A recent review, published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, challenges the dominant assumptions about the neurochemical and therapeutic effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), one of the most commonly prescribed classes of antidepressant medication.
A new study, about to be published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, investigates the role a stressful environment plays in antidepressant effectiveness. The results of this study, conducted on mice to examine brain inflammation, indicate that SSRIs such as fluoxetine (Prozac) may only be effective for those who live relatively unstressed lives. Indeed, those with stressful lives may actually find their symptoms worsened by the use of such antidepressant medications.
Jürgen Margraf and Silvia Schneider, both well-known psychologists at the University of Bochum in Germany, claim that psychotropic drugs are no solution to mental health issues in an editorial for the latest issue of the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. They argue that the effects of psychiatric drugs for depression, anxiety, and ‘ADHD’ are short-lived and may have negative long-term consequences.
A team in the Netherlands is currently investigating the effects of tapering off of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy. In this randomized controlled trial, one group of women will be guided in tapering off of SSRIs (STOP condition) while also receiving psychological support in the form of online preventive cognitive therapy (PCT). The other group will serve as the control group (GO condition) and will continue taking the SSRI as usual. The study is designed to compare the rates of relapse or recurrence of depression in both groups.
A new paper, published in the British Medical Journal, explains how the pharmaceutical industry has publicly denounced ghostwriting while still finding ways to engage in the practice. The author, Alastair Matheson, who worked as a consultant in pharmaceutical marketing and medical communications for 18 years, argues that the focus on ghostwriting has obscured the many other practices used to turn medical publications into marketing tools for industry, and describes medicine’s complicity in this process.
Primary care clinicians and mental health providers face a particular set of challenges when treating individuals with chronic pain. These problems are compounded by concerns regarding medication efficacy and misuse, as well as a feeling among clinicians that they lack appropriate training. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain was published in March with the goal of improving communication “between providers and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain…” The authors conclude the report with twelve recommendations, the first being to avoid using opioid therapy as the first line of treatment for chronic pain, as well as discussing the risks of long-term opioid therapy.
A new analysis of FDA data, published on September 10th by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today, reveals the dangers of the common prescription of stimulant drugs for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The authors, John Fauber, Matt Wynn, and Kristina Fiore, found 19,000 complications from ADHD medications that were reported to the FDA—and they believe the actual number may be much higher than the reports indicate.
A new analysis published in the The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry investigates the public health effects of direct-to-consumer advertisements for psychiatric drugs. The researchers from Brown University systematically examined existing studies on the consequences of these ads on prescription rates and quality of treatments. They found that, although there have been limited studies addressing this issue, doctors appear more likely to prescribe when ads are referenced by patients and that this contributes to the over-prescription of psychiatric drugs.
This week an FDA advisory panel decided to remove warnings of serious psychiatric side effects from the Chantix product label. “In making its recommendation, a US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel reviewed the results of a study that was released earlier this year and found that Chantix does not appear to increase the risk of suicidal behavior,” Ed Silverman reports for STAT. “An FDA medical review team had cast doubt on the study due to problems with collecting and analyzing side effect data as well as ties some investigators had to Pfizer.”
The time has come that the fictitious ADHD qualifies for my ‘Enough is Enough’ series. It’s time to stop addressing pharmaceutical psychiatry on its own terms: its fraudulent and corrupt ‘science,’ its spurious ‘evidence base,’ and its imaginary psychiatric ‘diseases.’ I’m done with this. The evidence is in. Let’s get real. Psychiatry has become a profession of drug pushers. As a psychiatrist I am beyond troubled. Let’s get real.
Pfizer is petitioning the FDA to remove the black box warning for Chantix which focuses on neuropsychiatric side-effects like suicidality and depression. The regulators have pushed back, however, arguing that Pfizer’s studies are potentially biased and did not adequately capture adverse events.
An investigative report finds that the over-prescription of ADHD drugs is causing “a trail of misuse, addiction, and death.” “At morgues in Florida, a bellwether state for drug abuse problems, overdose deaths involving amphetamines increased more than 450% between 2008 and 2014,” for example.
The August issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics published a review conducted by André F. Carvalho and colleagues regarding the literature around the long-term use of newer generation antidepressant drugs (ADs) and their side effects. Their investigation, which focused on data obtained from populations diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), found that there were a number of safety issues and potentially serious adverse events, which occurred as a consequence of using ADs.
A new review, published in Schizophrenia Bulletin, examines the effects of exercise on cognition in individuals diagnosed with 'schizophrenia.' The results of the meta-analysis provide evidence that physical activity is related to better cognitive functioning.
In a recently published commentary in Psychiatric Times, Ronald Pies and Joseph Pierre made this assertion: Only clinicians, with an expertise in assessing the research literature, should be weighing in on the topic of the efficacy of psychiatric drugs. They wrote their commentary shortly after I had published on madinamerica “The Case Against Antipsychotics,” and it was clear they had me in their crosshairs.
A change.org petition out of the United Kingdom is addressing the extreme difficulty faced by people who attempt to taper off of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. The petition calls on the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to require pharmaceutical companies to produce “drug tapering kits” designed to help patients reduce their medications over time. “As it is now, many people who want to stop have no option but to reduce to the lowest possible dosage then ‘jump off’ which can be extremely challenging,” the petition reads. “Some users simply carry on taking a drug beyond the point at which it was effective and useful to avoid the challenge of stopping.”
The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is moving to place Kratom, a southeast Asian plant often used in teas, on the schedule 1 banned substances list without public comment. There have been several reports of individuals using Kratom teas to successfully recover from addictions to prescription opioids and heroin.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday mandated updated labels for nearly 400 opioids and benzodiazepines, following a review of scientific evidence and a citizen petition arguing that combining opioids and benzos increase the risk of addiction and death.
STAT’s watchdogs, Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, explain why unpublished studies for drug makers and researchers “put young patients at risk, particularly if those data reveal dangerous side effects or other adverse events from taking medications.”
In this month’s issue of the journal Brain a new study investigates whether the drugs prescribed to control seizures can increase the risk of psychotic symptoms in some people. After reviewing over ten years of medical records of patients treated for epilepsy, the researchers concluded that up to one in seven cases of patients with epilepsy who were later diagnosed with psychosis could be attributed to an adverse effect of the anti-epileptic drugs.
A new study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry, investigates the effect of stimulant ‘ADHD’ drugs on the brains of children and young adults. The results of the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the ‘gold standard’ for evidence in academic medicine, indicate that methylphenidate (Ritalin) has a distinct effect on children that may lead to lasting neurological changes.
It is the deadly cocktail of benzodiazepines and opiates that is most responsible for the rising rate of opiate overdose deaths… and benzos may actually be THE decisive deadly component in the lethal drug combination. Yes, fentanyl and propofol can be dangerous drugs, but to focus the main attention in this crisis on these rarely used drugs is deliberately misleading…This minimizes the critical role of benzos and rather conveniently lets certain institutions and their leaders off the hook as the main suspects in such a vast number of cases that should be labeled as crimes of negligent homicide.
STAT’s Rob Waters profiles Vera Sharav, a holocaust survivor whose son was diagnosed with schizophrenia and died from a side effect of his antipsychotic medication. “Twenty years ago, there wasn’t much societal awareness of the corruption of academic medicine by pharma money,” said Robert Whitaker, a journalist and author who has written widely about mental health treatment. “Vera Sharav was one of the pioneers in creating awareness of this problem.”
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