The Telegraph provides a forum for Joanna Moncrieff: “The use of antidepressants continues its inexorable rise. Since the early 1990s the number of prescriptions issued has increased more than four times and we are consuming more antidepressants, and many other sorts of drugs for mental health problems, than ever before. Should we be worried about this situation? As a practising psychiatrist, as well as a University lecturer with a critical view of drug treatment, I believe we should.” (more…)
The death toll among Japanese citizens who have taken Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen’s schizophrenia drug Xeplion has climbed to 21, from 17 on April 10, prompting the Japanese health ministry to order the manufacturer to warn patients about its risks. Although a causal link between Xeplion and the deaths has not been established, the health ministry ordered Janssen to revise its package insert, considering the unusually high number of deaths since the drug’s recent release. Discuss →
“Looking back, Pam Herrera wishes she had asked more questions and been more forceful with her son’s therapists,” says the Denver Post. “The list of medications her son took ages 4-16 is staggering: multiple antipsychotics, antidepressants and stimulants, sometimes five at a time, each at the maximum dose allowed. He was so medicated, Herrera said, “we disintegrated his ability to learn.” (more…)
The Ohio-based Legal Examiner reviews the history of Johnson & Johnson’s allegedly inappropriate – perhaps criminal – marketing of Risperdal, including pushing the drug for off-label uses in children and the elderly. (more…)
The average rate of female prisoners in Canada’s prison system who receive psychiatric medication has jumped from 42% in 2001 to over 60% today, with some regions prescribing psych meds at a rate of up to 75%, according to a joint investigation by the Canadian Press and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Former prisoners and their advocates have been complaining for years about the overmedication of inmates, with Seroquel – a powerful antipsychotic — routinely being prescribed to female prisoners as a sleeping aid. Discuss →
According to a report prepared by Colorado University and released to the Denver Post, half of the children on government insurance in Colorado who are prescribed antipsychotics do not have a diagnosed psychotic illness listed on their Medicaid claims. ”Few studies have examined side effects on children, and that the drugs have been linked to weight gain, diabetes and growth of breasts in boys,” the article states. “Foster parents and therapists say heavily medicated children are detached from reality — as though ‘walking in a cloud.’ They also contend that the use of the drugs has been fueled by pharmaceutical firms pursuing big profits with the help of willing doctors.”
The Denver Post writes “Colorado officials have known since at least 2007 that prescriptions and dosage levels of psychotropic drugs — which also include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, stimulants and anti-anxiety medications — were rising sharply among children on Medicaid, a group that includes foster kids. But Colorado’s response has taken years, even as other states took aggressive steps to reduce usage levels.” (more…)
A very gifted and compassionate friend recently said that she feels enslaved to Abilify – that she has tried to taper off it several times but always ends up slipping into an extreme state, no matter how slow she tapers. She said this repeated experience makes her feel like a slave, because she has to go back on the drug to stop the very intense extreme state induced whenever she tries to stop taking it. I have another friend who for years felt painfully anguished until he found his way free of heroin. He stopped using, went through withdrawal and was finally free. Most people who try withdrawing from antipsychotics face professional caregivers who discourage them from doing it. On the other hand, when people detox from heroin, everyone encourages them to go through it, no matter how extreme their behavior or how much pain they go through. Full Article →
The Japanese unit of Johnson & Johnson affiliate Janssen Pharmaceuticals reports that 17 people have died since the launch of its new antipsychotic, Xeplion, on November 19. Though it is not known whether the drug caused the deaths, which occurred up to 40 days after injections of the drugs, the drug maker advised doctors to “fully understand that the substance remains in the body for at least four months after being injected’ and to stay alert for any side-effects. Discuss →
Saying that the Arkansas supreme court had departed from 170 years of precedent by deciding in favor of Johnson & Johnson on grounds not raised in any of the case filings, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is asking the court to reconsider its decision to toss out a $1.2 billion judgment over the marketing of the antipsychotic Risperdal. Discuss →
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced yesterday he will ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to toss out the $q.2 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson over its marketing of Risperdal. The court sided with J&J last month in deciding that Arkansas had misapplied its Medicaid fraud law in claiming that J&J’s failure to communicate the drug’s risks, and its off-label marketing of the drug, constitute fraud. McDaniel is asking for an analysis of the law by the Arkansas Code Revisions Commission, saying “It’s obviously of great concern to us and it’s of great concern to the Legislature and to the code revision commission that the Supreme Court has taken this unprecedented approach to analyzing the case.” Discuss →
Specialist Ivan Lopez, who is accused of killing three people and wounding 16 others at Ford Hood army base yesterday, had been examined by a psychiatrist within the past month and was in treatment for depression and PTSD. Lopez had been prescribed Ambien and was taking other medications to treat anxiety and depression, according to articles in the New York Times, USA Today, ABC News, CNN, and the Washington Post. Discuss →
In his latest paper, Martin Harrow focuses psychiatry’s attention on a very specific question: Do antipsychotic drugs provide a long-term benefit as a treatment for psychotic symptoms? His findings are consistent with a larger body of evidence that all point to the same conclusion, which is that antipsychotics fail that efficacy test. And thus, I think it is fair to say that on this issue, the Fat Lady Has Sung, Psychiatry needs to rethink its use of these drugs.
