On May 16, 2018, a West Virginia medical malpractice wrongful death jury returned its verdict in the amount of $2 million against a West Virginia psychiatrist, for prescribing too high a dose of Celexa that allegedly led to the death of a 46-year-old man.
The man’s parents filed the West Virginia medical malpractice claim against their son’s psychiatrist, alleging that the defendant psychiatrist prescribed toxic levels of two medications that led to their son’s death. The defendant allegedly prescribed two times the allowable dosage of Celexa, along with Clozaril, in treating the man’s mental illness in 2013. The plaintiffs further alleged in their West Virginia wrongful death lawsuit that the defendant psychiatrist failed to warn their son regarding the FDA’s warning regarding the risk of sudden cardiac death associated with Celexa above a certain dosing level.
The Allegheny County coroner had determined that the man died from toxic levels of Celexa and Clozaril.
On August 24, 2011, the FDA had issued a Safety Announcement entitled “FDA Drug Safety Communication: Abnormal heart rhythms associated with high doses of Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide)” in which it stated, in part:
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing healthcare professionals and patients that the antidepressant Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide; also marketed as generics) should no longer be used at doses greater than 40 mg per day because it can cause abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart. Studies did not show a benefit in the treatment of depression at doses higher than 40 mg per day.
Previously, the citalopram drug label stated that certain patients may require a dose of 60 mg per day.
Changes in the electrical activity of the heart (prolongation of the QT interval of the electrocardiogram [ECG]) … can lead to an abnormal heart rhythm (including Torsade de Pointes), which can be fatal. Patients at particular risk for developing prolongation of the QT interval include those with underlying heart conditions and those who are predisposed to low levels of potassium and magnesium in the blood.
The citalopram drug label has been revised to include the new drug dosage and usage recommendations, as well as information about the potential for QT interval prolongation and Torsade de Pointes.”
On March 28, 2012, the FDA revised its Safety Communication regarding Celex to warn that “Citalopram use at any dose is discouraged in patients with certain conditions because of the risk of QT prolongation, but because it may be important for some of those patients to use citalopram, the drug label has been changed to describe the particular caution that needs to be taken when citalopram is used in such patients. The revised drug label also describes lower doses that should be used in patients over 60 years of age.”
If you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of taking Celexa, you should promptly find a medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your Celexa claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a Celexa lawsuit, if appropriate.
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