Revolving Door Between GSK And The MHRA


A lot of people are beginning to realize that the MHRA and GSK are perhaps way too close for comfort…Webstats

Some very interesting views lately on my blog.

The Webstats can tell you quite a bit of information, about who is viewing the blog etc.

I noticed today that GSK and the MHRA were both viewing at the same time.

A mere coincidence? or something more?

https://truthman30.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/ian-hudson-gsk-and-the-inherent-corruption-in-the-mhra-bob-fiddaman-investigates/

From The Fiddaman Blog:

Friday, September 05, 2014

http://fiddaman.blogspot.ie/2014/09/mhra-ceo-paxil-and-suicide.html

MHRA CEO, Paxil and Suicide

Much has been said about the conflict of interest between the British drug regulator, (MHRA), and GlaxoSmithKline. It’s obvious to those who know the history of GSK and the MHRA that there is a huge conflict of interest that just cannot be ignored and while such a conflict exists patients will not be safeguarded from the likes of Paxil, a drug marketed and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. I’ve met with the MHRA are a number of occasions, at one stage I offered to help them with their out of date and deeply flawed yellow card reporting system, a system where adverse events are collected and…well, basically nothing is ever done. Communications between me and their then CEO, Kent Woods, broke down due to his refusal to acknowledge that Paxil, known as Seroxat in the UK, should be classed as a teratogen. A teratogen is an agent or factor that causes malformation of an embryo. Much of my communication with the MHRA is in my book, ‘The evidence however, is clear, the Seroxat scandal‘ [1] In 2013 Kent Woods retired and the MHRA appointed Dr Ian Hudson (pic above) as their new CEO. Hudson, who after leaving Glaxo in 2001, became the MHRA’s Licensing Director, responsible for overseeing the benefits and risks of drugs before they hit the market. Yup, the man in charge of the agency who have the job of keeping tabs on the drugs you and I take is a former employee of GSK – then known as SmithKline Beecham. Hudson, whilst working for GSK, was a witness for the defence [GSK] during the Tobin v SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals. In 1998 Donald Schell was put on Paxil [Seroxat]. Forty-eight hours later he put three bullets from two different guns through his wife’s head, as well as through his daughter’s head then through his granddaughter’s head before shooting himself through the head. Hudson’s deposition has been online for sometime in text form, a copy of it can be viewedhere. Sadly, it’s been difficult trying to obtain the actual video footage of Hudson being depoed by US attorneys representing Tobin. We do, however, have a small segment of his video deposition. In 2002 Investigative journalist Shelley Jofre launched her first installment into the whole Paxil debacle. BBC Panorama’s ‘The Secrets of Seroxat’ was aired and it prompted over 67,000 calls and emails from concerned consumers. During the documentary Shelley touched on the case of  Donald Schell. The footage in the documentary revealed part of Dr Ian Hudson’s video deposition. Remember, at the time, Hudson was a GSK employee. Watch…. (Hudson was depoed in 2000) **If the video starts with Andy Vickery talking then click the bar to end of video then press play**

In 2008 the MHRA concluded a four year investigation of GlaxoSmithKline, the crux of which was to find out whether GlaxoSmithKline withheld paediatric safety data pertaining to suicide related to its antidepressant Seroxat. They decided not proceed to criminal prosecution. It’s unknown if they interviewed their own Dr Ian Hudson during their four year investigation. [2]
As I said, Dr Ian Hudson is now the Chief Executive of the MHRA, the agency that purportedly protects British consumers of prescription drugs.
I don’t know about you but this doesn’t really fill me with a sense that I am being protected from dangerous drugs. Does it you?
All four Paxil videos will soon be available in their entirety on Rxisk.
Bob Fiddaman
[1] ‘The evidence however, is clear, the Seroxat scandal’ [US] [UK]
[2] GSK investigation concludes [Link]

Antidepressants Debated At Kings College: 52nd Maudsley Debate: More Harm Than Good?


Great post from the Antidepaware website:

Check it out here

More Harm than Good

MoreHarm1

Last Wednesday, King’s College London hosted its 52nd Maudsley Debate, with the premise that This house believes that the long term use of psychiatric medications is causing more harm than good.

The debate was so popular that many of the audience had to watch on a video link in a nearby lecture theatre.

I was not at the debate myself, but was able to watch it on YouTube, where it is still available. Unfortunately, the recording “stutters” in some places, so that odd words are missed here and there.

