Children's positive responses to SSRI antidepressant treatments for depression are even less significant than adult responses, and drop to "minimal" after just four weeks, according to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. More →
"Depression can double risk of stroke," reported Time, CNN, NPR and many other news outlets, covering a study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers in the Journal of the American Heart Association. More →
The apparently positive effects of antidepressants on depression are even smaller than previously thought and "fall far short" of clinical significance, according to a new analysis of the trial data published in Contemporary Clinical Trials. The study was conducted by Irving Kirsch, author of The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, and MIA Blogger Joanna Moncrieff. More →
In what a press release described as "a major advance in the field of neuropsychiatry," researchers from Oregon Health & Science University said they believe that they have gained a clearer understanding of precisely how cocaine, amphetamines and related psychostimulant drugs "disrupt the normal functioning of the dopamine transporter in the brain." The study appeared in Nature. More →
A study of 5-year outcomes for people taking either an ordinary oral antipsychotic or a long-acting injection of an antipsychotic found no differences between the two. In both groups, over 80% of the participants discontinued use of the drugs, mainly citing bad side effects and lack of efficacy. More →
Women taking antipsychotic medications have a "much higher" likelihood than other women of experiencing many different types of adverse events during pregnancy, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. However, after the researchers applied a "high dimensional propensity score" (HDPS) algorithm to their data, many of those differences disappeared and news media subsequently reported that antipsychotics are "safe" during pregnancy. More →
Women diagnosed with bipolar or depression did not perform as well on tests measuring the ability to "sustain attention and respond quickly," according to a study in Brain. "Fuzzy thinking episodes" are "real signs" of bipolar and depression, reported Medical Daily. Though it was not mentioned in the abstract, press release or most news articles about the study, most of the women were taking psychotropics. More →
Zolpidem, the active ingredient in common sleep aids like Ambien, Intermezzo and various generics, accounts for more emergency hospital visits than any other psychoactive drug, according to a study by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) published in its QuarterWatch newsletter. And the reason, ISMP found, is widespread improper use patterns. More →
An Australian class action lawsuit about Pfizer Parkinson's drugs that caused severe gambling and sex addictions in 172 people has been settled, but delayed by a judge concerned that the plaintiffs were not fully informed of their rights, reported Financial Review. AboutLawsuits.com reported that the antipsychotic Abilify could become a target for similar lawsuits. More →
About 65% of preschool children who were diagnosed with ADHD and given stimulant drugs were still taking those drugs three and six years later, according to a study in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. About 10% were also being prescribed an antipsychotic. More →
MIA Blogger Peter Gøtzsche and others debate whether psychiatric drugs cause more harm than good in the British Medical Journal, and the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry links to coverage of the topic by a variety of news outlets. More →
Pregnant women taking antidepressant medications, especially during the second trimester, have an increased risk of preeclampsia, a potentially serious or even fatal condition for both mother and child, according to a study by Kaiser Permanente Northern California researchers. More →
The US Food and Drug Administration has requested that the drug manufacturer Otsuka "immediately cease" distributing some of its educational materials for its top-selling antipsychotic Abilify. Otsuka's "pharmacology aid" documents suggest that Abilify helps modulate serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, which the FDA called "misleading." More →
This column is partly a report on the marketing of Abilify, the atypical antipsychotic that has become America’s best-selling drug. It’s also an appeal for advice and feedback from the RxISK and Mad in America communities, and a call for some brainstorming about strategy. The plans laid out by drugmakers Otsuka and Lundbeck for Abilify’s future, and the cooperation they’re getting from leading universities, are alarming enough to me that reporting on them seems inadequate. We need action, although I’m not sure exactly what kind.
Salon looks at old data on depression studies and new data on anxiety disorders, and finds pharmaceutical companies and psychiatric researchers still "aren't telling you the whole truth." More →
Healing mental health issues through correct supplements as well as nutrition is, I believe, the final factor for me in my journey. This is possibly what was missing in my first attempt at coming off, and why my brain and body couldn’t handle the extreme anxiety I felt in December 2013. I am ensuring that as I prepare to taper off the Lexapro in 2015, my brain and body are being supported in every way possible.
Psychiatrists are giving drugs to most people with emotionally unstable personality disorders outside of the best-practice clinical guidelines, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. And an accompanying editorial stated that the reason is because "therapy takes time." More →
A University of Oxford-led randomized controlled study published in The Lancet found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was as effective as antidepressants at preventing relapses in depressed people. The press release for the study noted this also meant that MBCT "isn't any more effective" than maintenance antidepressant treatment in preventing relapses. However, the mindfulness group had to deal with another important confounding factor which the study authors only noted in passing. More →
The pilot who deliberately crashed a Germanwings commercial airplane was questioned by the Federal Aviation Administration and denied a license to fly. The Agency reversed course in 2010, however, when his treating psychiatrist wrote letters of support indicating that the pilot's treatment with antidepressants and psychotherapy was a "complete" success, reported CNN and USA Today. More →
In a well-researched, comprehensive article in today’s Huffington Post Art Levine has brought to the attention of the mainstream media the government’s complicity in the illegal psychiatric drugging of poor children, especially foster children, through Medicaid. The article, Feds Pay for Drug Fraud: 92 Percent of Foster Care, Poor Kids Prescribed Antipsychotics Get Them for Unaccepted Uses is the only mainstream article I know about that has really pressed the federal government over its refusal to enforce Medicaid’s coverage restrictions to “medically accepted indications.”
On The Mental Elf, forensic psychiatrist Andrew Shepherd reviews in detail a recent study and journal editorial on withdrawal effects from coming off antidepressant drugs. More →
The BMJ article on The Marketing of Serotonin has stirred some interest. There are some highly technical comments on the BMJ site but of course the key point behind the piece is the rather obvious fact that twenty-five years ago many people were saying it was all a myth. The extraordinary Michael Leunig nailed it twenty years ago in the sketch above. (Leunig is wonderful across the board and razor sharp on medicine and mental health).
"The latest prescription figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that the UK is in the midst of a psychiatric drug epidemic," reports the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry. More →
A recent article on the website i09 titled, ‘The Most popular Antidepressants are Based on an Outdated Theory” has again raised the issue of Chemical Imbalances. It is interesting that the author of the i09 piece cites Dr. Peter Kramer and states, “Some psychiatrists vehemently disagree with the way journalists and other psychiatrists have pushed back against the chemical imbalance theory….” In both cases he cited what he considered the best evidence in support of the theory, but he did not discuss the research in any depth. Back in 2008, we took an in-depth look at the evidence that Dr. Kramer used to support the chemical imbalance theory. When one takes a closer look at that research we do not think it supports the theory. For this reason, we are reposting our 2008 essay about this.
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