Evidence Lacking for Antidepressant Safety in Nursing Mothers

Sertraline and paroxetine may be somewhat safer for the infants of nursing mothers than other SSRI antidepressants, but generally there is far too little information to go on, reported two Italian medical researchers in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. More →

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Antidepressants Seem to Increase Heart Disease in the Elderly

Depressed elderly people are more likely to suffer heart disease not because of their depression, but apparently due to antidepressant medications, according to a study published in Psychological Medicine. More →

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Semen Abnormalities Associated with SSRI Antidepressants

"Several studies have found altered semen parameters after exposure to SSRI antidepressants," stated the French non-profit medical continuing education organization Prescrire in a special report. "Although the role of SSRIs is uncertain, it is justified to take into account the observed effects on sperm quality and to inform exposed patients." More →

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Depression: It’s Not Your Serotonin

What if I told you that, in 6 decades of research, the serotonin (or norepinephrine, or dopamine) theory of depression and anxiety – the claim that “Depression is a serious medical condition that may be due to a chemical imbalance, and Zoloft works to correct this imbalance” – has not achieved scientific credibility? You’d want some supporting arguments for this shocking claim. So, here you go:
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New Form of Mice Experiment Reveals Antidepressant’s Dangers Earlier

Scientists from the University of Utah say they have discovered a new way of doing mice experiments that more sensitively and quickly reveals negative side effects from drugs being tested. In their proof-of-concept, their experiment much more pronouncedly and rapidly revealed the negative effects of the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine) on pregnant mothers and offspring, even at relatively low doses. More →

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The Truth About Antidepressant Research: An Invitation to Dialogue

The Finnish Psychological Association held a meeting in Helsinki on 1 Sept 2014 titled “Mental Health and Medicalization.” I spoke at the meeting and four days later I sent a letter to another speaker, psychiatrist Erkki Isometsä. Professor Isometsä replied: “I will respond to it in detail within a few days…” As “Open Dialogue” is essential in science, I have published my letter to Isometsä here as well as on my own website, although I didn’t succeed in starting a dialogue.
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Enough is Enough Series: An Hallucinogen for Depression? Psychiatry is Testing Ketamine (‘Special K’) for Depression

The article “Special K, a Hallucinogen, Raises Hopes and Concerns as a Treatment for Depression,” by Andrew Pollack in the New York Times, December 9, 2014, tells how far afield my field, psychiatry, has really gone – that it is even a consideration to use an hallucinogen for the treatment of depression.
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Antidepressants and Pregnancy:  Who Says They Are Safe? 

Depression during pregnancy is an important issue. Depression should not be ignored and depressed pregnant women deserve good treatment and care. Part of that good care, though, is providing them with full and correct information. I care for pregnant women taking antidepressants on a daily basis and too often they tell me that the only counseling they received about the medication was, “my doctor told me it’s safe in pregnancy.” This post will review the evidence in this area and address the counterarguments.
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New Antidepressant Shows Little Benefit, Significant Risks

Patient Drug News advises avoiding use of the antidepressant Vortioxetine (also called Brintellix or Trintellix), because the most recent evidence from the FDA shows that the drug has "little benefit" and "significant risks." More →

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Some Antidepressants Worse than Others for Causing Sexual Dysfunction

In a review of the scientific evidence about sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressants, Australian researchers determined that some of the medications are worse than others. More →

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Biological Explanations for Antidepressant Withdrawal

Two South African researchers review scientific understanding of the brain changes that lead to antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (ADS) in Human Psycho-pharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. They then put forth a biological analysis and theory as to why the antidepressant agomelatine seems to cause less severe withdrawal problems. More →

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“The Rise of All-Purpose Antidepressants”

A short article in Scientific American Mind reviews the rapidly expanding array of diverse ailments and conditions for which antidepressant drugs are being prescribed. More →

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Robin Williams On Antidepressant at Time of Suicide

Robin Williams had "therapeutic" levels of the tetra-cyclic antidepressant mirtazapine in his blood at the time of his suicide, according to the coroner's report on his death, posted in its entirety by TMZ. More →

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Suicide Warnings on Antidepressants Debated in NEJM

In the New England Journal of Medicine, Richard Friedman and Marc Stone present very different arguments about the reliability of the body of research into antidepressants, suicidality, and FDA black box warnings, and what that body of research is truly telling us. More →

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What Do Antidepressants in Drinking Water Do to Birds?

