Wednesday, January 07, 2009

CNN Health Expert - Dr. Charles Raison - Emory University and Eli-Lilly's speaker

I first became aware of CNN health site when Andy Alt left a comment with the link of his answer to Dr. Charles Raison Q&A on Cymbalta.

Andy's answer was not published neither was mine that remembered that 5 volunteers were killed during Cymbalta clinical trials, Traci Johnson one of them.

Mr. Charles Raison, CNN health expert, is on the staff at Emory University and works for Eli-Lilly:

I don't know the circumstances that have led you to ask about Cymbalta, but in general I think data strongly show that for most people with depression, agents like Cymbalta can be extremely helpful and the benefits outweigh the risks. Nonetheless, all antidepressants are serious medicines that need to be started and administered under the care of a clinician with experience using these agents.

Note: Dr. Raison serves on the speakers' bureau and on advisory boards for Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Cymbalta.

I'm sure that both comments were not published due to excess of comments on CNN Health site. I'll remain at BCC.

Errata: BCC? I meant BBC. :)


Andy A said...

Ana, thank you for mentioning my comment and link.

What is BCC?

I don't know if too many comments was why our comments weren't published. There aren't any comments published, other than by the "qualified" expert.

Since you are so involved in writing about Effexor, have you heard or read much about Pristiq?
Pristiq versus Effexor XR
"What is Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)? The newest antidepressant approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will hit the U.S. market in a few months. Pristiq is a drug similar in composition to Wyeth’s existing antidepressant, Effexor XR (which loses its patent protection in 2010, 2 years from now). It is Wyeth’s hope that Pristiq, therefore, will replace Effexor XR in a few years’ time. Why? Because Effexor XR makes $3.8 billion (with a ‘b’) a year in sales.

Top 5 reasons to forget about Pristiq
"1. It’s a blatant patent extender. Effexor XR, which brought in $3.8 billion for Wyeth in 2007, is losing patent protection this year, and Wyeth is introducing desvenlafaxine, which is simply Effexor’s main metabolite, as a “novel antidepressant.” There’s nothing novel about it. Every patient who takes Effexor produces Pristiq in their own body, at no additional charge."

Pristiq, "New" Anti-Depressant, Approved
"This is certainly a fabulous Friday for pharma execs in the land. Abilify gets approved for kids this morning and this afternoon we learn that the FDA just approved Pristiq for depression. The drug is made by Wyeth and is essentially a rejiggered Effexor, only this one was originally developed to help women with hot flashes. You know Wyeth is going to give this drug a huge roll out since Effexor goes off-patent fairly soon and I'm sure that the made-for-hot-flashes-but-good-for-depression sales pitch is going to work wonders with men and women of every age.

Understanding Side Effects
"Important safety information you should know

* Suicide is a known risk of depression and some other psychiatric disorders.
* Antidepressant drugs increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in studies of children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18-24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. No increased risk has been shown for adults over age 24, and the risk decreased for those aged 65 and older.

This is from Wyeth's patient medication guide, not prominent on their site, as is the sugar-coated version of the side effects, but availabe in PDF format:
"Symptoms when stopping Pristiq (discontinuation symptoms). Side effects may occur when stopping Pristiq (discontinuation symptoms), especially when therapy is stopped suddenly. Your healthcare provider may want to decrease your dose slowly to help avoid
side effects. Some of these side effects may include:
• dizziness
• anxiety
• nausea
• abnormal dreams
• headache
• tiredness
• irritability
• sweating
• sleeping problems (insomnia)
• diarrhea

They really like to stick with the term side effects when talking about withdrawal symptoms, don't they? I find it amusing and disgusting. All my life I've heard about the withdrawal symptoms of quitting heroin, or cigarettes, but now suddenly, magically, symptoms one obtains from quitting a drug are simply known as side effects. It's one thing to split hairs between addiction and physical dependence, or discontinuation syndrome, but they are just being ridiculous now.

Ana said...

Thank you for leaving the link.
BBC. I've corrected it.

I'm writing about Effexor because this is the drug I'm forced to take.
I've heard about Pristiq.
" Effexor XR, which brought in $3.8 billion for Wyeth in 2007"
The irony: I'm broken and I helped them reach this amount.
They don't change their approach on these drugs.
The "side effects" they list is heaven compared with the real withdrawal symptoms.

Andy A said...

Okay, I knew tunned was a typo, but thought BCC might be a Brazilian Channel something or other.

I have more goodies for you. I got an email from Alison Bass in response to a request I made. In her email she graciously thanked me for spreading the word about her book, and mentioned a favorable mention by the New York Review of Books. Currently on the home page it shows Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption By Marcia Angell. August of 2004, Marcia Angell (MD Editor-in-Chief
New England Journal of Medicine) published a book called The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It. That book was used a source of information in Alison Bass's book Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and A Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial.

