The death toll among Japanese citizens who have taken Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen’s schizophrenia drug Xeplion has climbed to 21, from 17 on April 10, prompting the Japanese health ministry to order the manufacturer to warn patients about its risks. Although a causal link between Xeplion and the deaths has not been established, the health ministry ordered Janssen to revise its package insert, considering the unusually high number of deaths since the drug’s recent release. Discuss →
Doris Iarovici, a psychiatrist from Duke University, asks in the New York Times “Are we using good scientific evidence to make decisions about keeping these young people on antidepressants? Or are we inadvertently teaching future generations to view themselves as too fragile to cope with the adversity that life invariably brings?” (more…)
Concentrations of Prozac as low as 1 microgram per liter (μg/L), a concentration that has been found in many freshwater environments, were found to significantly impact the mating behavior of fathead minnows, specifically nest building and defending. Males were also found to display aggression, isolation, and repetitive behaviors at higher concentrations. Predator avoidance behaviors in males and females were also impacted at 1 μg/L. Feeding was impacted at 10 μg/L and in the highest exposure (100 μg/L), egg production was limited by deaths of females due to significant male aggressive behaviors in the first two weeks of exposure. ”With increased aggression, in the highest level of concentration, female survivorship was only 33% compared to the other exposures that had a survivorship of 77–87.5%. The females that died had visible bruising and tissue damage,” according to c0-author Rebecca Klaper.
Author and clinical psychologist Bruce Levine discusses society’s relationship to drugs, psychiatry’s increasing credibility issue, and the cultural response to incidents of mass violence. Levine writes and speaks widely on how society, culture, politics and psychology intersect. His latest book is “Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite” (2011). He is a regular contributor to Salon, CounterPunch, AlterNet, Truthout, TakePart, Z Magazine, OpEdNews, and the Huffington Post. His articles and interviews have been published in the New York Times, Skeptic, Adbusters, The Ecologist, High Times, and numerous other magazines. Dr. Levine is a member of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, the International Society for Ethical Psychology & Psychiatry, and MindFreedom. This is the latest interview featured on MadInAmerica.com produced by Open Paradigm Project. (more…)
“Looking back, Pam Herrera wishes she had asked more questions and been more forceful with her son’s therapists,” says the Denver Post. “The list of medications her son took ages 4-16 is staggering: multiple antipsychotics, antidepressants and stimulants, sometimes five at a time, each at the maximum dose allowed. He was so medicated, Herrera said, “we disintegrated his ability to learn.” (more…)
The Ohio-based Legal Examiner reviews the history of Johnson & Johnson’s allegedly inappropriate – perhaps criminal – marketing of Risperdal, including pushing the drug for off-label uses in children and the elderly. (more…)
The average rate of female prisoners in Canada’s prison system who receive psychiatric medication has jumped from 42% in 2001 to over 60% today, with some regions prescribing psych meds at a rate of up to 75%, according to a joint investigation by the Canadian Press and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Former prisoners and their advocates have been complaining for years about the overmedication of inmates, with Seroquel – a powerful antipsychotic — routinely being prescribed to female prisoners as a sleeping aid. Discuss →
Research on 966 mother-child pairs from the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study finds that prenatal SSRI exposure was nearly 3 times as likely in children with autism spectrum disorder. Exposure was more than 3 times as likely among boys with development delay, and nearly five times as likely when the exposure was in the third trimester. Results appeared yesterday in Pediatrics.
According to a report prepared by Colorado University and released to the Denver Post, half of the children on government insurance in Colorado who are prescribed antipsychotics do not have a diagnosed psychotic illness listed on their Medicaid claims. ”Few studies have examined side effects on children, and that the drugs have been linked to weight gain, diabetes and growth of breasts in boys,” the article states. “Foster parents and therapists say heavily medicated children are detached from reality — as though ‘walking in a cloud.’ They also contend that the use of the drugs has been fueled by pharmaceutical firms pursuing big profits with the help of willing doctors.”
