Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cyber Monday - Say what?

Susan has posted on the Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day. I had never heard about it and to me it makes not too much difference because I don't use to buy everyday specially in December when people are crazy in Malls with Christian decorations - yes, we have the fake snow, Santa, trees, everything is the same here. Now on Fox TV I became aware that next Monday is Cyber Monday.
I did a quick research and found many sites with the ads.
A Louis Vuitton can be bought 20% off + free shipping next Monday on this site above. I'm sorry but I hate all this luxury. I don't need D&G or any other letter attached to my body to say who I am or empower me and a huge purse that costs $4,210.00 is beyond my comprehension. This is the cheap one for those who buy online. Men have to buy the most expensive car blah blah blah...
I don't know what to think or to do about it all.

Friday, November 28, 2008

This PC is driving me crazy!

It takes me 3 hours to do what would take 1 and a half hour. The thing freezes when I'm commenting and I have to do it all over again. I've bought a new computer but it was useless because it's a junk and many people are reporting problems but who cares?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Do it for her...

...and to try to stop it from happening again.
Sometimes I ask myself why I've chosen her photo and why I don't change it.
She took her life because of drug-induce suicidal ideation and I have experienced the feeling and will never forget it.
I'm brunette and there's something in her eyes, eyebrows and nose that have a resemblance with me.

I want you to think of me smiling although dealing with all of this bring tears to my eyes most of the time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

I wish a nice Thanksgiving Day to all my US friends.

GlaxoSmithKline kills 12 babies during vaccine clinical trials in Argentina

Babies die during vaccine trials in Argentina Thursday
July 10, 2008

Buenos Aires, Jul 10, 2008 (EFE via COMTEX)

-- At least 12 babies who were part of a clinical study to test the effectiveness of a vaccine against pneumonia have died over the past year in Argentina, the local press reported Thursday.

The study was sponsored by global drug giant GlaxoSmithKline and uses children from poor families, who are "pressured and forced into signing consent forms," the Argentine Federation of Health Professionals, or Fesprosa, said.

"This occurs without any type of state control" and "does not comply with minimum ethical requirements," Fesprosa said.

The vaccine trial is still ongoing despite the denunciations, and those in charge of the study were cited by the Critica newspaper as saying that the procedures are being carried out in a lawful manner.

Colombian and Panama were also chosen by GSK as staging grounds for trials of the vaccine against the pneumococcal bacteria.

Since 2007, 15,000 children under the age of one from the Argentine provinces of Mendoza, San Juan and Santiago del Estero have been included in the research protocol, a statement of what the study is trying to achieve.

"Only 12 have died throughout the country, which is a very low figure if we compare it with the deaths produced by respiratory illnesses caused by the pneumococcal bacteria," pediatrician Enrique Smith, one of the lead investigators, said.

In Santiago del Estero, one of the country's poorest provinces, the trials were authorized when Enrique's brother, Juan Carlos Smith, was provincial health minister.

According to pediatrician Ana Maria Marchese, who works at the children's hospital in the provincial capital where the studies are being conducted, "because they can't experiment in Europe or the United States, they come to do it in third-world countries."

"A lot of people want to leave the protocol but aren't allowed; they force them to continue under the threat that if they leave they won't receive any other vaccine," said Julieta Ovejero, great aunt of one of the six babies who died in Santiago del Estero.

Fesprosa's Juan Carlos Palomares said that "in most cases these are underprivileged individuals, many of them unable to read or write, who are pressured into including their children" in the trials.

According to Fesprosa, "the laboratory pays $8,000 for each child included in the study, but none (of that money) remains in the province that lends the public facilities and the health personnel for the private research." EFE

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Infinite Mind - disease awareness campaings?

