Friday, February 29, 2008

Antidepressants Kill Again

From the Rocky Mountain News:

Edward C. Krug, Ph.D
February 28, 2008

We have just had another antidepressant-induced murderous rampage at a school. As a biochemist and minister, I need to point out some things that are missing in the public discussion of these tragedies.

First, these antidepressants cause chemical imbalances. The body is well perfected by God and evolution. When you introduce an outside chemical to change the body, the body pushes back, reacts. For example, when you first start drinking coffee for the extra energy, you get jangles or nerves, the result of a chemical imbalance. Continue drinking coffee and the caffeine lift decreases as your body compensates to the chemical imbalance created by the caffeine. Stop drinking coffee and you get headaches as your body adapts to the chemical imbalance caused by caffeine withdrawal. Antidepressants create far worse chemical imbalances.

There is no chemical imbalance that causes the depression. This is an advertiser’s lie. Some, long term, inescapable problem causes the person to feel like they are being slowly destroyed. This is called suppression. Strongly suppressed people become depressed. The chemicals are balanced for the stress the person is undergoing. Giving the person drugs that make them feel happier does nothing to change the suppression. They just tolerate it better. If they are lucky, conditions change and they escape the suppression, and the drug is said to have worked. Often, the antidepressants don’t work because the suppression is not handled.

How the person reacts to the drug-induced chemical imbalances depends on the nature of the suppression that caused the person to become depressed. Murder and suicide are just the reactions that get noticed. These individuals have battled the suppression long before they became depressed and the anger and desperation built up determines how they lash out under the antidepressant-induced chemical-imbalance. Without the suppression and drugs, they would be fairly normal people.

The drug-induced chemical imbalance affects another principal of biology: Use it or lose it! The ability to cope with stress is a skill. Under the influence of these happy pills, the ability to cope deteriorates. Remove the drugs, and the stress is now too much, and the person takes desperate measures.

These antidepressants also erode the moral compass we all have. Normally, the idea of causing damage to our self or others stresses us, but less so under antidepressants. Under continued suppression, and now, with a weakened moral compass, people still look for ways to fight back. Elaborate plans can be developed, as we have seen at these school mass murders. Once the person has a plan on how to fight back, a calmness and determination sets it. The moral compass is discarded. The rest is history, and the future.

These murderous rampages will continue to happen because Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising of pharmaceuticals is increasing antidepressant consumption and annual multi-billion dollar sales, paid for by tax dollars and insurance dollars.

Advertising works! Describe a condition well enough and anybody listening will believe they have it, and ask for medicine. It must be true if they say it often enough! Our government is spending millions in the war against drugs, and the pharmaceutical companies are spending so much more to keep us taking more drugs. Antidepressant consumption has skyrocketed. Antidepressant drugs are now measurable in river water leaving major cities, and occasionally in city drinking water. As drug sales go up, the violence will only get worse.

Two actions are required. First, repeal direct-to-consumer drug advertising! Call your congressman, demand it! Second, be a friend, care, take time to listen, and be willing to butt in to stop suppression, bullying and injustice. This message has been repeated by great people throughout history; Love thy Neighbor. Drugs are not answer. Listening and understanding is. The wrong thing to do is nothing. A punch line to an old joke says it best. We don’t need psychiatrists; we have friends!

Edward C. Krug, Ph.D. is a resident of Denver.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Eli Lilly settles 900 more claims over Zyprexa

Indianapolis Star

Eli Lilly settles 900 more claims over Zyprexa
January 24, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS -- Eli Lilly and Co. has settled another 900 personal-injury claims against its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, including five set to go to court next month, thus avoiding what would have been the first trial in the U.S. The Indianapolis drug maker confirmed the settlement Wednesday but declined to reveal the amount. With the latest agreements, Lilly has settled more than 25,000 claims, leaving about 1,100 unsettled. Many of the plaintiffs have claimed Lilly underplayed the drug's side effects, including weight gain and elevated blood sugar. Lilly has set aside $1.2 billion to pay claims.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mental Health Watchdog Vindicated

New Report Confirms Psychiatric Drug Risks Kept Buried by Vested Interests

LOS ANGELES: After decades of warning the public that vested interests were burying psychiatric drug risks, vehemently denied by the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industires, the mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) says new research published Jan 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine vindicates their demands for full public disclosure.

CCHR has filed Freedom of Information requests to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adverse reactions reports of antidepressants, helped to orchestrate FDA hearings into the suicidal side effects of antidepressants and filed complaints to government officials and agencies about the conflicts of interest of FDA advisory committee members ignoring the drugs' side effects. In addition, CCHR has issued numerous publications about the cover-up of psychiatric drug side effects and has filed complaints worldwide with licensing boards and other agencies on behalf of people harmed by psychiatric drugs including stimulants, antidepressants and antipsychotics.

