SSRI Anti-Depressants : Harmful Or Helpful?


“It is absolutely horrendous that they have such disregard for human lives.”
Professor Peter Gotzsche, Nordic Cochrane Centre

I’m blogging over 9 years (I started this blog in 2007), and in that time I have read tons of stuff about SSRI anti-depressants, psychiatry, and the pharmaceutical industry. I have focused my attention, in particular, upon the SSRI anti-depressant drug Seroxat, and the pharmaceutical company that manufactured it- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). However, even before I started this blog, I had been educating myself about SSRI’s, the pharmaceutical industry, and ‘mental illness’ related issues. All in all, I have been reading, writing and researching about this stuff since at least 2001 (15 years). I had a particularly bad reaction to Seroxat, and I have no love for the pharmaceutical company who created it (GSK). I think GSK should have warned me about the dangers of Seroxat, and I believe that by suppressing information on Seroxat over the years, much harm was caused to me and to many many others.

The story of Seroxat is still as scandalous as ever.

I am particularly disturbed at how GSK behave generally too. They are an extremely sociopathic company, and they have absolutely no regard for patient well being, the law, or basic human values or ethics. They have been proven numerous times to be corrupt, devious and downright evil in how they behave. They have been fined numerous times for breaking ethical and legal codes in varous countries, however in their home turf of the UK it seems (because of the vast wealth that they bring there and the huge influence they have upon academia/industry etc) they are never brought to book. There are over 1000 blog posts on this blog detailing how GSK have corrupted doctors, the regulators and psychiatry, and I think my blog backs up my opinion on these subjects- ten fold. I had hoped, that by documenting GSK and Seroxat, others might not end up damaged by a pharmaceutical drug like Seroxat, I did it to bring awareness, it was that simple. I didn’t expect this blog to become the force that it has, I didn’t plan on being a blogger. I experienced an injustice from being prescribed the dangerous drug- Seroxat. I should have been warned, and I wasn’t. I met others who suffered because of Seroxat, and I felt compelled to do something about it- this blog spawned as a result of that impetus.

I have had some people e-mail me and thank me for saving their life, others have sent words of support and encouragement, or mentioned how my writing validated their experience, and I have received a lot of kindness because of my writing, and all of this has been extremely humbling for me, but none of this was planned.

(I have also had some psychos/stalkers/assholes and others who have pestered me from time to time- but those idiots will never stop me from helping others and bringing awareness).

Nevertheless, in all that time, and after digesting so much information about all this stuff, one of the most striking aspects of all this which I noticed is – just how polarized the debate about SSRI anti-depressants has been- over these years. There are those who swear blind that SSRI drugs are really helpful, and that the ‘risks’ are worth the (so called) ‘benefits’. There are people (usually biological psychiatrists) who claim that anti-depressants save lives, and they claim that SSRI anti-depressants are vital in the treatment of depression. Then there is an opposing camp who claim that these drugs are causing suicides, and that there risks far out weigh the benefits. I fall (like most reasonable people) somewhere in the middle…

I believe, or actually, in fact- I know (from my own experience, of almost 4 years on the SSRI Seroxat) that these drugs can be extremely harmful for a lot of people. I do understand that they can be somewhat helpful to others (perhaps very short term with close monitoring in extreme cases, or in a hospital setting), but I believe that the harms far out weigh the ‘benefits’. I also think that the so called ‘benefits’ are largely illusory, and often quite transient and subjective (if they exist at all). The benefit is an illusion just as much as the effect of any mind altering drug/substance is an illusion. Nevertheless, the only people who really know if these drugs are harmful or helpful are the people who take them. I don’t think that these drugs are helpful long term, nor do I think they should be prescribed as first line treatment.

These are potent, heavy, seriously addicting psychotropic/psychoactive/mind altering drugs; they are powerful and their affect on the mind is extremely difficult to predict in each individual. Some people will experience increased anxiety, increased suicidal ideation, hallucinations, distortions in their reality/perceptions/personality etc, and others might not experience these effects too badly. Most will experience some, or variations of these effects over time, and the longer you’re on them the more toxic you become. Withdrawal from them is often horrific too. However, most people will experience the physical side effects of nightmares, sweating profusely, stomach problems, irritability, tension, sexual side effects, nervous system side effects etc. The physical side effects in themselves can be extremely debilitating and disturbing. These drugs are quite toxic physically and they have been way too over-prescribed to too many people, mostly without adequate monitoring or informed consent.

It seems to me that those who defend the drugs without question are usually biological psychiatrists with a vested interest (either directly through pharmaceutical affiliation or indirectly through other means of the psychiatric profession) in keeping knowledge of the harms of these drugs as suppressed as possible.

The problem facing biological psychiatrists who defend the use of SSRI’s -almost evangelically – is- the cat is now fully out of the bag. You can’t defend these drugs in an extreme quasi-religious manner anymore without coming across as some kind of irrational zealot nutcase, because even the most eminent drug experts (the Cochrane group for example) now agree that there are serious issues with these drugs and in fact these drugs are very likely causing more harm than good. It has taken a few decades for the truth to finally become known, but the widespread consensus seems to be leaning towards the fact that these drugs are causing serious harm to a considerable number of people, and they have been for a very long time.

There will always be some biological psychiatrists who (seemingly desperate to hang on to some semblance of power and prestige in their own insecure minds) will defend these drugs like they are some kind of sacred religious iconography. They deem any criticism of the drugs as close to some kind of blasphemy. They imagine that if the drugs they dish out are undermined in any way, they themselves will be undermined also, and their beliefs and ideology will be debased as a result.  With their ego, their profession and their world view under threat of extinction from the truth, some of these psychiatrists can get very irrational and volatile indeed. Their egos just cannot take this perceived assault so they continue to deny despite the evidence rendering their denials redundant and ridiculous, because denial is all they have left as a defense.

Unfortunately, the ship of reason has sailed, and those psychiatrists are not on it.

