Seroxat : “Let’s talk about side effects”…


What are ‘side effects’?

Drug companies like to list side effects as “undesirable” or “unwanted effects” and I suppose that is somewhat true, side effects from Seroxat can include homicide and suicide, and let’s face it, who would want that? These effects are considered ‘adverse‘, in that they are unintended, yet just because an effect is unintended doesn’t mean it isn’t just as potent. But, there is a darker issue afoot when we talk about ‘side effects’ of psychiatric medications. “Side effects” are not really side effects at all, to call them ‘side effects’ is clever wording, it makes us think that they are minimal secondary effects as opposed to the primary effect of what we are being prescribed the drug for. Side effects are just direct effects of a medication, but they are relegated to ‘side effects’ because the drug is not being marketed primarily to induce these symptoms. In the case of Seroxat, the primary effect is meant to alleviate depressive or anxious symptoms and to generally improve mood and give a better sense of wellbeing. It is this primary effect, which Seroxat supposedly induces, that the drug companies concentrate on in order to sell the drug to consumers. A consumer rarely thinks of the side effects as they are usually so keen to experience the promised ‘primary effect’. Although the ‘side effects’ are just as direct as what the drug is being marketed for, a drug company is obviously not going to market seroxat as a prescription for suicide or homicide, even though these effects can often be induced by Seroxat in some people.

So, if the primary effect is apparently beneficial, and the “secondary” are not, how do we weigh the total effects up? How do we make an ‘informed decision’? Well, considering that ‘side effects’ are really not minimal secondary effects but actually direct effects, it would be safe to assume that if the ‘side effects’ (or other direct effects) of the drug outweigh the promised primary effect then the medication is in fact not beneficial overall. Seroxat has horrific side effects (which seem to be growing in number year to year), and quite simply the overall effects of the drug are not beneficial. If we think of an analogy, it might help us to understand. Take alcohol for example- drink companies promote alcohol and the experience of ‘drinking’ as a social, fun and euphoric experience, most people like a few drinks to relax,to unwind or to socialize, at the weekends etc. Alcohol is a socially acceptable drug and chemical; it has been for a long time. Yet, we all know that the the direct effect of alcohol can also induce liver damage, blackouts, alcoholism and worse. These are direct effects just as much as having a good time on alcohol can end in an awful hangover the next day, the hangover is just as much from the alcohol as the good time in the pub before it.

The problem with a lot of medications today is not that they work or they don’t work, it is that drug companies often don’t tell people the truth about ‘direct effects’ (side effects). And also, they often hype (or doctor) the beneficial aspects and downplay (suppress) the negatives. This means that consumers don’t have a chance to make an ‘informed decision‘. Without an ‘informed decision’, people are being prescribed drugs which can have effects that they are completley unaware of, and often the doctors who prescribe them are too. This is the crux of the Seroxat problem and it is the same for many drugs that come on to market. ‘Misinformed‘ consent is false marketing, fraud and deception.

It seems to be a theme in the pharmaceutical industry today to release drugs on to the market of which the total ‘effects’ are unknown until years after, it also seems to be a theme that drug companies just continue to deny the truth until litigation forces them to. Why is it this way? Well, the way I see it is, the pharmaceutical industry is highly competitive and drug companies know that by the time the profit on a drugs lifespan is made, the cost of future litigation hardly puts a small dent in the profits. In other words, by the time the fraud is discovered and the legal system begins to investigate, potentially millions of people have ingested the drug and massive profits are made. Part of these profits go into the pharmaceutical legal war chest and in the end, a huge profit is still made at the expense of hoodwinking the public. It is this total disregard for those harmed by medications that has resulted in such a dark image of Big Pharma in the mind of the public, the individual and the consumer. Only the pharmaceutical industry can rectify this image problem, and it could begin by being truthful, ethical and honest about the ‘direct effects’ of the drugs it promotes.

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3 comments

  1. BetaSheep

    You’re quite right. Labeling them “side effects” when they simply are other primary effects is a great semantic trick. Calling them “unintended” is also another great verbal sleight-of-hand when what is actually meant is “un-wished for.”

    The most galling thing is that whenever these bad things happen due to “unintended side effects” drug companies call them anecdotal. And of course, science tells you that the plural of anecdote is not evidence.

    However, in so many cases during drug trials, the drug companies saw exactly what the “unintended side effects” were. (See the Zyprexa leaks and litigation.) But by ignoring the problems in their published studies and the documentation presented to the FDA, the drug companies can at least for a little while marginalize the people who begin to complain about the “side effects” and dismiss them as “anecdotal.” After all, there was no “evidence” that these bad things could occur. Sadly, a great many people have to die or become maimed before the alarum bells start going off with the FDA and the general public.

    I disagree with this point, however:

    Only the pharmaceutical industry can rectify this image problem…

    No, before this “image problem” goes away, the FDA* needs to clean its house and enact different regulation. The revolving employment door between the industry and the people who regulate it needs to be shut permanently. The concept of “Deep Capture” needs to be raised and used to identify pockets of cancer in the agency. And then something needs to be done about who oversees drug trials and the approval process. The way it’s sit up now, it’s like letting the foxes guard the henhouse.

    Only after that will we be able to rein in the drug companies, who’ve shown us time and time again that they require constant adult supervision and that they’re not willing to look honestly at anything, except profits.

    *I think you might be from the UK or Canada, but I’m a Yank and like all Yanks, I think the world revolves around us 😉

  2. truthman30

    Thanks Fid, and hello BetaSheep (cool avatar name).

    I agree completely with your views of the FDA, the same is also true of the MHRA in the UK, the IMB in Ireland, and pretty much all privatized drug regulators around the world (although in some countries, this privatization is heavier than others). The whole system is corrupt, from the fat cat executives of Big Pharma, through to the regulators, drug reps and doctors. Unfortunately these problems boil down to Economics instead of morality and ethics. Some operate above the law because they can and because wealth is power. Money is the true licence to KIll…

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