Now, a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled, “Selective Publication of Antidepressant Trials and Its Influence on Apparent Efficacy,” has revealed that negative studies on antidepressants are either not being published, or are skewed in a way that makes them appear positive. (See stories running on Fox National News, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal) CCHR says the psychiatric-pharmaceutical cartel is not only misleading the public about the drugs, but also about the disorders for which they are prescribed.

Just this month, U.S. News and World Report confirmed that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) failed to fully disclose the substantial pharmaceutical ties of its task force members, charged with updating and expanding psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, comprised of subjective checklists of symptoms which are then used to categorize new “mental disorders” and bill insurance companies. Even high-ranking psychiatrists such as Steven Sharfstein, former president of the APA, have pointed out the financial corruption in their field. In 2006, Sharfstein admitted, “We have allowed ourselves to be corrupted in this marketplace with lucrative consulting to industry, speaker panels, boards of directors and visits from industry representatives bearing gifts.”

For more information on the financial ties between psychiatrists and drug manufacturers, read CCHR’s publication, Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual Link to Drug Manufacturers.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

And Now It's On Reuters...

This one is blowing up big. Reuters is now carrying the story. One version of it, on AOL, says, "Data on Antidepressants Often Shelved".

In the story, the statistics are incredible. "Nearly a third of antidepressant drugs studies are never published in the medical literature and nearly all happen to show that the drug being tested did not work..." according to the story.

Of 74 studies for 12 antidepressant drugs, 38 produced positive results. All but one of these were published. But only 3 of the 36 studies with negative or questionable results, as assessed by the FDA, were published, and another 11 were written as if the drug had worked when in fact the results of the studies were negative.

Making this data broadly public is a vital step in the right direction. Those of us who have been involved in this movement for a long time already knew this, but not enough people were aware of it. Legislators who want to have the government pay for psychiatric drugs don't know it, for instance.

It's time for a system overhaul.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Worm Turns On Public Perception Of Big Pharma

The winds are changing. I saw an episode of Law and Order where the detectives were investigating a series of suicides at a university and traced it to trials of an antidepressant. They further found that the drug company had mounted a series of trials, but bad results vis-a-vis suicide had caused them to brush the previous trials under a rug. They continued to start new trials in the hope that one would be positive so they could publish it. So they arraigned the CEO of the pharmaceutical company for murder!

And only one day later I found an article in the Wall Street Journal: Antidepressants Under Scrutiny Over Efficacy. The subheading is even more heartening: Sweeping Overview Suggests Suppression of Negative Data Has Distorted View of Drugs.

The article addresses the very issue raised dramatically in the Law and Order episode -- the manipulation of multiple trials to showcase the ones that are positive and scuttle the ones that are negative.

The WSJ Online requires a subscription, but if you have one, read the story. It's at

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Florida May Follow Texas: Investigate and Sue Drug Companies

Florida undecided as states sue over costly drug program
January 10, 2008
NEWS: Front Page

They're powerful psychotic drugs, used to treat conditions like schizophrenia. No one knows what their effects are on children, especially infants, yet within seven years the number of children prescribed the drugs in Florida's health insurance program for the poor has nearly doubled.

There's no doubting one side effect, though -- drug companies watched sales soar, aided by a Florida program they helped create

Florida is far from unique. Several states also noted the costly boom of atypical antipsychotics -- a new class of the drug that was touted to have fewer side effects. The states are suing drug makers, alleging the companies pushed newer, untested drugs that proved no more effective in treatments -- but were far more costly.

In Florida, the taxpayers' bill for the drugs jumped from $9 million seven years ago to nearly $30 million in 2006. Whether Florida will join states like Texas, Pennsylvania and South Carolina in trying to recoup some of those costs is unclear.

"Our office is aware of concerns with antipsychotics in Florida's Medicaid program but we cannot acknowledge nor provide any information pertaining to ongoing criminal investigations," said Sandi Copes, a spokeswoman with the Florida Attorney General's office.

Florida Medicaid records show the number of children -- some just months old -- who were prescribed the drugs went from 9,364 seven years ago to 18,137 in 2006. No records for privately insured patients are available.

"The situation is out of control," said David Cohen, a professor at Florida International University who has been studying the use of antipsychotics since 1983. While no long-term studies have been done on the effects the drugs have on children, there is evidence children on the drugs face greater risks of diabetes, hyperglycemia and extreme weight gain, Cohen said.


Orange City child psychiatrist Manuel Mota-Castillo said age shouldn't be a factor in determining whether the drug is needed. He has prescribed antipsychotics to children frequently, with the youngest being a 25-month-old child.