PeterGotzscheThe first person to speak for the motion was Professor Peter Gøtzsche (left), Director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, and author of the book Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime. He had already written an article entitled Why I Think Antidepressants Cause More Harm than Good last year for The Lancet.

Peter explained how the original clinical trials were skewed by drug companies, and how the results differed markedly from the results of studies carried out at the Cochrane Centre.

Peter claimed that only about 2% of the prescriptions were necessary, for “the most acute situations,” and that it was necessary to set up withdrawal clinics for those who had become dependent on psychiatric drugs.

AllanYoungPeter was followed by the first speaker against the motion, Professor Allan Young (right), who is Professor of Mood Disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College.

Allan stated that psychiatric drugs can be: “Just as beneficial and effective as treatments for other common, complex conditions,” and that there are regulators to ensure that harmful drugs are withdrawn.

Allan also claimed that Lithium had been shown over the years to be “efficacious”, and that it had “reduced suicide rates.”

SamiTimimiThe second speaker for the motion was Professor Sami Timimi (left), a consultant psychiatrist who is also Visiting Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Lincoln.

Sami said that there was some evidence that psychiatric drugs can do good in the short-term. In the long-term, however, whereas there is “plenty of evidence” that they can cause harm, there is no evidence to justify exposing people to the risk of harm. Sami said that “It seems that the widespread use of psychiatric medication these days is the result of good marketing, and not good science.”

Sami continued by saying that: “Bodies like the Royal College of Psychiatrists have a scientific and moral duty to do something. If they won’t, they are in danger of becoming part of the problem rather than what they should be, which is a strong advocate for patients and those who serve them.”

JohnCraceThe final speaker, who was against the motion, was Mr John Crace (right), who is a political journalist for The Guardian.

John started by saying that he was “ no big fan of Big Pharma,” and that he took only generic forms of medication. He spoke of his experiences as a patient who had been treated with psychiatric medication, and maintained that it had helped him.

There followed a number of questions and comments from the audience. Most of the ensuing arguments centred around “studies”, as you’d expect from the three participants who have all been involved in research. However, the tone of the debate then changed when Allan became rather petulant on the subject of his conflicts of interest. DeadlyPsychiatryAllan has received payment from several pharmaceutical companies, including Lundbeck, makers of Citalopram, and Eli Lilly (Fluoxetine). He made comparisons with the money that Peter Gøtzsche will earn from his next book (left), to be published in September.

In his summing-up, Peter used the time to say that he was campaigning for the ban of forced treatment, and concluded by referring to the harm caused by psychiatric drugs, particularly when it came to the deaths of old people.

Allan used his time to read a statement in which he claimed that other members of the Cochrane Centre cast doubts on the validity of Peter’s evidence.

For the record, the result of the debate was 136 – 66 in favour of those who agreed that psychiatric drugs do more harm than good.

The debate caused varied reactions on Twitter and YouTube, and in online medical magazines such as Pulse.

John Crace wrote a review of the debate in The Guardian the next day entitled “While the psychiatrists argue about antidepressants, I’ll keep taking them”, where he described the debate as a “bearpit”.

JamesDaviesAuthor Dr James Davies (right) of the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry (CEP) called the debate “a cause for hope” and wrote:

For the last past 30 years those of us critical of the overprescribing and harms of psychiatric medications have been on the losing side, in the face of a powerful industry-backed medical model that has crowded out alternative voices and visions. The real importance of Wednesday’s Maudsley Debate is that is symbolised what the critical community has been sensing for some time now – that the tide is finally turning. The people and institutions who were once isolated, unconnected and struggling against an evidence base favouring the status quo, can now, at a click, possess the evidence revealing that what we were sold as solid as beyond dispute is nothing of the sort.

“Last night the Maudsley Debate brought into the heart of establishment psychiatry powerful evidence and arguments that the long-term use of psychiatric medications is causing more harm than good – and evidence clearly won on the night. This is a cause for hope and optimism. But of course we must remain cautious, a single debate won’t change the world, but what it has done put the debate squarely on the map – it has finally be legitimised as a valid debate by at leading psychiatric institution, something that has not happened before.”

Maudsley1

Related Articles:

”Antidepressants and the Politics of Health”

The Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry

There is a drive to not only survive but to thrive: coming back from trauma


truthman30:

What gets called mental illness, is, in large part, a reaction to trauma…

Originally posted on Beyond Meds:

Sharing this post again as it contains such a profound message and truth.

There is a drive to not only survive but to thrive.

