Prescribed Harm Awareness Day Can Save Lives

Akathisia Awareness Saves Lives

Citizens in Ireland walk to spotlight Prescribed Harm Awareness Day which is officially recognized on July 29.

Citizens in Ireland walk to spotlight Prescribed Harm Awareness Day which is officially recognized on July 29.

Stephen's Voice works to raise awareness of serious adverse reactions to prescribed medications, particularly antidepressants.

Akathisia is a serious adverse drug effect that can cause medication-induced suicidality and suicide.

Akathisia can cause a person to experience such intense inner restlessness that the sufferer is driven to violence and/or suicide.”
— Wendy Dolin, MISSD Founder

CHICAGO, IL, US, July 29, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Concerned citizens recently participated in public walks to spotlight adverse drug effects that can cause suicidality and medication-induced death. The Ireland-based charity, Stephen’s Voice, created the annual international Prescribed Harm Awareness Day after Stephen O’Neill died on July 29, 2016. This year’s awareness walks were held in several countries, including America, Ireland, South Africa, Wales, Australia, and England.

“Our walks increase awareness that, like Stephen, thousands of people are harmed every year by taking medication exactly as prescribed,” said Colleen Bell, founder of Stephen’s Voice. “We are pro-education, not anti-medication. Healthcare providers and consumers need accurate information and meaningful conversations about medication benefits vs. risks. Stephen’s suffering and death could have been prevented had he received informed consent and been made aware of akathisia when he was prescribed the SSRI, sertraline.”

“Akathisia can cause a person to experience such intense inner restlessness that the sufferer is driven to violence and/or suicide,” said Wendy Dolin, founder of the Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin (MISSD). “Drugs commonly prescribed for various ailments—such as acne, high blood pressure, asthma, depression, and anxiety—can cause akathisia. Yet most healthcare professionals and consumers are uninformed about akathisia causes and symptoms.”

Symptoms of akathisia include insomnia, agitation, inner and outer restlessness, skin crawling sensations, anxiety, brain zaps, and increased physical movements.

“We are pleased to see Prescribed Harm Awareness Day recognized worldwide,” said Dolin. “Consumers should be informed to monitor for and report any unusual changes in behaviors when stopping, starting, or changing the dose or type of certain medications. It is also important to regularly review patient information leaflets. Lives can be saved when akathisia is accurately diagnosed and appropriately treated.”

Stephen’s Voice and MISSD are authentic, grassroots charities and accept no funding from the pharmaceutical industry. “Improving patient safety is our shared goal, and we are planning a joint akathisia awareness campaign in Ireland similar to the recent campaign MISSD ran on the London Tube,” said Dolin.

All of MISSD’s educational resources are freely available to anyone, anywhere. They include public health videos, an accredited 1-hour online course, educational brochures, and an Akathisia Stories podcast available on iTunes, Studio C, and the MISSD YouTube channel.

Wendy Dolin
MISSD
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Akathisia: In Their Own Words