The FDA recently approved lisdexamfetamine (LDF) for the treatment of the newly minted DSM-5 diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder. This caused me some consternation and this blog will be as much about my reaction to this news as to the news itself.
This is the first of a series of excerpts from Cracked Open, a book whose unintentional beginning came after I became addicted to Ativan in 2010. After a year of following my doctor’s orders for daily use to treat insomnia, my body began to fall apart. My story is much like the stories I’ve read on MIA.
Common scientific beliefs about serotonin levels in depression and how antidepressants act on the brain appear to be completely backwards, according to a paper from Canadian and American researchers in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. More →
There are no proven treatments of any kind for children or adolescents experiencing psychosis or schizophrenia, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized comparison trials published in PLOS One. More →
In the first systematic review of withdrawal problems that patients experience when trying to get off SSRI antidepressant medications, a team of American and Italian researchers found that withdrawing from SSRIs was in many ways comparable to trying to quit addictive benzodiazepine sedatives and barbiturates. Publishing in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, they also found that withdrawal symptoms can last months or even years, and entirely new, persistent psychiatric disorders can emerge from discontinuing SSRIs. More →
A review and commentary in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics suggests that medical marijuana could be more risky to the brain than helpful for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. And a post on Parents Opposed to Pot discusses links between heavy marijuana use and the development of psychiatric disorders. More →
A six-year program run by the NHS Foundation Trust aimed at reducing high rates of inappropriate polypharmacy and overprescribing by physicians and psychiatrists to mental health patients in UK inner cities was successful, according to a study in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. More →
People who take antipsychotic medications experience a wide range of side effects, many of which have "major disruptive impact on their lives," according to research in the Journal of Mental Health Nursing. The most common complaint was of a "zombie-like" sedation. More →
Doctors who intentionally or unintentionally communicate to patients that they do not believe or understand them could be causing patients' symptoms to worsen, suggests an article in the American Journal of Medicine. More →
Back in 2006, when my son Franklin was in his late twenties and living in a group home in the Boston area, he refused to take Clozaril any more because of the required bi-weekly blood draws. His doctor prescribed Zyprexa as a substitute, and Frank suddenly began to gain weight … a lot of weight. Later, I would learn that UCLA psychiatrist Dr. William Wirshing had said of Zyprexa prior to its 1996 approval by the FDA: “It is just un-stinkin’-believable. It is the best drug for gaining weight I’ve ever seen.” The doctor indicated that taking ten milligrams of the medication was equivalent to ingesting 1,500 extra calories per day. My outrage knew no bounds.
The US Food and Drug Administration has expanded the approved uses of the ADHD drug Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) to treat "binge-eating disorder" in adults. "The drug is the first FDA-approved medication to treat this condition," stated an FDA press release. More →
ProPublica has provided an update on their investigation of Dr. Michael Reinstein. "A former Chicago psychiatrist who was the nation's top prescriber of the most powerful and riskiest antipsychotic drug intends to plead guilty to a federal felony charge of taking kickbacks from its manufacturer in exchange for prescriptions," stated ProPublica. More →
It’s been five years today since I completed a six year withdrawal process from a large cocktail of psychiatric drugs. Today is also my 50th birthday which, frankly, seems much more remarkable to me at this point. Inside I am only aware of eternal youth. Upon having done an informal and small survey, it seems most people feel that way though it’s not talked about much among the adults of our species. That which watches and experiences our lives in these bodies does not age. It’s actually a wonderful thing. So I’m here wondering what comes next in this amazing trajectory which is the life being lived in this body that my parents called Monica.
Millions of patients find themselves caught in the web of psychiatric sorcery – a spell cast, hexed, potentially for life. They are told that they have chemical imbalances. They are told that the most important thing they can do for themselves is to “take their medication,” and that they will have to do so “for life.” Most egregiously, patients are sold the belief that medication is treating their disease rather than inducing a drug effect no different than alcohol or cocaine. That antidepressants and antipsychotics, for example, have effects like sedation or blunting of affect, is not a question. That these effects are reversible after long-term exposure is.
When I was researching Anatomy of an Epidemic and sought to track the number of people receiving a disability payment between 1987 and 2007 due to “mental illness,” I was frustrated by the lack of diagnostic clarity in the data. The Social Security Administration would list, in its annual reports on the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs, the number of people receiving payment for “mental disorders,” which in turn was broken down into just two subcategories: “retardation,” and “other mental disorders.” Unfortunately, the “other mental disorders,” which was the category for those with psychiatric disorders, was not broken down into its diagnostic parts.
An ex-chief of the US Food and Drug Administration has testified in a Philadelphia lawsuit that Johnson & Johnson knew as early as 2001 that its popular antipsychotic medication Risperdal (risperidone) would "probably or very likely" cause as many as 3.8% of boys who took it to grow breasts, reported FiercePharma. More →
Greater cumulative doses of antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants and other drugs that are anticholinergic or block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine are associated with significant increases in dementia and Alzheimer's, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. More →
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that elderly people taking antipsychotics are significantly more likely to experience falls and fractures, and a second study found that the frequency of falls in the elderly are increasing in the US. A third study published in General Hospital Psychiatry found that people with schizophrenia are more likely to experience falls and fractures -- and the researchers noted that the scientific literature has "consistently highlighted antipsychotic medication" as an important risk factor for fractures. More →
The popular Alzheimer's and dementia drug Aricept (donepezil) has been linked to two rare but potentially serious or fatal conditions, according to an alert issued to physicians and the public by Health Canada. The warnings about rhabdomyolysis and neuroleptic malignant syndrome have been added to the drug's label. More →
Food and Drug Administration-approved information and public advertisements frequently mislead the public about the actual neurodegenerative risks from second-generation antipsychotics, according to an article in the American Journal of Public Health. More →
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