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Pharmacist Accused of Not Providing Medication Warnings for Anti-Depressant, Results in Patient Suicide
Claims Made Against Prescribing Physician and Pharmacy Claim Lack of Information Regarding Risk of Suicide With Use of Paxil - Man Commits Suicide Four Days After Starting Paxil - Defense Verdict.
The plaintiff’s decedent, age fifty, was prescribed the anti-depressant drug Paxil by the defendant physician in March 2007. Four days after he started taking the Paxil the decedent committed suicide at his home. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant physician was negligent in failing to properly warn of the drug’s side effects, failure to properly monitor the decedent and failure to properly treat the decedent.
The plaintiff claimed that the pharmacy was negligent in failing to warn of Paxil’s side effects. The plaintiff additionally claimed that the company (which provided the “Patient Counseling Information Form” received at the pharmacy) was negligent in providing false and misleading written information in the “Patient Counseling Information Form” provided with the prescription. This company was ultimately dismissed from the matter.
The plaintiff claimed that the decedent experienced a radical change in mood and behavior, including agitation, pacing, anxiety and insomnia after starting on Paxil. The plaintiff claimed that the drug caused akathisia, a highly agitated sense of inner restlessness which led to the suicide. The plaintiff claimed that she had called the defendant physician about the decedent’s behavior and mood, but the calls had not been returned.
The plaintiff claimed that the pharmacy should have provided the decedent with an FDA-mandated “Medication Guide” regarding suicide risks and failed to provide an oral consultation from a pharmacist regarding adverse effects of the newly prescribed medications.
The defendant physician admitted that no suicide warnings were given regarding Paxil, but maintained that none were required because there was no evidence of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts/acts for persons in the decedent’s age group.
The pharmacy claimed that the decedent was provided with all required warnings and that warning stickers, including a suicide warning, had been removed from the bottle after it was dispensed. The defendants both claimed that the suicide was due to the decedent’s undiagnosed health problem and was not related to Paxil.
According to a published account a defense verdict was returned.
With permission from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts; Lewis Laska, Editor, 901 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203-3411, 1-800-298-6288.