What gets called mental illness, is, in large part, a reaction to trauma. It’s quite simple really. When we start listening to people’s stories of pain rather than numbing them out and effectively silencing them with neurotoxic drugs we will start healing them. Until then people will remain broken. One of the most basic needs for a wounded human being to heal is to be seen. Recognized. Validated. Yes.

A very beautiful and profound talk and message.

Trauma can be incurred in many different ways. This is only now becoming understood. Our culture has trauma and abuse that is often not recognized. There is, of course, too, the sort that is obviously heinous and ugly. It can all impact the general well-being of those subjected…

View original 266 more words

Aine’s story: ‘I was unaware of potential adverse effects to my prescribed antidepressants’


http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/mental-health/aines-story-i-was-unaware-of-potential-adverse-effects-to-my-prescribed-antidepressants-31218347.html

Aine’s story: ‘I was unaware of potential adverse effects to my prescribed antidepressants’

Published 13/05/2015 | 08:51

Aine O'Beirne Open Gallery 1
Aine O’Beirne

“I’ve suffered from anxiety most of my life. About 10 years ago I started to get panic attacks. I was prescribed the antidepressant SSRI Citalopram and was on it for about three years. Initially it did seem to help. However, I was unaware of potential adverse effects.

In the summer of 2008, I went into mania psychosis while on the SSRI. Psychosis is a temporary loss of touch with reality. There was a spiritual aspect to my experience. I wasn’t violent. I live in a culture that lacks empathy and understanding of such experiences, even more so seven years ago.

I ended up admitted to a psychiatric hospital without being involved in that decision. I did have more insight into what was going on than people seemed to realise. I found the initial admission to hospital very traumatic, even more distressing than the symptoms I was experiencing.

Stigma

I was never told that antidepressants could cause these symptoms, despite the evidence that is out there. Knowing this would have helped immensely, especially with the social stigma.

I was quickly given the label “bipolar”, which should not happen when the drug can be causing the symptoms.

While some tranquilisers can offer relief to a person when used short-term, I was unnecessarily put on several strong and potentially damaging drugs long-term. These drugs were very sedating.

I slept half the day and had a poor quality of life.

A turning point was when I connected to the right doctors and went to see Prof Ivor Browne who listened to my human story and gave me a new perspective. Ivor worked in a methodical way. He told me I was not “mentally ill”, which was quite liberating.

It’s been a difficult seven years. My career ended, which created another set of problems.

The whole experience has affected some of my personal relationships. I use WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) in my recovery and benefit from self-awareness, rest, yoga, meditation, exercise, nutrition, mindfulness, journaling and talk therapy. Support from others is vital.

Relapse

Any changes to the drugs a person is on needs to be made slowly and under the supervision of a doctor.

I am now off most of the drugs nearly four years. In the first two years I was prone to relapse as my body readjusted to being off prescribed psychoactive drugs.

I no longer go into mania psychosis, which is a major step in my recovery journey.

I’m hoping others may learn from my story. I engage with the mental health system through a number of initiatives in the hope of bringing about change.

Certain changes such as an open dialogue approach can make such a difference to the person in emotional distress.”

Aine O’Beirne was prescribed an SSRI antidepressant 10 years ago. Three years later she went into psychosis and hasn’t been able to work since

Recap from 2012: America The BattleField: Big Pharma Criminality and Fraud No Longer a Conspiracy Theory


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Big Pharma Criminality and Fraud No Longer a Conspiracy Theory

This is for everyone who has been saying that I don’t know what I’m talking about and don’t have the facts regarding the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and vaccine industries. GlaxoSmithKline, one of the largest multinational pharmaceutical, biologics, and vaccine corporations in the world, has plead guilty to criminal fraud charges, and has been ordered to pay $3 billion in fines, the largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history.
This is just one example of the decades-long conspiracy of criminal activity and deep collusion between government, big pharma, and the media. They have been lying, and the media has been supporting and covering for the illegal chemical and biological warfare of these drug companies.
Glaxo made $27.9 billion from the sale of Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Avandia. The fine was incurred due to hiding the dangers and inducing doctors to prescribe these drugs for off-label uses.
However, Glaxo had already set aside the $3 billion from their war chest of $27.9 billion, to pay the government fine. Glaxo said in a statement to the BBC that they will pay the fine out of existing cash resources. Some of the criminal charges GlaxoSmithKline plead guilty to:

  • Bribing doctors
  • Lying to the FDA
  • Fabricating drug safety data
  • Defrauding Medicare and Medicaid out of billions
  • Deceiving regulators about the effectiveness of its drugs
Among the many doctors bribed by GlaxoSmithKline was Dr. Drew Pinsky, who received $275,000.00 to promote Glaxo’s anti-depressant drug, Wellbutrin. Also, sales reps in the U.S. were encouraged to mis-sell Glaxo’s antidepressants. Where is the accountability?