Martin Harrow along with his colleagues T.H. Jobe and R. N. Faull has published another paper on the long term outcome of people who experienced a psychotic episode. Funded by a grant from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, this paper adds to our knowledge of an extremely important and valuable study. Full Article →
Martin Harrow’s study tracing the effects of antipsychotics on 139 schizophrenia (SZ) and mood-disordered patients over 20 years, just published in Psychological Medicine, finds that “At each follow-up assessment over the 20 years, a surprisingly high percentage of SZ treated with antipsychotics longitudinally had psychotic activity. More than 70% of SZ continuously prescribed antipsychotics experienced psychotic activity at four or more of six follow-up assessments over 20 years. Longitudinally, SZ not prescribed antipsychotics showed significantly less psychotic activity than those prescribed antipsychotics . . . the condition of the majority of SZ prescribed antipsychotics for multiple years would raise questions as to how many of them are truly in remission.”
A study of data from over 11 million patient records in the General Practice Research Database, “the largest anonymized, longitudinal primary care database in the world,” finds that the 34,727 patients prescribed anxiolytic or hypnotic drugs between 1998 and 2001 were over three times more likely to die over the seven years follow-up period. Data are presented in the British Medical Journal.
The Oregon Supreme Court ruled yesterday that judges can force criminal defendants to take antipsychotic medication in an effort to make them competent for trial. “They will pull down their pants and stick a needle in their buttocks,” said Attorney Laura Graser. “I think the terror of having that procedure would be the same for you or me as it would be for an ill person. Really terrifying. The word ‘rape’ doesn’t seem too strong.”
The Arkansas Supreme Court today overturned a $1.2 billion judgment against Johnson & Johnson, ruling that laws requiring companies to properly communicate risks and use of drugs applies to health care companies, not pharmaceutical companies. ”I am disappointed that the Court viewed the law differently. Nevertheless, I will keep working to protect consumers against fraud and the kinds of irresponsible and greedy actions shown by Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals in their marketing of the drug Risperdal,” said Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.
When police came to enforce a 2011 court order to remove her 13-year-old daughter Arianna, and medicate her, Maryann Golboldo stood her ground – for eight hours, and fired a shot into her ceiling – rather than allow her daughter to be medicated with Risperdal again. Goldboldo claimed the drug had caused her daughter to be “horribly ill . . . aggressive and violent.” An appeals court judge has dropped all charges against Goldboro, and given her custody of her daughter. ”This court finds that the defendant in fact did use reasonable force in this case . . . to prevent the removal of her child by the Detroit police,”
Teva Pharmaceuticals has agreed to pay $27 million to settle federal and state accusation of false claims regarding the antipsychotic Clozapine, and payments made to an Illinois physician to under a “consulting contract.” “Pharmaceutical companies must not be allowed to improperly influence physicians’ decisions in prescribing medication for their patients,” said the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
Anthony Gill’s doctoral thesis for the University of Leeds attempts to correct the observation that “There is no available evidence that has produced detailed, valid accounts of how patients themselves construct meaning in their lives, and in particular how medication has affected them,” finding that “the stigma associated with schizophrenia has a negative impact on individual’s lives. People with schizophrenia want and need to be listened to, in order for them to have an improved quality of life. It is clear that their lived experiences should be taken into consideration when implementing policy development in order to reduce the social isolation associated with schizophrenia.”
A paper by Joanna Moncrieff and Laura Allison in the journal History of Psychiatry reviews “the theory and practice of emergency sedation for behavioural disturbance in psychiatry in the mid-twentieth century, and the emergence of the concept of ‘rapid tranquilization’” by antipsychotics. ”… Research suggests that antipsychotics became the mainstay of rapid tranquillisation strategies because of beliefs about their specific therapeutic properties in psychosis and schizophrenia” they write, “and not because of demonstrated superiority over other agents.”
The safety of our children is a sacred obligation we strive to preserve. Anything or anyone that harms them becomes the object of our distrust and potential wrath. I want to raise the possibility that psychiatry, for all its accomplished … Full Article →
Lawyers for Johnson & Johnson took the stand in Arkansas today, a final effort at convincing the Arkansas Supreme Court to overturn a jury’s award of $1.2 billion for off-label marketing of Risperdal. J&J plans to argue that the award is excessive, and that the company was exercising its right to free speech in promoting the drug. The attorneys general of 35 states have filed a brief urging the court to uphold the verdict.