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‘Our happy-go-lucky Luke changed after taking acne drug’, Colchester family say after son’s suicide

PUBLISHED: 19:26 05 May 2017 | UPDATED: 22:00 05 May 2017

Luke Reeves

Luke Reeves

Archant

The parents of a “bright and ambitious” 21-year-old left heartbroken by his death are calling for answers after claiming their once happy-go-lucky son changed after taking a prescribed acne drug.

Teachers in blue take on pupils in white at The Stanway School in a football match to remember Luke Reeves with Colchester United's Sammy Szmodics in the centre in the red cap. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD Teachers in blue take on pupils in white at The Stanway School in a football match to remember Luke Reeves with Colchester United's Sammy Szmodics in the centre in the red cap. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Former Stanway School pupil Luke Reeves, from Colchester, died last month. It is believed he took his own life.

He had taken a course of Roaccutane – a commonly used drug to treat acne – when he was 16. Luke’s parents Robert and Becky, who live in Copford, claim their son’s character changed after he began taking the drug.

They say the 21-year-old’s personality went from ambitious and happy-go-lucky as a teenager to irrational and fearful after taking the drug.

Supported by daughter Megan, 19, and son Justin, 16, the pair are speaking out to warn others of the drug’s potential side effects

A big crowd attended to watch the match. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD A big crowd attended to watch the match. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Paying tribute to his son, who worked at Rapid Electronics, Robert said: “He was just lovely. Even after taking the drug he was so loyal to his friends and enjoyed music – he liked going to concerts.

“Luke was sweet and kind, he had a larger than life personality which you would see come out occasionally as he got older – but we do believe Roaccutane suppressed that in a way.

He added: “We feel like we deserve some answers because he did change after taking the drug.”

Representatives for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the organisation has kept the safety of Roaccutane (isotretinoin) under close review.

Players clash during the memorial game. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD Players clash during the memorial game. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

They said the prescribing of it has always been restricted.

A spokesman added: “We are aware of the tragic death of Luke and our thoughts are with his family. The possible risks of neuropsychiatric disorders with isotretinoin are being evaluated as part of a European review of this class of medicines.”

Luke’s friends and former teachers, who Robert said his son made a “lasting impression” on, hosted a special football match in his memory yesterday.

Colchester United player Sammi Szmodics, who went to school with Luke, helped to organise the match. He said: “It will be really nice to remember Luke in this way. We were good mates at school and I’m glad we’ve been able to do something like this for him.”

A full inquest into Luke’s death is due to take place soon.

Click here to donate to a fundraising page set up for the 21-year-old.

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