“Survivors Push for Withdrawal Hotline and Change”

“Two Scots whose lives have been ravaged by prescription drugs are battling for ­recognition of the devastating withdrawal issues as well as proper support for victims,” the Daily Record reports. “Health Secretary Shona Robison has now agreed to ask chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood to investigate the claims.”

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“Is It Her Hormones?” A Case of Psychiatry Missing the Mark

The case of “Beth” depicts, almost innocently, the trials and tribulations of a well-adjusted, talented 15-year-old who developed depression, paranoia, panic attacks, and self-injurious and homicidal behavior, and “bipolar disorder” after being prescribed antidepressants, and then antipsychotics. After Beth decided – on her own – to discontinue psychotropic medications in favor of hormone therapy, she remained free of psychiatric symptoms.
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Researchers Call for Reappraisal of Adverse Mental Effects of Antipsychotics, NIDS

In a study published yesterday, researchers from the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo bring attention to a condition known as neuroleptic-induced deficit syndrome (NIDS) brought on by the adverse mental effects of antipsychotic drugs. They express concern that NIDS can resemble the negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia and psychosis, leading to misdiagnosis and ineffective treatments.

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Psychologist Rethinks Psychotropic Medications, Calls for Renewed Dialogue

Psychologist and Professor Amber Gum has published the story of her personal journey of rethinking psychotropic medication in a special issue on "The Politics of Mental Health" in The Journal of Medicine and the Person. Influenced by Mad in America and the work of Robert Whitaker, Gum became aware of evidence that “suggests that psychotropic medications are less effective and more harmful than most believe” and now hopes to encourage other mental health professionals and researchers to engage in open-minded, critical self-assessment of standard practices.

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“FDA Forced to Release Adverse Event Reports on Psychiatric Drugs”

Following a lawsuit brought by Andrew Thibault of Parents Against Pharmaceutical Abuse (PAPA), the FDA has produced adverse event and severe adverse event reports on psychotropic medications. For the first time ever, these reports have been published online. Accessing the site linked below, users can perform global searches for AERS reports by drug name (brand and generic) or case number, review reports by drug class, refine searches within each drug class, and examine individual reports.

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“Neuroleptics Inappropriately Continued Upon ICU Discharge”

This study brings awareness to inappropriate continuation of neuroleptic medications beginning in the ICU, or other specialized hospital units that typically downgrade patients and do not necessarily directly discharge them home.

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“Lawsuits Link Abilify with Compulsive Gambling”

Plaintiffs allege that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical failed to warn doctors and patients about the risk for compulsive behaviors when taking the atypical antipsychotic Abilify.

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“6 Prescription Drugs That Aren’t as Safe as the Government Claims”

“A quick look at drugs or drug uses that later turned out to be risky shows a disturbing trail of ‘bought’ science in major medical journals,” Martha Rosenberg writes for AlterNet. “What stands between Big Pharma's desire for blockbuster drug sales and drug safety?”

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Duty to Warn – 14 Lies That Our Psychiatry Professors in Medical School Taught Us

Revealing the false information provided about psychiatry should cause any thinking person, patient, thought-leader or politician to wonder: “how many otherwise normal or potentially curable people over the last half century of psych drug propaganda have actually been mis-labeled as mentally ill (and then mis-treated) and sent down the convoluted path of therapeutic misadventures – heading toward oblivion?”
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Experts Decry Dangerous Use of Antipsychotics in Children

In a featured article for Psychiatric Services, psychiatrists from Dartmouth raise the alarm on the increasing numbers of children prescribed dangerous antipsychotic drugs. Despite the fact that data on the safety of long-term use of these drugs in this vulnerable population “do not exist,” the rate of children and adolescents being prescribed antipsychotic drugs have continued to increase over the past fifteen years.

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SCOTUS Declines Risperdal Appeal, J&J to Pay $124 M

On Monday, the US Supreme Court declined to hear Johnson and Johnson’s final appeal, forcing the company to pay $124 million for the deceptive marketing of the antipsychotic Risperdal. In 2011, South Carolina ordered the company to pay $327 million for pursuing “profits-at-all-costs” in its efforts to persuade doctors to prescribe their drug, but the fine was lowered to $136 million last year. The company had hoped to argue that the remaining penalties constituted an “excessive fine” and was supported by PhRMA, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Cato Institute and the Chamber of Commerce.
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“Why Are So Many Children on Antipsychotic Drugs?”