As always I'm informed by Philip Dawdy and it was on Furious Seasons that I became aware of the radio show "The Infinite Mind" hosted by Fred Goodwin. According to this post the radio show reached 1 million listeners a week. You are all aware that Sen Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) went after Goodwin because he has received support of eight labs and the radio show is going off the air - read this post by Philip Dawdy.
I cannot help myself asking how is it be possible that a show on mental illness can reach 1 million listeners a week. Why on earth are people so concerned with it?
Depression is the first subject that comes to my mind. I've noticed that people are no longer sad or tired. We are depressed and stressed and both words are already part of daily vocabulary.
Words are powerful. Putting these words in circulation to describe normal feelings is of great help to turn them into diseases and make people think that there's something that could help them. Not fearing disease's name and even making them being repeated over and over again creates a culture where it's easy to believe that it's not a big deal being sick.
Almost the same has happened with bipolarity. So many celebrities are being claimed to be bipolar that the old manic-depressive psychosis lost it's sense and the division bipolar 1 and 2 is not known. Being bipolar sounds to be glamorous and cool.
I'm asking myself how many of those who have listened to "The Infinite Mind" have searched a GP or a psychiatrists because they thought they were depressed.
Perhaps "The Infinite Mind" has helped, without the intention, what it's described on "The Influence of Pharmaceutical Industry" on the topic they approach Disease awareness campaigns:

Disease awareness campaigns

247. Disease awareness campaigns encourage individuals to seek advice or treatment from their doctor for previously undiagnosed conditions. We received allegations that disease awareness campaigns can act as advertisements for prescription-only drugs, particularly where there is a particularly well-known brand of treatment.206 Such campaigns, which may be established by a drug company with or without the endorsement of a patient group or charity, often take place at the same time as the drug's launch and may involve aggressive promotion of a particular medicine to prescribers. Mr Graham Vidler, from Which? told us:

What those awareness campaigns will do is encourage the public to go and see their GP, often in quite strong terms, saying,"Go and see your GP. Be forceful. There is something that can be done." Simultaneously, the companies will be advertising specific drugs to those GPs, and … quite often it [is ] easiest for them to take the path of least resistance.207

248. Witnesses argued that the use of disease awareness campaigns, which in the past have involved conditions including depression, anxiety and obesity, play a major part in the “medicalisation” of our society; in short, “where disease awareness campaigns end and disease mongering begin is a very indistinct line ”.208 Dr Des Spence, representing the group ‘No Free Lunch', asserted that the bombardment of the general public and patients served, “to undermine our collective sense of well being”.209 Dr Spence was especially concerned about the ‘Defeat Depression Campaign ’ and its effect on prescribing patterns and the public’s perception of depression:
[That campaign ] led to us being told that a third of people were depressed, that we should screen for it, that we should start using antidepressants early, and we did. If I think back five or ten years ago, we were diagnosing large numbers of people with depression, and we were prescribing many antidepressants. As time has gone on, I have certainly begun to realise that in some ways yes, there are many people who do have depression, but lots of people are just unhappy and that is a part of life. So there is a whole generation of people coming up who almost feel that being unhappy is an abnormal state, which, of course, it is not.

249. The ‘Defeat Depression Campaign ’ (1992 –1997), which was run through the RCGP and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and sponsored by the manufacturers of antidepressants (who provided approximately one-third of the funding) targeted doctors as well as patients, in particular to emphasise that these drugs did not cause addiction or dependence.These claims have since been disputed and a warning about withdrawal symptoms is now included in the SPC.The Royal College of Psychiatrists provided supplementary evidence emphasising that the Defeat Depression Campaign had been intended to make it clear “that antidepressant treatment was not appropriate for mild to moderate depression, but effective only for severe or clinical depression ”.211 This important message evidently got lost; indeed there remains much confusion on this point today.212 The Royal College also told us it had recently reviewed its policies on accepting commercial sponsorship, and now aims to keep total income from these sources at around 5% of the College's annual turnover. Commercial sponsorship accounted for under £500,000 (5.5% on turnover of £9m) in 2003.

251. No witness suggested that all disease awareness campaigns were cynical attempts to increase drug sales, but many doubted that they were simply aimed at improving the lives of those with unmet medical needs. It is not acceptable for such campaigns to be veiled advertising for branded prescription-only medicines. (emphasis mine).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Call to Action Alert for an Attorney

Please visit Soulful Sepulcher's post Enforcing the ADA: A call to action: Attorney needed for information on the current legal struggles of Stan Cavers of Is Something Not Quite Right With Stan who suffered Traumatic Brain Injury as a result of an assault on him at his workplace on June 13, 2008 and was then terminated by his employer the very next day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Matisse - Joy of Life

For all of us.

Stop drug ADs

I came across with this petition and decided to post it due to the Abilify TV ad.

Tell Congress: Stop Prescription Drug Ads

Each year, drug executives spend $4 billion on prescription drug ads for pills they say will make you feel happier, sleep better and improve your sex life.