These hell-fire and brimstone biological psychiatrists are few and far between nowadays, as most ‘clever’ psychiatrists are slowly starting to change their own discourse about SSRI’s so as to make it appear that they were never fully behind the widespread use of them in the first place (most of them really were, but at least some of them have the appearance of decency-or ‘devious intelligence’- to accept the truth and follow the tide of consensus).

It must be very difficult for some psychiatrists to accept that the drugs which they have been peddling for a very long time have perhaps harmed (and in some cases killed) many of their patients. It understandable what a hard pill of truth this might be to swallow (pardon the pun) for some of these individuals but the truth is self evident now. However continuing to deny the realities of the side effects of these drugs, and the harms that they caused, and continue to cause- is not acceptable.

Defending the drugs as a means of protecting the psychiatric ideological paradigm -at the expense of patients’ lives and public health- is utterly reprehensible- in my opinion.

There have been a flurry of articles, in the media recently, about the side effects of SSRI’s and much debate has ensued. However, instead of writing my opinion on each, I think it might be best to combine them all in one post.

The latest damning article about SSRI’s and their dangers comes from the Telegraph UK. The Telegraph article is based on a study from the Nordic Cochrane group. The Cochrane group are among the most respected (and widely cited) academics in the field of medicine.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/12126146/Antidepressants-can-raise-the-risk-of-suicide-biggest-ever-review-finds.html#disqus_thread

“…Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, biggest ever review finds

Antidepressant use doubles the risk of suicide in under 18s and the risks to adults may have been seriously underestimated, researchers found

Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, the biggest ever review has found, as pharmaceutical companies were accused of failing to report side-effects and even deaths linked to the drugs.

 

An analysis of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants – involving more than 18,000 people – found they doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behaviour in under 18s.

 

Although a similarly stark link was not seen in adults, the authors said misreporting of trial data could have led to a ‘serious under-estimation of the harms.’

For years families have claimed that antidepressant medication drove their loved ones to commit suicide, but have been continually dismissed by medical companies and doctors who claimed a link was unproven.

The review – the biggest of its kind into the effects of the drugs – was carried out by the Nordic Cochrane Centre and analysed by University College London (UCL) who today endorse the findings in an editorial in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

After comparing clinical trial information to actual patient reports the scientists found pharmaceutical companies had regularly misclassified deaths and suicidal events in people taking anti-depressants to “favour their products”.

Experts said the review’s findings were “startling” and said it was “deeply worrying” that clinical trials appear to have been misreported….”

Tarang Sharma of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark admitted: “The analysis suggests that clinical study reports, on which decisions about market authorisation are based, are likely to underestimate the extent of drug related harms.”

Four deaths were misreported by one unnamed pharmaceutical company, who claimed they had occurred after the trials had stopped.

One patient strangled himself unexpectedly after taking venlafaxine but because he survived for five days, he was excluded from the results because it was claimed he was no longer on the trial while he was dying in hospital.”


 

Leonie Fennell is a dedicated patient advocate, and genuine mental health activist, who has done stellar work in bringing awareness to the dangers of SSRI medications (her focus is on the SSRI Cipramil in particular, and Lundbeck the pharma who makes it). Her latest post explores some of the themes which I have mentioned in my post thus far. You can read her full post here, but in the meantime here are some very poignant excerpts from it :

“...Yesterday’s BMJ article that found antidepressants double the risk of suicide and aggression in young people, made headlines worldwide. From America, Australia to india, caution was advised when prescribing in this age bracket. Not so in Ireland. The one newspaper article referring to the BMJ article can be found in today’s Irish Examiner here, entitled ‘Drug link to child suicide queried by expert’. So did it warn prescribers of the suicide and aggression risks, advise stricter guidelines or just advise caution when prescribing to children? None of the latter. Instead the Irish Examiner published an article allowing Professor Patricia Casey to question the findings of the Nordic Cochrane Centre..”


Both the Cochrane group’s report on the doubling of aggression side effects, and suicidal side effects etc, and Leonie’s excellent commentary upon it, is no surprise to me because I experienced these side effects directly from GSK’s notorious Seroxat SSRI. I know just how dangerous these drugs are. Leonie Fennell also knows just how dangerous these drugs are because Cipramil killed her son Shane, and tragically also Cipramil caused Shane to be violent- and as a result of this side effect of SSRI induced violence came the death of Sebastian Creane too. Anyone on an SSRI could end up in Shane’s altered state of mind, I’ve been there, and I know of many others, who have expressed similar experiences. These drugs can make people violent and volatile, they can literally snap your mind. Shane should have been warned and monitored properly for emerging suicidal ideation/akathisa/aggression etc. He wasn’t warned, and neither was his family, and the tragedy that followed could have been prevented had they been.

Although I have been drawing attention to these issues for a long time, it is heartening to see my views legitimized by studies from a group as prestigious and respected as the Nordic Cochrane group. It’s high time the public knew just how dangerous these drugs are for all age groups. The studies highlighting the dangers in adolescents and the young show very clear dangers, however this is the proverbial ‘canary in the coal-mine’. All ages, adults and younger, can experience the same deadly side effects of SSRI’s.

I’m not a huge fan of Peter Hitchens (I preferred his brother- Christopher), however he has been good at covering the dangers of SSRI’s and his latest article on the Cochrane study on SSRI’s pulls no punches in that regard.

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2016/01/time-for-some-serious-thought-about-antidepressants.html

Here are some excerpts:

28 January 2016 4:26 PM

Time for Some Serious Thought about ‘Antidepressants’

I expect to have more to say about this, but today’s BMJ? UCL/ Nordic Cochrane Centre analysis of research on ‘antidepressants’ should surely change the terms on which we debate this subject.

I should say that all intelligent people should draw lessons about the difference between what they think is happening, and what is actually happening,  from two major Hollywood films – The Big Short’ and ‘Spotlight’. In both cases – the sub-prime mortgage disaster and the widespread unpunished sexual abuse of children by priests – complacency prevented serious concern for years. In both cases the alarm was raised by outsiders, and most people refused to believe what was being said.