“Do they make people less aggressive? Yes, sometimes they do. Will they sedate people? Absolutely. Will they make kids easier to manage? They will,” Robert Whitaker tells Liz Spikol for Philadelphia Magazine. “But I know of no study that shows that medicating these kids long-term will help them grow up and thrive. The developing brain is a very delicate thing. The narrative is that these side effects are mild, and that’s just not true, and that the benefits are well-established, and so often they’re not.”

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Dr. Nardo’s Series on Use of Antipsychotics for Depression

On his website, Dr. Nardo details the hidden risks and bad science behind the growing practice of using atypical antipsychotics to augment antidepressant treatment for severe depression. The story of Atypical Antipsychotic Augmentation of Treatment Resistant Depression is a “prime example” “to illustrate how commercial interests have invaded medical practice.” “Besides the obvious dangers of the Metabolic Syndrome and Tardive Dyskinesia, these drugs don’t really do what they’re advertised to do – make the antidepressants work a lot better.”

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Timberrr! Psychiatry’s Evidence Base For Antipsychotics Comes Crashing to the Ground

When I wrote Anatomy of an Epidemic, one of my foremost hopes was that it would prompt mainstream researchers to revisit the scientific literature. Was there evidence that any class of psychiatric medications—antipsychotics, antidepressants, stimulants, benzodiazepines, and so forth—provided a long-term benefit? Now epidemiologists at Columbia University and City College of New York have reported that they have done such an investigation about antipsychotics, and their bottom-line finding can be summed up in this way: Psychiatry’s “evidence base” for long-term use of these drugs does not exist.
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Researchers Test Harms and Benefits of Long Term Antipsychotic Use

Researchers from the City College of New York and Columbia University published a study this month testing the hypothesis that people diagnosed with schizophrenia treated long-term with antipsychotic drugs have worse outcomes than patients with no exposure to these drugs. They concluded that there is not a sufficient evidence base for the standard practice of long-term use of antipsychotic medications.

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“Programs Expand Schizophrenic Patients’ Role in Their Own Care”

Benedict Carey at the New York Times covers the push for new programs that emphasize supportive services, therapy, school and work assistance, and family education, rather than simply drug treatment.

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Culturally Numb

Experiencing emotional pain is a necessary part of life. Emotional pain often contains valuable lessons to help us on our journeys. We need to make sure we are not numbing our hearts to those that are hurting. We need to de-stigmatize the struggles, joys and pains that come with being human. We need to not just mindlessly pursue happiness – though we might think of that as an inalienable right – and avoid pain. We need to do the only thing that brings true joy: embrace all of life and each other, as we experience together all that makes us human.
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Canadian Institute of Health Identifies Provinces Overprescribing Antipsychotics

“A new study is giving insight into how long-term care patients in the province are progressing — or, in some cases, worsening — over time. It found those living in central Newfoundland are more likely to be given antipsychotic drugs they don't need.”

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“Psychiatric Drug—Not Antibiotic—Messes with Gut Microbes, Spurs Obesity”

In a series of experiments in mice, researchers found that the drug risperidone alters gut microbes, which in turn profoundly influence metabolism, weight, and overall health.

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Book Review: “Overmedicated and Undertreated”

A former pharma executive has broken ranks with the industry in a new book by reporting how multiple psychiatrists, schools, and his desperate hopes pressed him to allow higher and higher doses of antipsychotic medications. The result: his 15-year-old son’s death from Seroquel.
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“Autism’s Lost Generation”

“Some autistic adults have spent much of their lives with the wrong diagnosis, consigned to psychiatric institutions or drugged for disorders they never had,” Jessica Wright writes in The Atlantic.

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“Psychiatric Drugs Are Being Prescribed to Infants”

The New York Times reports that a growing number of infants and toddlers are being prescribed dangerous psychiatric drugs. “Almost 20,000 prescriptions for risperidone (commonly known as Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel) and other antipsychotic medications were written in 2014 for children 2 and younger, a 50 percent jump from 13,000 just one year before.”

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“Risk of Off-Label Uses for Prescription Drugs”

The Wall Street Journal highlights a new study that found that off-label medications represent about 12% of drug prescriptions and are resulting in negative side effects about 50% of the time. Antidepressants and antipsychotics are among the drugs most likely to be prescribed off-label.

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