“On behalf of (Glaxo), I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learnt from the mistakes that were made. When necessary, we have removed employees who have engaged in misconduct.” – Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline “What we’re learning is that money doesn’t deter corporate malfeasance.” – Eliot Spitzer, former attorney general of New York “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” – Marcia Angell, MD Similarly,

Bayer was caught shipping out Factor VIII hemophilia blood products that were knowingly infected with HIV and hepatitis C, to patients all over the country for over a decade. It is estimated that the resulting deaths from just those blood products number in the hundreds of thousands.

Government regulators are themselves corrupted from within. For instance, the former director of the CDC from 2002 through 2009, Dr. Julie Gerberding, landed a very lucrative job as president of the $5 billion vaccine division at Merck, one of the largest drug companies in the world. She was very likely cultivating a relationship with Merck all those years. The pharmaceutical industry has a giant “revolving door” through which corporations and government agencies frequently exchange key employees. And the bought-and-paid-for state run media is standing by to propagandize the masses about how great it is. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda, Nazi Germany Relevant news articles:

http://www.scripintelligence.com/home/300-years-of-Andrew-Witty-What-to-buy-with-3-billion-332432

300 years of Andrew Witty? What to buy with $3 billion

04 July 2012
John Hodgson

GlaxoSmithKline, part of what used to be called ‘the ethical pharmaceutical industry’ back in the days when Boy Scouts wore short pants, was docked a record $3 billion in state and federal fines and in liabilities in the US for misdemeanours violations concerning the marketing of antidepressants and its diabetes drug, Avandia (scripintelligence.com, 3 July 2012).

GSK’s stock price rise in London of 22 pence on the day was a collective investor sigh of relief that the dmage was as low as $3 billion. This was half the amount GSK had predicted (£4 billion – $6 billion).

But the company surely would have much rather determined itself how the money was spent.

So, on the day the Higgs boson first poked its mass-defining nosy signal above the parapet of subatomic noise, Scrip would like to take you on a trip to some alternative universes, universes in which an innocent (or undetected) GSK gets, Sinatra-like, to spend $3 billion its way.

What then, in the words of the Finance Director, is the opportunity cost of being naughty and getting caught?

Without the fine, for instance, GSK might have paid out an extra 60 cents a share in dividends to shareholders.

Or it could have spent the money on R&D, adding 50% again to its annual innovation budget.

Ot it could cornerstone a hundred regional venture capital funds around the globe (but probably still mainly in New England and California) and really stoke up early stage life science companies.

It could have bought more or its own shares. In 2011, GSK spent £2.2 billion ($3.45 billion) on auto-cannibalism, buying its own shares. It will probably make similarly narcissistic purchases in 2012. With a market capitalisation of around $110 billion, each $1 billion in stock repurchase by GSK increases its earnings-per-share by nearly 1% without the company having to do anything to change its business in any tangible way. A $3 billion bonus would have boosted GSK EPS 2.7%.

On the other hand, GSK could have made an irresistible offer for HGS, $5.6 billion rather the paltry $2.6 billion it currently has on the table now, gathering dust (scripintelligence, com, 11 June 2012).

[Mind you, with no other bidders in sight, no rumours of bidders from any investments banks, and no statistically significant evidence that icicles are forming in Hades, GSK probably doesn’t have to rush that one.]

It could have bought 60% of the BioMarin Pharmaceuticals rare disease business, for which GSK is rumoured to be offering $5 billion (scripintelligence.com, 13 June 2012).

Or the company could keep Andrew Witty on his 2011 salary for close to 300 years, although that seems an excessive period without a raise, even for a man who seems happy enough with a mere $10.6 million compensation, well below the 2011 Big Pharma average of $16.3 million (scripintelligence.com, 30 March 2012).

Alternatively, in order to flatten the GSK organisational structure still further, and to extend the R&D analogy of ‘shots on goal’ to management circles, $3 billion would buy the company ten years with an expanded management team of 30 CEOs with salary-linked egos. Then GSK really would run like a collection of biotechs.

