Friday, October 06, 2006

New Trial For Zoloft User Pittman?

Christopher Pittman was only 12 years old when he killed his grandparents, set their house on fire and drove away in their stolen car. Today at the age of 17, he is asking for a new trial.

The first kneejerk reaction is to say, "This is one crazy kid." But when all the facts are in, one wonders whether in fact he might deserve a new trial.

There doesn't seem to be any disagreement regarding the facts of the situation. But one fact that was overlooked or insufficiently investigated was the fact that Pittman was on Zoloft. This SSRI anti-depressant is in the same family with Prozac, Paxil and other similar anti-depressants that have been proven to actually cause suicidal and homicidal impulses in children AND adults.

In 2004, years after Pittman's crime, The FDA required Zoloft and other anti-depressants in this family to carry a black box warning (so-called because the warning goes in a black box on the packaging) of an increased suicidal risk in children. More recently they have recommended expanding the warning to include homicidal risk as well. A high percentage of the "school shooters" in the last decade have been on anti-depressants in this class.

The black box warning is the last gradient below banning the drug.

Read the story here.

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