I believe that psychiatric medication contains a similar problem, which in a few years, everyone will acknowledge as fact. But at the moment, it is still difficult to raise it without being accused of being a crank. Complacency rules.

For some years now I have been more or less begging my readers to obtain the book ‘Cracked’ by James Davies’ and to study two clearly-written and straightforward articles on the subject by Dr Marcia Angell, a distinguished American doctor, and no kind of crank, in the New York Review of Books. I link to them (yet again) here. They are devastating, not least because of their measured understatement. The alleged scientific theory (the Serotonin theory) which underpins the prescribing of such drugs is, to put it mildly, unproven. The drug companies themselves have kept secret (until compelled to disgorge them by FoI requests) research results which suggest their pills are, again to put it mildly, not that effective.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2011/06/23/epidemic-mental-illness-why/

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2011/07/14/illusions-of-psychiatry/

Dr Angell’s articles are themselves reviews of important recent books on the subject.

I have also drawn attention to the huge sums of money involved, and to a recent case in which a major drug company was fined *three billion dollars* for (amongst other things) mis-selling ‘antidepressants’.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/jul/03/glaxosmithkline-fined-bribing-doctors-pharmaceuticals


Hitchens is astute in his analysis of the Cochrane study. He draws attention to what I have been drawing attention to on my blog for 9 years. The reason why these drugs have been so widely promoted boils down to one thing- money.

The pharmaceutical industry makes billions on them, that’s why they have got away with all these years of cover-ups, lies, death and destruction. Psychiatry would lose its status (and its profitability) as a ‘legitimate medical specialty’ without the drugs- that’s why they deny the problems- even in the face of overwhelming evidence against their use. For psychiatry – raising awareness of the dangers undermines the profession… and we all know how highly paid some psychiatrists are don’t we?…

Nobody likes their bread and butter threatened do they?…

Nope..

Money, it’s a crime
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for payrise it’s no surprise
That they’re giving none away
Away, away, way
Away, away, away

(Pink Floyd – Money)

Is Glaxo Looking To Replace Andrew Witty As CEO?


GlaxoSmithKline begins search for new ceo to succeed embattled Sir Andrew Witty as investors call for drugs giant to be split up

GlaxoSmithKline has kicked off the search for a chief executive to succeed embattled Sir Andrew Witty.

With the drugs giant facing pressure from powerful shareholders, it is understood the board has started succession planning.

Witty, who was paid £3.9million in 2014, joined Glaxo in 1985 and took over as chief executive in May 2008 after Jean-Pierre Garnier retired.

Under pressure:  GlaxoSmithKline boss is looking for a new boss to replace Sir Andrew Witty (pictured)

Under pressure:  GlaxoSmithKline boss is looking for a new boss to replace Sir Andrew Witty (pictured)

His future is in the hands of chairman Sir Philip Hampton, the former Royal Bank of Scotland chairman who took the helm in May.

Original Seroxat (Paxil) Study 329 Authors’ Belligerent And Glib Response To Damning Seroxat Child Suicide Study In The BMJ


http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4320/rr-27

Paroxetine treatment in youth does not appear to significantly differ from other SSRIs in the risk of suicidal ideation or attempts and whether SSRIs increase or decrease completed suicide remains an open question

In the abstract we stated “Conclusions: Paroxetine is generally well tolerated and effective for major depression in adolescents.” In this sample and with the state of knowledge at the time, it was justified and appropriate.

Sincerely,

Martin B. Keller, M.D.
Boris Birmaher, M.D.
Gabrielle A. Carlson, MD
Gregory N. Clarke, Ph.D.
Graham J. Emslie, M.D.
Harold Koplewicz, M.D.
Stan Kutcher, M.D.
Neal Ryan, M.D.
William H. Sack, M.D.
Michael Strober, Ph.D.

Regular readers of this blog would be very much aware of the recent RIAT re-analysis of GSK’s Seroxat (Paxil) study 329 published in the BMJ last year. This study was damning not just for GSK and for Seroxat, but it was also damning because it showed up the original authors as little more than charlatans. The original ‘authors’ were not so much ‘authors’ in the traditional sense of the word, because they basically just sold their names to the study- most of it was written by a PR pharma ghost writer  (Sally Laden)- hired by GSK.

However, because the ‘authors’ were big names in medicine and psychiatry at the time, GSK’s marketing department used them so that they could push Seroxat (Paxil) to under 18’s. Seroxat should never ever have been prescribed to kids (and in my opinion Seroxat is just as dangerous in the adult population). Many kids died from Seroxat induced suicide, some self harmed from it, some committed acts of violence against themselves and others,  and many were severely damaged (and this happened to adults too).

So you would think, considering the immense harm that this study has done, and considering the agony that Seroxat has caused many tens of thousands of people globally (adults and children)- that the original authors would be ashamed that their names were used in this manner wouldn’t you?  You’d think that they would be utterly appalled to learn that kids died from Seroxat, and you’d think that they would attempt to retract this study from the academic record, and you’d think that- they would be deeply sorry that they were so easily led by a greedy, sociopathic drug company, wouldn’t you? You’d think they’d care..

But, no..

The authors aren’t really concerned about any of this at all…

It seems, judging by their glib, belligerent and arrogant response- in the BMJ- that the study authors really couldn’t give a damn at all..

Why are we surprised?

They did, after all, lend their names to the original fraudulent study.. so why wouldn’t they lend their names to a rebuttal?

But now, in defending the indefensible it seems the only traits I can see remaining in the ‘characters’ of these ‘key opinion leaders’, are ones that resemble stone cold sociopaths.

I find it extremely disturbing how these academics seem to be more concerned with smearing the RIAT authors reputations, playing word games, and muddying the waters with other nonsense, than the stark fact that- a corrupted study they lent their names to- ended up being used to drug kids (literally) to death…

We’re talking about a drug which makes kids kill themselves…isn’t that f*cked up?

