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Psychiatric drugs promote mental illness and early daath--Prof. Gotzsche
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journal articles are advertising dressed as science--examples
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FDA Fraud Program
Big PhARMA ghost writes journal articles
Big PHARMA pays generic manufacturers to not ...
New CANCER drugs add little to life expectancy--why
Big Pharma influences the DSM manual
Most Drugs Now are both Imported and not Tested for Purity
Slash taxes or we move our facilities
RU-486 comes from China, now--more tainted drugs
Antidepressants Proven useless for most
Heart Medication kills 22,000 in 2 years
Statin combination Vytorin doesn't work, etc.
Off Label Drug Pushers
0ff Prescription Market Law Eli Lilly violates for Zyprexa
Price Gouging for Orphan Drugs
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Pharma Lobby and Democrats
U.S. Pharma Moves to China and India
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Cancer Generic Drug Shortage increases sales of patented drugs
Psychiatric drugs promote mental illness and early daath--Prof. Gotzsche

Also at http://healthfully.org/rg/id8.html   6/3/16                                                                                     

 This is an exceptional article by another senior scientist and professor whose conscience comes first.  What is commonly thought about psychotropic drugs and taught physicians is one more of many examples of pharma’s ability to frame the discussion.    Peter Gotzsche has not only has wide notice for his work in helping to set up the Nordic Cochrane Review, but also for his many journal articles and medical books--for more on Prof. Peter Gotzsche.  His two recent books on bad pharma, Deadly Psychiatry and Organized Denial and Deadly Medicine and Organised Crime:  How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare places him first among critics of bad pharma.  The Latter has won an award from the British Medical Association (the UK equivalent of the AMA) and forwards by editors of the JAMA and the BMJ (two of the 4 top English medical journals).  The two national associations of physicians have endorsed both the quality of his work and the message. There are over a dozen books published in the last 2 decades by noted professors who relying upon a large body of published research have exposed that psychotropic drugs do more harm than good when taken more than a couple of months; and when taken short-term these sedatives barely pass regulatory scrutiny based upon the doggy standard of improving sleeping.  There are even more documentaries and lectures on YouTube driving home that message. 

Using population figures from the Danish data base Prof. Gotzsche calculated controlling for confounding variables the number of excess deaths among seniors age 65 and above who were taking psychotropic drugs.  He found that this class of drugs is the 3rd leading cause of death after heart failure and cancer, and ahead of strokes.  He then extrapolated the figure for excess deaths in his country to that of the European Union and the United States, and found that 500,000 people yearly just among seniors die early.  These numbers have withstood a journal review and of course criticisms by industry,     

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2215036614702809

Note: the Lancet is one of the 4 leading English medical Journals

Peter C. Gotaxche  Lancet Psychiatry   Volume 1, Issue 2, July 2014, Pages 104–106

Why I think antidepressants cause more harm than good

 

In The Lancet Psychiatry, David Nutt and colleagues1 stated that headlines such as “Antidepressants do more harm than good” plumb a “new nadir in irrational polemic.” I disagree and describe here the evidence that supports my argument so that readers can judge for themselves what they think about the defence of these

drugs by Nutt and colleagues.

 

With regard to the benefits of antidepressants, in its large meta-analysis of 100 000 patients, half of whom

were depressed, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) noted that 10% more patients responded on

antidepressants than did those on placebo,2 and the Cochrane review of depressed patients reported similar

results3 (ie, one patient might benefit for every ten patients treated).

 

I believe those results were exaggerated, however, for several reasons.4 Most importantly, the trials were not effectively blinded. Antidepressants have conspicuous side-effects and many patients and their doctors will therefore know whether the blinded drug is active or placebo. A systematic review of 21 trials5 in a variety of diseases that had both masked and non-masked outcome assessors, and which had mostly used

subjective outcomes, found that the treatment effect was exaggerated by 36% on average (measured as odds ratio) when non-masked observers rather than masked ones assessed the effect. The effect of antidepressants is assessed on highly subjective scales (eg. The Hamilton scale[1]), and if we assume that the blinding is broken for all patients in the trials and adjust for the bias, we will find that antidepressants have no effect (odds ratio 1·02).4

 

However, I do not believe that the blinding is always broken, only that the reported effect is highly likely to

have been exaggerated. Many years ago, adequately blinded trials of tricyclic antidepressants were done,

in which the placebo contained atropine, which causes dryness in the mouth like the active drugs do.  These trials reported very small, clinically insignificant  effects of tricyclic antidepressants compared with

placebo (standardised mean difference 0·17, 95% CI 0·00–0·34).6

 

Another worrying finding in randomised trials is that as many patients stop treatment on SSRIs as on placebo

for any reason.7 After only 2 months, half the patients have stopped taking the drug.8 This finding suggests that, overall, considering benefits and harms together, the patients find the drugs useless.[2] More importantly, no research shows whether these drugs work for the outcomes that really matter, such as saving relationships

and getting people back to work.

