Annabel Wright: Acne drug link to North Yorkshire teen's suicide ruled out

Annabel Wright
15-year-old Annabel Wright Credit: Family photo

The death of a North Yorkshire teen has been pronounced an accident as coroners ruled out a direct link between the suicide of 15-year-old Annabel Wright and a drug prescribed to treat her acne.

Annabel Wright was found dead in her bedroom by her family at her home near Ripon, North Yorkshire, in May 2019. This was six months after she was prescribed the drug Isotretinoin.

Coroner, Jonathan Leach, said evidence from experts revealed no "settled and agreed view" of any link between the drug and self-harm.

Mr Leach reached his conclusion of suicide after hearing the teenager had sent messages expressing her low mood to her friends on Snapchat.

The teenager had said:

Police also recovered a picture that Annabel had drawn of Kermit the Frog hanging from a noose shortly after she was pronounced dead.

Annabel Wright Credit: Family Photo

Annabel had also "scratched" her wrists with a razor in January 2019, not long after she was heard laughing with friends on the phone in her bedroom.

The teenager's parents, however, argue their daughter's death was as a result of the Isotretinoin medication she was prescribed.

They say more could have been done to prevent her death.

Explaining his findings, Mr Leach said: "There is no evidence the balance of Annabel's mind was disturbed and the fact she took her own life does not in itself mean the balance of her mind was disturbed and, if it was, there is no evidence that this was caused or contributed to by Isotretinoin."

Mr Leach concluded by saying the decision to prescribe Isotretinoin was reasonable and the formal consent process was followed.

He went on to say "I do not accept that Annabel and Mrs Wright were not properly advised about the risks of taking Isotretinoin at all and I find the treatment options discussed and recommended were correct and proportionate."

Roche gave this statement to ITV Tyne Tees regarding RoAccutane (isotretinoin):

"We take the safety of all our medicines very seriously. Millions of patients worldwide have taken RoAccutane (isotretinoin), but like most medications, it can have side effects.

That is why we recommend it is prescribed very carefully, with particular consideration regarding any previous history of depression.

It is vital that patients are fully informed as to what to expect when they take it and that they are monitored closely to ensure they get the ongoing care they need.

We will continue to do all we can to support healthcare professionals in making this happen."

Dr Jacqueline Andrews, executive medical director at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, offered her condolences to the family and friends of Annabel Wright saying:

“We wish to offer our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Annabel Wright."

“Following Annabel’s tragic death, the Trust commenced an investigation and our findings were shared with Annabel’s family and HM Coroner. We acknowledge the conclusion of HM Coroner.”