I was 21 when I was prescribed Seroxat, and it was a horrible experience..

It was horrendous…  I can’t imagine what it would be like for a child..

You can’t defend the indefensible…

Only psychopaths, serial killers and sociopaths would attempt to do that…Study 329 was a disgusting example of ‘doctors’ and psychiatrists selling their reputations to amoral drug companies, there is no defending it..

It was abhorrent..


GSK scientists indicted for trade secret theft


GSK scientists indicted for trade secret theft

 

Two scientists working at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Pennsylvania, US, have been indicted for conspiracy to commit fraud and allegedly stealing confidential information related to its biopharmaceutical products. The indictment names five people, including scientists Yu Xue and Lucy Xi. If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces a range of punishments, including fines and possible prison terms.

The indictment claims that Xue and Xi used e-mail and USB drives to transmit information about GSK’s procedures for researching, developing, and manufacturing biopharmaceutical products designed to treat cancer or other diseases. Xue and two of the other defendants had formed a company in China called Renopharma in July 2012, allegedly to market and sell the stolen trade secret information.

GSK To Face Trial Over Reed Smith Partner’s Suicide


Scott Flaherty, The Am Law Daily January 13, 2016    | 0 Comments

GlaxoSmithKline headquaters.

GlaxoSmithKline headquaters.

Credit: Maxwell Hamilton via Wikimedia Commons

More than five years ago, Reed Smith partner Stewart Dolin killed himself at a Chicago train station, leaving behind a wife, two children and a sucessful career. Now his widow has moved a step closer to trial in a case accusing GlaxoSmithKline LLC of hiding the suicide risks of its blockbuster antidepressant Paxil and contributing to Dolin’s death.

Wendy Dolin has been pursuing negligence and fraud claims against GSK since August 2012. About two years earlier, in July 2010, Stewart Dolin went to Chicago Transit Authority station on his lunch break and died after stepping in front of an oncoming train. A medical examiner deemed the death a suicide, and an autopsy confirmed the presence of a generic version of GSK’s antidepressant Paxil, according to court documents.

On Tuesday U.S. District Judge James Zagel in Chicago declined to rule on a pair of motions that GSK’s defense lawyers at King & Spalding and Dentons filed last year, hoping to scuttle the case before trial. In a brief docket entry, the judge explained that he won’t make a decision on GSK’s summary judgment motions before a trial scheduled to begin on Sept. 19.

Stewart Dolin, pictured right in an undated photo, was 57 and a co-chair of Reed Smith’s corporate and securities group when he died.

In the lawsuit, Wendy Dolin’s lawyers at Los Angeles-based personal injury firm Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman allege that the suicide came just six days after the Reed Smith partner began taking a generic version of Paxil to treat anxiety and depression.

The complaint accuses GSK of failing to include a warning on Paxil’s labeling that the drug has ties to suicidal behavior in adults. At the time of Dolin’s death, according to the suit, Paxil’s labeling only referenced an association with suicide risk among people aged 24 and younger. Dolin’s lawyers, led by Baum Hedlund’s Brent Wisner, also lodged broader accusations that GSK knew about Paxil’s association with suicide in adults and deliberately concealed that information for decades.

The suit also initially made related claims against Mylan Inc., the drug company that manufactured the generic Paxil that Stewart Dolin actually took. Zagel, however, dismissed Mylan in 2014, finding the claims against the generic maker were preempted by federal drug labeling law.

GSK, defended by Atlanta-based King & Spalding partners Andrew Bayman and Todd Davis and Chicago-based lawyers from Dentons, has denied Dolin’s allegations. The company’s defense lawyers lodged a pair of summary judgment motions in late July, arguing that GSK should be cleared of any liability on multiple grounds.

One of those motions focused on a federal preemption argument. At the time of Stewart Dolin’s suicide, GSK’s lawyers wrote, the company hadn’t been required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to include warnings about suicide risks associated with Paxil for patients older than 24.

A separate GSK motion seeks to undermine other aspects of the suit, including allegations that Stewart Dolin’s doctor didn’t know about Paxil’s full suicide risks before prescribing it. The defense lawyers also reiterated that Dolin had taken a generic version of Paxil, made by Mylan, before the suicide.

“A plaintiff must establish that it was the defendant’s product that actually caused the alleged harm,” GSK’s legal team wrote in support of the summary judgment motion, which was made publicly available in October. “It remains undisputed that Mr. Dolin never ingested GSK’s product Paxil.”

Dolin’s contested both motions in court, but at a status hearing on Tuesday, Zagel put off his ultimate decision on the issues until sometime after the trial begins.

King & Spalding’s Davis referred a request for comment to GSK. In a statement, a company spokeswoman noted that the company’s summary judgment motions remain pending with the court and that Dolin had not been taking brand-name Paxil.

Baum Hedlund’s Wisner, who represents Dolin, said in an email on Wednesday that he’s encouraged that the judge declined to rule on GSK’s pretrial motions.

Amy Winehouse Was An Under-18 Seroxat (Paxil) Guinea Pig


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” I used to do Seroxat… and it made me really loopy… really scatty…”

Amy Winehouse- ‘Amy‘ Film 2015 (22.oo mins)

http://forward.com/culture/music/311613/amy-winehouse-and-me/

“….Winehouse had been taking Seroxat, an anti-depressant, since age 14. After a messy breakup with a bad-influence boyfriend named Blake Fielder – coupled with the constant media frenzy – Winehouse stopped eating and started drinking heavily. One scene at the recording studio shows her nursing a whiskey in between takes. She is bulimic, disappearing mid-rehearsal, leaving the studio’s toilet bowl splattered with that day’s lunch, and returning with eye makeup smeared across her face. Over the course of the documentary, her full, round voluptuous body becomes withered and sickly. In the beginning, we see her dangling a bag of weed in front of the camera before performing a big concert. To get high and relax a little, presumably. But later in the movie, she and Fielder are doing cocaine, crack-cocaine and heroin regularly. She was 23…”

http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/celebrity/160386/amy-winehouse-gives-first-interview-on-drug-addiction.html

“…Often I don’t know what I do, then the next day the memory returns. And then I am engulfed in shame.’ The troubled star also discussed her battle with depression, which she had suffered since the age of 16. ‘I saw a picture of myself when I came out of the hospital. I didn’t recognise myself,’ admitted Winehouse. ‘Since I was 16, I’ve felt a black cloud hangs over me. Since then, I have taken pills for depression.”..

