CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta THE LINK BETWEEN ANTIDEPRESSANTS & SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

 

SanjayGupta

CNN’s DR. SANJAY GUPTA

THE LINK BETWEEN ANTIDEPRESSANTS & SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

Thanks to Tony DeGirolamo with CultureShockTV.com (who has long trumpted these issues surrounding antidepressant dangers) for bringing this CNN news piece to our attention.

In about 2003 Dr. Sanjay Gupta and I, Ann Blake Tracy, did an interview on the subject of children & antidepressants. After telling me how much he liked the title of my book Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? he then began to ask questions about these drugs. Although I do not think he expected to hear the answers I gave and the hard facts I had about the problems with the hypothesis behind the drugs he did listen with an open mind – the most obvious trait of a real scientist.

After watching the news piece below on the recent tragic shooting of small children in Connecticut you will see that Dr. Gupta has now clearly connected the dots between these SSRI antidepressants and violence – especially with the school shootings.

For CNN to come out with such a strong piece linking antidepressants to violence is a huge breakthrough in my opinion! I appreciate Dr. Gupta for his open mind and willingness to learn something that seems to go so contrary to what the world has been led to believe about the safety of antidepressants. And I also very much appreciate his integrity in bringing this issue to the public because this is most certainly a public safety issue! The safety issue becomes more than obvious when you look at our database of cases (with 66 school shootings posted already & another three to be added) found at www.drugawareness.ssristories.com

About the Author: Ann Blake Tracy is the author of PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? –OUR SEROTONIN NIGHTMARE!, and the director of the International Coalition For Drug Awareness [www.drugawareness.org]. She has testified before the FDA and has testified as an expert in legal cases involving serotonergic medications since 1992.

BOOK: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare! Anything you ever wanted to know about antidepressants is there along with everything drug companies hope you never find out about these drugs. SAFE WITHDRAWAL CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!” on how to safely withdraw from antidepressants & most psychiatric medications is saving lives! Both available at www.drugawareness.org

BOOK TESTIMONIALS:

“Very bold & informative”

“Priceless information that is giving me back to me”

“The absolute best reference for antidepressant drugs”

“Well documented & scientifically researched”

““I was stunned at the amount of research Ann Tracy has done on this subject. Few researchers go to as much trouble aggressively gathering information on the adverse reactions of Prozac, Zoloft and other SSRIs.”

WITHDRAWAL HELP CD TESTIMONIALS:

“Ann, I just wanted to let you know from the bottom of my heart how grateful I am God placed you in my life. I am now down to less than 2 mg on my Cymbalta and I have never felt better. I am finally getting my life back. I can feel again and colors have never been brighter. Thanks for all that you do!!” … Amber Weber

“Used your method of weaning off of SSRI’s and applied it to Ambien. Took 6 months but had been on 15 mg for years so what was another 6 months. I have been sleeping without it for 2 weeks and it is the first time I have been able to sleep drug free for 15 years. What a relief to be able to lay down and sleep when I need or want to. Ambien may be necessary for people at times but doctors giving a months worth of it at a time with unlimited refills is a prescription for disaster. It is so damn easy to become dependent on. Thanks for your council Ann.”… Mark Hill

“I’m so thankful for AnnTracy and all her work. Also for taking the time out to talk to me and educate everyone! She has been a blessing to me during this awful time of antidepressant hell!” … Antoinette Beck

http://www.cnn.com/video/standard.html?%2Fvideo%2Fus%2F2012%2F12%2F18%2Fgupta-ct-shooting-newtown-hindsight.cnn#/video/us/2012/12/18/gupta-ct-shooting-newtown-hindsight.cnn

