Tuesday, June 22, 2021

How the News Frames the Opioid Epidemic

US news coverage has primarily framed the opioid drug abuse epidemic as a criminal justice issue rather than a public health problem, according to new research published ahead of print in the Journal of Psychiatric Services. The media’s framing of the epidemic may increase stigma against those who develop a dependency on prescription drugs and distract political attention from public-health oriented solutions, such as increased access to substance abuse recovery treatments.

FDA: New Depression Drug “Not Approvable”

Gepirone, a new depression drug by Fabre-Kramer Pharmaceuticals, did not meet the FDAs efficacy standards. The new drug application for gepirone has now received...

“The Rise and Fall of the Blockbuster Antipsychotic Seroquel”

Martha Rosenberg highlights how the popular antipsychotic Seroquel is a perfect example of how direct-to-consumer advertising made billion dollar blockbuster drugs possible before side-effects...

“Curing Naughty Children With Drugs”

Dr. Max Pemberton “The Mind Doctor” weighs in on the Cochrane review which questioned the evidence for Ritalin for ADHD. He writes: “History is...

“People with Psychiatric Disabilities: Our Modern-Day Scapegoats”

For the North Carolina Law Review, Katie Rose Guest Pryal writes, that “ a psychiatric diagnosis, or involuntary civil commitment to a psychiatric ward—which is...

The Ghost of Research Future

Two facts about Robert Califf are beyond question. He is an expert on clinical trials, who is already seen as a leading architect of the future of medical research. And as the New York Times put it, he has “deeper ties to the pharmaceutical industry than any FDA commissioner in recent memory”. A lot of senior figures in medicine support Califf in spite of his ties to Pharma. The guy is just so bright, and understands the nuts and bolts of drug research so well! Surely a person like this is more useful than some outsider who offers only a squeaky-clean resume, they argue.

After the Black-Box: Majority of Children Starting SSRIs Still Receiving Too High of Dose

In 2004, the FDA added a black-box warning to SSRI antidepressants on the increased risk of suicide among children taking these drugs. A new study suggests that this warning has increased the proportion of children who begin an antidepressant on a low dose, but the majority are still receiving higher than recommended doses.

“Second Patient Dies in Zafgen Obesity Drug Trial”

Two patients have now died while taking the drug beloranib in an obesity drug trial. Both patients were in the active arm of the study and had received the drug rather than a placebo. Zafgen did not say whether it believed the drug had caused the blood clotting in the lungs that led to the patient’s death.

Researchers Develop New Model for Understanding Depression

Acknowledging that current depression treatments are failing many people, researchers from Michigan State and MIT have developed a new model for understanding how multiple psychological, biological, social and environmental factors contribute to depression.

Leah Harris and Tim Murphy Talk “Mental Illness and the Law”

Today on Radio Times, U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA), Mark Salzer, professor and chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at Temple University, and Leah...

Poor Evidence and Substantial Bias in Ritalin Studies

The authors of a large scale well-conducted systematic review of methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, conclude that there is a lack of quality evidence for the drug’s effectiveness. Their research also revealed that Ritalin can cause sleep problems and decreased appetite in children.

Light Therapy Outperforms Prozac for Depression

In a new study, researchers found that bright light therapy was an effective treatment for nonseasonal major depressive disorder (MDD) while Prozac (Fluoxetine) alone...

“Punish People, Not Just Corporations”

Drug makers have faced large fines for unethical and harmful practices but have simply treated these as a cost of doing business. Ed Silverman reports...

“New Pill for Boosting Female Libidos Off to a Slow Start”

Ed Silverman reports that only 80 prescriptions for Addyi, or Flibanserin, were filled in the drugs’ first two weeks on the market. Article →

Treatment Guidelines Downplay Antidepressant Dependence

A review of treatment guidelines published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that guidelines “shy away from stating clearly that SSRIs/SNRIs, like BDZs, are often (though...

The ADHD Drug Abuse Crisis on College Campuses

The abuse of ADHD drugs on college campuses has reached epidemic proportions, according to the authors of a recent review in the journal of Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry. ADHD drugs, like Ritalin and Adderall, have become so commonplace on college campuses that students abusing these drugs for studying, weight loss and partying have underestimated their risks. As a result, we have seen exponential increases in emergency room visits, overdoses, and suicides by students taking these drugs.

“Generation Meds: the US Children Who Grow Up on Prescription Drugs”

“In America, medication is becoming almost as much a staple of childhood as Disney and McDonald’s,” writes Sarah Boseley in the Guardian. In this piece photographer Baptiste Lignel follows six boys and girls to examine the long-term effects of these drugs.

“ADHD Drugs Could Harm Kids’ Sleep”

Children diagnosed with ADHD who are prescribed stimulant drugs have more sleep problems than those with ADHD that do not take these drugs.

Electroshocking Veterans and Their Fetuses

I have long been concerned with the way society responds to people who come back from war. Veterans are routinely funneled into psychiatry’s grasp. Over the decades, some people who fought in wars have shared with me their experiences of being psychiatrized upon return from war. Sometimes these experiences included veterans being stripped of their second amendment rights, and a host of other constitutional, civil, and human rights violations as they began to be forced into complying with psychiatric regimens, and on several occasions this included veterans being subjected to electroshock.

“When Meth Was an Antidepressant”

The Atlantic compares the use of meth as a “top-line antidepressant” in the 1930s to the 1950s to debates over the use of medicinal marijuana today. “It’s an example of how pharmaceuticals, at their core, are drugs. They’re chemicals that were mixed together and believed to be beneficial to humanity, until they weren't.”

“We Need REAL Change in Mental Health Policy, Not the Illusion of Reform”

David Shern, from Johns Hopkins University, writes that the latest mental health “Murphy bill” in Congress is “an expansion of the approaches that got us into our current difficulties.” “Early intervention and prevention, assessable and patient-focused services with a rehabilitation orientation and increased funding for the community supports needed for successful recovery are the tickets to system improvement.”

Rise in Psychiatric Prescriptions With NOS Diagnosis

A “not otherwise specified” (NOS) diagnosis is often used when an individual may have some symptoms related to a psychiatric diagnosis but does not meet enough criteria to warrant a particular diagnosis. A new study, published online ahead of print in Psychiatric Services, reveals that the proportion of mental health visits resulting in such NOS diagnoses rose to nearly fifty percent, and that these diagnoses do not result in more conservative psychiatric drug prescriptions.

Throwback Thursday: The Daily Show on the Pharmaceutical Drug Epidemic

On The Daily Show, Michael Che interviews MIA contributor Peter Gøtzsche and discovers that pharmaceutical companies and drug cartels have more in common than one might think.

Pentagon Study Links Prescription Stimulants to Military PTSD Risk

A new study suggests that service members who take stimulant medications to stay alert are five times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the LA Times reports. “Those who had been prescribed multiple stimulants and the biggest supplies of the drugs were the most likely to have PTSD.”

“Direct-to-Consumer Advertising — Selling Drugs or Diseases?”

With the American Medical Association (AMA) declaring its opposition to direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising, Martha Rosenberg asks, did DTC increase the number of people who have "diseases"?

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