Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Possible Fraud by Pharmaceutical Companies as Placebo Confirmed as more Effective and Safer than Antidepressants

A recently article reported in Newsweek Magazine, of a study by (The Journal of the American Medical Association) and other studies have shown that the effectiveness of antidepressants is almost entirely due to the hope and aspirations that the drug will be effective and not the drug at all. Hence, a placebo is more effective than antidepressants, and there are no side effects from placebos. The side effects from antidepressants alone can kill you. According to the FDA the use of antidepressants can cause anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, mania and suicide. They have also been attributed to mass murder (Columbine, Virginia Tech) to list a couple. Newsweek reports regarding a study by Irving Kirsch and Guy Sapirstein of the University of Connecticut. Patients on a placebo improved about 75 percent as much as those on the drugs. Essentially you positive mind will cure your depression.

Many may ask how is it possible that these drugs could get approved by the FDA for decades if they are proven to be ineffective. Well the early failed results appear to have been suppressed. Thomas Moore of George Washington University used the freedom of information act to analyze the FDA earlier studies of antidepressants. There were numerous company sponsored studies by the makers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor and others. Many of these studies were unpublished, and over 50% more unpublished studies than other classes of drugs. Apparently 40% of the all clinical trials had never been published, and most of those unpublished trials according to Newsweek's article were the trials that proved antidepressants were a failure. The damaging results indicate pharmaceutical companies may be fraudulent in their studies and disclosures, and we ask why companies are allowed to sponsor trials. In addition, the FDA appears to have allowed it. Who is watching the store? Why wouldn’t the government at minimum only allow independent studies? But even that could be problem. Scientists at Universities who have questioned antidepressant results and who have cited Irvin Kirsch’s results have been reprimanded and their future grants have been threatened. These University grants are typically funded by large pharmaceutical companies. Looks like for our own safety we need to find another independent study group, and perhaps the Department of Justice can look into the FDA and pharmaceutical studies for authenticity.

Newsweek’s article also points out the relationship of the chemical imbalance theory causing depression. Pharmaceutical companies have claimed for decades that this chemical imbalance is the cause of depression. The typical SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor) is supposed to raise the serotonin level of the patient. This is the basis of all their research. Well a new drug study indicates that lowering serotonin is as effective as raising serotonin on depression. The new drug tianeptine made in France lowers serotonin. Now the American and UK pharmaceutical companies’ main argument is gone, but they never really had an argument. In actuality, there is no scientific evidence at all that demonstrates antidepressants alleviate depression. The hope and expectation that a pill “sugar pill” will be effective recently has shown to alleviate depression.

When Bristol Myers Squibb’s advertises Abilify as an add-on to one’s current antidepressant because of it’s ineffectiveness on depression, it is an indication from the industry that their products have failed. In addition, many of these drugs are marketed for Bi-Polar Disorder, ADHD, and even non-smoking. ADHD has also been found to be fraudulent (see the book ADHDFraud by Fred Baughman Jr.). Will it be found that antidepressants are ineffective with these maladies also? There is certain to be more investigation into these past unpublished results, and we hope the justice department will look into fraud and misrepresentation. Like the Real Estate bubble the pharmaceutical house of cards is coming down, and we are sure there are many lawsuits to come with this disturbing information.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Study further Confirms Mental Health Benefits from Fish Oil

Just last week we blogged about the benefits of fish oil alleviating depression. Here is a report this week from the Associated Press

Fish oil pills may be able to spare some young people with signs of mental illness from a progression into fully developed schizophrenia, according to a preliminary study of 81 patients in Austria.

The study adds to evidence suggesting that severe mental illness may be prevented with intervention. The researchers are starting a larger study in eight cities, hoping to replicate the findings, which appear in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, released Monday.

A severe mental illness, schizophrenia affects adolescents and young adults. Some 2.4 million Americans have the disorder, which is treated with antipsychotic medication.

"Schizophrenia is among the most mysterious and costliest diseases in terms of human suffering, so anything that gives some hope to avoid this is great,'' said lead author Dr. G. Paul Amminger, formerly in Vienna and now at the Orygen Youth Health Research Center at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Researchers have wondered if the disease could be stopped before it overpowers a person's grip on reality. Studies have tried antipsychotics in select young people, but side effects pose ethical questions, and results have been mixed.

Researchers in the new study identified 81 people, ages 13 to 25, with warning signs of psychosis, including sleeping much more or less than usual, growing suspicious of others, believing someone is putting thoughts in their head or believing they have magical powers. Forty-one were randomly assigned to take four fish oil pills a day for three months. The other patients took dummy pills.

After a year of monitoring, 2 of the 41 patients in the fish oil group, or about 5%, had become psychotic, or completely out of touch with reality. In the placebo group, 11 of 40 became psychotic, about 28%.

No one knows what causes schizophrenia but one hypothesis is that people with the disease don't process fatty acids correctly, leading to damaged brain cells. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil could help brain cells repair and stabilize, the researchers speculate.

Dr. Janet Wozniak of Harvard Medical School said the findings might reasonably cause psychiatrists to recommend fish oil to some patients because there are known benefits and little risk.