QUEENSBURY -- The mother of a local suicide victim has taken the offensive against prescription drugs with potentially harmful side effects, and her work is getting statewide attention.
Kate Miller’s son, Cody, took his life in 2007 — 17 days after beginning a regiment of Singulair to treat seasonal allergies. Cody was an underclassman at Queensbury High School.
Since her son’s death, Miller has tried to improve how the potential side effects of prescriptions drugs are reported. She has made regular trips to Washington, D.C., and in 2009 was rewarded when the Food and Drug Administration required Singulair’s maker, Merck, to post warnings of the drug’s potential psychological effects, including depression, anxiety and suicide.
Miller’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed in Albany.
Last week, she the regional winner of the state’s Woman of Distinction honor, given this year to 55 women from New York state who have had a lasting effect on society.
"I will remember this night always," Miller said.
She was nominated for the award by state Sen Betty Little, R-Queensbury. Little has joined Miller on several of her trips.
"Her effort to require the critically important notification warning others to the serious side effects will prevent future tragedies," Little said following the award ceremony at the state Capitol.
While the drug manufacturer must now report Singulair’s potential side effects, Miller isn’t done yet. She’s lobbying Washington for the drug to bear the "black label," one of the FDA’s most serious warnings.
Miller said that shortly after beginning taking Singulair, Cody began displaying irregular behaviors and told her he didn’t feel like himself.
At the local level, Miller and her husband, Dave, created the annual "Climb for Cody" fundraising walk. Earlier this month, the event raised more than $13,000 for local suicide awareness and outreach programming.