Psychiatry body silent on Clancy inquest

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THE COLLEGE of Psychiatry of Ireland has said it cannot comment publicly on the controversy surrounding the death of Shane Clancy, who killed one person and then stabbed himself to death after taking anti-depressants.

Mr Clancy (22) was prescribed the drug Citalopram (cipramil) – of a class of drugs known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) – by a doctor when he complained about being severely depressed. Following a bad initial reaction to the drug, he was later prescribed with a lower dosage.

Three weeks after being prescribed the drug he killed Sebastian Creane, the boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Hannigan, and then himself. His mother, Leonie Fennell, blamed his death on the anti-depressants after an inquest into his death this week.

In a statement last night, the college said it was aware of issues relating to SSRI anti-depressant medication, which emerged at the public inquest.

“Due to the sensitivities involved and the fact that there is a related legal process pending, we are not commenting publicly on the issues raised at this time.”

During the inquest, Prof David Healy, from the Cardiff University school of medicine in Wales, said Mr Clancy had had a bad reaction to the drug and should not have been prescribed another course. He said there was a “low level” of public awareness about the potential impact of these drugs.

Coroner for East Wicklow, Dr Cathal Louth, refused a request by the college to allow it to question Prof Healy’s evidence.

Ciaran Craven, for the college, said during the inquest that there were concerns about linking SSRIs to suicidal and homicidal behaviour.

Mr Craven said he was worried that without expert testimony from the college, people could be discouraged from taking medication perfectly suited to them.

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