The Denver Post writes “Colorado officials have known since at least 2007 that prescriptions and dosage levels of psychotropic drugs — which also include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, stimulants and anti-anxiety medications — were rising sharply among children on Medicaid, a group that includes foster kids. But Colorado’s response has taken years, even as other states took aggressive steps to reduce usage levels.” (more…)
Seeking to rectify the fact that “no meta-analysis has included measures of quality of life, global mental health, self-esteem, or autonomy” (or self-reports of depressive symptoms) in studies of depressed youth, a study in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics finds that when these parameters are included “antidepressants offer little to no benefit in improving overall well-being among depressed children and adolescents.” Discuss →
A very gifted and compassionate friend recently said that she feels enslaved to Abilify – that she has tried to taper off it several times but always ends up slipping into an extreme state, no matter how slow she tapers. She said this repeated experience makes her feel like a slave, because she has to go back on the drug to stop the very intense extreme state induced whenever she tries to stop taking it. I have another friend who for years felt painfully anguished until he found his way free of heroin. He stopped using, went through withdrawal and was finally free. Most people who try withdrawing from antipsychotics face professional caregivers who discourage them from doing it. On the other hand, when people detox from heroin, everyone encourages them to go through it, no matter how extreme their behavior or how much pain they go through. Full Article →
“Some powerful figures in mental health,” according to today’s New York Times, “are claiming to have identified a new disorder that could vastly expand the ranks of young children treated for attention problems.” Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) – characterized by lethargy, daydreaming, and slow mental processing – was the subject of 131 pages in the January issue of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. The lead paper claims that the question of the disorder’s existence “seems to be laid to rest as of this issue,” with other papers claiming “exciting findings” of pharmaceutical treatment for the disorder. Eli Lilly promises to study the disorder as part of its mission to “help satisfy unmet medical needs around the world.” Discuss →
A first-of-its-kind hearing in Texas will determine how future court cases linking SSRIs with congenital malformation will be handled. Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft, is arguing that birth defects cannot occur as a direct result of a mother’s Zoloft use during pregnancy. (more…)
The Japanese unit of Johnson & Johnson affiliate Janssen Pharmaceuticals reports that 17 people have died since the launch of its new antipsychotic, Xeplion, on November 19. Though it is not known whether the drug caused the deaths, which occurred up to 40 days after injections of the drugs, the drug maker advised doctors to “fully understand that the substance remains in the body for at least four months after being injected’ and to stay alert for any side-effects. Discuss →
Saying that the Arkansas supreme court had departed from 170 years of precedent by deciding in favor of Johnson & Johnson on grounds not raised in any of the case filings, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is asking the court to reconsider its decision to toss out a $1.2 billion judgment over the marketing of the antipsychotic Risperdal. Discuss →
Research in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology finds that “Over the last two decades, the increased use of atypical antipsychotic medications, often for unlabeled indications including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has been profound.” Children diagnosed with ADHD in foster care, in particular, were three times more likely to to be prescribed antipsychotics in the absence of a comorbid psychiatric diagnoses than other Medicaid-eligible children, with nearly one third of ADHD-diagnosed foster care youth receiving the drugs. Discuss →
Antidepressants may be effective over the short term, but research is showing that treatment resistant depression has risen dramatically in the past 30 years; evidence that the drugs may be inducing chronic depression. Full Article →
From Wednesday’s Brown Daily Herald: “Two weeks ago, Edmund Levin and George Stewart, members of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, sent a letter to the editor of the Academy’s journal, requesting an explanation as to why a controversial study led by former Brown Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Martin Keller has not been retracted.” (more…)
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced yesterday he will ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to toss out the $q.2 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson over its marketing of Risperdal. The court sided with J&J last month in deciding that Arkansas had misapplied its Medicaid fraud law in claiming that J&J’s failure to communicate the drug’s risks, and its off-label marketing of the drug, constitute fraud. McDaniel is asking for an analysis of the law by the Arkansas Code Revisions Commission, saying “It’s obviously of great concern to us and it’s of great concern to the Legislature and to the code revision commission that the Supreme Court has taken this unprecedented approach to analyzing the case.” Discuss →
Specialist Ivan Lopez, who is accused of killing three people and wounding 16 others at Ford Hood army base yesterday, had been examined by a psychiatrist within the past month and was in treatment for depression and PTSD. Lopez had been prescribed Ambien and was taking other medications to treat anxiety and depression, according to articles in the New York Times, USA Today, ABC News, CNN, and the Washington Post. Discuss →
The Daily Beast dives into the debate over SeaWorld’s use of benzoiazepines to stop their killer whales from “acting aggressively toward each other in the stressful, frustrating conditions in which they’re confined.” SeaWorld has faced widespread criticism for the treatment of its whales, as well as for an incident in which a whale that killed three trainers.