The ads are not educational, and do not promote public health. They can be extremely dangerous, as the Vioxx tragedy shows.

The Public Health Protection Act will stop all direct-to-consumer drug ads. Thirty-nine organizations have endorsed this legislation.

Now we need your help.

Tell your Members of Congress to support the Public Health Protection Act. Take action now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I own you nice things

I Know I've been a bore the last weeks with all these data. I'll try to show you good things.
I believe Matisse is a good beginning.
Love you all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SSRIs side effects are not manageable diseases

I've came across with this site because someone has searched "effexor xr case reports of motion sickness" and found the post I've reported feeling dizzy.
I still feel dizzy but after trying to find help with physicians I've realized that there's nothing to do but live with it and hope it will go away. It comes and goes.
There are many reports of side effects related to SSRIs and other psych-drugs all over the Web. The great majority find no help to cope with side effects.
This is one report from the site:
"I have been on antidepressants for approximately 11 years. Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Celexa. I want to get off antidepressants altoghter. My reasons:
1. I developed vertigo ( possibly Menieres Disease) I wonder whether there is a correlation between anti depressants and vertigo &/or Menieres Disease?
3. I believe that other symptoms have occurred due to my lengthy stay on antidepressants: shingles, bells palsy like symptoms, vertigo, menopausal symptoms starting at age 36. Confirmed menopausal at aged 42.

I was also prescribed lamictal (few days bad reaction: rash over body and I could not move the right side of face. The doctor feared bells palsy but it did not last. Treatment was stopped immediately, I was sent to the ER for a shot to rid the rash. Apparently a very small percentage who take lamictal develop a rash. An of this small percentage, a small percent of this population will die from the reaction because there is no known antidote. My advice, never take lamictal, it is NOT worth the risk. For people who are depressed, they can not even make the correct decision to take or not take the drug. They are in the hands of their psychiatrist and NO known antidote is a NO option for the patient.
Posted by: jz at January 17, 2006 12:32 PM
I don't even know what to say about it all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SocialAudit discussion - SSRIs withdrawal hell

I've just found the SocialAudit discussion thread on "problems with Effexor withdrawal" that I've saved. I'm reading the comments and I'm trying to find among many some that could give an idea of what kind of problems were discussed. It's hard. But here are five of them and the last one is from "Anon" someone who used to help a lot answering some of the biggest concerns in 2005.
It's heartbreaking reading all this suffering. There was a thread for every SSRI but the complains were the same.

By Roxan Brown on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 01:49 pm:

I have a nephew who was on efixor and he tried to commit sucide by hanging is this a side effect can any one tell me?
By LEENA DUTRISAC on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - 09:06 pm:

By Anonymous on Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 04:03 pm:

I have been off Effexor for about five years now, yet I STILL have one symptom that appeared either while on it or going off it, I don't remember: when lying in bed going to sleep or waking up, I hear a sudden whoosh sound, maybe every half minute, not regular. I remember five years ago I was going off Effexor and was hearing the same sound triggered by moving my eyes suddenly. There were some other symptoms such as dizziness when walking. I was having so much trouble going to sleep one night that it suddenly occurred to me that it might be related to going off Effexor. I got up and got on the internet and did some searching, and I found hundreds of testimonials about symptoms like mine from Effexor withdrawal. It was a relief, and caused me to do the withdrawal more gradually. After I was completely off it, all symptoms except this ear whoosh sound stopped. The whoosh has never stopped. I'm reasonably sure it appeared while taking Effexor, and was severe at that time. I keep having the feeling that there is something I think about that causes it. This morning I finally identified what I believe is the trigger for the sound: beginning to fall asleep, or conscious attention beginning to relax. Have you ever been driving and almost fallen asleep and jerked awake? Have you noticed that that jerk is accompanied by a sudden whoosh sound in the ears? That is EXACTLY the sound I hear now when relaxing in bed in the morning, every 5-30 seconds. I believe it was caused by Effexor, although I can't be certain. It is also possible, however, that Prozac also causes this, because Prozac has been my antidepressant of choice, and though I'm not on it now, I was about 3 months ago. I don't notice this symptom being any worse, though, when I'm on Prozac. I think Effexor is dangerous. I tell friends asking about antidepressants to avoid that one like the plague.
By Anonymous on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 07:30 am:

