Help us Fund a Test to Prevent Teenage Suicide Caused by Antidepressant Drugs
No one should have to experience the never-ending suffering caused by the death of a child. When it is a death that should never have happened, it is all the more unbearable.
Antidepressant drugs put thousands of teenagers and young adults at risk of dying every year and hundreds have been lost.
Every year over 9 million new prescriptions for antidepressant medications are written in the United States and more around the world. Many of these are prescribed for teens and young adults.
Medical researchers have found that 6 to 8% of patients taking antidepressant drugs will develop suicidal thinking, will attempt suicide or will die of suicide. This is an estimated 720,000 persons in the U.S. each year.
How can we stop this deluge of death? How can we help prevent the heartbreak of the parents and loved ones of these young victims?
The answer to the problem is the ability to identify the risk in the patient… before the drug is prescribed.
We have an incredible opportunity to do just that. Because of the explosive growth of genetic technology, we are able to undertake a scientific study to identify genes that can predict the risk of suicide resulting from taking antidepressant drugs.
Even though an FDA “Black Box” warning—the highest level of warning—is on every anti-depressant drug insert, parents whose teenagers have taken their own lives report that their doctors did not warn them of the risk. One parent was told, when she asked her doctor if the drug was safe for her son, that the “drug was well tolerated.” Her son hanged himself three weeks later.
It’s important to remember that antidepressant drugs are beneficial for many persons, including our military men and women returning from war zones. We are not trying to outlaw an important medication. We are concerned about the young people who are lost every year due to the drug’s side effects.
We need your help in completing this critical scientific study and preparing a laboratory test. If the study is successful, a laboratory safety test can be ready for doctors in just over a year
Join with us, please. Together we can significantly reduce and possibly eliminate altogether the numbers of teenagers losing their lives due to antidepressant drugs.
Francis J. McMahon, M.D., Head, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, has stated, "In the future, we hope that genetic testing will help doctors identify those few patients who are at high risk for suicidal thinking during antidepressant therapy and need close monitoring or alternative treatments." And, "This should help allay concerns for the vast majority of patients.”
Special Note: No one should stop taking an antidepressant drug except on the advice of and under the care of his or her physician.
Who we are and our progress so far
We are a new company using the intellectual capital and years of research of a team of molecular biologists and business leaders, dedicated to finding a safer way for teenagers to take antidepressant drugs. We have already selected the patients for our study. We have obtained samples of their DNA and now we need your help to prepare for the next step—sequencing their genes.
How You Can Help
We need $60,000 for patient DNA sample preparation and to ship the samples to our contract genome sequencing facility. If more money is contributed we will apply it to the $800,000 needed to begin the sequencing.
What You Will Get
Your name will appear on a special product insert for patients entitled “This Test Has Been Made Possible for You by Gifts from the Following Persons” Your name will also appear on our website under “Operation SAFER DRUGS.” You will receive YouTube Videos showing you the sequencing work as it progresses, regular notices for web conferences with our scientists to discuss the progress of the study, and you can receive vouchers for free tests to be used when the test is ready. The vouchers may also be given to any person or group of your choice.
And whether you contribute or not, if you have a personal story to share, we invite you to send us your non-confidential video telling us why this campaign is important to you and giving us permission to post your video on our website, if it is selected.
If you can’t contribute at this time, please help us by getting the word out to your friends and families, and remember you can use the Indiegogo share tools to do so.
Our team is led by Kim Bechthold, businesswoman and serial entrepreneur in the life sciences field with 20 years of experience in financing, business development, intellectual property licensing and patenting.
Peter Tolias, Ph.D., is our chief scientific advisor to the project and is an expert in translational multidisciplinary research and development in personalized medicine as it applies to the clinical diagnostic, device engineering, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
Charles Tackney, Ph.D., is our acting scientific director and has 25 years of leadership in biotechnology, clinical diagnostics and molecular medicine with special expertise in health care innovation.
Scott Segal, M.D., is the chief medical director and President and CEO of Compass Health Systems and the Segal Institute for Clinical Research.
Norm Strassner, well known film director, video producer and editor is directing the media and educational programming for the campaign. Oliver Maxwell Kupper produced our video and Bruce Lorie narrated it.