Jeannie died from citalopram intoxication in 2006

Jeannie died from citalopram intoxication in 2006

 

I'm Marian and my daughter Jeannie died because of the antidepressant citalopram. 

In 2004 Jeannie Elizabeth Campbell Wile went to a psychiatrist.  As a sensitive young person she felt stress from the separation of the parents she loved.   On the first appointment a doctor prescribed 20 mg/day of Celexa (citalopram).   A week later the dose was upped to 40 mg.,  and by her 3rd visit increased to 60 mg.   

That fall Jeannie attended the University of Southern California,  where another psychiatrist pushed the dose of Celexa up 3 more times up to 120 mg/day.  The increases were despite - or because - Jeannie didn't find the drug helpful.   The USC Pharmacy, Jeannie's GP, and her cardiologist all knew her history of a heart condition and unstable electrolytes, but failed to flag the danger.   The Celexa monograph stated under warnings that:  "Celexa decreases heart rate.  In patients <60 years old the mean decrease was approximately 5 bpm", and in it the following  potential side effects are listed:  bundle branch block,  cardiac arrest, ... ECG abnormal,  heart disorder".

By 2006 Jeannie's life was going well. However in her diary, and to her GP, Jeannie voiced concern about increased, inexplicable exhaustion.

Friday, September 8th Jeannie felt congested and unwell.  Her boyfriend tried to reach her repeatedly on Saturday.   Alarmed that he got no response, on Sunday morning he and Jeannie's superintendent gained entry to her apartment and discovered Jeannie dead in her bed.   The L.A. Coroner determined her Cause of Death was citalopram Intoxication - and noted the development of a bundle branch block,  a tricuspid valve prolapse, and enlarged heart.