We first contacted Laurie Yorke of Clark, NJ last year after we saw her on-line support group for those that have suffered from the side effects of Paxil and other anti-depressants. Three years ago, Laurie almost lost her then 15 year old son, Ryan due to a reaction to a off label use of Paxil. When Ryan started taking Paxil there were no warnings about suicide, aggression or personality changes. After a year on this drug she watched him change into someone she didn’t recognize. He had gone from a social, A student to a lethargic, confrontational, failing student. It was during that time that Ryan attempted to take his own life. Desperate to find out what was happening to her son, Laurie started doing her own research on the Internet. It was after doing that research that ABC news reported that the drug’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline, hid clinical trials from the public that showed an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents that were on Paxil. Laurie and Ryan were highlighted in that report. Laurie then started Ryan on a long withdrawal process from the drug. Today, Ryan is doing much better.
In the last year, Laurie has worked closely with Consumers Union’s Prescription for Change campaign to prevent what happened to her son from happening to others. She has joined us in meetings with NJ legislators and has spoken at news conferences in support of legislation that would require drug companies to disclose the results of ALL their clinical studies, not just those with positive results. This legislation would give doctors and the public full information about possible dangerous side effects of medication. New Jersey has recently introduced clinical trial legislation. Over the next year, Laurie plans to work with Consumers Union and other NJ consumer groups to make sure this important legislation passes in her home state.