A woman from Nelson has overdosed on venlafaxine, which also goes by the brand name Effexor, only days after the death of her husband.
Denise Sherwin, 55, was taking Effexor to treat severe depression and anxiety. At an inquest into her death, it was discovered that Denise died of an overdose of Effexor. According to the woman’s family, Denise was extremely down after the death of her husband, who they said had been her “rock.” The inquest was held by Burnley Coroner’s Court.
Aside from Depression and anxiety, Denise also suffered from a heart condition and relied on her husband to help her in overseeing her medication. Denise’s husband kept her medication locked inside of a briefcase. During the post-mortem exam of her body, pathologist Dr. Zuhair Twaij stated that Denise’s dosage of pills was high enough to have caused poisoning. No one knows how Denise got her hands on the fatal number of tablets that she took.
Denise’s sister Valerie Dawson stated that the family all tried to help Denise after husband died and also helped her make the funeral arrangements.
“It was a terrible shock for her and she did struggle to cope,” Dawson said. “All she kept asking was to get her through this. The anxiety was so bad. It was just a normal day. She was only on her own for about 10 minutes in the kitchen. She said she had spilt some water and then within a split second went into a fit.”
“Only days before, her husband, who had been her rock, died of natural causes,” the coroner said. “She was prescribed venlafaxine for her depression and anxiety and by some means had taken too many of these which sent her into a fit from which she sadly never recovered. I dismiss any suggestion that she deliberately took her own life. She died from venlafaxine which was prescribed to her.”
While this is a tragic story, it also shows how dangerous SSRI drugs like Effexor can be when they are taken to extreme. It may also serve as a warning to potential patients of how one of the severe side effects of taking the drug includes suicidal thoughts and behavior. While it is not known if the drugs caused Denise to commit suicide, it is clear that Effexor played a big role in her death.