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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Teenager with acne killed himself
A teenager hanged himself just weeks after being given a controversial acne treatment drug, an inquest has heard.

Jason Spiller, 16, of Devon, had taken a course of Roaccutane. The families of two men who also killed themselves have blamed the drug for their deaths.

A Devon inquest on Thursday ruled Jason had killed himself, but found the drug was not "clearly" linked to depression.

Roaccutane's manufacturer Roche said there is no proven relationship between the drug and depression or suicide.

Jason's body was found by his mother Jean hanging from a raft in a barn on their farm in Honiton in April 2005.

He had been to see skin expert Dr Emily McGrath, a dermatologist at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, 18 days earlier with severe acne.

Mood changes... may be one factor related to the rare cases of suicide in patients taking this medication
British Association of Dermatologists

Dr McGrath said in a statement to the inquest that Jason had suffered acne on his face, chest and back for the previous four years.

She said his GP felt he would be a candidate for Roaccutane. She warned Jason about possible side effects and said taking the drug could also lead to mood changes which should be monitored by his family.

Dr McGrath said: "Jason was not clinically depressed. He decided he would like to take the course."

It was unclear how many tablets Jason had taken in the time before his death but it may have been about 14. Toxicology tests were inconclusive.

Dr McGrath said the vitamin A derivative Roaccutane had been used since the early 1980s for treating acne and was "highly effective".

The Greater Devon coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland said: "Jason had suffered from severe acne and I am satisfied that he took his own life."

Rare cases

The British Association of Dermatologists said: "A few patients on Roaccutane may experience mood changes, which may sometimes persist for a while after stopping the drug.

"This may be one factor related to the rare cases of suicide in patients taking this medication."

The family of two British students who killed themselves after taking a course of Roaccutane have blamed the drug for their deaths.

David Roberts, 21, had been taking Roaccutane for two months when he hanged himself near his Liverpool home in 2005.

A coroner recorded a narrative verdict.

Jon Medland, 22, had been taking Roaccutane for mild acne for just three-and-a-half weeks when he killed himself in Devon in 2004.

An inquest into his death found he had killed himself, but his family called for a worldwide inquiry into the drug.


SEE ALSO:
Family blame acne drug for death
20 Sep 05 |  Merseyside
Laser treatment for skin problems
21 Apr 04 |  Wiltshire
Student's suicide over acne
07 Jan 04 |  Lancashire


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