Of course, there are lots of alternative universes outside GSK. Spent on a global initiative to tackle neglected tropical diseases, for instance, $3 billion might stretch further. At the launch of just such an initiative in January (scripintelligence.com, 31 January 2012) into which the Gates Foundation had committed $383 million, Andrew Witty, speaking for 13 pharma firms involved said: “Many companies and organisations have worked for decades to fight these horrific diseases. But no one company or organisation can do it alone.”

Hmmn, Andrew. Hate to be picky, but $3000 million probably might just cover it. Oh, no! Forgot! You don’t have it any more. Silly tropical diseases will just have stay neglected a bit longer.

$3 billion is a lot of money in India, too. There it buys three years worth of government-procured drugs (scripintelligence.com, 25 June 2012).

Part of case against GSK involved allegations that the company promoted paediatric use of its Paxil and Wellbutrin antidepressants despite studies that had failed to show efficacy. $3 billion worth of hindsight later, what is clear is that the company had rightly identified an unmet medical need but then addressed it in the wrong way.

Depressed juveniles? Yufaxil? Nothanksil! Get a Playstation 3 bundle from Amazon costing $299,99. Need extended release? Try the top of the range Microsoft Xbox 360 250 Gb consoles with Kinect at around $380.$3 billion gets around 10 million of them.

This is just the sort of imaginative social comparator that health technology agencies need to think about.

Or, if you want to keep any preventative solution within the care sector, GSK’s fine equals around 200 year’s running the UK suicide prevention charity, the Samaritans (at £10 million a year) or, by extrapolation, 2 years pro rata support for suicide prevention across the entire 7 billion human population.

But wait. There’s another way. A better way! Spend some of money (not all of it, obviously, just most) on better lawyers, smarter certainly than the ones who lost this case.

There’s a lot of billable hours in $3 billion!

The Tragedy Of Jonathan Rhys Meyers


 “Multiple times in the past, Rhys Meyers has claimed he’s given up alcohol and put his wild ways behind him — and again, as he works on Dracula, this is the case. He has stopped drinking, has reportedly been treated for depression and everyone on set claims he is heavily committed to the project.”

Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers hit the headlines today because some very tragic looking paparrazi pictures seem to have caught him on an alcoholic bender. While Jonathan’s demons, rehab stints, and long-time battle with alcohol have been tabloid fodder for years, I can’t help but wonder, is he on SSRI anti-depressant’s, and is it perhaps the SSRI meds which could be either driving this thirst for alcohol,  perpetuating it- or both?

Some articles online suggest that the actor has been ‘treated’ for depression in recent times and considering that depression ‘treatment’ usually means ‘medication’ (SSRI’s). It could be appropriate to speculate that the poor guy is on SSRI medication and possibly has been for years. If this is the case he is possibly unaware that SSRI’s can induce alcoholic tendencies and also if you drink on an SSRI, the drunkenness becomes 10 times more potent, and often on SSRI’s this results in blackouts, hangovers from hell, and a whole lot of trouble.

I know this because I’ve been there.

I sincerely hope that the poor guy can get some proper help for his emotional pain, because judging by the pictures, if he’s receiving medication like SSRI’s as a ‘treatment’ it’s clearly not doing him any good. Furthermore, in many of his benders, it seems that his behavior has gone beyond your typical drunk-state and into something that is very familiar to anyone who has taken SSRI’s and drank alcohol. The SSRI mixed with alcohol state is very scary because you behave ten times more aggressively, and you become much more disinhibited than if you were drinking alcohol without an SSRI and often you also don’t remember anything at all from the incidents. SSRI’s mixed with alcohol are a lethal and dangerous combination and many people are unaware of the link.

Whatever is happening with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, I hope that he can get some proper information and help and I wish him the best.

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20507132,00.html

“Accidental overdoses are on the rise, and deaths due to overdoses have increased significantly in the last 10 years,” Dr. David Sack, M.D., CEO of Promises Treatment Centers, explains to PEOPLE. “This change is due to the epidemic abuse of prescription narcotics which are highly lethal when combined with alcohol or other drugs.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2009956/Jonathan-Rhys-Meyers-suicide-attempt-Tudors-star-rushed-hospital.html

“A source said: ‘It was the opinion of those present that he tried to take his life.’

In the past, he has spoken of his alcohol problem, admitting: ‘When I do drink I’m like Bambi. I’m all over the place like a 16-year-old kid.’

Scotland Yard today confirmed: ‘Officers were called by London Ambulance Service to a residential address following reports of man refusing treatment.

‘Police and London Ambulance Service were in attendance and a 33-year old man was taken to a central London hospital for treatment.’

Rhys Meyers has also been arrested twice at airports in drink-related incidents in the past.