I recently discontinued using venlafaxine, after only nine months, due to certain impairments in my daily life such as; huge impairments in short term memory, complete loss of pleasure in reading when I used to be an avid reader, memory loss in the way of spelling and such, problems in recalling familiar words and speech issues (i.e. unablity to speak the words that I'm thinking of, occasional stuttering), and severe loss of inhibitions (i.e. no conscience), and reoccurances of psychotic episodes from childhood.
I've been about a off effexor for three weeks now and things aren't getting back to normal. Could this be frontal lobe damage or something and is this likely to be permanent? I am 18 thus my brain should be more elastic than someone older. Does anyone have any knowledge about this for it would be much appreciated.
By Anon on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 02:35 pm:

Hello. The deficits you list have been experienced by many, many people. Some people are finding that they have to live with long-term damage, however you have only just come off the drug and are highly likely to be in the throes of withdrawal... and withdrawal symptoms show a great deal of overlap when compared with the side-effects: including the memory problems, feeling detatched or unreal, confusion or cognitive difficulties, auditory and visual hallucinations, murderous urges, and manic-like reactions.

Time may prove to be a great healer. Lots of people suffering badly, withdrawal-wise, concur in stating the worst was at the 3 month mark.

I had all the 'huge impairments in short term memory, complete loss of pleasure in reading when I used to be an avid reader, memory loss in the way of spelling and such, problems in recalling familiar words and speech issues (i.e. unablity to speak the words that I'm thinking of, occasional stuttering), and severe loss of inhibitions (i.e. no conscience)'... myself, whilst on this category of antidepressant. And more. A lot of what I found helped me, in the immediate aftermath, turned out to be eerily similar to the advice offered over here.

Could it be frontal lobe damage? Well these drugs can certainly cause long-term damage, but it is a little more difficult to pin down the where and the how. Many of the symptoms do tie in with that theory, but that's a long, long way from fact. Many of them also tie in with hormonal damage, and dopamine receptor damage, and no doubt a host of other unknowns... I think that although 'the truth is out there', it's going to take some finding, especially given the significant lack of research. The book which addresses many of these issues is Joseph Glenmullen's 'Prozac Backlash' (equally relevant to venlafaxine).

Other people have posted to this board describing long-term after effects, if you use the search facility at the bottom of this page, you will find them swiftly.

You've been off them only 3 weeks. No time at all. You may find significant improvement occurs over the coming weeks, as your body adapts to its non-drug environment. Try a little mild exercise, a good old-fashioned diet (staying away from the additives & artificial sweeteners), and attempt to let yourself relax at least once in the day... easy to say, not so easy to do... give yourself as many advantages as possible: good nutrition, the exercise endorphins, stress reduction, natural sleep.

And time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

UK Parliament blames MHRA and prescribers

In march 2005 the review "The Influence of Pharmaceutical Industry" was concluded. It's amazing that it raises so many problems such as MHRA failure in all regulatory process and the accountability prescribers should hold dear.
These are some excerpts and there's much more on the review:

"The industry is by no means solely to blame for the difficulties we describe. The regulators and prescribers are also open to criticism. The regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has failed to adequately scrutinise licensing data and its post-marketing surveillance is inadequate.The MHRA Chairman stated that trust was integral to effective regulation, but trust, while convenient, may mean that the regulatory process is not strict enough.The organisation has been too close to the industry, a closeness underpinned by common policy objectives, agreed processes, frequent contact, consultation and interchange of staff. We are concerned that a rather lax regime is exacerbated by the MHRA’s need to compete with other European regulators for licence application business.

Inappropriate prescription of medicines by GPs is of particular concern. Some have prescribed SSRIs, for instance, on a grand scale.This is in part due to inadequacies in the education of medical practitioners which has meant that too few non-specialists are able to make objective assessments of the merits of drugs and too many seem not to recognise how little is known about the properties of a drug at the time of licensing, particularly about its adverse consequences. However, many prescribers have behaved responsibly and with restraint, which makes those who have not, all the more culpable.The constraints in place for hospital doctors do not apply to GPs. Drug companies are criticised for giving hospitality and recruiting ‘key opinion leaders’, but the prescribers must be equally to blame for accepting the hospitality and some ‘key opinion leaders’ for lending their names to work they did not produce, often for very considerable sums.

Greater transparency is also fundamental to the medicines regulatory system.There has to be better public access to materials considered by the MHRA prior to licensing.

