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Antidepressants and the Suicide of Mary Richardson Kennedy


California personal injury lawyerDid antidepressants play a role in the suicide of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s estranged wife? It’s certainly within the realm of possibility, based on a newly-released Westchester County medical examiner’s report. The report found that Mary Richardson Kennedy had three separate antidepressants in her system at the time of her death: trazodone, venlafaxine, and desmethylvenlafaxine.

For those not entirely familiar with the story, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former president John F. Kennedy, married Mary Richardson in 1994 and filed for divorce in 2010. From the time of their separation, until her apparent suicide in May of this year, Richardson struggled to keep her life together. She was charged with drunk driving on two separate occasions, became embroiled in a contentious legal battle with her estranged husband, and is now found to have been taking multiple simultaneous antidepressants.

Richardson was found dead near her New York home on May 16, 2012, and her passing was ruled as the result of “asphyxiation from hanging” by the Westchester County medical examiner. That same medical examiner uncovered traces of the three antidepressants in her system. It is only speculation to consider the possibility that drugs played a role in Richard’s suicide, but one thing is for certain: Mixing multiple antidepressant drugs can have serious consequences.

Even taking a single antidepressant can have major side effects, including the potential for suicide risk. “More than one is an overkill.” Dr. G. Heath King, a Florida psychoanalyst, and former Yale professor told The Daily Beast. “In excess, some side effects are exaggerated. Even at standard doses, venlafaxine alone has been shown in at least three independent international studies to significantly increase the risk of suicide.”

Family members believe that Richardson was prescribed the drugs at different times, and may have been mixing them on her own, without a doctor’s supervision. She was diagnosed in 2006 with borderline personality disorder and struggled for years with depression. The FDA has warned of a potential risk of suicide in people who take antidepressants, particularly in the early weeks of treatment, or when dosages are suddenly changed.

Once again, it’s not entirely known whether the drugs played a role in Richardson’s suicide, but if you take antidepressants, you should be aware of the possible side effects. If someone you love has attempted or committed suicide after taking antidepressants, or if you have experienced other debilitating side effects as a result of taking these drugs, you may be entitled to compensation. But you’ll need a good personal injury attorney working for you.

Nadrich & Cohen, LLP has been handling personal injury cases for decades, and we have obtained more than $250 million on behalf of our clients. If you have a personal injury claim involving antidepressants, call us today at 1-800-718-4658 to discuss your case.

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