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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 November, 2004, 14:06 GMT
Parents demand acne drug inquiry
Jon Medland
Jon Medland was in the final year of his medical degree
The family of a north Devon student are calling for a worldwide inquiry into a drug they say caused the depression which led him to kill himself.

Medical student Jon Medland, 22, had been taking Roaccutane for mild acne for just three-and-a-half weeks.

An inquest ruled his death in Manchester in January was suicide.

Roaccutane's manufacturers, Roche Pharmaceuticals, said no causal link had been established between the drug and either depression or suicide.

This is the worst thing you can ever imagine
Jonathan Medland
Jon Medland, from Barnstaple, was in the final year of his medical degree at Manchester University when he hanged himself at his student lodgings on 13 January.

Manchester Coroner Leonard Gorodkin heard during the October inquest that had suffered from mild acne for several years and had become self-conscious about dealing with patients.

He was referred by his GP to a consultant dermatologist at Withington Hospital, Manchester, and had his first appointment on 11 December.

'Bubbly' personality

The consultant, Dr Haydn Muston, said it was not standard practice to prescribe treatment at the initial appointment, but as Mr Medland was a medical student and had already researched the drug, he prescribed it.

The inquest was told that in a short time Mr Medland changed from a "bubbly, outgoing" young man to one who was withdrawn and depressed with suicidal thoughts.

He apparently told friends and family that he feared his mental state was somehow connected to the Roaccutane.

He had also "read somewhere" that the effects might not cease when he stopped taking the drug, the inquest was told.

Mr and Mrs Medland
Pam and Jonathan Medland described Jon as "amazing"
They told him to stop taking the tablets, which he did on 8 January but was found hanged at his student lodgings five days later.

His father, Jonathan Medland, said he wanted the inquiry because he did not want other parents to experience what they had gone through.

He said: "He was so full of life, so full of enthusiasm."

"The only reason we're going through this and laying open our grief to public scrutiny is because we don't want other parents, and other boyfriends and girlfriends, to go through what were going through.

"He was the most amazing son and this is the worst thing you can ever imagine."

Roche Pharmaceuticals said the drug carried a warning of possible mood changes and depression.

But it said no causal link had been established between the drug and either depression or suicide.

The company added that, over 20 years, it had successfully treated up to 13 million acne sufferers but the drug was regarded as a last resort treatment.




SEE ALSO:
Laser treatment for skin problems
21 Apr 04 |  Wiltshire
Student's suicide over acne
07 Jan 04 |  Lancashire


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