The aim of new drugs should be real therapeutic benefit for patients. Clinical trials should focus on using health outcomes that are relevant to patients.To achieve this we recommend better communication between the MHRA and companies early in the early stages of the development of a drug. Improvements in the post-licensing surveillance of medicines are also badly needed. This will require systematic appraisals of medicines.

We recommend that more research be undertaken into the adverse effects of drugs, both during drug development and medicines licensing. The Government should, as a matter of urgency, fund research into the costs of drug-induced illness. (emphasis mine)

We recommend that the MHRA find ways of ensuring greater restraint in medicines promotion, particularly soon after launch. There should also be strengthened guidelines requiring the declaration of links between pharmaceutical companies and patient groups. In view of the failings of the MHRA, we recommend a fundamental review of the organisation in order to ensure that safe and effective medicines,with necessary prescribing constraints, are licensed.
In view of the failings of the MHRA, we recommend a fundamental review of the organisation in order to ensure that safe and effective medicines, with necessary prescribing constraints, are licensed." p. 4-5

Problems and solutions are known but nothing is done. Blaming MHRA and prescribers is not enough. After publishing this review UK Parliament has forgotten health problems even the costs of drug-induced illness.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Health Canada Warns of Venlafaxine Overdosage, Increased Risk of Fatal Outcome

Health Canada Endorsed Important Safety Information on VENLAFAXINE XR

OTTOWA, Ontario -- October 23, 2008

Dear Healthcare Professional:

SUBJECT: Safety Information Regarding Overdosage of Venlafaxine HCl Extended-Release

Venlafaxine HCl Extended-Release Capsule manufacturers wish to provide you with important safety information regarding venlafaxine XR. Published retrospective studies 1,2,3,4 have reported that venlafaxine overdosage may be associated with an increased risk of fatal outcome compared to that observed with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants, but lower than that for tricyclic antidepressants. Although the extent to which the finding of an increased risk of fatal outcomes can be attributed to the toxicity of venlafaxine in overdosage, as opposed to some characteristics of venlafaxine-treated patients, is not clear,5 post-market reports of fatal acute overdoses have been received for venlafaxine alone at doses as low as approximately 1 gram.

- Prescriptions for venlafaxine XR should be written for the smallest quantity of drug consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose, particularly in patients who have more severe illness or risk factors for suicidal behaviour.
- The potential for suicide attempt in seriously depressed patients is inherent to the illness, and may persist until significant remission occurs.
(emphasis mine)* Clinical monitoring for suicidal ideation and/or other indicators of suicidal behaviour is recommended for all depressed patients.
- Increased risk of behavioural and emotional changes, including self-harm, has been seen with treatment with venlafaxine, as with other antidepressant drugs, and health care providers, patients, family members and/or caregivers should be vigilant for such changes.
-All antidepressants have a potential risk of fatal outcome in overdose.

Manufacturers of all extended release venlafaxine products are working with Health Canada to include this safety information in the Overdosage section in all Canadian Product Monographs for venlafaxine extended release capsules. Managing marketed health product-related adverse reactions depends on health care professionals and consumers reporting them. Reporting rates determined on the basis of spontaneously reported post-marketing adverse reactions are generally presumed to underestimate the risks associated with health product treatments. Any case of overdose or other serious or unexpected adverse reactions in patients receiving venlafaxine XR should be reported to the manufacturer or Health Canada at the following

Source: Health Canada

*They will always deny drug-induce suicide ideation that has nothing to do with depression.

Psychiatry is an accident in some people's life

I've stopped posting for the last days. My problem is: I'm tired.
First I've started not visiting my blog buddies because I was feeling very sad. I kept on posting some data and kept on commenting just when I thought it was necessary to discuss pharmaceutical and treatments and diagnosis issues.
I got angry and sad.
I know it's hard to raise awareness on all of this. But sometimes it's overwhelmingly hard at least for me.
Sometimes, for no reason, I feel like crying and I've noticed I've been too stressed and angry, sad, angry...
One of the things that strikes me the most is that everything is out in the open. There's enough data, nevertheless, we have to keep on repeating over and over again the same and when we think we have already said enough its necessary not only start it again but another information of an off-label use of a drug that makes no sense or another strange news that only shows that it's getting far out of control.
It seems we are the only to care. It's amazing that psychiatrists don't say a word about their views on their clinical experience and when some of them express themselves is to claim that they never heard about it and according to their clinical experience this has never happened...
I have to find a way to keep on it without being too passionate.

