WASHINGTON -- Tom Woodward's 17-year-old daughter, Julie, committed suicide by hanging herself. He blamed the antidepressant that the teen had been taking for seven days.
''We are certain that Zoloft killed our daughter," said Woodward, one of more than 70 speakers enveloping federal health advisers yesterday in tears and anger.
Others, such as Cynthia Wainscott, urged the Food and Drug Administration not to take away drugs that have reduced suicide rates among depressed youths.
Two FDA advisory panels are considering whether agency action, including stronger warning labels, is needed on antidepressants because they have been linked to suicidal tendencies among some children who take them. The joint panel will weigh the benefits of nine drugs given to depressed children against the risk that the remedies may increase suicidal thoughts.
''Drug companies have purposely deceived the public about the safety and efficacy of their drugs," Woodward said.
Susan Bro, spokeswoman for Zoloft manufacturer
''Tell them not to do anything that will make people afraid to go for help," Wainscott said Jessi told her. Wainscott, chairwoman of the National Mental Health Association, quoted her granddaughter as saying antidepressants meant ''there are no invisible strings pulling me down."
Tarek Hammad, an FDA senior medical reviewer, told the panel an additional 2 percent to 3 percent of children are likely to have increased suicidal thoughts from taking any antidepressant.