Getting back to the home page of the New York Review of Books, under the heading of Volume 56, Number 1 · January 15, 2009 shows

"Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption
By Marcia Angell
No one knows the total amount provided by drug companies to physicians, but I estimate from the annual reports of the top nine US drug companies that it comes to tens of billions of dollars a year. By such means, the pharmaceutical industry has gained enormous control over how doctors evaluate and use its own products. Its extensive ties to physicians, particularly senior faculty at prestigious medical schools, affect the results of research, the way medicine is practiced, and even the definition of what constitutes a disease.

And on that page there is much background information and history, some of which I'm sure you're already aware of.

"Many drugs that are assumed to be effective are probably little better than placebos, but there is no way to know because negative results are hidden. One clue was provided six years ago by four researchers who, using the Freedom of Information Act, obtained FDA reviews of every placebo-controlled clinical trial submitted for initial approval of the six most widely used antidepressant drugs approved between 1987 and 1999—Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Serzone, and Effexor.[10] They found that on average, placebos were 80 percent as effective as the drugs. The difference between drug and placebo was so small that it was unlikely to be of any clinical significance. The results were much the same for all six drugs: all were equally ineffective. But because favorable results were published and unfavorable results buried (in this case, within the FDA), the public and the medical profession believed these drugs were potent antidepressants."

I'm glad this information is continuing and increasing to see the light of day.

Ana said...

Tunned! "I was tired" would do if I made one mistake but there are numerous.
I'm glad Alison Bass has answered you.
You're really doing a lot of work commenting on sites and trying to spread the word.
I've heard about her book and Marcia Angell's title is great.
" and even the definition of what constitutes a disease.""
This is sad but the truth.
The difference between the drug and placebo are side effects and addiction.
I'm too tired lately.
The power Pharmas have is impossible to fight.
This is as political issue.
I hate to live in a world where people's health is a commodity.

Andy A said...

Ana, I understand your feelings of being discouraged. If you don't mind my advice, try to remind yourself that you can't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Take a break for a couple days, you'll feel better afterward, more refreshed. You'll not do anyone any good if you get burned out. Take time for Ana, because you're Ana, and Ana is a good person who has earned and deserves a break.

Ana said...

Thank you Andy! You're quite sensitive.
This is what I've been telling myself for a long time.

Andy A said...

And don't forget: "If the early bird catches the worm, that just proves the worm should have stayed in bed."

That quote is paraphrased, but a book I started reading last week, "Time Enough for Love" by Robert A. Heinlein.

Make sure to pass along that wisdom to Susan.

Andy A said...

Ana, I created some polls you might be interested in taking a quick look at.

There are many more meds that can be added to the list, but registered users have permissions to create polls too. Anonymous people can vote and leave comments, but to prevent spam I've got comment moderation enabled.

Ana said...

Thank you Andy.
Nice quotation.
I left a comment on this poll and on a question.
I really hope people are getting more information before taking psych-drugs.

Andy A said...

Ana I received your comment and question, and I've updated the polls to better suit your needs. :)

Ana said...

You're amazing!
I'll answer them.

Andy A said...

Ana, I have another piece of candy for you:

Maybe I'm getting excited (or anxious) again for no reason, but here is an admission that came from a mainstream news publication:

From TIME magazine: The Mystery of Borderline Personality Disorder By John Cloud / Seattle Thursday, Jan. 08, 2009

BPD treatment has improved dramatically in the past few years. Until recently, a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder was seen as a "death sentence," as Dr. Kenneth Silk of the University of Michigan wrote in the April 2008 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Clinicians often avoided naming the illness and instead told patients they had a less stigmatizing disorder.
Borderline patients are often overmedicated--partly because therapists see them as difficult--but for Lily, as for most borderlines, the meds did little. "Drug treatment for BPD is much less impressive than most people think," Paris writes in Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Ana said...

I've read the article and I'm a little confused with some data.
Why are more people being diagnosed?
"A 2008 study of nearly 35,000 adults in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that 5.9%--which would translate into 18 million Americans--had been given a BPD diagnosis. As recently as 2000, the American Psychiatric Association believed that only 2% had BPD. (In contrast, clinicians diagnose bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in about 1% of the population.) BPD has long been regarded as an illness disproportionately affecting women, but the latest research shows no difference in prevalence rates for men and women. Regardless of gender, people in their 20s are at higher risk for BPD than those older or younger."

Does Marsha Linehan "Dialectical Behavioral Therapy" really works?

I don't know what to think about the intentions of this article.

Meg said...

I just wrote a post on Dr. Charles Raison as well. What a dingbat. He is dangerous.

Ana said...

Thank you Meg.
Yes.... he and some others.
They belong to jail

Ana said...

I tried to go to your blog but I was linked to numerous profiles.
Couldn't find yours.