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/sep/16/seroxat-study-harmful-effects-young-people

“…An influential study which claimed that an antidepressant drug was safe for children and adolescents failed to report the true numbers of young people who thought of killing themselves while on it, re-analysis of the trial has found

Study 329, into the effects of GlaxoSmithKline’s drug paroxetine on under-18s, was published in 2001 and later found to be flawed. In 2003, the UK drug regulator instructed doctors not to prescribe paroxetine – sold as Seroxat in the UK and Paxil in the US – to adolescents. ..”


I have just finished watching the recently released, brilliant documentary on Amy Winehouse ( simply called ‘Amy’). I really liked her music (particularly Back to Black), she was a true original, and she was a really interesting woman too. She was extremely smart, savvy, charismatic and a great lyricist. Musically she was always superb, but I liked the documentary as it revealed Amy’s personality and we get to see real footage of Amy behind the stage image and the media-constructed persona. The film is also interspersed with stories from her close friends over the years, and this adds to the authenticity of it. It’s very sad that she succumbed to addictions, and her demise was profoundly tragic: the kind that is symptomatic of hugely influential people who die in harrowing circumstances at the height of their talent and fame. The paparazzi also played their dark part in her life (as they did with Princess Diana) in hounding Amy to her grave.

I also found it interesting to learn that Amy was put on Seroxat when she was a teenager, and apparently she was prescribed it for depression. Having been prescribed Seroxat myself at a young age (21) I can’t help but wonder did Seroxat have any affect on Amy’s development? And also, could it be possible, that for some, Seroxat (and other SSRI’s) can become a kind of ‘gateway’ drug?

Seroxat is extremely powerful and potent, highly addictive, and in many ways resembles a narcotic (with ‘hypnotic’ type qualities). It changes your personality, and your behavior, and personally, I believe, that after experiencing such a dangerous psychotropic, this can alter a person’s psyche in many ways too. Seroxat does not cure depression, and in many cases it can exacerbate depression and anxiety, and Seroxat often prolongs the time it takes to recover from depression because it offers only a chemical distraction. Children who are prescribed drugs like Seroxat are given a signal by adults that its appropriate to deal with your emotional issues with potent drugs. This could arguably harm a child’s development, not to mention set them up for much more trouble down the line. It could also perhaps lead them to take other drugs, such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine etc because they would have been introduced to addiction, or dependence, through taking a drug which induces these effects early in their lives.

Addiction counselors often talk of cannabis being a ‘gateway drug’ in youth- it’s arguable then perhaps that extremely strong, addictive, mind-bending- drugs like Seroxat could also serve that function. I also believe that alcohol and nicotine could also play their part in wiring kids brains for other addictions later on, but a drug like Seroxat is perhaps an even bigger gateway drug for a young person, because it’s sanctioned, and legally prescribed, by an adult (doctor/professional/psychiatrist etc), in the guise of help and healing, therefore this would re-enforce the drug as a ‘gateway’ both psychologically as well as psychically.

“..In a 2007 interview followed her first highly publicized overdoses, she speaks candidly about her depression. “Since I was 16, I’ve felt a black cloud hangs over me,” she said. “Since then, I have taken pills for depression. I believe there are lots of people who have these mood changes.”

A reanalysis of a Seroxat (in children) study published in the BMJ in 2015 (study 329) confirmed what Seroxat users, and ex-users, have been saying for decades- this drug is highly dangerous and largely ineffective. Furthermore not only is a drug like Seroxat useless for depression, a possible gate-way drug, and also- most likely- delays recovery, but it also can cause suicide, self harm, violence etc. It’s simply lethal.

Amy Winehouse was (like many other kids)- a Seroxat guinea pig.

The adults, and young adults, who took it were too.

I was a Seroxat guinea pig too (thanks GSK!)

I don’t know how long Amy was prescribed Seroxat, but she says herself in this documentary that she was prescribed it and it made her ‘loopy'(crazy) so who knows what affect Seroxat had on her early development, or on her attitude to drugs later on? It’s  unclear if Amy took other SSRI’s or psychiatric drugs after Seroxat, or if she suffered withdrawals etc. It’s also unclear what age she was first prescribed anti-depressants, in some articles it says she was just 13 years old, in others 14, 15, or 16..

What is clear though is: Amy Winehouse deserved better ‘mental health’ treatment, I deserved better too, we all did..

Seroxat shouldn’t have been prescribed to anyone…

The irony of Amy’s death was that, despite almost killing herself with cocaine and heroin, and going through various detoxes, and rehab for those Class A drugs, it was alcohol (a legal drug) and Librium (a prescription drug-benzo) that killed her in the end..

SSRI’s often don’t show up on toxicology reports, and it can take repeated tests to find traces of anti-depressants. Amy could have been taking anti-depressants well into her 20’s and up until her death, she could have been experiencing cravings for alcohol to take the edge off the side effects.. she could have been going through various psych-drug withdrawal symptoms and side effects over the years.. the only way to know would be to see her medical records…

Drugs like Seroxat are notorious for causing alcohol cravings..

http://www.nme.com/news/amy-winehouse/59158

“…Mitch Winehouse has said that he believes his daughter died after a seizure, related to the drug Librium.

