As reported in the British Medical Journal
The US Food and Drug Administration has agreed to review confidential drug company documents that went missing during a controversial product liability suit more than 10 years ago. The documents appear to suggest a link between the drug fluoxetine (Prozac), made by Eli Lilly, and suicide attempts and violence.
The missing documents, which were sent to the BMJ by an anonymous source last month, include reviews and memos indicating that Eli Lilly officials were aware in the 1980s that fluoxetine had troubling side effects and sought to minimise their likely negative effect on prescribing.
The documents received by the BMJ reportedly went missing during the 1994 Wesbecker case that grew out of a lawsuit filed on behalf of victims of a work-place shooting in 1989. Joseph Wesbecker, armed with an AK-47, shot eight people dead and wounded another 12. He then shot and killed himself. Mr Wesbecker, who had a long history of depression, had been placed on fluoxetine one month before the shootings.
One of the internal company documents, a report of 8 November 1988, entitled "Activation and Sedation in Fluoxetine Clinical Trials," found that in clinical trials "38% of fluoxetine-treated patients reported new activation but 19% of placebo-treated patients also reported new activation yielding a difference of 19% attributable to fluoxetine."
The FDA recently issued a warning that antidepressants can cause a cluster of "activating" or stimulating symptoms such as agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, and aggressiveness. Dr Joseph Glenmullen, a Harvard psychiatrist and author of The Antidepressant Solution, published by Free Press, said it should come as little surprise that fluoxetine might cause serious behavioural disturbances, as it is similar to cocaine in its effects on serotonin.
The full report is freely available at the link.
As reported in the news elswhere:
The documents reportedly went missing in 1994, when relatives of victims of a workplace shooting in Kentucky sued Eli Lilly. Gunman Joseph Wesbecker, who killed eight people and himself in 1989, had been prescribed Prozac a month before the shootings.
The lawsuit alleged the company knew for years that an increase in violence can be one of the side-effects of Prozac.
Eli Lilly won the case, but later said it had settled with plaintiffs during the trial.
The journal said the documents, dated November 1998, reported that fluoxetine or Prozac had caused behavioural disturbances in clinical trials.
Dr. Richard Kalpit, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewer who approved Prozac, said he was not given the company's data. "If this report was done by Lilly or for Lilly, it was their responsibility to report it to us and to publish it," he said in a statement from the journal. The journal has turned the documents over to the FDA, which is reviewing them.
In the last six months, regulators in Canada and the U.S. have warned that antidepressants like Prozac, so-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI antidepressants, can stimulate side-effects such as agitation, panic attacks, insomnia and aggressiveness.
Friday, December 31, 2004
As reported in the British Medical Journal
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Mandatory mental health screening program would dose pregnant women with prescription drugs that cause birth defects
As reported here on News Watch:
Bureaucrats in Chicago are currently discussing a proposal to require the mental health screening of all pregnant women and children up to the age of 18 years old. The purported mission of the program is to protect the health of the public by diagnosing mental disorders before they become full blown problems -- but in reality, as we've seen from similar programs in the past, the real mission is to diagnose people with fictitious brain diseases and behavioral disorders, then dose them with highly toxic prescription drugs that not only generate profits for pharmaceutical companies, but also for the psychiatrists who prescribe them.
What's especially frightening about this program is that it may include the dosing of pregnant women with prescription drugs that we now know increase the risk of birth defects. We also know from clinical trials and experiments involving mice that children who grow up on antidepressant drugs have a much higher risk of being depressed as adults whether or not they continue taking those drugs.
In other words, it's not enough that as a nation we misdiagnose childhood hyperactivity caused by sugar consumption as being a brain chemistry imbalance and then dose all those children with Ritalin, it seems that we also want to start dosing pregnant women as well. Who's next? Are we going to dose all men under the age of 30? Are we going to require the mental health screening of all elderly people, and start dosing everyone over the age of 65 with brain altering drugs too?
There seems to be no limit to how far the highly corrupt psychiatry community and prescription drug companies will carry this to exert control over the population and generate obscene profits. And the truth is that anyone can be diagnosed with a mental disorder given sufficient creativity on the part of the psychiatrists. If a person is too creative and excited, they have Attention Deficit Disorder.