643 total views, no views today

Pfizer Dodges Fraud Prosecution AGAIN By Paying Over $1 Billion Fine

Pfizer Dodges Fraud Prosecution AGAIN By Paying HUGE Government

Fine

If it were you or I or your neighbor down the street you can
bet that NO presecutor on the planet would “look the other way” to avoid
prosecution. But, when it involves the lergest drug company on the planet they
seem to be able to do just that and do it VERY WELL!!!
So, before going into the amazing facts in this most recent
case let me give you a reminder of the last big case involving a large fine for
off label marketing with Pfizer‘s Neurontin. After learning that Pfizer sales
reps had been drastically increasing profits by pushing Neurontin for off label
uses for several years felony charges were filed against the company for
doing so. (Keep in mind that this drug now carries warnings of increases in
suicide.) In 2004 they plead guilty to two felonies and agreed to pay $430
Million in fines as well. See the first article below as a quick
overview.
Now they have a whole new twist when it comes to approaching
similar charges with the off label prescribing of Bextra (Pfizer‘s version of
Vioxx) which was pulled from the market just the following year after pleading
guilty to the two felonies in the Neurontin case and paying the largest fine
ever for such a practice. Pfizer acquired a smaller drug company
called Pharmacia and they wanted to market Bextra for surgical pain.
When the FDA put their foot down and clearly said, “NO because of safety
issues,” Pfizer and Pharmacia went right ahead with their marketing campaign. So
when caught red handed in doing this, the prosecutor decides that Pharmacia can
plead guilty so that Pfizer is off the hook because it would have put them out
of business!!!!!

I quote from the article below: “So Pfizer and the feds cut a deal. Instead
of charging Pfizer with a crime, prosecutors would charge a Pfizer subsidiary,
Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc.

“The CNN Special Investigation found that the subsidiary is nothing more than
a shell company whose only function is to plead guilty.”

As it turned out ONE HALF of their $1.7 Billion in profits on Bextra came
from off label prescribing and the government fine for that will be
the biggest ever once again. This time the figure is $1.2 Billion plus an
additional $1 Billion to settle a batch of civil suits (how many deaths those
involved is not mentioned) and denied wrongdoing in another dozen
similar charges involving illegal promotions!

“It paid nearly $1.2 billion in a criminal fine for Bextra, the largest fine
the federal government has ever collected.

“It paid a billion dollars more to settle a batch of civil suits — although
it denied wrongdoing — on allegations that it illegally promoted 12 other
drugs.”

This begins to make one wonder just how far we will get with changes in
government policy when they have learned how to extract such large sums of money
from these drug companies in the way of fines. Why are those fines not
distributed to those who were damaged by the off label prescribing?

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
Author: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin
Nightmare & Help! I Can’t Get Off My
Antidepresant!

http://articles.sfgate.com/2004-05-14/business/17426572_1_neurontin-pfizer-fda

Huge penalty in drug fraud / Pfizer settles felony case in Neurontin
off-label promotion

May
14, 2004
|By Bernadette Tansey,
Chronicle Staff Writer

A division of Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drugmaker, has agreed to plead
guilty to two felonies and pay $430 million in penalties to settle charges that
it fraudulently promoted the drug Neurontin for a string of unapproved uses.

In an agreement announced by government prosecutors Thursday, Pfizer unit
Warner-Lambert admitted that it aggressively marketed the epilepsy drug by

illicit means for unrelated conditions including bipolar disorder, pain,
migraine headaches, and drug and alcohol withdrawal.

A company whistle-blower, whose 1996 civil suit spurred
government investigations of Neurontin’s marketing campaign, will receive about
$26.6 million through the settlement under legal provisions that reward citizens
for helping to recover government money obtained by fraud.

The settlement includes $152 million to pay back amounts spent on Neurontin
by the federal Medicare program and 50 state Medicaid programs for the poor. In
addition, Pfizer will pay a $240 million criminal fine, the second-largest such

fine ever imposed in a health care fraud prosecution, the Department of Justice
said.

Prosecutors said Warner-Lambert turned Neurontin into a blockbuster drug with
tactics like paying doctors to listen to pitches for unapproved uses and
treating them to luxury trips to Hawaii, Florida or the 1996 Olympics in
Atlanta. One doctor received almost $308,000 to tout Neurontin at conferences.

“This illegal and fraudulent promotion scheme corrupted the information
process relied on by doctors in their medical decision making, thereby putting
patients at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, chief prosecutor for the
federal district based in Boston.

