On 29 March 1980 the British Medical Journal published a “Systematic Review of the Benzodiazepines” by the Committee on the Review of Medicines.” The review includes guidelines for data sheets covering ten benzodiazepine drugs, including diazepam, lorazepam and temazepam.
The committee did not consider the benzodiazepines to have antidepressant or analgesic properties and found them unsuitable for such disorders as depression and tension headaches. The committee took particular note of the lack of firm evidence of efficacy that might support the long-term use of benzodiazepines in insomnia and anxiety. There was little convincing evidence that benzodiazepines were efficacious in the treatment of anxiety after four months of continuous treatment. It suggested that an appropriate warning regarding long-term efficacy be included in the recommendations, particularly given the high proportion of patients receiving repeated prescriptions for extended periods of time.
The committee noted that reports had been published on the occurrence of adverse effects following abrupt cessation of benzodiazepine therapy.
However following an extensive review of all available data the committee conclude that on the presently available evidence the true addiction potential of benzodiazepines was low. The number dependent on the benzodiazepines in the UK from 1960 to 1977 has been estimated to be 28 persons.
The committee was particularly concerned, however with the question of withdrawal symptoms. It has been reported that symptoms included anxiety, apprehension, tremor, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting appear on abrupt withdrawal of benzodiazepine therapy. It also recommended that all benzodiazepine therapy unless given on an occasional basis only—be withdrawn gradually and that doses within the therapeutic are used wherever possible. It further suggested that patients receiving benzodiazepine therapy be carefully selected and monitored and that prescriptions be limited to short term use.
The report cites only two pieces of evidence to support its conclusions. The first was a press release about the US Institute of Medicine report on hypnotics but not the report itself, and the other was a book by a doctor.
From 1960 to 1977 the figure for prescriptions issued in the UK for benzodiazepine drugs was over 300 million, and yet the CRM came up with the laughable figure of only 28 people were dependent on these drugs. Unbelievable. Not only did the CRM report fudge these figures, but common sense also flew out of the window. If the Yellow Card System was supposedly taken into account for suspected adverse drug reactions by doctors.
Efficacy of treatment for anxiety was reported as 4 months only and yet in the UK we currently have more than 1 million long-term benzodiazepine prescribed drug addicts, prescribed outside the Guidelines and in a direct breach of the CRM Report and the 1988 Committee on Safety of Medicine Guidelines and compounded by a near complete lack of NHS dedicated withdrawal services and aftercare facilities for iatrogenic addiction. Here in Oldham we have one gentleman who has been prescribed and ingesting benzodiazepines for 46 years without a break; so much for a four-month efficacy decision or that prescriptions be limited to short term use !!
The CRM not only fudged the issue in favour of the drug companies and doctors, but their biased and cowardly actions have resulted in untold future suffering for millions of involuntary benzodiazepine drug addicts and their families. ‘ Profit before people.’
In December 1999 at Westminster Hall, London my former Member of Parliament Mr. Phil Woolas said, “The story of benzodiazepines is of awesome proportions and has been described as a national scandal. The impact is so significant that it is too big for Governments, regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical authorities to address head on, so the scandal has been swept under the carpet.”
So by not meeting the problems head on or by reporting them, in a frank and common sense manner the CRM Report swept the scandal under the carpet.
34 years later it is rearing its ugly head by the following evidence and consequences:
- The results of their fudging can be seen in the horrifying statistics supplied by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for 2014.
- Registered Deaths relating to Drug Poisoning in England and Wales 2014.
“There were 372 drug-related deaths involving benzodiazepines in 2014. The mortality rate was 6.6 deaths per million population, an 8% increase from 2013 and the highest mortality rate since records began in 1993.”
For evil to succeed good men have to do nothing.
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It should always be remembered that these drug companies and allied institutions function as amoral sociopathic profiteers, as opportunists having no regard for the well-being of the human beings they supposedly “serve”. For them the ends, profit and power, truly justify the means, which are reducing most people’s chances of wellbeing and ruining their lives.
That’s why it’s important for more people to become educated about the grave dangers of these medications, and to protect themselves from the predatory minions known as psychiatrists who, at the bidding of their corporate masters, indiscriminantly foist these poisoned pills on the poor ignorant sheep that fall under their spell.
You are perfectly correct.
I have advocated an annual tax placed on Big Pharma in order to obtain the necessary funding for dedicated prescribed drug withdrawal services which would be part of a social contract.
It is time that Pharma put back into society, instead of always taking out, by increasing their P&L Account and Capital Reserves.
There has to be change.
Honestly, pharma should have no role in development of drugs. They should stick to producing them. It’s such an obvious conflict of interest it’s unbelievable but in an economic and political system which allows such philosophical absurdities like “self-regulation” it’s strange to even think about it. We are so conditioned to accept certain things as right we never stop to ponder how absolutely insane and counterproductive they are.