Amy Winehouse was prescribed the tranquilizer to ‘calm’ her withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, but it has been linked with the deaths of a number of people, including Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland.”

Perhaps if she wasn’t prescribed Seroxat, and instead was given compassion, empathy, and a listening ear when she needed it as a teenager, things could have turned out a lot different? Who knows?..

RIP Amy..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/8754374/Amy-Winehouse-had-prescribed-drug-in-system-when-she-died.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/article-2360326/Amy-Winehouse-said-knew-shed-join-27-club.html

Amy became disruptive in class and began to play truant, as had Kurt Cobain.

Amy came to dislike singing the songs that had made her famous

Amy came to dislike singing the songs that had made her famous

She pierced her upper lip and her mother was horrified when, aged 15, she had her first tattoo done.

Amy later said, ‘My parents pretty much realised (at that stage) that I would do whatever I wanted.’

But even before she had left school and entered the music business she had begun taking antidepressants, with Janis suggesting that she might be bipolar.

Later she would begin self-harming, cutting herself to get attention.

Success arrived quickly after that troubled childhood and, as with the six other principal members of the 27 Club, it proved overwhelming.

Her surgeon cousin Jonathan Winehouse became concerned early on after seeing her perform and meeting her backstage: ‘She was very distant… and really sort of out of it.’

He told her manager that she needed psychological support, but the manager simply said that Amy would go her own way.

After her first album, Frank, was released in 2003, when she was still only 20, Amy began to drink to excess. A nervous performer, she drank to calm down before a show, but then, like Janis Joplin, another troubled and insecure female singing star who lined up glasses of tequila during concerts, she began drinking during the show.

And when she wasn’t performing, Amy went to the pub, the Good Mixer in Camden becoming her second home.

She’d arrive shortly after it opened and usually drank doubles of Jack Daniel’s, sambuca, vodka or tequila. After a while, she was drinking everything mixed together in a pint glass.

Forbes: GlaxoSmithKline’s Move To Drop Use Of Medical Experts Is Misguided


http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnlamattina/2016/01/11/gsks-move-to-drop-use-of-medical-experts-is-misguided/

GlaxoSmithKline’s Move To Drop Use Of Medical Experts Is Misguided

I cover news on drugs and R&D in the pharma industry

The reputation of GlaxoSmithKline has suffered a number of hits in the past few years. In 2012, it paid $3 billion to the Department of Justice to settle charges that GSK paid doctors to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses. In 2014, GSK had to pay a fine of $488 million in China for bribing doctors to prescribe its drugs.

As reported by Andrew Ward of the Financial Times, GSK is trying to clean up its image by stopping the practice of paying doctors to promote its products. On the surface, this sounds like a noble thing to do. After all, there are those that believe that “good drugs should sell themselves” and promotional efforts are only needed for unimpressive new medicines. Actually, that’s not the case.

When a new product is launched, a company seeks to make its availability known. It will also seek to have experts in the field talk about the new drug to doctors who are most likely to prescribe it. These discussions focus on the value of the drug, the benefits it brings compared to existing therapies, how the drug should be best prescribed and, yes, even the side effects. Any company, large or small, will strive to find experts who are well known and are well respected among their peers to discuss its drug. If a company is fortunate to recruit such an expert, it will pay all of that expert’s expenses as well as an honorarium for her time and efforts.

Ah, there’s the rub–money! Because these experts get paid, there is an unfortunate perception on the part of some that these experts are really “hired guns” who are acting as shills for the evil drug company. GSK is trying to change this perception by no longer using such paid experts. Instead, GSK plans to hire people to perform this function so that it will be transparent to all that these are GSK employees touting its medicines.

By doing this, GSK feels it is taking the high road. In fact, a GSK executive claimed that the use of paid external experts will one day be viewed as the same as smoking on airplanes. “People will look back and say ,‘Did we really used to do that?’”

If true, that would be a shame. Using experts to tout a new drug benefits not just the company but patients and physicians. An expert puts his name and reputation on the line when discussing his or her experience with a new medicine. Such testimony can be very powerful. That’s why companies do this. An expert provides an imprimatur of the meaningfulness of the clinical data that supports the drug’s benefits. This can provide assurance to prescribers and, ultimately, patients that experts in the field believe this new medicine has value.

Recommended by Forbes

But, of course, these experts are being PAID. How can they be trusted? Well, can we really expect experts to do this on a pro bono basis? I doubt that any of us would agree to take time to do this sort of work for free. Furthermore, all of these payments are now publicly disclosed. As a result of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), every payment in excess of $10 made to a physician by a drug company is now publicly reported. Thus, people have complete transparency as to the amount experts are being paid for their work.

One has to question what real value GSK’s new policy will create. If a newly hired GSK physician presents to a group of doctors about a new GSK drug, will he or she have more credibility than an outside expert? The GSK physician will undoubtedly have goals on the effectiveness of his or her work–essentially, greater drug sales. Yet, it is difficult to believe a GSK employee will generate more credibility than an external expert who has little stake in the ultimate commercial success of the new drug. If I were a physician or a patient, I would be more comforted knowing some of the leading lights in the field have used and endorsed the new drug as opposed to a GSK employee.

The biopharmaceutical industry certainly needs to improve its reputation. GSK, in particular, faces challenges and I am sure it believes that it is doing the right thing with this shift in policy. However, I think this move is a disservice to the those who are diligent about learning the pros and cons of new drugs. Hopefully, the rest of the biopharmaceutical industry will not follow GSK’s lead on this topic.

GSK confident halting payments to doctors will pay off


This article is a load of bull..
I will  explain why later..

 

Drugmaker says rivals will be eventually follow its lead with latest step to mend reputation
The logo of GlaxoSmithKline sits on a sign outside the company's headquarters in London, UK©Bloomberg

GlaxoSmithKline has become the first big drugmaker to stop paying doctors to promote its products in response to mounting pressure on the pharmaceuticals industry over conflicts of interest with medical professionals.