Doctors are free to prescribe drugs for uses not specified on their FDA-
approved labels, but the FDA forbids drug companies from promoting them for
those off-label uses. Prosecutors said Neurontin’s manufacturers decided not to
seek an expanded FDA label for the drug, an expensive process requiring solid
proof from clinical trials. Instead, the company boosted sales through
aggressive promotional strategies, even when scientific studies had demonstrated
that it was not effective, the Justice Department said.

The tactics included planting company operatives in the audience at medical
education events to contradict unfavorable comments about Neurontin, and paying
doctors to allow sales representatives to sit in on patient visits, prosecutors
said.

Feds found Pfizer too big to nail

Submitted by Drew Kaplan on April 22, 2010 – 11:39 amOne Comment

Imagine being charged with a crime, but an imaginary friend takes the rap for
you. That is essentially what happened when Pfizer, the world’s largest
pharmaceutical company, was caught illegally marketing Bextra, a painkiller that
was taken off the market in 2005 because of safety concerns. When the criminal case was announced last fall, federal
officials touted their prosecution as a model for tough, effective enforcement.
“It sends a clear message” to the pharmaceutical industry, said Kevin Perkins,
assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.

But beyond the fanfare, a CNN Special Investigation found another story, one
that officials downplayed when they declared victory. It’s a story about the
power major pharmaceutical companies have even when they break the laws intended
to protect patients.

Big plans for Bextra

The story begins in 2001, when Bextra was about to hit the market. The drug
was part of a revolutionary class of painkillers known as Cox-2 inhibitors that
were supposed to be safer than generic drugs, but at 20 times the price of
ibuprofen.

Pfizer and its marketing partner, Pharmacia, planned to sell Bextra as a
treatment for acute pain, the kind you have after surgery.

But in November 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Bextra was
not safe for patients at high risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The FDA approved Bextra only for arthritis and menstrual cramps. It rejected
the drug in higher doses for acute, surgical pain.

Promoting drugs for unapproved uses can put patients at risk by circumventing
the FDA’s judgment over which products are safe and effective. For that reason,
“off-label” promotion is against the law.

If we prosecute Pfizer … a lot of the people who work for the company who
haven’t engaged in criminal activity would get hurt.

–Mike Loucks, federal prosecutor But with billions of dollars of profits at
stake, marketing and sales managers across the country nonetheless targeted
anesthesiologists, foot surgeons, orthopedic surgeons and oral surgeons. “Anyone
that use[d] a scalpel for a living,” one district manager advised in a document
prosecutors would later cite.

A manager in Florida e-mailed his sales reps a scripted sales pitch that
claimed — falsely — that the FDA had given Bextra “a clean bill of health” all
the way up to a 40 mg dose, which is twice what the FDA actually said was
safe.

Doctors as pitchmen

Internal company documents show that Pfizer and Pharmacia (which Pfizer later
bought) used a multimillion-dollar medical education budget to pay hundreds of
doctors as speakers and consultants to tout Bextra.

Pfizer said in court that “the company’s intent was pure”: to foster a legal
exchange of scientific information among doctors.

But an internal marketing plan called for training physicians “to serve as
public relations spokespeople.”

According to Lewis Morris, chief counsel to the inspector general at the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, “They pushed the envelope so far past
any reasonable interpretation of the law that it’s simply outrageous.”

Pfizer’s chief compliance officer, Doug Lanker, said that “in a large sales
force, successful sales techniques spread quickly,” but that top Pfizer
executives were not aware of the “significant mis-promotion issue with Bextra”
until federal prosecutors began to show them the evidence.

By April 2005, when Bextra was taken off the market, more than half of its

$1.7 billion in profits had come from prescriptions written for uses the FDA had
rejected.

Too big to nail

But when it came to prosecuting Pfizer for its fraudulent marketing, the
pharmaceutical giant had a trump card: Just as the giant banks on Wall Street
were deemed too big to fail, Pfizer was considered too big to nail.

Why? Because any company convicted of a major health care fraud is
automatically excluded from Medicare and Medicaid. Convicting Pfizer on Bextra
would prevent the company from billing federal health programs for any of its
products. It would be a corporate death sentence.