If they're not creative enough, they have a reading disorder. And if they get nervous while being observed by the psychiatrist, they obviously have a social anxiety disorder. See? It doesn't take much to invent behavioral disorders and then come up with fraudulently marketed drugs that claim to mask symptoms of those disorders.
Welcome to Insane USA, where the mission of the pharmaceutical industry
seems to be: let's put as many people as possible on as many brain altering drugs as possible. And, if you've noticed, the whole idea of diagnosing disease has shifted over the last ten years from diseases that had measurable symptoms (such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or cancer tumors) to diseases that are largely subjective and have no objective definition.
There is no definition of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that can be confirmed by a lab test. It is a completely fictitious disease that has literally no
verifiable biochemistry or physiology. It's simply a matter of one psychiatrist walking in, pointing at a child and saying "Oh, he has a disorder -- let's put him on drugs!" And ignorant parents tend to go right along with it because they haven't done the math on drugs, and they're not aware of the dangerous side effects of these toxic prescriptions.
What we really need in this country are laws that ban dosing children with Mind-altering drugs. If anything, our children need to be set free from the chemical prisons erected by psychiatrists, over-zealous school administrators and, of course, pharmaceutical companies.
Mandatory mental health screening program would dose pregnant women with prescription drugs that cause birth defects
Monday, December 20, 2004
If you know the wonderful and original cartoon series, this is a very sad cartoon.
Someone took the time to re-write the cartoon to show what it would be like if Calvin was put on ritalin.
Calvin is a wonderful child whose imagination takes him on the wildest and funniest adventures. Hobbes is his pet Tiger (in reality a stuffed toy)
You can see some of the original series online at
Sunday, December 19, 2004
As seen on this excellent webpage:
Benjamin Rush, MD, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dean of the Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania and the "Father of American Psychiatry, "described Negroes as suffering from an affliction called Negritude, which was thought to be a mild form of leprosy. The only cure for the disorder was to become white. It is unclear as to how many cases of Negritude were successfully treated.
The irony of Dr. Rush's medical observations was that he was a leading mental health reformer and co-founder of the first anti-slavery society in America. Dr. Rush's portrait still adorns the official seal of the American Psychiatric Association. However, Dr Rush's observation-"The Africans become insane, we are told, in some instances, soon after they enter upon the toils of perpetual slavery in the West Indies"-is not often cited in discussions of mental illness and African-Americans, how-ever valuable it might be in understanding the traumatic impact of enslavement and oppression on Africans and their descendants.
In 1851, Dr. Samuel Cartwright, a prominent Louisiana physician and one of the leading authorities in his time on the medical care of Negroes, identified two mental disorders peculiar to slaves. Drapetomia, or the disease causing Negroes to run away, was noted as a condition, "unknown to our medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptom, the absconding from service, is well known to our planters and overseers. " Dr. Cartwright observed, "The cause in most cases, that induces the Negro to run 4 away from service, is such a disease of the mind as in any other species of alienation, and much more curable, as a general rule. "
Cartwright was so helpful as to identify preventive measures for dealing with potential cases of drapetomania. Slaves showing incipient drapetomania, reflected in sulky and dissatisfied behavior should be whipped-strictly as a therapeutic early intervention. Planter and overseers were encouraged to utilize whipping as the primary intervention once the disease had progressed to the stage of actually running away. Overall, Cartwright suggested that Negroes should be kept in a submissive state and treated like children, with "care, kindness, attention and humanity, to prevent and cure them from running away."
