Michelle Carter, Conrad Roy case: Dr Breggin’s testimony ‘widely disputed’, here’s the history of the antidepressant black box warning

Hulu’s recently released and continuing series “The Girl From Plainville” covers Michelle Carter’s true crime case, also known as the text message suicide case. Many of the details depicted in the show are dramatized for added effect, but some actually reflect actual events from the case and trial, including the opinions of mental health professionals.

Michelle Carter was convicted of manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, to kill himself through a series of text messages and phone calls. She was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Hulu previously released the first six episodes of the series. MassLive has already taken a deeper dive in episodes one, two, three, four, five, and six.

Episode seven of the series begins with a disclaimer that debunks the testimony of psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin in the series.

“Dr. Breggin’s testimony regarding antidepressants has been widely disputed. There is strong evidence that recognizing and treating depression in adolescents and young adults through the judicious use of therapy and/or medication is not only appropriate, but can also save lives. Several national organizations have recommended that pediatricians and other healthcare providers actively identify and treat mental health issues,” Hulu read to viewers.

Here’s what he said on the show and in real life.

Breggin talks to Carter’s attorney, Joseph Cataldo, about his expertise on certain mental health drugs. He goes on to tell Cataldo that under the heavy influence of medicine, specifically medication taken with a pre-existing condition like Carter’s eating disorder, she could have been “unintentionally drunk” texting Roy at the time. of his death, encouraging him to die. by suicide. Therefore, implying that Carter was completely unaware of what she was doing.

During Breggin’s four-hour testimony, he argued that Carter had become “increasingly vulnerable” after being prescribed Prozac. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The use of Prozac and other similar antidepressants has been repeatedly condemned by Breggin. In the 1980s, Breggin appeared before the Maryland Medical Disciplinary Board for suggesting psychiatric patients refuse drugs, MassLive previously reported.

The negative effects of antidepressants peaked in July 2014, when Carter was placed on a similar drug called Celexa, MassLive said in its previous coverage of the trial.

Breggin said Carter “morphed into a more apathetic person, prone to bouts of mania,” MassLive reported. He also said the drugs affected the frontal lobe of his brain, affecting his ability to empathize and consider the consequences of his actions.

Episode seven of the show also highlighted Breggin’s statement regarding a “black box warning”.

Black box warnings are required by the US Food and Drug Administration for certain drugs that carry serious safety risks, including suicide. These warnings list “potential rare but dangerous side effects,” Cleveland Clinic mentioned.

According to Breggin, the drugs Carter was taking came with a black box warning, as he claimed these drugs could cause side effects such as “unintentional intoxication.” He also said the same for the antidepressants Roy was taking, saying those black box drugs could have made him more prone to suicide.

The black box warnings “marked a big change from drugmakers’ adamant refusal to admit that their antidepressants might cause some people to act violently. It also marked a big change for litigators,” IndyStar reported.

You could “no longer argue in court that the drugmakers were not disclosing a deadly side effect of their antidepressants,” IndyStar said. Therefore, these side effects are very well reported to users. Much like how Breggin portrayed him in the show’s trial.

The lead will be explored in more detail in the final episode released on Tuesday, May 3.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, you are not alone.

  • Statewide Samaritan Hotline Call or text 1-877-870-HOPE (4673)
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Press #1 if you are a veteran
  • Trevor’s helpline 866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386) Support designed for lesbians, gays, bisesexual and transgender youth and young adults

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