Prosecutors said that excluding Pfizer would most likely lead to Pfizer’s
collapse, with collateral consequences: disrupting the flow of Pfizer products
to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, causing the loss of jobs including those of
Pfizer employees who were not involved in the fraud, and causing significant
losses for Pfizer shareholders.

“We have to ask whether by excluding the company [from Medicare and
Medicaid], are we harming our patients,” said Lewis Morris of the Department of
Health and Human Services.

So Pfizer and the feds cut a deal. Instead of charging Pfizer with a crime,
prosecutors would charge a Pfizer subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co.
Inc.

The CNN Special Investigation found that the subsidiary is nothing more than
a shell company whose only function is to plead guilty.

According to court documents, Pfizer Inc. owns (a) Pharmacia Corp., which
owns (b) Pharmacia & Upjohn LLC, which owns (c) Pharmacia & Upjohn Co.
LLC, which in turn owns (d) Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc. It is the
great-great-grandson of the parent company.

Public records show that the subsidiary was incorporated in Delaware on March
27, 2007, the same day Pfizer lawyers and federal prosecutors agreed that the
company would plead guilty in a kickback case against a company Pfizer had
acquired a few years earlier.

As a result, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc., the subsidiary, was excluded
from Medicare without ever having sold so much as a single pill. And Pfizer was
free to sell its products to federally funded health programs.

An imaginary friend

I can tell you, unequivocally, that Pfizer perceived the Bextra matter as an
incredibly serious one.

Two years later, with Bextra, the shell company once again pleaded guilty. It
was, in effect, Pfizer’s imaginary friend stepping up to take the rap.

“It is true that if a company is created to take a criminal plea, but it’s
just a shell, the impact of an exclusion is minimal or nonexistent,” Morris
said.

Prosecutors say there was no viable alternative.

“If we prosecute Pfizer, they get excluded,” said Mike Loucks, the federal
prosecutor who oversaw the investigation. “A lot of the people who work for the
company who haven’t engaged in criminal activity would get hurt.”

Did the punishment fit the crime? Pfizer says yes.

It paid nearly $1.2 billion in a criminal fine for Bextra, the largest fine

the federal government has ever collected.

It paid a billion dollars more to settle a batch of civil suits — although it
denied wrongdoing — on allegations that it illegally promoted 12 other
drugs.

In all, Pfizer lost the equivalent of three months’ profit.

It maintained its ability to do business with the federal government.

Pfizer says it takes responsibility for the illegal promotion of Bextra. “I
can tell you, unequivocally, that Pfizer perceived the Bextra matter as an
incredibly serious one,” said Doug Lankler, Pfizer’s chief compliance
officer.

To prevent it from happening again, Pfizer has set up what it calls
“leading-edge” systems to spot signs of illegal promotion by closely monitoring
sales reps and tracking prescription sales.

It’s not entirely voluntary. Pfizer had to sign a corporate integrity
agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services. For the next five
years, it requires Pfizer to disclose future payments to doctors and top
executives to sign off personally that the company is obeying the law.

Pfizer says the company has learned its lesson.

But after years of overseeing similar cases against other major drug
companies, even Loucks, isn’t sure $2 billion in penalties is a deterrent when
the profits from illegal promotion can be so large.

“I worry that the money is so great,” he said, that dealing with the
Department of Justice may be “just of a cost of doing business.”

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/02/pfizer.bextra/index.html?hpt=T2

397 total views, no views today

PAXIL: Postpartum: Mother Has Worsening Depression with 2nd Baby

PAXIL:   PostpartumMother Has
Worsening Depression with 2nd Baby After Taking Antidepressants:  Had

Postpartum with 1st Baby and Recovered With No Meds:
U.S.A.

Sentences three through seven read:  ” I went through postpartum depression with my first baby eight years ago but at
that time I didn’t have anxiety and I didn’t take any medication.
And I started getting better after 3½ months itself. But now it’s
been three months that I am going through this. I have been
taking medications (Paxil 20 mg, Buspar 10 mg) and getting counseling but
it’s not helping much. I still don’t feel myself and am having unwanted
thoughts.”