Dr. Cartwright also diagnosed Dysaethesia Aethiopica, or "hebetude of the mind and obtuse sensibility of the body-a disease peculiar to Negroes called by overseers-Rascality. " Dysethesia Aethiopica differed from other species of mental disease since physical signs and lesions accompanied it. The ever-resourceful Dr. Cartwright determined that whipping could also cure this disorder. Of course, one wonders if the whipping were not the cause of the "lesions" that confirmed the diagnosis.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Cartwright was a leading thinker in the pro-slavery movement. Dr. Cartwright, in his article "Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race, " chided his anti-slavery colleagues by noting "The northern physicians and people have noticed the symptoms, but not the disease from which they spring. They ignorantly attribute the symptoms to the debasing influence of slavery on the mind without considering that those who have never been in slavery, or their fathers before them, are the most afflicted, and the latest from the slave-holding south the least. The disease is the natural offspring of Negro liberty-the liberty to be idle, to wallow in filth, and to indulge in improper food and drinks. "
Drapetomania and Dysethesia Aethiopica could be relegated to obscurity along with the spinning chair and other ridiculous assumptions about mental illness and its treatment if African-Americans were not constantly assaulted by updated efforts to put social and economic issues into a medical framework that emphasizes our " pathology. "
In the late 1960s, Vernon Mark, William Sweet and Frank Ervin suggested that urban violence, which most African-Americans perceived as a reaction to oppression, poverty and state-sponsored economic and physical violence against us, was actually due to "brain dysfunction, " and recommended the use of psychosurgery to prevent outbreaks of violence. Clearly, the spirit of Dr. Cartwright was alive, well and receiving federal research grants.
Drs. Alvin Poussaint and Peter Breggin were two outspoken opponents of the updated "Drapetomania" theory, along with hundreds of psychiatric survivors who took to the streets to protest psychosurgery abuses. The issue of brain dysfunction as a cause of poor social conditions in African-American and Latino communities continues to crop up in the federally funded Violence Initiatives of the 1990s and current calls for psychiatric screening for all children entering juvenile justice facilities. Exposing scientific racism is essential to protecting us from further psychiatric abuses and facilitating resolution of social, political and economic problems without blaming the victims of oppression.
As seen in this report
Staff at Ullevål University Hospital [in Norway] were so frightened by a psychotic patient's aggressive behavior that they released him in the hopes that some time at home would calm him. [Ullevål University Hospital has also came under fire after releasing a man in August who went amok on an Oslo tram and stabbed several passengers, one to death.]
A representative for Oslo police said that they were to be informed if the patient was released but instead Ullevål issued a missing person notice after he failed to return. He was assessed as dangerously psychotic by a police physician in October and committed to Ullevål on the 18th of that month.
The Department of Health has an ongoing investigation into Ullevål's routines.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
You would think that Psychiatry and Psychology would have unlocked the key to Human Creativity long ago. But it is not so. A recent study by a business researcher at the Havard Business School has results that debunk six commonly held beliefs about creativity. Being business people, it seems they actually wanted something that worked, vs the usual tripe they get.
The following snippets are from a summary was spotted in the magazine Fast Company.
Myth 1. Creativity Comes From Creative Types
Myth 2. Money Is a Creativity Motivator
Myth 3. Time Pressure Fuels Creativity
Myth 4. Fear Forces Breakthroughs
Myth 5. Competition Beats Collaboration
Myth 6. Streamlining an Organization enhances Creativity
There's this widespread notion that fear and sadness somehow spur creativity. There's even some psychological literature suggesting that the incidence of depression is higher in creative writers and artists -- the de-pressed geniuses who are incredibly original in their thinking. But it isn't so. Not for the vast majority of people.
Simply put, creativity is positively associated with joy and love and negatively associated with anger, fear, and anxiety. People are happiest when they come up with a creative idea, but they're more likely to have a breakthrough if they were happy the day before.
People were the least creative when they were fighting the clock. When people were working under great pressure, their creativity went down not only on that day but the next two days as well. Time pressure stifles creativity because people can't deeply engage with the problem. Creativity requires an incubation period; people need time to soak in a problem and let the ideas bubble up.
It's probably only the public-relations departments that believe downsizing and restructuring actually foster creativity. Of course, the opposite is true: Creativity suffers greatly during a downsizing. Anticipation of the downsizing was even worse than the downsizing itself -- people's fear of the unknown led them to basically disengage from the work.
Anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing some degree of creative work. Creativity depends on a number of things: experience, including knowledge and technical skills; talent; an ability to think in new ways; and the capacity to push through uncreative dry spells. Intrinsic motivation -- people who are turned on by their work often work creatively -- is especially critical.
An interview with the original researcher can been seen here
Monday, December 13, 2004
An Iowa psychiatrist has to pay a $250 fine -- after he was accused of smearing feces on bills used to pay a $5 parking ticket.