He was arrested at Dublin Airport and arrested for being drunk and in breach of the peace in November 2007. The charges were subsequently dropped.

He was also detained by police in June 2009 at the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris after allegedly assaulting an bar staff employee while drunk.

28C61AC500000578-3085247-In_public_The_37_year_old_Irish_actor_looked_dishevelled_and_dis-a-16_1431873339368

28C61A6C00000578-3085247-Heartthrob_Jonathan_s_flies_appeared_to_be_undone_while_he_had_s-a-15_1431873339253http://davidhealy.org/out-of-my-mind-driven-to-drink/

Out of my mind. Driven to drink

Author: Anne-Marie

(This story epitomizes what RxISK.org is all about. It shows one woman extraordinarily getting to grips with a problem she has on treatment. The hope when RxISK.org is up and running is that we will be able to make it easier for people like Anne-Marie to engage with their doctors to solve problems like this. Unfortunately even though clearly a drug-induced problem Anne-Marie does not want to be identified – DH).

I have been asked to write this story to raise awareness about a strange side effect of treatment and my efforts to get to the bottom of it.

Before my problems began I had been working as a health care assistant at my local hospital in Surrey for five years. I enjoyed my job. I had a stable life. I owned my own home and car.

Following the sudden and devastating death of my father I became anxious and over a period of a year developed a fear of choking which got worse to the point that I was avoiding food and losing weight. I realized I needed help.

I went to my GP and was prescribed paroxetine 20mg in liquid form because I couldn’t swallow the tablets. I had nausea, dizziness, felt spaced out and detached but was assured by my doctor that these symptoms would settle down.

After a few months things did start to improve. I noticed my eating had returned to normal. I felt much more energized and more confident and was able to complete a day’s work without feeling drained and exhausted. I started socializing again.

the warning reassured me it was safe enough to have a few drinks with friends

To begin with I was concerned about drinking alcohol on the medication. I checked the patient information leaflet which gave, what seemed to me, to be a mild warning that “although it is always advisable to avoid alcohol whilst taking medication there is no known interactions with Paroxetine and alcohol”. This reassured me that it was safe enough to have a few drinks with friends.

At first I was only having a few glasses of wine but slowly over time I drank more and more. I began saying and doing things I had no memory of later. I got banned from restaurants and bars in my local town and became an embarrassment to my friends. Eventually some of my close friends and family distanced themselves from me. I was losing everyone around me and losing control of my life but I just didn’t care. I felt like I was in a dream and that none of this was real.

I became verbally aggressive and my behavior was reckless. On one occasion I climbed out of a velux window and onto my roof. I was not trying to kill myself. I didn’t even consider the dangers of what I was doing.

I began to get into trouble with the police, in the main for continual nuisance phone calls to the police station. This happened on a regular basis when I was drinking. Sometimes I would ring them 20 to 30 times a night on their non-emergency number with only a very vague memory of doing so. It resulted in me getting arrested on numerous occasions.

 I began to feel that something was very wrong

After getting arrested several times I began to feel that something was wrong. I started taking time off work. I got cravings for alcohol that were so intense I felt I was possessed. I would start drinking and couldn’t stop. I’d continue until I was either arrested or I collapsed into a coma. Things were getting very out of hand. I felt alone with my problem and couldn’t understand why I was behaving like this. I felt that no one understood what was happening to me or cared.

I began to research on the internet to find an answer and I found other people reporting cravings for alcohol on SSRI medication on many websites. This really shocked me. Yet no one in the medical profession seemed to be taking any notice of it. Why? The first time I saw a psychiatrist I was told that it was due to my drinking problem.

 terrible overwhelming uncontrollable cravings 

I knew I was drinking too much but I also had terrible overwhelming uncontrollable cravings for alcohol. I printed some of the information from the internet out and gave this to my doctor and tried to explain that I thought the medication was giving me intense cravings for alcohol.

My doctor was very sympathetic but not convinced. Again I was told that I had a drink problem and was in denial. He did however agree to change my medication and prescribed me 20mg of citalopram. I was referred to my local drug and alcohol clinic.

Following the switch to citalopram over the course of a couple of months, I felt less aggressive. However my cravings for alcohol were as strong as ever and I still couldn’t stop drinking. Things spiraled further out of control. I spent time in prison, was suspended and eventually sacked from the job I loved. Even a couple of alcohol free months in rehab, where I was provided with overwhelming help and support, wasn’t enough to stop the pattern continuing as soon as I returned home.

