This post got an upgrade: The revised, expanded version is now at The Atlantic. Many thanks to the folks at The Atlantic for picking it up. If you need a teaser:
One night in 2002, Sara Bostock woke in the night thinking she’d heard a bump in her kitchen. When she went to investigate, she found her 25-year-old daughter on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood. Next to her was a large and bloody chef’s knife. In her chest were two knife wounds. One was shallow; the other was fatally deep.
Sara Bostock has always thought that her daughter was killed that night by an antidepressant called Paxil. Cecily, a bright, generally cheerful Stanford graduate, had been taking Paxil for two weeks. Five months before, she had become moderately depressed, and, as Sara would recall it, entered a psychiatric system newly enamored of chemical models of depression and chemical solutions. In search of the drug that would work well, doctors had put her on one after another that worked badly. Of these, Sara says, Paxil was the worst. It made Cecily more and more agitated, increasingly unlike herself. Finally she ended it in what Bostock has called a death “completely unexpected, out of character and violent.”
For more on the cost of hiding data, see “How Many Suicides Happened Because of Paxil’s Misleading Safety Study?“, at TheAtlantic.com.