Psychiatrist Dr. Ronald Preston McPike was charged with harassment of a public official. He pleaded not guilty, but was fined $250. Police said McPike claimed the money fell into a toilet.
According to authorities, the money was in an envelope labeled, "Foreign brown substance on bills." Lab test showed the stains were from excrement smeared on the bills. Prosecutors had pushed for the maximum of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, saying the crime was disgusting. McPike's lawyer said his client made a serious error in judgment and his psychiatric practice has suffered because of it.
As reported here. Obviously a parogon of virtue and a model for his community. How did he ever think this was alright? Is the man crazy?
Funny thing, there was a survey on the page where they asked the following question
If this man were your psychiatrist, would you stop going to him?
Results so far are 89% said yes. 11% said no. I'm worried about those 11%.
See also this other story.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Tune in tonight, as Primetime Live airs its investigation into withheld information on antidepressants causing suicide in children and adolscents.
As their blurb says:
An investigation reveals evidence that drug makers suppressed information about how antidepressants can affect children.
Check your local listings and be sure to tune in to ABC.
When: Thursday, December 9, 2004. 10:00pm
(but check your local listings first)
Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, appeared on "Primetime Live" tonight to discuss the often-unrecognized side effects of antidepressant drugs.
Studies of the antidepressants known as SSRIs have established an increased risk in suicidal thoughts and behaviors for children and adolescents, and withdrawal symptoms that include dizziness, nausea, insomnia and nightmares.
If you have questions for Glenmullen, author of "The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and Addiction,'" send them in on this page at Prime Time Live. Check back on Wednesday, Dec. 15, for his responses. Glenmullen also consults for lawyers suing antidepressant manufacturers.
For more information, go to his Web site at: www.antidepressantsolution.org
The book The Antidepressant Solution includes a chapter on how changing the dose of antidpressants up or down may make patients suicidal.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
As By SF Gate Columnist Mark Morford
Right now. This minute. As I type this and as you read this and as false Texas dictators rise and sad empires crumble and as this mad bewildered world spins in its frantically careening orbit, there's a nearly 50/50 chance that some sort of devious synthetic chemical manufactured by some massive and largely heartless corporation is coursing through your bloodstream and humping your brain stem and molesting your karma and kicking the crap out of your libido and chattering the teeth of your very bones.
Maybe it's regulating your blood pressure. Maybe it's keeping your cholesterol in check. Maybe it's helping you sleep. Maybe it's helping you wake the hell up. Maybe it's opening your bronchial tubes. Maybe it's brightening your terminally bleak outlook.
Maybe it's adjusting your hormone levels or controlling your urge to weep every minute or relaxing the blood vessels in your penis or cranking the serotonin to your brain or pumping carefully measured slugs of alprazolam or fluoxetine or sertraline or atorvastatin or esomeprazole or buspirone or venlafaxine or any number of substances with Latin-rooted jawbreaker names through your flesh in a bizarre dance of miraculous vaguely disturbing death-defying scientific wonder.
Forty-four percent of all Americans. That's the latest number. Almost half us are popping at least one prescription drug and fully one in six are popping three or more, and the numbers are only increasing and this of course doesn't count alcohol or cigarettes or bad porn and it doesn't count the mad megadoses of jingoistic flag-waving God-slappin' fear -- which is, as evidenced by the last election, a stupendously popular FDA-approved drug in its own right. But that's another column.
Have a teenager? She's probably on drugs, too. One in four of all teens are, according to new research. And we ain't talking pot or ecstasy or meth or fine cocaine or Bud Light or any of those oh-my-God-not-my-baby devil drugs that are so demonized by the government, but that by and large are no more (and are often far less) toxic and addictive and caustic than any of your average 8-buck-a-pop silver-bullet chemical bombs shot forth from the likes of Eli Lilly and Glaxo and Pfizer, et al. Ahh, irony. It's the American way.
All of which means one of two things: either it's the goddamn finest time in history to be an American, living as we are in the age of incredible technology and miracle medicines and longer life expectancies and $5 coffee drinks and a happy synthetic chemical to match any sort of ache or pain or lump or rash or spiritual crisis you might be facing.
