The Navy Yard, Mass Murders, and Drugs : An excerpt from Idols in the House

Trazdone, SSRI and The Big Pharm Con Game

As reported recently at the popular website, it is confirmed that Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis was on the anti-depressant drug Trazodone. How many more mass shooting deaths must we witness before the general public demands accountability from the pharmaceutical companies and our politicians?

Trazodone is sold under the brand names Desyrel, Oleptro, Beneficat, Deprax, Desirel, Molipaxin, Thombran, Trazorel, Trialodine, Trittico, and Mesyrel. Although not strictly a member of the Selective Serotonin Retake Inhibitor ( “SSRI”) class of antidepressants, it shares many of the same properties and also serves to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. Symptoms of Trazodone withdrawal include aggression and violent behavior. The drug also carries an, FDA black box warning for suicide, and is documented to cause mania and violent behavior. Several murder cases over the past few years have been directly connected to Trazodone. This includes 8 people murdered at a beauty parlor in Seal Beach, California in 2011 by a crazed gunman on Desyrel.

In 2002 I authored and published a book about America called Idols In The House. In one chapter titled, “Throwing In The Towel: Drugs and Alcohol” I elaborated on the growing concern of the use of such psychotropic drugs, i.e. SSRI, and the evil means that big pharma uses to promote the use of such unproven and dangerous drugs. Below is a reprint of the subject called “Prozac: Big Money”. Though written in 2002, this article remains prescient. The public ought to be more concerned with the marketing and use of this class of drugs; than gun control. The public must understand that these types of drugs are unproven, marketed by greedy big pharma and can cause not only suicide but other forms of psychotic and violent behavior including murder.

This calls to my mind the ominous warning expressed by Teddy Roosevelt regarding industries and progress. “Progress has brought us both unbounded opportunities and unbridled difficulties. Thus, the measure of our civilization will not be that we have done much, but what we have done with that much…. The thought of modern industry in the hands of Christian charity is a dream worth dreaming. The thought of industry in the hands of paganism is a nightmare beyond imagining. The choice between the two is upon us.”


As one of the first selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (“SSRI”), Prozac (generically referred to as Fluoxetine) was considered a medical breakthrough in the treatment of depression. As is typically the case for a new product, the subject matter experts (psychiatrists/ psychologists), manufacturers, marketers and the media extolled the new anti-depressant drug as a marvel, if not miracle, of human endeavor. Underlying the design and market of SSRI products like Prozac is the theory, though never proven, that depression is as biological in origin as a lack of insulin is for diabetes. Therefore, depression is in effect nothing more than a brain serotonin deficiency. Intense marketing propelled the drug onto the front burner for the general public. In 1991, an advisory committee of the FDA cleared Prozac, with the noted exception that labels e added which provide yet-to-be-substantiated advice that the drug could cause “suicidal ideation” and “violent behavior”.  To the public, Prozac became the “happiness pill” popularized by Peter Kramer’s book Listening to Prozac (1993), which spent 21 weeks on the New York Timesbestseller list. Peter Kramer claims that the drug transformed the personality of some of his patients, making them feel “better than normal” and even proposed that if Prozac were introduced into the general population’s water supply, everyone who drank it would be happier. This commercial success of Prozac became phenomenal. With the hiring of a new chief executive officer in 1993, a ‘stagnant’ drug manufacturer, Eli Lily, viewed by industry analyst as anxious to renew significant and profitable revenue growth, aggressively marketed Prozac worldwide, garnering over $2.5 billion in sales revenue to date with claims that over 31 million patients worldwide are prescribed Prozac. Analysts predict that the market for SSRI could reach $4.8 billion of the total $8.8 billion anti-depressant drug market by the year 2009 with Eli Lilly getting $2.4 billion in that year. Money like that gives drug companies plenty of incentive to push their agenda, and that much money can buy plenty of lobbyists to push their agenda in Congress.

Yet, disturbing evidence began to appear in the early 1990s which initiated a controversy regarding the approval and use of Prozac/ One example was the book, Talking Back to Prozac (1994) by Dr. Peter Breggin. Dr. Breggin’s criticisms of Lilly are devastating. He researched clinical trials of the drug before it was marketed and concluded that they were inadequate because:

  • They were too short (4 to 6 weeks);
  • They did not include children, the elderly or the suicidal;
  • Many patients dropped out following adverse reactions;
  • Patients were given sedatives to reduce Prozac’s stimulating effect;
  • Fewer than one in three trials showed Prozac to be effective; even these suggested that it was no more effective than previous anti-depressants.

Breggin further writes, “The FDA supports the drug industry and it needs at the expense of the public and the consumer,” adding that an early in-house FDA report, ignored by the organization’s top decision-makers, described Prozac as a stimulant that could, in a few cases, over-stimulate the central nervous system and worsen depression.  Further adding fuel to the fire of controversy, in 1994 David Healy (then consultant to Eli Lilly) published an article entitled “The Fluoxetine and Suicide Controversy, a Review of the Evidence,” in which he opines that anti-depressants, Prozac included, can indeed induce suicidal behavior in a minority of patients.

Patents and their families, alarmed by the growing occurrences of violent behavior and attempted suicides of Prozac users, formed an organization call Prozac Survivors Support Group (“PSSSG”) to warn the public and patients against the possible side-effects of Prozac. Litigation soon followed. The year 1994 saw a major milestone in Prozac’s litigation history. As the first of some 160 cases filed, the Fentress Case (popularly known as The Wesbecker Case) was tried in Louisville, Kentucky. Back in 1989, Jo Wesbecker had killed and wounded several of his coworkers, and thereafter committed suicide, a few weeks after starting a Prozac treatment. By a divided nine to three vote (the smallest possible margin), the jury denied the plaintiff’s claim against Lilly, but Judge John Potter’s doubts about the proceedings led him to seek authorization for further hearings. A second notable case concerns William Forsyth, a retired businessman residing in Maui, Hawaii, who in 1993 stabbed his wife to death, then committed suicide, ten days after starting Prozac. His children are suing Lilly, claiming Prozac is to blame for their father’s acts.  David Healy acted as an expert witness for the plaintiff in the trial.

It is now the professional opinion of many medical doctors that Prozac can induce psychotic episodes in a small percentage of patents (five percent to seven percent), especially those with borderline or manic personalities. In a small minority of these people, psychosis manifests itself by dangerous behaviors such as self-mutilation and suicidal/ homicidal ideation and acts. Unfortunately, Eli Lilly, presumably to avoid any further litigation or perhaps to avoid any further litigation or perhaps to avoid substantiating any current claims, has refused to conduct ( or publish the result of) double-blind research studies specifically developed to find out more about these possible side-effects. By refusing to do so, Lilly’s act of omission can only be viewed as immoral, definitively failing to meet normal standards in health care.

Concerns regarding violent behavior and suicidal tendencies of SSRI drug users are not limited to Prozac alone. Luvox, manufactured by Solvay, is said to cause mania during short-term clinically controlled trials in four percent of the children and youth tested. Mania is a psychosis which can produce bizarre, grandiose, highly elaborated destructive plans. What the public does not generally know is that Eric Harris, the “leader” in the Columbine High School tragedy, was taking Luvox for depression. This drug is typically given for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorders, yet doctors often give it for depression, since it is in the same SSRI class as Prozac.