APRIL's web site https://www.april.org.uk contains carefully researched information for doctors and patients about possible intolerance to everyday medicines leading to psychiatric adverse effects. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, anorexia, paranoid ideas and suicidal thoughts and actions, may be side-effects or withdrawal reactions.
Harm from medicines and anaesthetics is not emphasised in the medical curriculum and APRIL has campaigned for changes in medical education, with some success.
APRIL stands for Adverse Psychiatric Reactions Information Link. Information on the web site is from scientific papers, the talks by Professors of Clinical Pharmacology and Psychiatry who spoke at our conferences and from the experiences of thousands of victims who contacted the charity over the past 20 years.
April was the month my daughter Karen was born.
I founded the charity in her memory and to save others from suffering the same fate. I realised medical education did not prepare those who prescribe to have full understanding of the possible adverse effects some people may experience.
Karen at the age of 20 suffered a sudden onset of psychosis triggered by a sulphonamide drug prescribed for a stomach upset, I was sure the preceding hallucinogenic nightmares should have been accepted as a warning she was not tolerating the drug. The following years proved her intolerance to a hormone drug followed some time later her adverse reaction to anaesthesia. Between horrific events she was well, working, travelling and not needing the long term treatment that in end led to her death, which left me and my family devastated.
I started researching at the British Library Medical Department. I found what I considered to be a 'can of worms'.. Hidden letters and complaints from health professionals: Clinical trial data undisclosed to the medical profession and other information the public had no access to.
Conferences I organised with leading Professors of Psychiatry, Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacogenetics and members of the public proved I was not alone in my concerns. My articles have been published in The Guardian and The New Scientist and medical journals including Prescriber. I have influenced changes in medical education to improve patient safety.
I am taking a presentation in the form of a true story to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Under the heading of Spoken Word, CRUISE TO HELL is about Karen's and my family's experience starting with her disappearance from a holiday cruise ship.
CRUISE TO HELL will be at the Radisson Blu hotel, known as theSpace-on-the-Mile from 12 - 17 August.
Comments after a preview were
"The story is simply but powerfully told. Millie narrates events as they happened. Alone on a stage, her words conjure the emotional drama of this true story."
“A remarkable evening, Everyone was stunned by the power of your story. It grew in intensity as it unfolded”.
Our charity office is based in London and I will be happy to meet or communicate with anyone interested in helping in any way to further our aims. Our web site has a lot of information and has a link to over 30 videos of Professors and doctors as well as victims, speaking about how medicines can harm our mental health.
I hope you will consider contributing by donating money, however little, or by supporting me in Edinburgh. Attending my presentation or helping by sharing this appeal and the message of APRIL charity - I have launched a Crowfunder time limited appeal https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/psychiatric-side-effects-awareness-stor