I wrote it three or four days ago but I didn't publish it. Now I'm sad because when I look at my life I see the story of 15 years coping with side effects and withdrawals. That's it. That's all.
All I needed was someone to take all the drugs but side effects were seen as diseases and it's amazing that we believe even though deep inside we have a suspicion that something is not right.
I've been crying and feeling sorry for these years that went away and I can't even remember well what has happened or what drug was I withdrawing or starting to take.
I wish I could say: "-I've been depressed, took some pills that helped me and now I'm fine."
This would be easier to explain, It would make some sense and everybody would be happy.
I find myself having to hide it all because nobody will understand what has really happened.
I'm under psychiatric care - I have to go get the prescriptions for the drugs I've tried to withdraw but I couldn't - so, I'm a .............. . - what? fill the blanks.
Now what?
I don't know.
I go out and pretend everything is fine and I even start believing it's fine.
But sometimes it rains.
It's sunny today, but it's raining inside.
I thank I've found you all to share all of this because it's a very lonely and important part of me. Unfortunately some people only see this part of you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Psychiatrists, please! Can you listen for a moment?

Philip Dawdy have published today Neuroscientist Defends Forced ECT and there has been many comments from patients on psychiatry.
I think it's worthy to take a look just to have an idea on how much harm psychiatry is doing to people.
I'm not anti-psychiatrist or anything of this kind. But with the amount of data available I think that it's about time to have at least some efforts from this branch of medicine to listen to their patients.
This silence and denial of harms have already gone too far.
We deserve some answers.

I've just received a gift!

I hope PreciousRock don't get jealous but I'm starting to think that it would be great to leave Brazil for a while. These lunatic blog friends are so handsome! It's difficult to choose between US or UK.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

ECT - voluntary or involuntary - is it a real choice?

Every Wednesday morning Ray Sandford, 54 has been forced to get out to go to receive his ECT treatment. You can read the whole story on this post, an Action Alert, Susan has published today.

"Of course, MindFreedom International has documented proven cases of electroshock against the expressed wishes of the subject all over the world, including in the USA. MindFreedom succeeded in having the United Nations World Health Organization call in writing for a global ban on all involuntary electroshock."

"Ms. Wilhelm said, “We are following the letter of the law.” She said the State of Minnesota had secured a variety of court orders that require Ray to have forced electroshock against his expressed wishes. Ms. Wilehlm says it’s all legal and she can’t do anything about it."

By the end of Susan's post she had put a link where Philip Dawdy published her letter about her experience with electroshock:

“Mr. and Mrs. S” went my doctor – “We’ve tried everything on your daughter but she is extremely depressed and still suicidal. We’ve tried several different drug therapies and nothing is working, and we are left with two things. She has ten days left on her insurance and if she is still like the way she is now, we will be forced to put her in a state hospital. Or we can try ECT”.

ECT was then explained to my parents, and they saw a video. And with the State’s leading expert on ECT who told them he would be personally administering it, papers were signed, I was convinced by mom and dad “ do this to make your mother happy”, and the next day woken up at 5 am to be driven to the local teaching hospital for my first round.

Please, read the whole letter.
Two months ago I met a mother who was on a Brazilian mental institution where her daughter was for one week being treated with ECT because "-They have tried everything and the last resource was ECT, the psychiatrists told me."

I'm very confused. It seems to me that whether being voluntary or involuntary ECT is being used in a very strange way. If ECT is presented as the last resource
is it a real choice the family is doing?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Just another Zoloft withdrawal story

