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Ritalin - The Cover-Up of Suicides


By: Janne Larsson
Press Release Sweden
October 28, 2005

Treatment with Ritalin has caused suicides and suicide attempts in children.

The Medical Products Agency (MPA) in Sweden knew about "21 cases of attempted suicide and six suicides" but approved Ritalin anyway.

FDA has warned about "Suicide Ideation" in connection with Ritalin treatment - but didn't FDA know about the suicides?

From the depths of the archives at the Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) some astonishing papers have emerged. Papers showing that Ritalin, prescribed to children with the diagnosis ADHD, causes depression and has led to suicides and suicide attempts.

The MPA knew about these disastrous effects when approving Ritalin for sales in Sweden June 15 this year. No warnings were given to physicians or the public.

FDA announced June 28 that Ritalin and other methylphenidate drugs had been linked to "visual hallucinations, suicidal ideation, psychotic behavior, as well as aggression or violent behaviour". Nothing was said about suicides or suicide attempts.

The narcotic drug Ritalin has been withdrawn from the Swedish market for 37 years - since the abuse catastrophe in the 60-ties. But Swedish psychiatrists have in recent years demanded the right to prescribe Ritalin and other stimulants to children - with the false pretence that the narcotic drug for children with the diagnosis ADHD would work as insulin for persons with diabetes. The expert child psychiatrist at the MPA has led the campaign; he has assured the public there are no serious short-term or long-term side effects from stimulant treatment of children.

When the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 2003 tried to get approval for children for its blockbuster drug Seroxat (Paxil) it was revealed that the company already five years earlier had known that the drug increased the suicide risk in children. This exposure led to the disapproval of the application and the British authorities instead banned Seroxat - should not be prescribed to children.

History seemed to be repeating itself when pharmaceutical company Novartis in 2004 was seeking approval for Ritalin for children in Sweden - a country in the unique position of having banned the drug already in the 60-ties. Novartis had not for many years had reason to turn in documentation in other countries, but they had to do it in Sweden. And in the submitted documents (written already year 2000!) it is under the heading SUICIDE revealed: "it is known that Ritalin therapy and its sudden discontinuation may cause depression in some patients…"

Under the same heading Novartis is also revealing: "A search of the Novartis international safety data base allowed the identification of 21 cases of attempted suicide and six suicides, in addition to 25 reports of suicidal ideations in patient aged 6-48 years, 56% of whom were children aged less than 16 years."

But unlike the British authorities in the Seroxat case the Swedish MPA didn't come to the defence of the children. Instead the MPA in June 2005 approved Ritalin, and covered up the information about suicides and suicide attempts! The public or physicians didn't get any warnings.

And now the MPA has taken one step further: declared that the document telling about the suicides is classified information. It is decided, "the pharmaceutical company in question can be harmed" if access is granted to the documentation.

The agency supposed to be for the public is, under pressure from psychiatrists and a pharmaceutical company, approving a narcotic drug that can cause depression and suicide. It is then hiding the disastrous results to protect the company.

This medical scandal also involves the FDA. The agency can be expected to have known about the deadly effects of Ritalin - but did not act. What is buried in the files of the FDA?

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