Psychiatric Medication Awareness Group: psychiatric medications, addiction, recovery, withdrawl, risks & side-effects

News & Updates

Recent News | Disclaimer | Citalopram (Celexa) in Children and Adolescents | Antidepressants & Violence | Bonnie's Story

Recent News

NEW! January 4/18 — Additional research confirms the association of hip fractures with benzo use. Some studies show increased risk in short term users ( subscription-based).

NEW! January 4/18 — Antipsychotics can cause vocal cord damage.

December 15/17 — As dangerous as opioids — Benzo overprescription becoming a crisis.

November 30/17 — Operating in Darkness: BC's Mental Health Act Detention System (PDF–7.09 MB). New report finds disturbing rights violations in BC's mental health detention system.

BC’s mental health detention system has been operating in darkness for too long. While other Canadian provinces have been conducting investigations to evaluate their mental health detention systems, the BC Government has failed to engage in any systemic review. — Laura Johnston

November 24/17 — How the new impatient patient is disrupting medicine. Patient activists have never been as vocal. But are they truly being heard?

November 23/17 — Are You Addicted to Benzos? — a new posting on the Benzodiazepine and Sleeping Pill Addiction, Tapering & Recovery Blog.

November 21/17 — YouTube video: Sexual function with antidepressants.

This dangerous class of drugs was overprescribed by doctors, creating a pandemic.

Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD) is a condition in which sexual side effects don't resolve after stopping antidepressants, or in some cases only develop when the antidepressant is stopped. Similar problems happen after isotretinoin (PRSD) and finasteride (PFS).


October 20/17 — Faulty drug tests by Motherisk at the Hospital for Sick Children resulted in tragedy for families in 5 provinces.

For more than two decades, in thousands of cases across Canada, Motherisk's flawed drug and alcohol testing influenced decisions about whether to remove children from their families. Parents who've lost children speak out about the heartbreaking aftermath and experts weigh in on how it all went wrong.

September 25/17 — Thou shall not criticize our drugs.

September 25/17 — Psychiatry ignores an elephant in the room.

August 29/17 — Drug safety advocate concerned over Health Canada ‘retreating’ from Vanessa's Law.

Archived News

Older stories are archived on the Older Stories page.


Read our disclaimer:

  • PMAG does not provide individual advice or respond to individual requests for assistance.
  • We encourage you to seek qualified medical support.


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Citalopram (Celexa) in Children and Adolescents for Depression: What We Knew and When

Citalopram (Celexa), analogous to paroxetine (Paxil) and the Study 329 story [1], for the management of major depressive disorder (MDD) in children and adolescents is an additional example of promotion trumping the evidence that this drug should not be used in younger populations of patients.

What was known and in plain sight for prescribers since July 1998 when citalopram was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was information contained in the drug's professional product label and other agency documents warning prescribers not to use citalopram in children and adolescents.

The original professional product label for citalopram from July 1998 contained the following statement in the Pediatric Use section of the label:

Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.[2]

Under the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act the sponsor submitted two studies in 2002 seeking additional marketing exclusivity for citalopram. The decision was:

Only one of two clinical studies is positive and this supplement is not approvable.[3]

Exclusivity was granted based on the completion of these two studies.

Both of these studies were published. The positive study in June 2004 and the other that found in the treatment of adolescent depression a therapeutic effect for citalopram as compared to placebo could not be found.[4,5] The professional product labeling for citalopram was amended in February 2005. A box warning, the strongest type of caution the FDA can require, was added to the professional product label and contains the following statement:
Celexa is not approved for use in pediatric patients.

The following description of the 2 clinical trials submitted to obtain pediatric exclusivity was added to the Pediatric Use section of the professional product label in 2005:

Two placebo-controlled trials in 407 pediatric patients with MDD have been conducted with Celexa, and the data were not sufficient to support a claim for use in pediatric patients.

The FDA warned prescribers about citalopram and its use in children and adolescents in 1998 and in 2002 found the review of 2 pediatric exclusivity studies did not support the use of the drug in this population of patients for MDD. The FDA concluded its pediatric assessment of citalopram 8 months after the publication of the first citalopram study in 2004 that was positive. Citalopram's label was revised in 2005 to strengthen the warning about the use of the drug in younger populations. [6] The second study, which was negative, appeared in the literature in 2006.

Promotion and the circulation of Wagner's [4] 2004 positive paper appear to be the spark for citalopram's market place success. The prescribing of drugs may largely be a function of promotion and not the quality of available objective useful scientific information.

Resources would be better utilized in improving prescribing that directly impacts patient safety and wasteful drug budgets. Professional product labeling changes; continuing education programs for prescribers; re-analyses confirming old FDA decisions; and calling for journal article retractions have appeared to be uniformly unproductive.

An intervention that has not been fully attempted is directly promoting FDA approved professional product labels and documents and how to use them directly to patients and their families.


1. Sasich LD. Paroxetine and Study 329: what we already knew and when. BMJ. Oct 14 2015; 351:h5411 [Letter].

2. Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Celexa (citalopram) Professional Product Label, July 17, 1998. At Accessed May 2, 2017.

3. Hearst ED, US Food and Drug Administration. Pediatric Supplement Celexa (citalopram), April 2002. At Accessed May 2, 2017.

4. Wagner KD, Robb AS, Findling RL, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of citalopram for the treatment of major depression in children and adolescents. Am J Psychiatry. 2004; 161(6):1079-1083.

5. Von Knorring AL, Olsson GI, Thomsen PH, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of citalopram in adolescents with major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2006; 26(3): 311-315.

6. Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Celexa (citalopram) Professional Product Label, February 2, 2005. At Accessed May 2, 2017.

Background by Larry Sasich. Posted with permission.


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Antidepressants and Violence

Navy-yard Shooter Aaron Alexis's past fell just short of raising alarm.

  • Aaron Alexis was on the antidepressant Trazodone at the time of the shootings.
  • The timelines and his calm, organized behaviour are well aligned with someone experiencing an antidepressant-induced psychotic episode:
    • Aug 23 — prescribed Trazodone for insomnia.
    • Aug 28 — still not sleeping, dosage increased.
    • Sept 14 — practiced shooting with shotgun and purchased shotgun.
    • Sept 16 — shooting.
  • The FDA has several reports on the connection between Trazodone and homicide.

See the violence category at

SSRI Stories has 5000+ news articles documenting antidepressant-induced violence and bizarre behavior.


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Updated: January 4, 2018

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Bonnie's Story

Photo of Bonnie

Bonnie was a brilliant, creative, curious, kind person who took her life due to Benzodiazepine withdrawal. She had worked very hard to taper off of benzodiazepines for over 21 months then took her life 4 weeks after completing her taper.

Bonnie's Story (PDF–84 KB) is a tribute to Bonnie's struggle to recover from benzodiazepines.

Benzo Help Blog

Benzodiazepine and Sleeping Pill Addiction, Tapering & Recovery

Dr. Ashton's DVD

Order Dr. Heather Ashton's DVD

Dr. Ashton photo
Dr. Heather Ashton on YouTube

Marcia Angell Series

The New York Review of Books:

  1. The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?
  2. The Illusions of Psychiatry

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