 

With respect to the harms of antidepressants, most patients who take these drugs will experience side-effects. The package inserts list many common side-effects, of which one of the most frequent is sexual problems. In a study9 designed to assess this side-effect, sexual problems developed in 604 (59%) of 1022 patients who all reported no problems with sexual function before they started using an antidepressant. The symptoms include decreased libido (50% of patients on fluoxetine), delayed orgasm or ejaculation (also 50%), no orgasm or ejaculation (39%), and erectile dysfunction or decreased vaginal lubrication (22% for both combined).

 

Even when tapering off them slowly, half the patients have difficulty stopping the drugs because of withdrawal

effects, which can be severe10 and long-lasting.4   We noted that withdrawal symptoms were described in similar

terms for benzodiazepines and SSRIs and were very similar for 37 of 42 identified symptoms.11 However, they were not described as dependence for SSRIs.11  To define similar problems as “dependence” in the case of

benzodiazepines and as “withdrawal reactions” in the case of SSRIs is irrational. For patients, the symptoms are just the same; it can be very hard for them to stop either type of drug.

 

Psychiatrists often argue, as did Nutt and colleagues,1  that antidepressants protect against suicide. However,

I believe that no good evidence in support of this idea exists. Good observational studies have refuted it,12 and results from randomised trials13 have shown that antidepressants are associated with increased risk of suicide attempts (5·6 more suicide attempts per 1000 patient-years of SSRI exposure compared with placebo). Antidepressants have not only been associated with suicide but also with homicide.4,14–16  The FDA’s analysis2 showed that suicidal behaviour is increased with antidepressants until about the age of 40 years—but in fact, the situation is much worse than this. Suicides and suicide attempts were vastly underreported in the FDA’s analysis for various reasons.4  For example, only five deaths by suicide were recorded in 52 960 patients on antidepressants in the 2006 FDA analysis2 whereas five deaths by suicide were recorded in 2963 patients on paroxetine alone in a meta-analysis from 1993.17

 

SSRIs are particularly harmful for elderly patients. Results from a carefully controlled cohort study18 of people older than 65 years of age with depression showed that SSRIs led to falls more often than did older antidepressants or if the depression was left untreated.  For every 28 elderly people treated for 1 year with an

SSRI, there was one additional death, compared with no treatment.18 SSRIs have also stimulant effects and might precipitate conversion to bipolar disorder in about 10% of children aged 10–14 years under the care of mental health services .19

 

SSRIs are very poor drugs and I doubt they are safe at any age. The first SSRI was fluoxetine, which the German drug regulator deemed “totally unsuitable for the treatment of depression”.14,20 I, and others,4,21 have written about the controversy surrounding this drug and the process by which it nevertheless came to be approved and widely used. I have written previously4 that there has been heavy marketing and widespread crime committed by drug companies, including fraud, illegal promotion, and corruption of psychiatrists. In the USA, psychiatrists receive more money from the drug industry than any other specialty.4,22 As a result, enough antidepressants are prescribed every year in Denmark to provide treatment for every person in the country for 6 years of their lives.4  I believe this situation is not sound and that it also partly portrays the fact that many patients cannot stop these drugs because of intolerable withdrawal symptoms.

 

SSRIs have been shown to have minimal or nonexistent benefit in patients with mild or moderate depression23 and I think they might not even work for severe depression.4 They should be used very sparingly, if at all, and always with a clear plan for tapering off them.  The so-called maintenance studies, in which patients after successful treatment get randomly assigned to continue with the drug or a placebo, cannot be interpreted as showing that the patients still need the drug because withdrawal symptoms, which can include depression, are inflicted on the placebo group.

 

Nutt and two of his co-authors, Guy M Goodwin and Stephen Lawrie, have between them declared 22 conflicts of interest in relation to drug companies.1 I wonder whether this declaration explains their dismissal of psychotherapy (although it is effective and recommended by NICE) and their description of my evidence-based views as a somewhat irrational polemic that is insulting to the discipline of psychiatry and is reinforcing stigma against mental illnesses. They also talk about anti-psychiatry, anti-capitalism, and a conspiracy theory. This is the language of people who are short of arguments.

 

Peter C Gøtzsche

Nordic Cochrane Centre, Dept 7811 Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

pcg@cochrane.dk

 

I declare no competing interests

 

1 Nutt DJ, Goodwin GM, Bhugra D, Fazel S, Lawrie S. Attacks on antidepressants: signs of deep-seated stigma? Lancet Psychiatry 2014 ; 1: 103–04.