By now I had given up on the experts … who accused me of denial

By now I had given up on trying to tell my medical team that I thought it was my medication that was causing the problems. I was accused of being in denial over the alcoholism but I was certain that these intense cravings for alcohol were being induced by the SSRI.

Before I had searched for others with similar problems, now I began searching for answers. First I googled alcohol cravings induced by paroxetine and then by citalopram. The first web pages I came across were from the depression forums and similar websites where people where sharing their stories about the same alcohol cravings and looking for answers. I came across the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, the Seroxat Users Support Group and the Seroxat Secrets website where many people were reporting the same thing.

I decided to start looking at research papers but I couldn’t find any on SSRIs and alcohol cravings. I then read a message on one of the forums that mentioned a Yale study from 1994 that had a link to serotonin. This pointed me toward reading about alcoholism and the serotonin system.

There were no easy answers to this.

I read many papers that I only vaguely understood. I had to learn all about serotonin receptors, transporters and neurons to understand the research papers I was reading. I had to leave it several times and go back to it as my head was hurting trying to understand it. I nearly gave up looking several times but couldn’t because I knew the answer was there somewhere. I learnt that there were seven serotonin receptors and was very disappointed to learn that there were even more receptors connected to these receptors. There was also only one receptor though that had a gateway to dopamine which was the S-3 receptor. I now needed to learn what all these different receptors did and to see if any were connected to cravings for alcohol. There were no easy answers to this.

Had I really been like this for ten years?

I wanted to wean myself off citalopram. I knew it was ruining my life. In the first month I couldn’t believe the change in me. I felt as if I had been given back my sight and hearing again. I felt in awe of everything around me. Had I really been like this for ten years and hadn’t realized it? Almost immediately the cravings for alcohol reduced by about 50%.

But withdrawal wasn’t easy and I went through two months of distress with extreme mood swings, panic attacks, sensitivity to noise, feeling like I had the flu with aches and pains. I couldn’t cope with this so went back to my GP and was put on mirtazapine 15mg, which was later upped to 30mg as I was experiencing restless leg syndrome at the lower dose. (I had seen on the internet that another woman had a similar experience as me on 15mg mirtazapine which disappeared at 30mg).

I realized that mirtazapine may have the answer

My cravings went completely. I realized that mirtazapine may have the answer. I knew it worked differently to the SSRIs.

I looked up medications for alcoholism and came across a drug called ondansetron, which works by blocking the S3 receptor and eliminating cravings. I discovered that mirtazapine also blocked S3 receptors.

I searched for alcoholism and S3 receptors and found that the S3 was the only serotonin receptor that had a gateway to dopamine and a paper ‘Functional Genetic Variants That Increase Synaptic Serotonin And 5HT3 Receptor Sensitivity Predict Alcohol And Drug Dependence’. I was amazed. It makes sense that if some people have a genetic link to alcoholism mediated through the serotonin system that SSRIs might increase this sensitivity and mirtazapine block it.

I have also just found another research article that was carried out on mice back in 1990’s that also found that if S3 was blocked in mice it stopped the mice from drinking alcohol.

I now know what happened to me

It’s taken me a lot of time, reading and learning but I now have understanding of why I had such intense cravings for alcohol whilst taking SSRIs.

It makes me angry that we never had warnings like they do in the United States. Why were we not being protected here in the UK with appropriate warnings in the same way? If my GP had known that SSRIs could cause cravings for alcohol in some people he would have taken me off these drugs at the very first signs of drinking.

This would have saved me years of suffering and maybe helped many other people too. I’m sure that this is a problem that is more common than people realize. In addition to all the people I have come across reporting these effects on various internet websites, I have met many people who have had similar problems or who know of people who have also had problems on these drugs.

People on these drugs are vulnerable anyway and it is worrying to think how many could be drinking to excess across the country because of a craving for alcohol caused by treatment. It’s absurd to give the impression these drugs are relatively safe with alcohol if the tablets cause some people to experience intense cravings. It’s worrying also that both the drug and alcohol can independently cause confusion, disorientation, hypomania, aggression, and obsessional and bizarre thoughts and behaviors and that the combination in some people can make this much worse.

 It has now made me look to other people’s experiences for information regarding drugs as they seem to be more accurate and honest in their findings than companies, regulators or doctors.

It’s crazy that patients have to get together on the internet to compare their side effects and discuss their problems because there is nowhere else to go. It has made me look to other people’s experiences for information now regarding drugs as they seem to be more accurate and honest in their findings than companies, regulators or doctors.

