The Dark Side of a Pill


A journey into the dark side of a pill that conquered the world: the antidepressant


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The Dark Side of a Pill

The Dark Side of a Pill

The Dark Side of a Pill is an exclusive, case driven investigation into the one of the medical success stories of our time. Every 10th grown up in the Western world is on antidepressants. With global sales of app. 20 billion $, the prescription drug is one of the most lucrative products of the medical industry. But the wonder drug has a dark side.

In the US, David had never had a record of violence nor problems with the police, until suddenly he committed a terrible crime just days after taking antidepressants: he stabbed and killed his twin daughters. In Canada, a grieving mother is distraught that her son’s killer was released from prison after a short 14-month sentence. The judge ruled that Prozac was to blame for her son’s death. In Germany a wife and loving mother committed suicide, just weeks after taking Prozac. Her husband is convinced that there a link between suicide and antidepressants. Is he right?

Antidepressants are sold as a strong tool to create peace and tranquility in the mind of a troubled brain. But is it possible that the same pill can send someone to the darkest regions of the soul?

In Holland an extraordinary court case could change the way that Europe sees antidepressants. The trial is considering the possibility that a murderer be acquitted for his crime because he was involuntary intoxicated by antidepressants. Could there actually be a connection between antidepressants and violence? Is it possible that this connection has long been known ? even before the pills were approved?

This is not at film that is for or against antidepressants. It is about informed consent – about openly acknowledging the real problems with medicating 10 – 15% of the population with a drug that changes the chemistry of the brain with an effect that at times can be extremely powerful.

Director Poul-Erik Heilbuth
Producer Ole Hjortdal
Produced by DR in co-production with NDR and in ass. with YLE, UR, ERT, Yes/DBS & HRT
Duration 58 min.
Year of Production 2013
Original Title The Dark Side of a Pill