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/expert.q.a/09/08/postpartum.depression.raison/

Expert Q&A

updated 10:03 a.m. EDT, Tue September 8,
2009

How long will my postpartum depression last?

Asked by Sheeza Ashraf, Fremont, California

I have a
4-month-old baby. I am going through postpartum depression with a lot of anxiety
and panic attacks. I went through postpartum depression with my first baby eight
years ago but at that time I didn’t have anxiety and I didn’t take any
medication. And I started getting better after 3½ months itself. But now it’s
been three months that I am going through this. I have been taking medications
(Paxil 20 mg, Buspar 10 mg) and getting counseling but it’s not helping much. I
still don’t feel myself and am having unwanted thoughts. How long does

postpartum depression last? Is this temporary? Will this anxiety and depression
ever go away? Should I stop the medications and try it on my own? Does exercise
help to get out of the depression? Will I ever be normal like I was
before?

Mental Health Expert Dr.
Charles Raison
Psychiatrist,
Emory University Medical School

Expert answer

Dear Sheeza,

I am sorry to hear of your difficulties —
you are far from alone in your struggles with postpartum depression. Indeed, up
to 20 percent of women become depressed in the six months following delivery,
but company doesn’t help much when it comes to depression — or at least the
company we typically provide in the U.S. Traditional cultures understood the
vulnerability of new mothers and would often surround them with family and
friends to help with the significant emotional and practical burdens of coping

with the newborn.

I am going to make some general recommendations about
what you might want to consider doing, based only on the information you have
provided above. As always, this should not be taken as specific advice for your
actual situation. That kind of advice can come only from a clinician who knows
you and is involved in your care.

First and most important, it is very
important to continue medication when one is still depressed, so given what you
describe, I would counsel against stopping the antidepressant. It is not clear
how long you have been on the Paxil (generic: paroxetine), but let’s assume
you’ve been on it for at least six weeks. You are on a low dose. A reasonable
first step would be to talk with your doctor about raising the dose to 40 mg a
day and trying this dose for at least several weeks.

If you see no
benefit, there are in general two paths your doctor might recommend (and I say
doctor in the generic sense, given that many folks nowadays see physician
assistants or nurse practitioners who often — in my experience — do a better
job diagnosing and treating depression than do MDs). First, your doctor might
add a second antidepressant or an atypical antipsychotic to your Paxil. Although
they are called “antipsychotics,” these agents (for example Seroquel, Abilify,
Zyprexa) are also widely used to help with severe depression and anxiety and are
often quite effective. Second, your doctor might switch you from the Paxil to
another antidepressant. Unfortunately, we have no scientific way of knowing
which agent you should switch to — our best data suggest that they are all
about equal. But one thing is clear: Many people who don’t do well with one
antidepressant will have a great response to a different one.

Anxiety and
panic are quite common when one has a bad depression, and they can be more
miserable to endure than the feeling of depression itself. It is unlikely that
the low dose of Buspar (generic: buspirone) you are taking is of much benefit.
You might want to discuss with your doctor raising the dose to at least 10 mg
three times a day or discontinuing it. The best immediate way to relieve
disabling anxiety is through the use of benzodiazepines (for example lorazepam
or clonazepam). These medications can be lifesavers, but if you take them for
more than three or four weeks your body will become dependent upon them, and
should you want to stop, you will have to reduce them slowly under the
supervision of a doctor.

Let me say a word about exercise. Yes, exercise

has been shown in many studies not only to raise a person’s mood immediately,
but also to work over time as an antidepressant. Therefore, I strongly recommend
adding regular exercise to your treatment regimen. Try to exercise in the
morning, especially when it is sunny. To get the best effect you will need to
work up a sweat. I find that it is even better if you can exercise in a place
with some natural beauty — as being in nature is itself quite comforting for
most of us.

I don’t have an answer to your question about how long the
depression will last and whether it will ever go away. Everyone is different. We
do know, however, that the longer one stays depressed and/or the more episodes
one has had, the harder it is to treat the condition. This is just the
frightening truth of the disease, and it really highlights how important it is
for you to really get aggressive about your treatment. My sincere hope is that
whatever specific treatment route you follow, you will start feeling like
yourself again as quickly as possible.