The UK group will no longer pay medics anywhere in the world to make presentations on its behalf at medical seminars — setting it apart from rivals which still routinely hire senior doctors to educate their peers about drug brands.

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The new policy, which came into force this week after two years of planning, marks the latest step by GSK to clean up its reputation after a damaging corruption scandal in China and a record $3bn US fine for illegal marketing.

GSK predicts other companies will eventually be forced to follow its lead in severing some of the financial ties with healthcare professionals that have eroded public trust in the pharmaceuticals industry.

Other drugmakers continue to argue that paying doctors to speak about their products at medical meetings — ranging from international conferences to local workshops — are a legitimate way to share knowledge about the latest treatments.

However, Murray Stewart, GSK’s chief medical officer, says doctors paid in this way are increasingly viewed by society as “hired guns”. He says the best way to avoid conflicts of interest is for presentations to be provided by a manufacturer’s own employees.

GSK is building in-house teams to carry out speaking duties previously conducted by outside doctors. Last year, it recruited more than 150 medics for this purpose, including several top global experts in vaccines and respiratory diseases. The company is also training some of the 1,000 physicians it already had on staff to add to its roster of speakers.

While GSK will still use these doctors to promote its products, it believes the fact they will always be company employees makes the process more transparent. Critics have long argued that payments to practising doctors by drugmakers risk influencing their decisions on patients’ treatment.

$213m

Amount GSK paid to doctors in the US in 2014. Data show that overall $6.49bn was paid to more than 600,000 doctors

Adriane Fugh-Berman, associate professor of pharmacology at Georgetown University in Washington and an activist for more transparency in drug marketing, says that while GSK’s reforms remove the conflict of interest for individual doctors they do not remove the wider problem of industry influence over medics. “I would be much more impressed if they were getting out of medical education altogether,” she says.

Speaking fees are one of several ways in which doctors receive money from the pharmaceuticals industry on top of their regular salaries. Others, which GSK will continue, include payments for work on research and clinical trials.

Since 2013, all payments to doctors from drugmakers and medical device makers in the US must be disclosed annually, under the so-called Sunshine Act. The latest data, for 2014, show $6.49bn of payments to more than 600,000 doctors. GSK was among the biggest payers at $213m, mostly for research and development activities. A similar disclosure system is due to launch in Europe this year.

Banning speakers’ fees for doctors is the latest move in a broader overhaul of GSK’s marketing practices in response to ethical concerns. The company has also scrapped the link between sales volume and pay for its drug reps to reduce the incentive for employees to engage in illegal marketing practices to boost bonuses.

GSK and the perils of prudence

A GlaxoSmithKline Plc logo sits on glass windows at the company's headquarters in London, U.K., on Thursday, July 11, 2013. Glaxo is suspected of trying to increase sales channels and prices by using avenues such as travel agencies to bribe or sponsor projects of government officials, medical associations, hospitals and doctors, and faking tax receipts, China's Ministry of Public Security said on its website today. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Pharmaceuticals group has been given the benefit of the doubt. Now the pressure is on

The reforms carry risks for GSK as it abandons tried-and-tested methods at a time when the company is battling to revive performance after declining sales. Sceptics would say the company had no choice but to change its ways after the bruising encounters with US and Chinese prosecutors.

GSK paid $3bn to the US Department of Justice in 2012 to settle allegations that it made “cash payments disguised as consulting fees, expensive meals, weekend boondoggles and lavish entertainment” to encourage doctors to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses. This was compounded by a Rmb3bn ($488m) fine in 2014 for the bribing of doctors in China — a scandal for which the company could yet face further punishment from US and UK authorities.

Speaking fees were one of the covers used for funnelling bribes to Chinese doctors and GSK says that eliminating them will reduce the potential for corruption in future. The company is also gradually reducing the number of medical seminars it holds — another way in which questionable hospitality and travel expenses have been paid to medics in the past. Instead, it is increasingly communicating with doctors via webcasts. Some 400,000 healthcare professionals took part in “webinars” hosted by GSK experts last year.

Neil Barnes, head of respiratory medicines for GSK, says the days of drug companies paying for doctors to attend conferences to listen to doctors paid to speak are coming to end. “It is going to be like smoking on aeroplanes. People will look back and say ‘did we really used to do that?’ ”

Whistleblower Lawsuit Filed By Ex-GSK Manager (Pharmalot 2016)


This company is rotten to the core…

Only 8 days in to 2016 and GSK up to no good..

Interesting to see (Saint/Sir/Whiter-than-White/Whatever) Witty mentioned though..

 


 

Whistleblower lawsuit filed by ex-GlaxoSmithKline manager

 

A former GlaxoSmithKline biostatistics manager has filed a whistleblower lawsuit accusing the drug maker of firing him for alleging dodgy study data was used to tout the effectiveness of a smoking-cessation product.

Alexandre Selmani, who worked at Glaxo for nearly a decade, claims his supervisors ignored repeated efforts to alert them to statistical mistakes made in clinical trials for NiQuitin, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in a New Jersey state court. In the United States, Glaxo markets the product as Nicoderm.

As a result, he claims the company engaged in an “illegal, deceptive marketing program” to promote the product “without justification” as a “significant advance” in nicotine treatment. The lawsuit also alleges Glaxo maintained its product was superior to existing nicotine treatments.

Selmani began complaining about the data in mid-2012. But after meeting resistance, he claims to have sent an email to Glaxo Chief Executive Andrew Witty to warn that the mistakes had “the capacity to cause negative consequences and potential health and safety issues for the general public,” the lawsuit argues, although it does not allege any consumers were harmed.

Along with the drug maker, the lawsuit also names Witty and several employees as defendants. A Glaxo spokeswoman declined to comment.

Despite his protests, the company submitted the data for publication and the study was eventually published online in Psychopharmacology in April 2014. The study abstract concluded the product “could be useful to provide quick craving relief for low-dependence smokers.”

