for the defense by Peter Breggin, MD and issued his opinion regarding the sixteen-year-old who stabbed his friend to death.
The judge stated, "His basic normalcy now further confirms he no longer poses a risk of violence to anyone and that his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac." Consistent with Dr. Breggin's testimony, the judge observed, "He has none of the characteristics of a perpetrator of violence. The prospects for rehabilitation are good."
This is the first criminal case in North America where a judge has specifically found that an antidepressant was the cause of a murder.
The case involved a high school student with no violence who abruptly stabbed one of his friends to death at home with a single wound to the chest. The boy had been taking Prozac for three months, during which his behavior deteriorated.
Starting approximately 2005 to the present, the FDA required official drug labels to include information about dangers under the section titled WARNINGS-Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk. The list of adverse effects—"anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania"—is a prescription for violence. Canadian drug regulatory agency, Health Canada, also warns about these side effects.
Dr. Breggin testified the boy's symptoms were consistent with a Prozac (fluoxetine) Induced Mood Disorder with Manic Features and he would not have committed the violence if he had not been given the antidepressant. He brought numerous independent scientific studies to court confirming his testimony.
The hearing determined whether or not the now 17 year old should be sentenced as a minor, limiting jail time. The prosecution wanted him tried as an adult. On October 4, 2011 final sentencing will occur.
The judge's decision represents an enormous step forward in recognizing the newer antidepressants can cause violence.
SOURCE Peter R. Breggin MD