A Pennsylvania Superior Court has affirmed a lower court’s ruling that GlaxoSmithKline is not responsible for the congenital heart defect that lead Joanne Thomas to abort her child in 2001. Thomas did not learn until studying for her nursing boards in 2007 that Paxil has been associated with such defects. The judge ruled, however, that Thomas could not produce “clear, precise, and convincing evidence” that GSK had concealed the peril. “Because Thomas never alleged any affirmative misrepresentations directed specifically at her,” the court said, “We conclude the trial court properly determined that the fraudulent concealment doctrine did not apply, and that GSK was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.”
Britain’s HealthTalkOnline.org offers videotaped interviews with 36 people in their homes, talking about their decision to take antidepressants and the impact of that decision on their work and lifestyle, “both good and bad, the side effects, the things that went well, the things that went less well, the journeys that some of them had to go on to find the right treatment for them.”
If I had remained med compliant I wouldn’t understand the simple joys of caring about my hygiene and my surroundings. I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time but I’ve not done it and I think it’s because I still have shame around how slovenly I became. I hid it from others fairly well most of the time, but I couldn’t hide it from myself. The fact is the drugs stripped me of some very basic elements of human care. When one doesn’t care about their immediate environment and their bodies, they really just don’t care about themselves. It’s a very painful place to be and yet when it’s caused by drugs it’s all muted and weird and not really who we are at all and so really all that is left is horrible shame. Full Article →
“My studies in this area lead me to a very uncomfortable conclusion: Our citizens would be far better off if we removed all the psychotropic drugs from the market, as doctors are unable to handle them. It is inescapable that their availability creates more harm than good.”
- Peter Gøtzsche, MD; Co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration
Sources for Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Health Care:
The New York Times reports on new research from multiple sources that finds focused attention on insomnia is proving to be a “cheap, relatively brief and usually effective” approach to treating depression. ”If the figures continue to hold up, the advance will be the most significant in the treatment of depression since the introduction of Prozac in 1987.”
A Philadelphia jury yesterday ordered Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen to pay $11 million to the parents of a five-year-old boy for failure to warn doctors of potential birth defects associated with its epilepsy drug Topamax. “Janssen knew about Topamax’s serious risk of causing birth defects years before these mothers were prescribed the drug, but did not advise physicians of those risks,” said the family’s lawyers in a press release. The case is the second of about 134 pending in Philadelphia.
In recent months the English pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has assiduously portrayed itself as an advocate of transparency, and in support of access to clinical trial data. Well, in support of “Responsible Access.” “Responsible” here essentially means that a researcher commits to the primacy of RCTs and statistical significance over an analysis of adverse events. It would not, for example, be responsible to claim that an SSRI causes suicide, a statin muscle damage or cognitive failure, or hypoglycemics cause hypoglycemia unless a trial has shown this to happen to a Statistically Significant extent – and they never do. Full Article →
When I lived in Massachusetts I taught yoga and led writing groups for alternative mental health communities. While the organizations I worked for were alternative, many of the students and participants were heavily drugged with psychiatric pharmaceuticals. There was one skinny teenager I’d never have forgotten who listed the drugs he was on for me once in the yoga room after class: a long list of stimulants, neuroleptics, moods stabilizers; far too many drugs and classes of drugs to remember. I was at the housewarming party of an old friend, and who should walk in but that boy who used to come to my yoga classes and writing groups religiously. And he was no longer a boy; he was now a young man. “I’m thinking yoga teacher,” he said. I nodded. Did he remember where? “I’m not stupid,” he said, as if reading my mind. “I’m not on drugs anymore. I’m not stupid anymore.” Full Article →
The Attorney General of Louisiana has filed suit against Pfizer, Inc. for concealing “serious issues” regarding Zoloft’s efficacy. Citing a “deliberate, systematic practice” of suppressing unfavorable trial results, publishing ghostwritten articles, and paying key opinion leaders, the lawsuit asserts that Louisiana’s medicaid program reimbursed of prescriptions for the drug that were made under false pretenses.
The Guardian and its partners in Europe – Le Monde, El Pais, La Stampa, Gazeta Wyborcza and Suddeutsche Zeitung – are conducting a global survey of peoples’ experiences taking and prescribing antidepressants. The reports will be added to a special report planned for later this year.
Canada’s The Star traces the “chemical imbalance” story’s fall from bedrock scientific principle to marketing device, at the same time that a $70 billion worldwide drug market was built on the theory. “The view among neuroscientists,” says Edward Shorter, a medical historian at the University of Toronto, “is that this emphasis on neurotransmitters as the cause of mental illness is more of a (drug sales) concept than a scientific concept. It helps drug companies sell drugs.”