"I don't want to use the name 'antipsychotic.' I use 'mood stabilizer,' " said Mota-Castillo, who also worked for three years at Act Corp., the area's main mental health facility.

The 25-month-old child had been kicked out of five day-care centers where complaints included punching other children, he said. "The child's mother came to me in shorts so I could see the bruises and marks (on her)," he said.

Crystal Lamson of Sanford said Mota-Castillo has been treating her bipolar son for more than two years. Ryland, now 7, broke a Plexiglas window at a day-care center when he was 5.

"I get criticized all the time from family members," Lamson said. "(But) there are some children out there who do need them."

Another Sanford parent, Richard Davis, said he watched in horror as his daughter Ciara, then 6, gained 40 pounds, developed breasts and had uncontrollable tongue and facial movements.

"Those drugs were killing her," Davis said.

Over his objections, he said Ciara was given antipsychotics by her mother and while in foster care. A court-appointed guardian also noted the effects in an August 2003 report, describing a visit in which Ciara "never once kept her tongue in her mouth."

Ciara, now 11, was taken off the drugs after about a year, her father said, and she quickly dropped the added weight.


In Florida, even as drug makers were being told to issue warnings about risks, a Florida Legislature-directed program partly funded by pharmaceutical companies was recommending the drugs as treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with tics or intermittent explosive disorder, according to the program's Web site that has since been shut down

According to a study that looked at three years of data, about 40 percent of the antipsychotics prescribed to Florida Medicaid children were given to children diagnosed with ADHD -- a use not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Florida program was patterned after a Texas project that has spurred a whistle-blower lawsuit. The Florida Algorithm Project used some of the Texas-developed medical formulas that recommended drug treatments for mental diseases.

A year ago Texas joined the whistle-blower suit against Janssen Pharmaceutica and several other Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries. The suit alleges the program's treatment guidelines -- "improperly influenced" and paid for by the drug companies --increased sales of the antipsychotic Risperdal.

An official with Janssen said the company will defend its actions.

"We believe our participation in all aspects of our Texas Risperdal activities were in accordance with what the law required," said Ambre Morley, a company spokeswoman.

Florida pilot programs using the Texas-developed guidelines began in 2001, according to state documents. Act Corp. in Volusia County was one of 15 sites that adopted the program until it was discontinued in September 2004.

James Bax, a former director of the Florida program, said the project began with funding from pharmaceutical companies.

"It did not take me long to realize that the money from the drug companies was tainted," Bax said. "Once I got into it, I saw what I thought was very insidious."

According to the program's defunct Web site, Bax was director only a couple of months before a retired Johnson & Johnson employee took the title.

In 2002, the Florida Legislature permitted the Department of Children & Families to accept grants from pharmaceutical manufacturers to develop training for health care organizations serving public sector clients, according to a September 2003 Agency for Health Care letter about the Florida program.

When first interviewed, those familiar with the program said they did not recall any ADHD-related information. But archived pages from the program's Internet site show the program had more guidelines on how to treat ADHD than any other ailment. A 2004 report about the program's progress pointed to the development of an ADHD guideline as an accomplishment.

Rajive Tandon, chief psychiatrist for the Mental Health Program Office with Florida's Department of Children & Families, said he's not sure how much impact the Florida program had on the increased use of antipsychotics.

"It certainly was a contributing factor," he said.

Doctors believed the new antipsychotics were better, Tandon said, citing "aggressive marketing."

But the new antipsychotics proved no more effective than older drugs in two significant studies -- one published in 2005 in the New England Journal of Medicine and another in the Journal of the American Medical Association published in 2003, said Cohen, the antipsychotics expert at Florida International.

Tandon said Florida should consider a lawsuit like other states.

"Should we at least look into it? Absolutely," he said, calling for, at minimum, an investigation into the Florida program's funding and impacts. "Then basically hold the appropriate people responsible."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Dark Side - Cold War Psychiatric Experiments

In the course of pursuing my preoccupation with the antics of psychiatry and the drug industry, I occasionally stumble onto stories about the dark underbelly of the beast. Even I sometimes am tempted to stop what I'm reading and quietly look the other way.

The CIA's MKULTRA experiments during the cold war were among history's most frightening footnotes, and they definitely helped to set up the environment we have today with school kids on psychiatric drugs shooting up their classmates and themselves.

Read this story in Freedom Magazine about a woman in Canada who finally achieved some closure for her experience as a psychiatric guinea pig in this program; repeatedly electroshocked, heavily drugged and subjected to techniques that can best be labeled as torture.

Justice Served -- But Injustices Remain