Ever higher levels of pharmaceutical drugs are turning up in drinking water supplies, and an op-ed in the UK Mirror discusses a study that looked at what happened to birds when they were given comparable levels of antidepressants in their water. More →

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FDA Pans Depression Patch For Children and Teens

The FDA released a report in July of a trial on children and adolescents of the selegiline (Emsam) transdermal patch for treatment of depression, but few pharmacists and doctors know about it because it was not published, according to Patient Drug News. The FDA report declared that "the benefits of Emsam in this population have not been adequately demonstrated." Patient Drug News has provided an analysis and commentary about the report. More →

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Letter to a Patient

Through my years in the medical system, I have learned that depression (or whatever tentative variants and labels have been offered therein) won’t disappear with pills. Nor it is something I can just will away by inflicting pain upon myself and saying ‘never again’ with every bout. Although I loathe the inevitable ups and downs of recovery, I am starting to recognize that they are simply a fact – and that progress IS being made. Living beyond medication, I have learned that even the worst days will end, I can still hope for the sun where there seems only cloud, and that every given moment is a chance to move on and keep going.
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Major Risks from Drug Interactions in Common Psychiatric Polypharmacy

It is very common for psychiatric patients, especially those diagnosed with schizophrenia, to be prescribed two or more psychiatric medications at once, and this confers significant health risks from rarely studied drug interactions, according to Turkish University School of Medicine researchers publishing in the Bulletin of Clinical Psychopharmacology. The researchers stated that theirs was the first such study to look specifically at the dangers of psychiatric drug interactions "in real life conditions." More →

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Therapy More Effective than Medications for Anxiety — Placebos Also Effective

One-on-one Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is better than psychiatric medications or other common psychotherapeutic interventions for severe anxiety disorders in adults, according to a large meta-analysis of the scientific literature published in The Lancet Psychiatry. Various types of placebo treatments were also found to be effective. More →

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Sunday History Channel: Retro Report on Prozac

The New York Times has released Retro Report's ten-minute documentary video and essay looking at the birth and rise to fame of the SSRI antidepressant Prozac, and the growing backlash against this "marvel of commercial branding." More →

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Smoking Cessation and Psychiatric Drugs Cause the Most Suicidal and Homicidal Reactions

The popular smoking cessation drug Chantix is the medication that most frequently makes people feel suicidal or homicidal, according to figures gathered by the Institute for Safe Medicine Practices (ISMP) and published in their QuarterWatch. And five of the other top ten medications that most often make people report feeling suicidal or homicidal are common psychiatric medications. More →

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Antidepressants Linked to Doubling of Failure of Dental Implants

People who take SSRI antidepressants are twice as likely to have their dental implants fail, according to McGill University researchers. In a press release, the researchers stated that there were plausible biological explanations for the link, due to the widely-reported negative effects of SSRIs on bones. More →

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Mice Without Serotonin Do Not Display Depression

Mice genetically developed to lack the ability to produce serotonin in their brains did not display any depression-like symptoms or behaviors, according to a study in ACS Chemical Neuroscience. The finding "puts into doubt the long-standing belief that a deficiency in serotonin — a chemical messenger in the brain — plays a central role in depression," stated a press release from the journal. More →

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Unpublished Trials Reveal Antidepressant Provides Little Benefit For Depression or Anxiety

Upon reviewing all of GlaxoSmithKline's data from both published and unpublished trials of the antidepressant paroxetine, researchers found the drug provided almost no benefits over placebo for either depression or anxiety, according to a study in PLOS One. More →

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Use of Psychiatric Services “Skyrocketing” in Turkey

The number of people seeking psychiatric treatment in Turkey rose from 3 million people in 2009 to almost 9.2 million in 2013, according to a Turkish Ministry of Health review reported in the newspaper Sunday's Zaman. The most frequently diagnosed illness is depression, and psychiatrist and professor Özgür Öztürk told Sunday's Zaman that not only are ordinary family doctors prescribing them, but it's also easy to obtain antidepressants in Turkey without a prescription. A pharmacist also spoke anonymously to the newspaper. More →

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