Cop Who Went on Violent Rampage Said Antibiotic Made Him Psychotic

Pic: Yikrazuul (PD)

Pic: Yikrazuul (PD)

This is the first I’ve ever heard of it, but apparently clarithromycin, an antibiotic sold under the brand name Biaxin can cause psychosis, agitation, mania and delirium in about 3% of patients. Maybe Officer Colas has a case.


A Virginia Beach police officer who was jailed for three months after stabbing two Accomack County firefighters and shooting at a third says there should have been warning labels on an antibiotic that briefly turned him psychotic.

A lawyer for Officer Bradley Colas recently filed a federal lawsuit seeking more than $75,000 from Abbvie, Inc. and Abbot Laboratories. The suit contents the drug maker knew that, in some cases, its popular antibiotic Biaxin has triggered psychotic episodes. But the lawyer says there were no warnings on the prescription.

In March, 2012, Colas started taking Biaxin for bronchitis. The lawsuit says after a few doses, Colas began to believe he was a prophet with special religious powers. The suit says his doctor and pharmacist told him to keep taking the pills because they’d never heard of any problems with the drug.

Eventually, Colas convinced himself he had to meet Jesus in Philadelphia and rescue a former girlfriend. He also believed the number four had some evil significance.

14 Comments on "Cop Who Went on Violent Rampage Said Antibiotic Made Him Psychotic"

  1. Thurlow Weed | Mar 13, 2014 at 5:19 pm |

    $75 thousand in damages is chump change. You ask for $7.5 million if a prescription drug made you do all of that.

    • Calypso_1 | Mar 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm |

      Not at all. It’s a known side effect. It’s listed in the data with %’s (which is < 1% and not statistically significant) in info provided w/drug. That's full disclosure. Here's what the manufacture says:

      "Psychiatric DisordersPsychotic disorder, confusional state, depersonalization, depression, disorientation, manic behavior, hallucination, abnormal behavior, abnormal dreams. These disorders usually resolve upon discontinuation of the drug."

      • Exactly. List every side effect known to man to reduce your liability and thus ensure no one knows the “real” side effects. It’s like a morbid “Where’s Waldo?”
        From Biaxin’s PI sheet (which doesn’t estimate the frequency of psychosis):

        fever or chills
        lower back or side pain
        painful or difficult urination
        Abdominal or stomach tenderness
        fever with or without chills
        nausea and vomiting
        severe abdominal or stomach cramps and pain
        shortness of breath
        skin rash and itching
        unusual bleeding or bruising
        watery and severe diarrhea, which may also be bloody
        yellow eyes or skin
        Abdominal or stomach pain
        black, tarry stools
        blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
        blurred vision
        chest pain or discomfort
        clay-colored stools
        confusion about identity, place, and time
        cool, pale skin
        dark urine
        difficulty with swallowing
        fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
        feeling of unreality
        feeling that others are watching you or controlling your behavior
        feeling that others can hear your thoughts
        feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there
        increased hunger
        irregular heartbeat
        joint or muscle pain
        light-colored stools
        loss of appetite
        puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
        recurrent fainting
        red skin lesions, often with a purple center
        red, irritated eyes
        redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
        sense of detachment from self or body
        severe mood or mental changes
        slow heartbeat
        slurred speech
        sore throat
        sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
        sudden death
        swollen glands
        tightness in the chest
        unpleasant breath odor
        unusual behavior
        unusual tiredness or weakness
        vomiting of blood
        Acid or sour stomach
        bloated or full feeling
        change in sensation of taste
        diarrhea (mild)
        excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
        passing gas
        stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
        Alterations of sense of smell
        continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
        feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
        hearing loss
        mental depression
        mood or mental changes
        sensation of spinning
        shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
        skin eruptions
        sore mouth or tongue
        swelling or inflammation of the mouth
        taste loss
        tongue discoloration
        tooth discoloration
        trouble sleeping
        unable to sleep
        weight loss

        • Woobniggurath | Mar 15, 2014 at 12:48 am |

          Yeah you right. And my employer mandates that I “fully discuss drug side effects with patients when administering new medications.” I’m laughing inside.

      • Woobniggurath | Mar 15, 2014 at 12:50 am |

        Disclosure of that sort doesn’t really stand in the way of a really determined lawyer getting a settlement.

        • Thank god we had insurance that paid for his psych admit and then a week in the hospital and tutors and didn’t have to try to sue anyone for medical expenses.

    • BuzzCoastin | Mar 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm |

      he’s still trippin and
      his lawyer works for the drug company

      • It happened to my son and, luckily, it wasn’t permanent as in some cases. It is incredibly scary and leaves the patient and the people around them freaked out. He had to be hospitalized for over a week. With different parents and doctors he might have been arrested, the police let the ambulance take him, thank god. Before you pooh-pooh something, think a second, you might be wrong — it’s real and it’s called antibiomania (it happens with penicillin, as well) and it’s horribly real and they still don’t warn you about it.


  2. BuzzCoastin | Mar 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm |

    Colas convinced himself he had to meet Jesus in Philadelphia and rescue a former girlfriend. He also believed the number four had some evil significance.

    except for the violence & jail time
    I had that trip once
    I think it was the brown osley

  3. So what’s the actual claimed connection between being a “prophet with special powers” and stabbing two firemen and shooting a third?

    • Matt Staggs | Mar 14, 2014 at 3:16 pm |

      About 2,000 years and a lot of lamb’s blood?

      • Oh that’s right, there was that bit in the old testament about “Thou shalt not suffer a fireman to live”.

        Or are you implanting false memories in my head again? 😉

  4. Jesus is in Philly? Who knew?

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