Family of teen who committed suicide blames flu medication

(WSVN) - The family of a teenager in Indiana say they believe a medicine prescribed to him for the flu led to his suicide.

Charlie Harp, 16, had been doing well in his classes, and was excited about getting chosen for his school’s wrestling team, his relatives told Fox 59. There was no indication that he wanted to end his life, and the family says they believe his suicide was the result of severe side effects from a prescription.

“He’s an amazing child full of life, happy all the time; you just never see him without a smile on his face,” said Jackie Ray, Charlie’s aunt and guardian.

When Harp was diagnosed with the flu last Thursday, he was prescribed Tamiflu. Ray said he began taking it right away. But less than a day later, she texted him and became worried when he didn’t respond.

“I knew something was wrong. My husband came home and found him in the house,” she said.

Ray’s husband Brad found Harp’s body in the garage. He said they wondered what had suddenly changed about the boy’s usually-upbeat demeanor that would drive him to suicide.

“He’s been the same, what did we do differently?” Brad Ray recalled. “And it clicked, he just started new medicine.”

The couple told Fox 59 the teen never exhibited any signs of depression before, and had never talked about suicide. The only change, they said, was that he had started taking Tamiflu.

The warning label on the medication says pediatric patients may be at an increased risk of “confusion or abnormal behavior.”

When asked for a comment on Harp’s suicide, the makers of Tamiflu said they could not comment on a specific case, but released a statement, saying, “Neuropsychiatric events have been reported during the administration of Tamiflu in patients with influenza, especially in children and adolescents.”

The manufacturer says they take all reports seriously and will conduct a thorough investigation, but stated there is no data that suggests a link between antiviral treatment and suicidal thoughts or actions.

Harp’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover his funeral expenses.

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