 

2 Laughren TP. Overview for December 13 Meeting of psychopharmacologic drugs advisory committee (PDAC). 2006, Nov 16. http://www.fda.gov/ ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefi ng/2006-4272b1-01-FDA.pdf (accessed Oct 22, 2012).

 

3 Arroll B, Elley CR, Fishman T, et al. Antidepressants versus placebo for depression in primary care. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009; 3: CD007954.

 

4 Gøtzsche PC. Deadly medicines and organised crime: how big pharma has corrupted health care. London: Radcliff e Publishing, 2013

 

5 Hróbjartsson A, Thomsen AS, Emanuelsson F, et al. Observer bias in randomised clinical trials with binary outcomes: systematic review of trials with both blinded and non-blinded outcome assessors. BMJ 2012; 344: e1119.

 

6 Moncrieff J, Wessely S, Hardy R. Active placebos versus antidepressants for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004; 1: CD003012.

 

7 Barbui C, Furukawa TA, Cipriani A. Effectiveness of paroxetine in the treatment of acute major depression in adults: a systematic reexamination of published and unpublished data from randomized trials. CMAJ 2008; 178: 296–305.

 

8 Serna MC, Cruz I, Real J, et al. Duration and adherence of antidepressant treatment (2003 to 2007) based on prescription database. Eur Psychiatry 2010; 25: 206–13.

 

9 Montejo A, Llorca G, Izquierdo J, et al. Incidence of sexual dysfunction associated with antidepressant agents: a prospective multicenter study of 1022 outpatients. Spanish Working Group for the study of psychotropic related

sexual dysfunction. J Clin Psychiatry 2001; 62 (suppl 3): 10–21.

 

10 Fava GA, Bernardi M, Tomba E, et al. Effects of gradual discontinuation of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in panic disorder with agoraphobia.Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2007; 10: 835–38.

 

11 Nielsen M, Hansen EH, Gøtzsche PC. What is the difference between dependence and withdrawal reactions? A comparison of benzodiazepines and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Addiction 2012; 107: 900–08.

 

12 Zahl PH, De Leo D, Ekeberg Ø, et al. The relationship between sales of SSRI, TCA and suicide rates in the Nordic  countries. BMC Psychiatry 2010; 10: 62. 13 Fergusson D, Doucette S, Glass KC, et al. Association between suicide attempts and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. BMJ 2005; 330: 396.

 

14 Healy D. Let Them Eat Prozac. New York: New York University Press; 2004.

 

15 Moore TJ, Glenmullen J, Furberg CD. Prescription drugs associated with reports of violence towards others. PLoS One 2010; 5: e15337.

 

16 Lucire Y, Crotty C. Antidepressant-induced akathisia-related homicides associated with diminishing mutations in metabolizing genes of the CYP450 family. Pharmgenomics Pers Med 2011; 4: 65–81.

 

17 Montgomery SA, Dunner DL, Dunbar GC. Reduction of suicidal thoughts with paroxetine in comparison with reference antidepressants and placebo. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 1995; 5: 5–13. 18 Coupland C, Dhiman P, Morriss R, et al. Antidepressant use and risk of adverse outcomes in older people: population based cohort study. BMJ

2011; 343: d4551.

 

19 Martin A, Young C, Leckman JF, et al. Age eff ects on antidepressant-induced manic conversion. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2004; 158: 773–80.

 

20 Internal Eli Lilly memo. Bad Homburg. 1984 May 25 (available on request).

 

21 Virapen J. Side eff ects: death. College Station: Virtualbookworm.com Publishing, 2010.

 

22 Insel TR. Psychiatrists’ relationships with pharmaceutical companies: part of the problem or part of the solution? JAMA 2010; 303: 1192–93.

 

23 Fournier JC, DeRubeis RJ, Hollon SD, et al. Antidepressant drug effects and depression severity: a patient-level meta-analysis. JAMA 2010;303, 47-53.

 

 



[1] It is much worse than Gotzsche claims.  For one thing Prof. Irving Kirsch has researched breaking blinds for SSRIs, and found it to be over 85%for both doctors and patients. “The Emperor’s New Drugs, p13,  Secondly the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) consists of 17 question, of which often only 13 are used.  Of those used three are for sleeping better, (early night, mid-night, and early morning).  Since SSRIs are tranquilizers (cause people to sleep more) there will be 23% benefit based on those 3 questions.  

[2]  This again is a major place for distorting the results.  The standard practice (not mentioned in the journal articles) is that of last observation is carried forward.  The last observation before the patient dropped out is carried to the end of the study thus inflating the number of patients who completed the study and deflating side effects which aren’t reported by the patient who dropped out. See Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma, p 69. 

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