FDA: Antidepressant Trials Have Not Adequately Reported Sexual Dysfunction Side Effects

A group of US Food and Drug Administration scientists held a forum to discuss how to better evaluate side effects of sexual dysfunction associated with antidepressant drugs during clinical trials, and published their report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. More →

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Researcher: Antidepressants Protect Against Brain Shrinkage, Despite Our Findings

People who have long-term, recurrent depression eventually develop smaller hippocampi in their brains, according to research published in Molecular Psychiatry. And University of Sydney psychiatrist Ian Hickie, a co-author of the study, told The Guardian that there exists "a good bit of evidence" that antidepressants provide a neuroprotective effect against such hippocampal shrinkage. Hickie apparently did not clarify to The Guardian, however, that the particular study he'd just co-authored had actually found the exact opposite -- that antidepressants were associated with greater hippocampal shrinkage. More →

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“Just Because It’s Legal, Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe”

Interviews with people who murdered their own loved ones while taking SSRI antidepressants are included in the documentary, "Dark Side of a Pill." More →

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Antidepressants Worsen Rapid Cycling in Bipolar Depression

SSRI antidepressant medications contribute to a significant worsening of emotional "rapid cycling" in patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder, according to a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. The authors described the study as the first-ever randomized clinical trial to test whether the finding from previous observational studies was true, and stated that the study clarified the "lack of safety" of antidepressants for some people with bipolar. More →

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Slew of New Studies Spot Links Between Psychiatric Medications and Bone Loss, Fractures

Four different studies conducted in different ways examining different groups have linked use of certain psychiatric drugs, particularly SSRI antidepressants and antipsychotics but also benzodiazepines, to bone fracture risks and negative impacts on human bone development. More →

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Antidepressant-linked Suicide Data Doctored In Seminal Study

An influential 2007 US National Institute of Mental Health-led study included a statistical manipulation that disguised the fact that youth taking antidepressants were actually over four times as likely to experience suicidal events as those taking placebo, according to a study in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine. This new published analysis has appeared several years after the revelations were first publicly discussed. More →

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Antidepressants During Pregnancy Do Not Appear To Reduce Relapses And Hospitalizations

Continuing to take antidepressants during pregnancy was associated with higher rates of depressive relapses, hospitalizations and self-harming than stopping antidepressants, according to a study in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. More →

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Internal Pfizer Report Warned of Zoloft and Birth Defect Link

"A Pfizer Inc. report shows a scientist warned executives last year about a potential link between the anti-depressant drug Zoloft and birth defects, and recommended changes to the medication’s safety warning," reported Bloomberg. More →

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Antidepressants Kill Over 500,000 People Annually

A new study shows psychiatric drugs kill over half a million Americans and Europeans every year who are over 65. Professor Peter Gøtzsche claims efficacy trials underestimate the harmful effects of antidepressants, which in fact cause up to 15 time …
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“Zap Mama: My Long, Slow, Dizzy Breakup With My Antidepressant”

Salon assistant editor Joanna Rothkopf describes her year of failed efforts to get off the antidepressant Zoloft. More →

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Germanwings Pilot Saw Psychiatrist Three Times, Doubled Antidepressant In Month Before Crash

The man who deliberately crashed a Germanwings commercial airliner with 150 passengers aboard was actively in psychiatric treatment at the time, reported the New York Times. More →

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SSRI Antidepressants Appear to Raise Risk of Serious Respiratory Disease in Newborns

A new study in JAMA has reinforced earlier warnings that taking SSRI antidepressants late in pregnancy appears to put mothers at a slightly increased risk of having newborns with persistent pulmonary hypertension. PPHN is a potentially life-threatening condition. More →

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Violence Induced by Depression, or by Antidepressants?

In The Lancet Psychiatry, David Menkes of the University of Auckland and Andrew Herxheimer of the UK Cochrane Centre argue that a recent headline-making Lancet study linking depression to acts of violence should have examined antidepressant medications -- rather than depression alone -- as possible causes. More →

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Chemicals Have Consequences: Antidepressants, Pregnancy, and the New York Times

Depressed pregnant women need good care.  They should not be made to feel guilty for the choices they make concerning their depression or lectured to by those who don’t understand the area or lack compassion for them.  In that sense, Andrew Solomon does the public a service by turning his attention and writing talents to the topic of depression and pregnancy this week in the New York Times.  However, a crucial part of providing good care to depressed pregnant women is to give them accurate information on the topic.  In this sense, Andrew Solomon falls short.
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Antidepressants Do Work Well — We’ve Simply Been Evaluating Them Incorrectly

The reason that SSRI antidepressants have seemingly not performed better than placebo is because their effects have been measured incorrectly, according to a reanalysis of clinical trial data published in Molecular Psychiatry. A more appropriate way to measure SSRI efficacy, the researchers argued, is to ignore the answers to 16 of the 17 questions about patients' feelings that were typically asked during the drug trials. More →

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Children’s Positive Responses to Antidepressants “Minimal” After Four Weeks

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 →

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Why Would Depression Be Linked to a Doubling of Risk of Stroke?

"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 →

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Reanalysis of Data Shows Antidepressant Impacts on Depression “Not Clinically Significant”

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 →

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Antidepressants Linked to Increased Risk of Preeclampsia in Pregnancy

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 →

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Negative Studies about Antidepressants (Still) Less Likely to Be Published

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 →

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Mindfulness As (In)Effective as Antidepressants at Preventing Relapses?

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 →

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Germanwings Pilot Allowed to Fly Based on Psychiatrist’s Letter

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 →

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More Discussion of Antidepressant Withdrawal Effects

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 →

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Response to “The Marketing of Serotonin” on BMJ

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).
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Consumption of Psychiatric Drugs in UK Continues to Climb

"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 →

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