I didn’t realize until I came off the medication how bad I was. I feel ashamed and guilty for what I put people through. I have lost my job, had to move home, have a criminal record and lost the respect of family and friends. This could all have been avoided if there had been proper warnings in place and effective communications between different authorities.

I saw my retired GP in Asda recently and he asked me if I was back in Nursing. I told him no, I will never be able to go back now after what has happened to me. He said nothing and walked off. I didn’t mean to sound as if I was blaming him but I think he felt that was what I was doing. I felt guilty afterwards. I don’t blame my GP at all, I blame the drug companies and MHRA. What annoys me is that even the Department of Health wrote back to my MP basically laying the blame on the GP who they said should have noticed any changes in my behavior.

I want to tell my story as a warning to anyone who may be craving alcohol on SSRIs. I also want to tell people that sometimes it’s a mistake to leave it to the experts. And finally I want to tell doctors that your patients can often see that the information you are getting is wrong — we don’t blame you for this, we just want you to listen to us.

(The extraordinary twist in the tail here is how the regulator manages both to deny the existence of this problem and blame the doctor at the same time. This is becoming ever more common in modern healthcare systems — DH).

Since posting this it has become clear there are hundreds of people who have experienced something similar – if you have been one of them could you add your experience to this thread.

– See more at: http://davidhealy.org/out-of-my-mind-driven-to-drink/#sthash.Qput5npM.dpuf

http://tribune.com.pk/story/200480/jonathan-rhys-meyers-alleged-suicide-attempt/

On January 22, 2008, Australian actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment, overdosed on pills. Almost a year later in 2009, Michael Jackson suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of acute intoxication by propofol – a drug used to induce anesthesia and sedation -and thus also checked out, permanently. Later the same year Brittany Murphy was pronounced dead, after suffering from cardiac arrest caused by a cocktail of various over-the-counter drugs. These were sad years for Tinsel town.

Cases of drug overdose by celebrities have evinced a dark truth: drugs, alcohol, and depression make for lethal bedfellows in Hollywood. It shows that the charmed life of young actors is a misleading notion; under all that glitz and glam, many struggle with the demands of publicity, often turning to unadulterated intoxication as a release from the pressures of working in LA’s ‘dog-eat-dog’ world of film.

Hollywood nearly experienced another pill-induced loss on June 28, when Jonathan Rhys Meyers was rushed to the hospital after his purported attempt to join the ranks of his fallen predecessors. Paramedics answering a 999 call found him slumped on the floor, according to a report by tabloid newspaper The Sun.

The 33-year-old heart throb, who currently plays the brooding Henry VIII in Showtime’s racy period drama “Tudors” and has also starred in prominent movies like Match Point, Bend it like Beckham, and Velvet Goldmine has a history of alcohol abuse. Just recently in 2010 he enterd a rehab clinic after making it on ‘No Fly List’ of United Airlines since he was too drunk to function at JFK airport.

The 33-year-old was released the following morning on June 29 from the Central London hospital, revealed E-News. Those currently close to the actor are questioning the veracity of the possibility that the actor actually tried to take his life. Celebrity news website TMZ cited a source from the actor’s inner circle, claiming that Ledger was inebriated but had no intention of taking his life.

Still, many doubt the efficacy of this statement and instead believe that Meyers’ grip on the will to live is tenuous at best. The fact that he was disturbed in his intoxicated state was corroborated when Scotland Yard gave a statement London Ambulance Service that had to call officers following reports of a man refusing treatment. Again, the fact that Meyers refused treatment for over half an hour indicates a serious problem. It has not yet been confirmed whether the actor will be undergoing serious therapy for his alcohol and pill fueled suicide attempt.

Sources have also left the matter of the 999 emergency phone call unexplained. Several questions remains: Who called? Was Rhys Meyers found by someone else or did he call for ambulatory services himself? Actors have pulled worse celebrity stunts before- so was this orchestrated to get more attention from tabloids?

Speculation aside, the facts speak for themselves: Rhys Meyers’ drinking problem coupled with his five trips to rehab goes to show that the actor has a lot of demons to deal with. Furthermore, his career wasn’t exactly down in the dumps either; he has recently wrapped up the fourth and final season of “Tudors” in 2010. Also a big fashion name, Meyers has been the face of Hugo Boss men’s fragrance range since 2005 and was also chosen as the official face of the Versace men’s autumn/winter 2006 and spring 2007 collections. Again, it seems that the actor’s troubles don’t stem from his career.