"Briefly: I stopped taking Sertraline (Zoloft) in early January. My daily dose at that time was extremely high: 300, even as high as 350 mg. a day. I'd been on it for over 4 years--it was prescribed following a knee injury in an aftershock of the Northridge earthquake: I tore my ACL and at the same time had an acute resurgence of Epstein Barr virus. Facing surgery and phsyical therapy, and with my titers way up there, the doctor thought the antidepressants would give me an extra boost to help my recovery.
To make a long story short, my initial low dosage was gradually but steadily increased. By the time I stopped, nearly three months ago now, I was showing signs of serotonin toxicity (constant anxiety) and was also (according to my husband and dentist) grinding my teeth like crazy every night. It just happened, after New Year's, that I ran out of pills at a time when I was too broke to pay for a refill. I decided to stop cold turkey, and prepared for a few bad days at least, knowing a little about potential withdrawal effects. So, at first, the dizziness, nausea, "electric shock" feelings, wild dreams, etc., didn't bother me all that much.
After two straight weeks, though, the continuation of those symptoms plus other ones--itching (not tingling or burning) all over my body, something I'm sure were seizures (a feeling of suddenly falling, sort of "blacking out" but not quite, followed almost instantly by tremendous muscle jerks in my legs or arms ...anyway, it was almost impossible to get to sleep at night from the itching, "falling" and muscle spasms. My primary care doctor (who'd prescribed the antidepressants for some time, since I did not go to a psychiatrist) prescribed Ativan, which I started to take at night only, in gradually diminishing amounts, so I could get to sleep at all. On the other hand, positive effects of stopping the Zoloft included a return of sexual responsiveness (extremely welcome!) and, despite powerful emotions (rage, grief as I hadn't felt them in years) I was, and am, generally grateful to experience what seems to be an emotional range that had been blunted for several years.
My problem is this: It is now nearly three months since I stopped taking the Zoloft. Once the "physical" signs of withdrawal began to diminish (e.g., I haven't needed to take anything to sleep for three weeks now; I no longer experience the "itching" or the "passing-out sensation followed by muscle spasms") -- now, however, I seem to be mired in one of the worst depressions of my life. I've put on somewhere between 10-15 pounds over the past two months. My energy is low; I feel like I'm slogging through water much of the time. Basically, I'm sure I have all the classic symptoms of major depression, including powerful feelings of anguish, rage, and hopelessness -- except, thanks to many years working with a wonderful therapist and my own insight into antidepressants, I also recognize the perhaps iatrogenic nature of all this and am trying to ride it out, not to take it too personally.
But how long can this last? In your document, you raise questions about long-term effects and discuss liver enzyme changes, etc., but I guess I would like to know whether any studies have been done mapping (or attempting to map) the specific changes wrought by SSRIs on the neural pathways themselves -- for example, is it possible that long-term use of Zoloft (for example) has permanently altered or damaged my body's own ability to process or regulate serotonin uptake? In other words, will "waiting this out" prove to be an empty exercise, and I will be forced back onto SSRIs to beat this depression?
I write you now a bit at my wit's end. It's not getting worse; it's just lasting and lasting and I feel exhausted and unsure how to proceed. Whatever they say about these drugs being "not addictive" -- I could testify that I have reached a point where I literally crave my Zoloft, where the only thing stopping me from calling the pharmacy to refill my still-existing prescription is will power, that simple.
Thank you for your time and any insights. Yours is the first site I've seen (and in my search for answers, I've searched quite a few) that seems to have an educated, research-laden handle on this issue. During the worst of it, my own doctor threw up his hands. He's a good guy, but was totally stymied. He didn't know, and the Neuropsychiatric Department at UCLA said no research into this subject is even being done (but I could come down, get assessed for meds!).
I believe it's an issue of tremendous importance -- to people like me, certainly, but also to the thousands if not millions of people who thoughtlessly and trustingly pop their antidepressant pills just to make it to work every day. Not to mention the future generations of children who, if they have their way and start using these drugs for so-called "early childhood" psychiatric illness, may end up having their brains scrambled forever. The spectre of permanent, unalterable damage is truly frightening. But I'll get off that pulpit and stick to my questions. I hope you'll find the time to reply. I've been perusing your site for some weeks before choosing to write you. Quite frankly, I was getting to a point where I wanted to call 60 Minutes in, immediately, to do a "whistle-blowing" story on what may be one of the most widespread medical horror stories of our time. Think, with millions of people popping these pills, they'd have an interested viewing audience? ... I'm selfishly concerned about me, also about the prevalence and damage from SSRIs to the lives of a much wider group of people."

I've saved this testimony on 07/29, 2005.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wyeth has answer me about side effects of XR version

São Paulo, 04 de novembro de 2008.

Prezada Ana,

I had left the e-mail in Portuguese here but I've just deleted it - November, 9 - because the word "discontinuity" appeared and Brazilian people have found the blog thinking that it had to due with withdrawal symptoms.

