My husband went to the hospital for chest pains on a Sunday. He was kept overnight and was finally told that he'd probably just had an anxiety attack.
He was given Wellbutrin and sent on his way. On Tuesday, he still wasn't feeling any better, so his doctor told him to stop taking Wellbutrin and prescribed Paxil. My husband took this drug for three days and then hanged himself on Friday.
We are so sorry to learn of this tragedy. Although the Food and Drug Administration now requires drug companies to warn people that some antidepressants may trigger suicidal thoughts, doctors don't always pass this warning along.
Many people benefit from drugs such as Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin or Zoloft, but others experience agitation or anxiety.
Please help! We live in a remote area, and I need to drive my husband once a month to a hospital that is four hours away. But I can drive only an hour or two before becoming so drowsy I am no longer safe. I drink coffee, but this is still a problem. Is there something I can take to stay alert?
It's possible that a drug such as Provigil might be helpful. This medication is prescribed for excessive daytime sleepiness associated with sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea or shift work. People with these conditions may fall asleep unpredictably during the day.
Joe Graedon, a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon, an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition, can be reached at http://www.peoplespharmacy.com or care of this newspaper.