STAR*D: It is time to atone and retract


From Psychiatric Times:

Two psychiatrists write in the Psychiatric Times that the response of the STAR*D investigators to a reanalysis of STAR*D data by Ed Pigott and colleagues, which told of how the STAR*D investigators violated the protocol in various ways to inflate the reported remission rate, “remain entirely insufficient.”

They write:

It is our opinion that the importance of STAR*D and its ramifications for the field of psychiatry are too serious to be dismissed. STAR*D is too cited and used too often to justify current prescribing practices.

The esteem held by our field in the age of modern medicine rests on the validity of our scientific pursuits. The direction our field has historically taken too often followed the dictates of dogma rather than evidence. We should not continue to make this mistake.

Even beyond the academic realm, psychiatry has faced more scrutiny from the public than any other medical field. Some of this criticism has been unjustified, but much of it has been well earned. The best defense of our field in this arena seems to rest in holding ourselves to the highest standards of integrity.

Lastly, and most importantly, we have an ethical duty to our patients to take an honest look at the evidence derived from our research when making decisions that will impact their mental health. Our patients, our field, and our integrity demand a better explanation of what happened in STAR*D than what has thus been provided. Short of this, the best remaining course to take is a retraction.

Read the article


  1. It seems a little late for psychiatry to suddenly start practicing damage control.

    Nevertheless, I fully expect psychiatry’s pharmaceutical underwriters to make their presence known in ways that make studies not to their liking magically disappear, because lord knows they gotta keep their drug trains running on time. Kinda like psychiatry’s penchant for rolling out “new” diagnoses for their braindead DSM every few years. You’d think they’d put a moratorium on their DSM shit for a while, but what else have they got to do with themselves besides think up more ways of wasting taxpayers’ money???

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    • CLARIFICATION: You’d think psychiatry would put a moratorium on inventing (inventing, NOT discovering) “new” diagnostic shit for their braindead DSM for at least a minute, but what else have they got to do with themselves besides think up more ways to waste taxpayer money a la searching for genetic mirages???

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  2. Could this possibly mean there’ll finally be an end to psychiatry’s futile search for biological/genetic/”circuit” mirages?

    Could this possibly mean there’ll finally be an end to psychiatry’s fondness for stringing together endless reams of meaningless garble to add to their goofball DSM?

    Could this possibly mean there’ll finally be an admission from psychiatry that its “medications” are NOT medications, but actually potentially harmful sedatives?

    Dream on.

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  3. I wonder what they think a retraction would do to help the people who’s lives were derailed and destroyed?

    When I didn’t respond to 10 different antidepressants prescribed by a psychiatrist who didn’t keep any records for 6 years, he sent me to his colleague for a second opinion, I guess. He didn’t know what to do with me. That colleague said I had treatment resistant depression and immediately recommended ECT. I asked about memory loss from ECT. He said he never had a patient who had memory loss from ECT and he was the main ECT Dr at the local psych ward for decades. I had ECT. I had memory loss. I couldn’t work anymore. He said the ECT didn’t work because I actually had borderline personality disorder. He started prescribing antipsychotics and sent me to DBT. I went through years more of lies and abuse until the system spit me out. By that time I was completely bedridden. What do they think a retraction is going to do for me?

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    • Retractions are meaningless without substantial financial reparations.

      In any case, I doubt most psychiatrists are willing to believe the amount of damage psychiatry is capable of doing. Their view of psychiatry (and themselves) is too insulated and therefore grandiose.

      But you can be sure of one thing: they’re not interested in having to pay more for malpractice insurance.

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      • I agree, Birdsong. They will never give any thought to the destruction of lives they caused with their “antidepressants” and their “chemical imbalance theory”.
        They’ve already moved on, announcing to everyone everywhere that they have now found “markers” for psychosis, suicidal thoughts, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder etc. in people’s blood.
        They just need to do a blood test now, according to the media blitz, and they will know what is wrong with everyone. And no one in the media questions it, they just print whatever they’re told to print and say whatever they’re told to say.
        Psychiatry is the profession that never needs to look backward because it’s always got some new grift in the works, and nobody makes them. No one ever holds them accountable.

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