Written by Avvo Staff

Dangerous Drug: Prozac Risks & Lawsuit Information

Prozac, a popular brand name for the drug Fluoxetine, is a medication widely used treat major depression, pediatric depression, eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, obsessive compulsive disorder, and panic disorder. Prozac is considered a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) and works by restoring the levels of serotonin in the brain which helps to improve certain mood problems. It is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company and is one of the most popular anti-depressants prescribed by physicians to-date.

Adverse Effects and Risks

More serious side effects of Prozac, albeit less common include:

  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior in children and adults under 25 years of age
  • Panic attacks, anxiety and agitation
  • Aggressiveness or hostility
  • Extreme happiness that switches back to extreme sadness
  • Serotonin syndrome (A potentially life-threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin if this drug is taken with other SSRIs.)

Other common, side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weakness
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Rash
  • Restlessness

Prozac Lawsuit Information

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of Prozac for the drug's link to suicide and violent behavior.

In clinical studies conducted, it was found that for children and young adults (24 and under) who take Prozac, or similar anti-depressants; there was a two-fold increase in suicidal thoughts and behavior compared to those on the placebo. With this finding the FDA mandated that a black box warning be used for Prozac as well as for other antidepressants. The black box warning is the most serious level of warning available. It was found that Prozac and other antidepressants may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in children and adults, alike.

Some prominent lawsuits involving Prozac are:

In 1997, Patricia Williamson of Texas stabbed herself to death in bathtub. She had begun taking Prozac six days earlier for depression. An out-of-court settlement was made with Eli Lilly.

In 1996, Reginald Payne, a teacher from Cornwall, killed his wife and threw himself off a cliff. He had been taking Prozac for just 11 days. His family filed a lawsuit against the manufacturing company of Prozac.

In 1989, Joseph Wesbecker shot and killed eight people and injured 12 others before killing himself. Wesbecker had been taking Prozac for four weeks before the incident. This led to a legal action against Eli Lilly & Company.

Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac settled hundreds of Prozac litigation for as little as $50 million, which amounts to Prozac sales of one week.

Getting Legal Help

If you feel you are suffering from any serious side effect of Prozac, there are legal actions you can take against the responsible entity. Competent personal injury lawyers can help you to determine whether a medical professional or drug manufacturer can be held liable for damages caused by Prozac.

Document all relevant information like symptoms, adverse effects, dosage, duration of treatment and present them to your lawyer for correct assessment of your legal standing in the lawsuit.

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