Absolutely, this entire world is now controlled by the “evil banks and corporations” about which Thomas Jefferson forewarned us.
And corporations are legally required to behave as psychopaths for their stock holders, and not worry about those who consume or use their products.
We need to break up these “too big to fail” banks and corporations, the governments can’t control them, so allowed themselves to be bought out by them instead.
It’s stupid for our world to be controlled by psychopaths. How sad the once trusted medical community has bought in to the propaganda, and is now destroying and killing humanity, for profit.
It’s soon to be a “jubilee year,” according to the Jewish religion. I think we, as humanity, should take God up on that offer, and justly redistribute God’s world, blessings, and assets amongst the people, rather than having these psychopathic corporations own and control everything.
We’re living in an insane world.
What is exactly their reason for not withdrawing these drugs immediately again? Given what they themselves written about “efficacy”, forget for a second all the other problems? These drugs get approved in a shady way and then it’s basically over: you can prove that they don’t do any good, that the original studies were manipulated or straight out fake, that the drugs cause short and long-term damage and deaths and they’re still allowed to stay on the market. Where’s the times when the thalidomide was withdrawn after the phocomelia scandal? Now it seems we’re in a much worse shape. Today they would have let the thalidomide be sold and maybe make suggestions to doctors that they should follow some guidelines about prescribing to pregnant women but if they don’t – well, who cares.
It is good people like you and many others, who care about humanity and what these highly addictive drugs have done and are still doing to patients lives. People do care.
CEPUK are holding a full day Conference in London tomorrow regarding psychiatric drugs and Bob Whittaker is one of the panellists. It is going out live and can be watched by everyone.
People do care and are fighting back by speaking up and telling the truth.
I know, I wanted to go but I’ve got a bit too much on my plate recently :(.
A somewhat unrelated question: are you planning to lobby Mr Corbyn in relation to his new “Minister for Mental Health”?
I personally think this is one of the guys who may be right on our side if there are enough people to show him our perspective. It seems like change may be stirring up both Europe and US and it’s incumbent on us to make sure it goes in the right direction…
Yes, I will be lobbying the Minister for Mental Health and I have already emailed the Shadow
Health Secretary on the issue of prescribed drug addiction in the UK. I think that we might have more success with this Labour Party who care more for humanity and the disabled, than any previous government that has been in power.
We need change. We need dedicated benzodiazepine drug withdrawal services funded in all Towns and Cities not only in the UK, but Europe and the USA based on the Professor C.Heather Ashton model of withdrawal and recovery.
Corporate greed and psychiatric babble must not be allowed to succeed, over humanity, compassion and common sense.
The CEPUK London Conference tomorrow 18th September entitled ” More harm than good, confronting the psychiatric medication epidemic ” is to be shown live on You Tube at 9.00 am and 2.00pm UK time.
Thank you for all those who are watching it and lets spread the message world wide.
WE are fighting back.
I’m so sad I couldn’t attend…
Will it stay on youtube after the event?
Good exposure on the benzodiazepine crisis. The statistics you cite (as bad as they are) may be actually underplaying the gravity of this problem.
Here is a reference to a Stanford University alert put out in March of 2014 – http://www.pharmpro.com/news/2013/03/prescriptions-benzodiazepines-rising-and-risky-when-combined-opioids This reference to a study published in JAMA shows that at least 30% of all fatalities from opiate overdoses involves the deadly combination with benzodiazepines.
In Massachusetts last year (2014) state officials attribute over 1200 people deaths to opiate overdoses. This is probably a low ball figure due to the fact that toxic drug screens are not done on many poor people who die in certain areas. Their death certificate will only read “cardiac arrest.”
Thirty percent of 1200 equals 400 deaths (or more) in just the state of Massachusetts alone possibly linked to benzodiazepines. Most opiate addicts know how to use their opiates; it is often the case that they forgot about the 3 Xanax they took earlier that day that turns their addiction problems into such deadly consequences.
There is an opiate overdose epidemic all over the country, so multiply this situation by 50 states and you have a major human disaster in the works. Mass. state officials only want to target opioid prescription abuse and totally ignore the benzo problem and its intimate connection to the overdose death crisis.
So far, psychiatry has been able to skate free without being condemned for its complicit role in these deaths. We can no longer allow this to happen. Benzodiazepines may be psychiatry’s weakest link. We must exploit that weakness to break the chain of psychiatric oppression.
Thank you for your comments and statistics. Benzodiazepine deaths recording are probably the tip of the iceberg and the dangers vastly underplayed by the medical profession. That is before we bring in deaths from RTAs ie road traffic accidents due to impaired cognitive functioning.
Anything that we can do to break the chain of psychiatric oppression is welcome and much needed globally.
Correction on the reference above: http://www.pharmpro.com/news/2014/03/prescriptions-benzodiazepines-rising-and-risky-when-combined-opioids