Plymouth County

SSRI anti-depressants under scrutiny in wake of Lindsay Clancy case

The case of Lindsay Clancy, the Duxbury Mother accused of strangling her three children to death before trying to kill herself, has renewed focus on issues of postpartum depression and medication.

At Clancy’s arraignment Tuesday, Clancy’s attorney argued that at the time of the murders, Lindsay was not herself, that she was overmedicated for postpartum anxiety, and under the influence of powerful anti-depressants known as SSRI’s.

" This is not a situation that was planned,” attorney Kevin Reddington argued in court. “This is a situation that was a product of mental illness.”

Clancy’s defense has revealed a list of medications she was using in recent months.

Two of them, Zoloft and Prozac are SSRI’s, a new class of antidepressants designed to increase serotonin levels in the brain.

Dr. Nancy Byatt, professor with tenure at the UMass Chan Medical School, tells me SSRI’s have side effects including nausea, constipation, decreased libido, and vivid dreams or nightmares, but they are effective.

And she says they are an improvement over previous antidepressants known as TCA’s that could be fatal.

“I would say, of the psychiatric medications available, SSRI’s are one of the safer class of medications,” Dr. Byatt said. “SSRI’s are typically well tolerated. And they are relatively safe.”

Still, with recent news in the Clancy case, some might question whether they should continue to use SSRI’s.

Dr. Byatt believes SSRI’s remain an important and safe treatment.

“People when they are pregnant or postpartum often think, ‘well, I’m going to ignore my needs because it’s best for my baby.’ It’s not. The best thing they can do for themselves for their baby is to get the treatment that they need and that often includes medication treatment, including SSRI’s,” Dr. Byatt said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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