Saturday, May 05, 2007


May 01, 2007

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Contact: Julian Whitaker, MD
Tel.: (714) 619-1600
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Several Sources State Killer Had History of Antidepressant Drug Use

NEWPORT BEACH, CA -- May 1, 2007 -- The country is reeling over Monday’s shooting spree that left 33 dead. The gunman, 23-year-old Virginia Tech student Cho Seung-Hui, was by all accounts a disturbed young man, a loner with a history of bizarre behavior who left behind a trail of violent writings. He had also been referred for counseling and, according to several news accounts, taken medication for depression.  

Atrocities such as this have become disturbingly common over the past few years. We as a society are searching for reasons to explain these grizzly murders, which have torn at the heart and soul of American culture. Some blame it on access to firearms and rally for gun control. Others point to violence in movies and videogames and call for censorship.

However, there is another, more plausible reason for these inexplicable acts of violence by ordinary people, and that is the adverse effects of antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Paxil, and related antidepressants are known to cause mental and physical agitation and to spark self-destructive, violent behavior. Their association with increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and adolescents is so strong that the FDA requires that this risk be clearly stated in a black box label warning, the most serious type of warning on prescription drugs. SSRIs can also induce dissociative reactions, making those who take them insensitive to the consequences of their behavior.
In eight recent school massacres, including the tragedies at Columbine and Red Lake Indian Reservation, the shooters were known to be under the influence of prescription psychiatric drugs. And in numerous other senseless killings, drug use was suspected but never confirmed because medical records were not made public.

More than 10 million Americans take antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs. We can no longer afford to ignore the growing body of medical literature and clinical observation linking these medications to mania, psychosis, suicidal and violent behavior, hallucinations, hostility, and homicidal ideation. They must become part of the dialogue.

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If you’d like more information on this topic, or to schedule an interview with Julian Whitaker, MD, please contact Lorena Barragan at (714) 619-1600 or email Lorena at This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

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