Great Britain

Teenage girl took her own life after being given acne drug, inquest told

The parents of a 15-year-old girl who took her own life have told an inquest they believe her death was linked to an acne drug she had been taking.

Annabel Wright had been prescribed the drug Roaccutane in 2018.

Her mother, Helen Wright, told an inquest in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, that her daughter had shown no signs of depression and her death the following year “just didn’t make any sense”.

Annabel saw her GP about her acne at the age of 12 and was later referred to a dermatologist at Harrogate District Hospital when she was 14.

Mrs Wright said she raised the issue of suicide being a potential side-effect, at their first appointment at the hospital, when the doctor suggested Roaccutane.

She told the inquest that the doctor told her that people may take their own lives because they are depressed about their acne.

She said: “And Annabel wasn’t. She wasn’t depressed about her skin.”

Mrs Wright said she was given a leaflet that listed potential side-effects - which assistant coroner Jonathan Leach said included changes in mood and behaviour.

Reading from the leaflet, Mr Leach said it warned patients to inform their doctor if their mood changed or if they started having thoughts of self-harm while taking the medication.

Mrs Wright said: “I wasn’t made aware that suicidal impulses could overcome a perfectly normal person.”

She told the inquest that Annabel’s medication was also sometimes given to her in a plain box containing no patient information leaflet.

“I was looking out for depression with Annabel, and low mood, thinking that would be a precursor to what eventually happened, but it wasn’t.”

Annabel’s dose of Roaccutane, which was reviewed every four weeks, was increased in January 2019 and again in March, the inquest heard.

But, at an appointment on 1 May 2019, doctors said they would recommend that the dosage be reduced. Later that night, Annabel’s family members found her dead, the inquest heard.

When asked by Mr Leach why she thought her daughter’s death and the medication were linked, Mrs Wright said: “It came over her in a wave, I’m sure of it.”

She continued: “There was nothing that indicated she had been planning anything.

“Her last words to me were ‘don’t wash my trousers, I’ll need them tomorrow’.”

The inquest continues.

Additional reporting by PA

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