ABC New South Wales | Local News |

Story Acne drug may have contributed to teen's depression

Thursday, 28 October 2004

The New South Wales coroner has found a drug prescribed for severe acne may have contributed to the depression suffered by a Sydney teenager who committed suicide.

Vivian Crane was 15 when she committed suicide in June 2000, two years after she was first proscribed the drug Roaccutane for her acne.

The coronial inquest into her death heard she was first taken off the drug when depressive symptoms were noted in February of 2000, but did not receive proper psychiatric treatment until three months later.

Deputy state coroner Dorelle Pinch found Roaccutane may have contributed to Miss Crane's depression and has criticised the way her case was handled by the dermatologist and Hornsby Hospital, where she was taken after threatening to commit suicide.

The teenager's family have welcomed the coroner's findings. Her mother Susan Crane says her daughter changed dramatically after she began taking Roaccutane. "She was a bubbly, full of life, full of fun girl, and she became a shut down, hollowed-out shell of a person," she said.

Ms Pinch has made several recommendations, including that prescribing dermatologists monitor their patients specifically for depressive symptoms, and provide a written referral to a psychiatrist if adverse symptoms are discovered.