THE anti-malaria medication taken by plane death Brit Alana Cutland in Madagascar has been dubbed a “suicide drug” that gives people the urge to kill themselves.
The Sun can confirm Alana, 19, was taking Doxycycline – an antibiotic that kills bacteria in the body which is prescribed by a GP.
It is taken orally every 12 hours, with prescriptions normally starting before somebody travels to a country exposed to high-risk of malaria.
An online petition on change.org – dubbed ‘Doxycycline Causes Suicide in Teens! – has more than 7,000 signatures demanding that ‘suicidal urges’ be listed as a side-effect on labelling.
It was created by Tara McCarty – the mum of a 13-year-old Australian child who committed suicide after taking the drug for acne.
Scores of other people have shared their stories about the horror side effects of the drug.
One wrote on the petition: “I took this medication for a few weeks, and the feeling it gave me was truly horrific; it was fear and hopelessness beyond belief.
“I had never considered taking my own life until then. Years later, I am still suffering from the impact it had on me. I don’t blame anyone who takes their life on this drug”.
Another said: “My 16 year old nephew recently tried to commit suicide after only 10 days of taking doxycycline.
“In addition to the assessment of those closest to him, who saw no warning signs of depression or suicide, he has been in psychiatric care and the doctor confirmed that his suicidal thoughts came on suddenly (days before the attempt) and escalated quickly on the morning it happened. The psychiatrist agrees doxycycline could have been a factor.”
Others described doxycycline’s “very damaging side effects” while some urged UK health authorities to act before another Brit takes their life.
Chillingly, in a case similar to tragic Alana’s, one British mum recently wrote: “I am a mother very concerned about my 20 year-old son’s sudden and alarming deterioration in mental health following a course of doxycycline.
“I have warned him never to take this drug again and have been looking for clues as to how exactly doxycycline may be affecting his mind and ways I might be able to help him.
“The information you supplied is very helpful. I just wish this drug came with a mental health warning in the UK.”
Another dubbed Doxycycline a “suicide drug”.
NHS Online lists headaches, feeling sick or being sensitive to light as Doxycycline’s common side-effects.
There is no mention of suicidal thoughts or psychological effects.
Alana’s father Neil, 63, said she “absolutely no history” anxiety or mental health issues before she travelled to the country last month.
She threw herself out of a Cessna light aircraft on July 25 – after seemingly suffering a paranoid mental breakdown that caused psychosis and hallucinations.
Mr Cutland told Madagascan investigators that Alana was taking Doxycycline before she died and originally feared it might have been linked to her deteriorating mental state.
A friend said Alana sounded upset in a final call to her mum, telling her in broken speech moments before take-off: “Me, plane, home.”
Local police told The Sun she had also suffered five “paranoia attacks” while in the country.
Who was Alana Cutland?
Alana Cutland, 19, was a Cambridge University student from Milton Keynes.
The teenager was studying natural sciences at Robinson College and was on an internship on the African island at the time of her death.
Colonel D’y La Paix Ralaivaonary said Ms Cutland had been frustrated and “disappointed” with her research project, and deemed it a failure as soon as she arrived.
On July 25, 2019, Ms Cutland forced open a plane door and leapt 3,500ft to her death.
She fell from the Cessna light aircraft during a flight back from a remote lodge where she was studying a rare species of crabs.
It emerged Alana may have suffered hallucinations due to a reaction to anti-malaria tablets.
Investigators said the student suffered five “paranoia attacks” while on the “failed” research trip which she funded herself.
Alana is understood to have fought off fellow passenger, Brit tourist Ruth Johnson, who had battled for several minutes to try to keep her in the aircraft.
The tiny propeller plane was rocking through the air as Ruth – the only other passenger – and the pilot grappled on to Alana’s leg in a bid to stop her death plunge.
But local cops said the 19-year-old managed to free herself from their “exhausted” grip high above the paradise Indian Ocean island, before falling into the wild savannah below.
What is doxycline?
Doxycycline is an antibiotic used to treat infections such as:
- chest infections
- skin infections
- dental infections
- sexually transmitted infections
The NHS says it can also be used to prevent malaria if you’re travelling abroad.
It comes as capsules, and is available on prescription.
- Doxycycline is also called by the brand name Vibramycin-D
- The medication can affect growing teeth, so it’s not prescribed for children under 12 years old or given to pregnant and breastfeeding women