In his suit, Selmani maintains that his supervisors retaliated against him by giving him low job performance ratings and reduced raises; sabotaging some of his work; and, ultimately, firing him last October. His lawsuit cites the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, which addresses retaliation by employers.

“The company wanted to use flawed data to sell the product to the public,” Rosemarie Arnold, his attorney, told us. “And when he brought that to the attention of his supervisor, he was basically told to shut up. He worked there many years, got great reviews, and did a great job. But they tried to push him out when he complained they used improper data. And consumers paid for something they didn’t get.”

According to the lawsuit, Selmani’s supervisor told him that he was wasting his time to report the mistakes because he would never be able to convince management to fix them. At one point, Selmani was also told that his “future was not with GSK.”

Ed Silverman can be reached at ed.silverman@statnews.com
Follow Ed on Twitter @Pharmalot

Seroxat Addiction From 2003 (BBC)


A long, hard and painful process
Sarah Venn

Sarah Venn has suffered severe side effects

I remember, as a small child, feeling ‘wobbly’, as if I were on a boat, bobbing up and down.

I grew up with this feeling. By the time I was 16, various tests had confirmed that this sensation was not caused by an inner ear or balance problem.

As I grew older the wobbly feeling became worse and more problematic. After A-levels I started a law degree at Birmingham University and would travel from Coventry to Birmingham by train each day. As the wobbly sensation started to intensify, I worried that I would find myself overcome by it and stranded.

In November 1997, during my second year at University, the cause of the sensation was diagnosed as being Generalised Anxiety Disorder and my GP prescribed Seroxat to treat it. When I first started taking Seroxat I noticed no difference to the wobbly sensation, but felt detached from reality and became lethargic.

Dizzy

My legs were restless and constantly aching, I was nauseous and unable to keep food down

Sarah Venn

I would frequently experience ‘electric shocks’, which caused me to visibly jolt. The tiredness and detachment feeling affected my ability to study and travel to university, leading to the second year of my degree being postponed.

Six months into treatment there was a noticeable improvement to the wobbly sensation and I returned to university in September 1998. By Christmas 1998 the wobbly feeling bothered me on rare occasions. By now my weight had started to increase and I needed increasing amounts of sleep, but neither had become overly worrying.

In May 2000, just before I sat my degree finals, my GP decided it was time I came off Seroxat. I reduced from 20mg to nothing over a period of about two weeks.

As soon as I started to decrease, new feelings began: my legs were restless and constantly aching, I was nauseous and unable to keep food down, constantly dizzy, aching and feeling like I had the flu.

By the time I had finished reducing, I was too ill to leave my bed; I was exhausted and couldn’t see clearly, I needed help to get to the bathroom and feed myself. The GP put me back on 20mg of Seroxat and within days I recovered, just in time to sit final exams.

Suicidal thoughts

Sarah Venn

Sarah Venn in 1996

In August 2000, I moved to London to start work as a legal research assistant. That September, my father, who was on business in Singapore, telephoned me to tell me that he had just seen a newsflash about Seroxat.

I searched the Internet for more information and found many stories like mine. An article in the Guardian newspaper mentioned solicitor Mark Harvey and Dr David Healy.

I decided to see my GP about coming off Seroxat again. She recommended a more gradual tapering method and prescribed Seroxat liquid, which I measured out with a cup, cutting down 2-3mg each week. By the time I got near to 12mg, I was in physical and emotional turmoil.

The nausea had returned, along with flu-feelings, aches, blinding dizziness, exhaustion, rapid and painful successive electric shocks and depression. Most disturbing was the onset of suicidal thoughts and violent nightmares, in which I saw members of my family hurt. For weeks, I was unable to leave my bed. Friends would visit me with food parcels and cook for me.

I was studying the Bar Vocational Course at the time and trying to hold down part-time work. I was unable to do either. One night, in desperation, I called my father in tears, unable to carry on as I was. The next day he drove to London and took me to the GP, who put me on 30mg of Seroxat. After a few days at home, back on Seroxat, I had made nearly a full recovery.

Overwhelming

It has been a long, hard, painful process.

Sarah Venn

I went back to work and completed my studies. By June 2002, my weight had ballooned, and I was twice the weight at which I had started taking Seroxat. I was also requiring increasing amounts of sleep – sometimes 14 hours a night. I found it increasingly difficult to concentrate and was without energy.

Following consultation with medical staff and advisors from within my profession, I decided to postpone my career for a year to try and withdraw from Seroxat. Of particular concern were the long-term effects that Seroxat was having on my health, my weight having doubled, adding to the strain that SSRIs place on the heart.

It is now May 2003 and I am reducing from Seroxat using its liquid form and a syringe. It has been a long, hard, painful process.

I reached 16mg in the New Year, but the symptoms of withdrawal became overwhelming and unbearable and I had to increase my dose back to 20mg. I am still waiting to feel well again so that I can continue reducing, 1mg per fortnight.


Sarah is on the committee of the Seroxat Users Group.

The group was founded in the spring of 2002 by UK patients taking Seroxat to provide support to patients, their friends and families and has more than 5,000 members.

It offers support through meetings held regionally, a discussion forum and email contact with the committee members.

 

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I trust in you, O' Lord, my Savior, the One who died and rose again…. the One who brought me in and will carry me out, the Almighty waters and tides that bring us life. I come to You when there is no where else to turn, I come to You when there is. I look to You as my guiding Light, my Savior…. the One who created all I see- created my life and dreams before I knew myself~ created my talents and style before I knew the value~ I praise You and adore Your mystery. I will be strong and conquer as You would want for me. I beg of your blessings and miracles even though I am unworthy of Your power…. Yet, I trust in You~ and know You have already begun Your work. I love You. I don't know if that is a good enough word, "love"~ But I know You on a level---beyond words. Save me Lord. I will not let go of You. Hear me O' Lord. In Christ's Powerful Name Amen ~ By Brandon Heath

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