Coroner says 'no clear link' between teen deaths and acne drug

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A 16-year-old boy killed himself just two weeks after taking a controversial acne drug that has been linked to depression and suicides.

Jason Spiller, from Honiton, Devon, was found hanging from the rafters of a barn near his home by his father. He had no history of depression but had been taking the drug Roaccutane for severe acne.

Roaccutane has been linked to more than 100 suicides and attempted suicides worldwide, although makers Roche say it is safe. More than 30,000 courses of Roaccutane are prescribed per year in England.

An inquest into the death heard he was prescribed the drug last year after having acne on his face, chest and back for three years.His mother, Jean, told the hearing that her son had appeared fine until one night, when he went outside and did not return for dinner. Her husband found him hanging. Recording a verdict that Jason took his own life by hanging, Exeter and Greater Devon coroner Elizabeth Earland said medical experts had not found a clear relationship between the drug and suicides.

Last year the Health Secretary said extra warnings about the risk of depression had been added to packs of Roaccutane after 22 suicides by those on prescriptions, but insisted there was no correlation.