Investigations Revealed Ibarra Sought Medical Treatment After She Stopped Taking Zoloft
Luz Robledo Ibarra, 35-year-old Las Vegas mother, has been booked in absentia on two counts of child abuse with substantial bodily harm and two counts of attempted murder. Ibarra jumped from a second-story bedroom window after she threw her two young children out of the window shortly before 6 a.m. on June 12, 2014. Ibarra claims she heard a male voice telling her to jump. The incident happened on Spiritual Way, near Walnut Street and Lake Mead Boulevard in Las Vegas.
Ibarra told police at the University Medical Center where she and her two children were transported to, that it was the first time she heard voices. She denied ever having thoughts of suicide or hurting her children. Ibarra admitted throwing her six-month-old son and her daughter out of the window. The mother suffered a fractured pelvis, and the children were both badly injured.
Ibarra’s mother told police that she came to Las Vegas to help care for the children. The grandmother is from Mexico and arrived in the city in March 2014. Police found the grandmother holding one of the children upon arrival. The child was bleeding as a result of severe head injuries.
Ibarra visited her doctor on March 6, 2014, complaining about anxiety, insomnia and upper back and neck pain. She also mentioned to the doctor that she had too many responsibilities. The doctor prescribed Zoloft.
A month later, on April 7, Ibarra went to see the doctor again. The doctor documented that she refused psychiatric treatment at Harmony Clinic, and that she looked uncomfortable and restless. Ibarra said she stopped taking Zoloft because she did not like it.
SSRI Withdrawal or Discontinuation Syndrome
Medical director of Northwest Behavioral Medicine and Research Center in Atlanta, Dr. Michael Banov, says about fifteen percent of patients experience mild symptoms and five-percent severe symptoms after stopping medication such as Zoloft. Symptoms usually arise within days after discontinuation.
According to the director of the psychopharmacology program at McLean Hospital and professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ross J. Baldessarini, after patients stop taking Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, symptoms may include strange sensations of vision, headache and faintness. Irritable or depressed mood and anxiety are features that make it hard to differentiate early return of symptoms of depression from discontinuation syndrome.
Medication Side Effects
A study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) in 1998 showed that more than 106,000 patients die each year from drug side effects and are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Furthermore, the study totaled over two million severe medication reactions in the country’s hospitals each year. The side effects included only reactions causing death, disability and hospitalization. Effects such as sedation or dizziness that cause car accidents, disable people for weeks and force them to miss work and falls causing injuries were excluded. The author of the JAMA study said that the side effect epidemic was not new, but remained stable over the last thirty years.
It is sometimes quite challenging to place statistics in everyday terms, but 106,000 deaths each year averages up to almost 300 a day. In comparison, 85 people got killed from accidents linked to defective Firestone tires. Medication reactions kill three-hundred people every day and the Firestone deaths occurred over a period of a couple of years. However, the Firestone deaths drew Congressional hearings and dominated the news for a number of weeks.
Many doctors do not report medication side-effects to the FDA. One of medicine’s most respected drug references, Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, states that relatively few doctors actually report such reactions to the Food and Drug Administration.
Former chairman of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Brian Strom said most doctors do not know the system for reporting side effects even exist. Dr. Strom said that when speaking to medical groups, usually less than a third of the doctors know about the FDA Medwatch form.
Dickinson’s FDA Review in March, 2000, acknowledges that medicine reactions are grossly underreported. Associate director of the Office of Post-Marketing Drug Risk Assessment at the FDA, Jerry Philips, said the 250,000 reports received each year represent about five percent of the actual drug reactions that occur.
The Food and Drug Administration removed ten prescription medicines within the last couple of years, including top-sellers such as Prozac, Motrin, Viagra, Premarin and Celebrex. Premarin was probably the most prescribed medicine ever. In 1999, more than 47 million prescriptions for Premarin were issued to women in the United States. It was only until later when the drug was linked to breast cancer. Editor of the Primary Psychiatry, Dr. Norman Sussman, says there are many problems with the current system of drug testing, and it often misses significant side effects.
It is not clear what Luz Robledo Ibarra meant by the fact she did not like taking Zoloft. It is hard to differentiate early return of symptoms of depression from discontinuation syndrome, but Ibarra did ask for help and treatment.
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