Finally, whenever I talk about
specific pharmacologic treatments I need to disclose that in addition to my
academic work I have given lectures for two pharmaceutical companies in the last
year: Lilly and Wyeth. I have also served on an advisory board for Lilly in the
last 12 months.
[]

328 total views, no views today

PAXIL: Postpartum Depression Medication Worsens Depression

Sentences three through seven read:  ” I went through
postpartum depression with my first baby eight years ago but at
that time I didn’t have anxiety and I didn’t take any medication.
And I started getting better after 3½ months itself. But now it’s
been three months that I am going through this. I have been
taking medications (Paxil 20 mg, Buspar 10 mg) and getting counseling but
it’s not helping much. I still don’t feel myself and am having unwanted
thoughts.”

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/expert.q.a/09/08/postpartum.depression.raison/

Expert Q&A

updated 10:03 a.m. EDT, Tue September
8, 2009

How long will my postpartum depression last?

Asked
by Sheeza Ashraf, Fremont, California

I have a 4-month-old baby. I am
going through postpartum depression with a lot of anxiety and panic attacks. I
went through postpartum depression with my first baby eight years ago but at
that time I didn’t have anxiety and I didn’t take any medication. And I started
getting better after 3½ months itself. But now it’s been three months that I am
going through this. I have been taking medications (Paxil 20 mg, Buspar 10 mg)
and getting counseling but it’s not helping much. I still don’t feel myself and
am having unwanted thoughts. How long does postpartum depression last? Is this
temporary? Will this anxiety and depression ever go away? Should I stop the
medications and try it on my own? Does exercise help to get out of the

depression? Will I ever be normal like I was before?

Mental
Health Expert
Dr.
Charles Raison
Psychiatrist,
Emory University Medical School

Expert answer

Dear Sheeza,

I am sorry to hear
of your difficulties — you are far from alone in your struggles with postpartum
depression. Indeed, up to 20 percent of women become depressed in the six months
following delivery, but company doesn’t help much when it comes to depression
or at least the company we typically provide in the U.S. Traditional cultures
understood the vulnerability of new mothers and would often surround them with
family and friends to help with the significant emotional and practical burdens
of coping with the newborn.

I am going to make some general
recommendations about what you might want to consider doing, based only on the
information you have provided above. As always, this should not be taken as
specific advice for your actual situation. That kind of advice can come only
from a clinician who knows you and is involved in your care.

First and
most important, it is very important to continue medication when one is still
depressed, so given what you describe, I would counsel against stopping the
antidepressant. It is not clear how long you have been on the Paxil (generic:
paroxetine), but let’s assume you’ve been on it for at least six weeks. You are
on a low dose. A reasonable first step would be to talk with your doctor about
raising the dose to 40 mg a day and trying this dose for at least several weeks.

If you see no benefit, there are in general two paths your doctor might
recommend (and I say doctor in the generic sense, given that many folks nowadays
see physician assistants or nurse practitioners who often — in my experience —
do a better job diagnosing and treating depression than do MDs). First, your
doctor might add a second antidepressant or an atypical antipsychotic to your
Paxil. Although they are called “antipsychotics,” these agents (for example
Seroquel, Abilify, Zyprexa) are also widely used to help with severe depression
and anxiety and are often quite effective. Second, your doctor might switch you
from the Paxil to another antidepressant. Unfortunately, we have no scientific
way of knowing which agent you should switch to — our best data suggest that
they are all about equal. But one thing is clear: Many people who don’t do well
with one antidepressant will have a great response to a different
one.

Anxiety and panic are quite common when one has a bad depression,
and they can be more miserable to endure than the feeling of depression itself.
It is unlikely that the low dose of Buspar (generic: buspirone) you are taking
is of much benefit. You might want to discuss with your doctor raising the dose
to at least 10 mg three times a day or discontinuing it. The best immediate way
to relieve disabling anxiety is through the use of benzodiazepines (for example
lorazepam or clonazepam). These medications can be lifesavers, but if you take
them for more than three or four weeks your body will become dependent upon
them, and should you want to stop, you will have to reduce them slowly under the
supervision of a doctor.