The most important:
They claim that Wyeth has not stop commercializing the drug - it's not on the market I can't find it anywhere - and that it's necessary that the physician makes an authorization to the change. Well, my psychiatrist told me last year that the common version was not on sale any longer and that I had to change to the XR version.
They ask me to report them the side effects I'm experiencing.
I'll send this e-mail to my psychiatrists. Although he is a very good psychiatrist and a researcher he must not be aware of what is for sale or not.
If the change can only be made following the psychiatrist's advice how can it be that the common version is not on the market?
I have already reported it to Anvisa, our regulatory agency, last year. They said the common version was on the market. But I don't know where can I find it.
Not even the 28 capsules boxes are available!

One of those Effexor XR days - Thank you Wyeth!

It's impossible to be stand up. Huge headache and dizziness. Last year the Effexor common version disappeared from Brazilian market and I had to start taking the XR version. Side effects got worse. I've already wrote to Wyeth and to Brazilian regulatory agency asking what has happened and that I'm much better on the common version. No reply from Wyeth that even took away from the market the 28 capsules box and only sell 14 capsules boxes.
It must be more profitable.
I've just send another message on the Brazilian Wyeth site asking what has happened with the common version.
I will not have an answer.
I'll just lay down and wait to get better.
I have some catch ups to my blog buddies.
I need to explain why I'm not visiting blogs like I used to.
I'll do it when I get better.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Regulating Pharmas conduct is not that difficult

This report made by Consumer International have some examples of measures taken by European countries. These are some examples and I cannot help thinking about seeing some of the worse harms being on the list. If in the next two decades perhaps I could see it.


-In another case, the company provided airfare and accommodation for doctors to attend a conference on bipolar disorder in Cannes on the French Riviera and was put on probation by Dutch authorities for violating the Code on the Promotion of Medicinal Products. (WOW! Discussing bipolarity in Cannes on the French Riviera! Cool!)
-The Dutch Code Commission in 2004 found AstraZeneca’s claims in its promotion of Seroquel unjustified, not based in two relevant studies and therefore misleading.


-Published data for Lilly’s antidepressant Prozac claimed that the drugs reduces the likelihood that people will harm themselves. However, data from clinical trials indicated the opposite, namely that people continue to harm themselves.


-Before GSK’s anti-depressant Paxil was approved for use against `social phobia’ in 1999, the company organised a large public awareness campaign about the condition, renaming it `social anxiety disorder’. GSK has been accused of grossly exaggerating the numbers suffering from this condition, leading to much higher sales of Paxil and inappropriate drug use.
-In February 2003, Italian authorities started an investigation against GSK for corruption of over 4,000 doctors. The total value of illegal gifts was estimated at 228 million euros from 1999 to 2002. These incentives suggest that doctors would have prescribed 7-8% more GSK products each than otherwise would have been the case.
-Promotional materials for GSKs antidepressant Paxil claimed that the drug reduces the likelihood that people would harm themselves. However, data from clinical trials indicated the opposite, namely that people continue to harm themselves.
-In May 2004, GSK was accused of fraudulent manoeuvres to extend patent protection over its anti-depressant Paxil and its antibiotic Augmentin, in order to prevent competition from generics.


-In 2004 Pfizer pleaded guilty on charges of falsely marketing its epilepsy drug Neurontin for off-label uses.
-The Dutch Code Commission granted a complaint filed by a doctor against Pfizer in 2004. The doctor complained about an invitation that he had received from Pfizer for a information meeting about Celebrex. Pfizer promised to cover expenses by giving 200 euro for doctors signing up to the meeting.
Pfizer has sponsored an Impotence Association campaign in which the logo of Pfizer figured prominently on the advertisements. The UK Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) ruled that this was inappropriate and could encourage patients to ask doctors specifically for Viagra.

Branding the Cure: A consumer perspective on Corporate Social
Responsibility, Drug Promotion and the Pharmaceutical Industry in Europe. .pdf
can be downloaded free-of-charge from the CI website.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

WHO conceals depleted uranium toxicity

According to WHO "No reproductive or developmental effects have been reported in humans."

Depleted Uranium Weapons – a BBC investigation by Angus Stickle
"depleted uranium is genotoxic - it chemically alters DNA and could be a precursor to tumour growth."

I don't know what to think about WHO.

More informations and photos Takashi Morizumi.