Or it's the absolute worst, what with so many of us heavily drugged and over half of us massively obese and IQs dropping like stones and our overall quality of life deteriorating right under our noses and shockingly huge numbers of us actually finding Shania Twain somehow interesting. Which perspective is right for you? Ask your doctor.
It's become so you can't crack a joke about Prozac or Xanax at a party without at least three or four faces suddenly going still and unsmiling and you're like, whoops, as you suddenly realize that you can, as you walk the streets of this fine and heavily narcotized nation, imagine at least one very expensive drug pumping through the time-ravaged body of nearly every other person you pass. It's a bit like knowing their secret fetish or favoritest dream or on which nether part they want to get a tattoo. Except totally different.
Monday, December 06, 2004
The Shadow Psychology News Network is a consortium of concerned citizens, technical and marketing advertisers supporting an initiative to reform Psychology research and education policies and procedures.
A very impressive site. While I do not agree with everything they have, they are a very good resource.
As seen in this webpage
AMERICA, 1847: a highly competent and, by all accounts, pleasant manual laborer of Irish extraction named Phineas Gage is involved in rock blasting operations in mountainous terrain. In the course of one sadly uncontrolled explosion, an iron bar is picked up by the force of the blast and driven clean through the front part of his head. Phineas is sent flying, but, to everybody's surprise, he survives the removal of the protruding bar. As he recovers, however, it is observed that his personality has dramatically changed, though his memory and intelligence remain apparently unaffected. In 1868, a physician named Harlow from Boston writes about him: "His equilibrium, or balance, so to speak, between his intellectual faculties and animal propensities seems to have been destroyed. He is fitful, irreverent, indulging in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires." The now extremely rude Phineas Gage is an object of immense medical interest, for it seems clear, from his somewhat crude experience of psychosurgery, that one can alter the social behavior of the human animal by physically interfering with the frontal lobes of the brain.
Note that His behavior only got worse. Not better.
Then we have this:
As early as 1951, even the Soviet Union, where psychiatric abuse was rife, had stopped performing the lobotomy on ideological grounds: it produced unresponsive people who were fixed and unchangeable.
Lobotomy was finally seen for what it was: not a cure, but a way of managing patients. It was just another form of restraint, a mental strait jacket nailed permanently over the brain. It did not create new people; it subtracted from the old ones. It was an act of defeat, of frustration.
The Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Nolan Lewis, asked: "Is quieting a patient a cure? Perhaps all it accomplishes is to make things more convenient for those who have to nurse them ... the patients become rather childlike ... they are as dull as blazes. It disturbs me to see the number of zombies that these operations turn out ... it should be stopped."
A worth while read
Friday, December 03, 2004
A drug that is supposed to the one safe medication to give depressed children may be actually making children suicidal, according to new research. It was found that children had a 50% higher occurrence of suicidal thoughts while taking Prozac, as opposed to a placebo.
This is definite cause for concern given the number of children currently taking the supposedly safe Prozac. More tests must be conducted immediately to decipher if this is truly a risk that parents need to be concerned with. A push for relabeling of Prozac is underway so that parents are aware of this potentially dangerous side effect.
- Prozac, the only antidepressant certified as safe for children, may make kids more suicidal, according to evidence out Monday.
- A large new study added to previous research on Prozac shows that kids taking the drug have about a 50% higher risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts than those getting placebos, says Robert Temple, director of the Office of Drug Evaluation at the Food and Drug Administration.
- Temple spoke at the first day of hearings on potential label changes for antidepressants taken by more than a million children and teenagers.
- The discussion continues today, and an advisory committee could end the day by asking for tougher warning labels on all antidepressants taken by kids.
- Following a February hearing, the FDA in March asked drug companies to relabel 10 antidepressants, warning that young patients should be watched for worsening depression and anxiety.
- Critics at the time derided that move as "too little, too late," considering that, in December, British drug regulators had advised doctors to prescribe only Prozac for depressed kids.
- The increased risk for suicidal behavior is small: About two to three kids in a group of 100 become more suicidal because they're on antidepressants, says Tarek Hammad, medical reviewer for the FDA.
- Dozens of parents testified at the hearing that antidepressants had caused their children to kill themselves --- or others.
- Their claims were "passionate and plausible," says psychiatrist Wayne Goodman, chairman of the FDA advisory panel.