Antidepressants are still the most consumed class of medication in the U.S., with 270 million prescriptions per year. But sales revenue has gone down, to $9.4 billion, from a 2008 peak of $12 billion. Lower-priced generics now account for 85% of prescriptions, and 40% of the market in terms of revenue, with branded pharmaceutical companies withdrawing from the antidepressant market as their patents expire.
Researchers from McMaster University’s Department of Medicine, presenting at this year’s American Society for Bone and Mineral Research’s annual meeting, found that the magnitude of the effect of SSRIs on the risk of bone fractures is greater than previously thought. ”We do a lot to prevent glucocorticoid fractures, but this study showed that SSRIs seem to have as great an association with fractures as glucocorticoids and in fact have a slightly greater effect,” said the lead author. ”This is important because we have a lot of guidelines advising us on what to do about glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, but we don’t have any on SSRI-induced osteoporosis.”
The recent incident in the grounds of Washington Capitol, involving a young educated woman, brought shock to many people. It was another opportunity to blame a victim of mental illness and demand further restraint and medical attention for such individuals. Yes, we are lacking dignified, caring, discerning and attentive treatment for those whose spirits are broken. But we certainly don’t suffer from a lack of medical treatment for such individuals. It is time for policy-holders, and our scientific community to ask the ‘heretical’ question; “Could the drugs be the culprit behind the violence?” Full Article →
The Mail sent three women to their doctors, reporting fictional symptoms of short-term, mild depression. Two walked out with prescriptions for medication, despite expressions of reluctance to take the medication. Long waiting lists for therapy, the article says, leads many doctors to prescribe the medication despite guidelines advising antidepressants for moderate or severe depression only.
Miriam Carey, who was shot and killed yesterday by D.C. police after she attempted to drive through a White House barricade with her 1-year-old child in the back seat, had antidepressant medication and antipsychotics in her apartment. The drugs were apparently for the treatment of postpartum depression. Relatives and co-workers, stunned by Carey’s behavior, describe her as having no history of violence, and as “always happy.”
Noting a “striking incongruity between the wide use of and the weak evidence base for the efficacy and safety of antidepressant drugs in bipolar,” a large international task force, publishing in the American Journal of Psychiatry, concluded that “because of limited data, the task force could not make broad statements endorsing antidepressant use but acknowledged that individual bipolar patients may benefit from antidepressants.”
A meta-analysis by researchers from the U.K. finds an association between antidepressant use and a modestly increased risk of diabetes. “Our research shows that when you take away all the classic risk factors of type 2 diabetes; weight gain, lifestyle, etc., there is something about antidepressants that appears to be an independent risk factor,” says one author. “This potential increased risk is worrying.” The authors note that the studies reviewed were inconsistent, and that a causal link could not be established. Results appear in the October issue of Diabetes Care.
Researchers find, through a review of records from the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Database from 1998 to 2009, that short-term (7-28 day) use of antidepressants is significantly associated with upper gastrointestinal bleeding. The paper was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Representative Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, is looking into the role psychiatric medication may have played in the shootings at the Navy Yard that left 12 people and the shooter, Aaron Alexis, dead. “Interestingly enough, one of the medications that (Alexis) received does have a side effect that could in fact have been a problem,” Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, told radio station WTOP. “We’re asking the VA for a little more information as to what they prescribed, why they prescribed it, how much was prescribed.”
A review of all the relevant research comparing benzodiazepines (BDZ) to antidepressants (AD) for the treatment of anxiety was published Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics this Friday. The study, by researchers in Italy and the United States, concludes “The change in the prescribing pattern favoring newer AD over BDZ in the treatment of anxiety disorders has occurred without supporting evidence. Indeed, the role and usefulness of BDZ need to be reappraised.”
SSRIs: More Harm Than Good
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor ( SSRI )
Researchers found that antidepressants hinder serotonin regulation and can cause digestive problems, atypical sperm development, abnormal bleeding, stroke and premature death. Antidepressant manufacturers warn of side effects on drug labels though patients do not always consider how the side effects will affect their lives, according to the study authors.
Twenty-five years before Prozac, 1 in 10,000 of us per year was admitted for severe depressive disorder — melancholia. Today at any one point in time 1 in 10 of us are supposedly depressed and between 1 in 2 and 1 in 5 of us will be depressed over a lifetime. Around 1 in 10 pregnant women are on an antidepressant.
The number of prescriptions for antidepressants is increasing by 5-10% each year, while the figure for people starting each year remains the same. This means that there is an increase of 5% to 10% in the number of people hooked to antidepressants each year.