Let me say a word about exercise. Yes, exercise
has been shown in many studies not only to raise a person’s mood immediately,
but also to work over time as an antidepressant. Therefore, I strongly recommend
adding regular exercise to your treatment regimen. Try to exercise in the
morning, especially when it is sunny. To get the best effect you will need to
work up a sweat. I find that it is even better if you can exercise in a place
with some natural beauty — as being in nature is itself quite comforting for
most of us.

I don’t have an answer to your question about how long the

depression will last and whether it will ever go away. Everyone is different. We
do know, however, that the longer one stays depressed and/or the more episodes
one has had, the harder it is to treat the condition. This is just the
frightening truth of the disease, and it really highlights how important it is
for you to really get aggressive about your treatment. My sincere hope is that
whatever specific treatment route you follow, you will start feeling like
yourself again as quickly as possible.

Finally, whenever I talk about
specific pharmacologic treatments I need to disclose that in addition to my
academic work I have given lectures for two pharmaceutical companies in the last
year: Lilly and Wyeth. I have also served on an advisory board for Lilly in the
last 12 months.
[]

436 total views, no views today

ZOLOFT: Violent Behavior in Young Girl: USA CNN

First two sentences read: “My daughter was treated for anxiety with Zoloft around a year ago. However, her school reported alarming, violent behavior (she never had that before), and we stopped it after only a week.”

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/expert.q.a/08/18/zoloft.adverse.effects.raison/

Is my daughter’s violent reaction to a drug an allergy?

Asked by Sharon, USA

My daughter was treated for anxiety with Zoloft around a year ago. However, her school reported alarming, violent behavior (she never had that before), and we stopped it after only a week. I always understood this to be an “adverse effect,” but a nurse today told me it was an allergy. An allergy means she should never take it again, but an adverse effect could be grown out of, and doesn’t rule out similar drugs. Was the nurse just dumbing things down, or was she correct?

Mental Health Expert Dr. Charles Raison Psychiatrist,
Emory University Medical School

Expert answer

Dear Sharon,

The nurse may have been trying to “dumb it down” as you say, but she was not correct. We’ll talk about bad reactions to antidepressants in a moment, but let’s talk about allergies first. An allergy is a very specific type of reaction that is caused by an arm of the immune system often referred to as Th2. Allergies can be mild or extremely serious, but whatever their intensity, what they share in common is that the immune system is needlessly going into overdrive in response to something that is not really dangerous.

Because allergies are a type of inflammatory response, their symptoms tend to be fairly stereotyped: itching, redness, swelling, runny nose and eyes, hives and shortness of breath (from airway swelling) when severe. When one takes a medication and has this type of reaction, that is an allergic response to the medicine. While all medications can cause an allergic reaction, some (for complicated reasons) are much more likely to do this than others. The classic example is penicillin, to which many people are allergic. Antidepressants have a very low likelihood of inducing an allergic response.

OK, that’s the scoop on allergies. So your daughter didn’t have an allergic response, but she did have a serious side effect to the Zoloft and one that is not uncommon. In fact, behavioral agitation –while not as common as other side effects such as loss of sexual function or stomach upset — is one of the most worrisome reactions elicited by antidepressants. One reason why you don’t want your doctor to start you on an antidepressant and tell you to “come back in six weeks” is that he or she should be on much closer lookout to make sure that you don’t develop severe anxiety or agitation in the first week or two of treatment.

Psychiatrists have debated endlessly about what causes antidepressant-induced agitation. There are probably several explanations, with each being true for individual patients. There is evidence that the acute effects of antidepressants can directly cause agitation in some people. There is also evidence that many people who get agitated may have, or be at risk for, having bipolar disorder (i.e. manic depression). We have known for years that many bipolar patients will have a first manic or hypomanic episode in response to being placed on an antidepressant. That is why I always tell patients to call me immediately if they start feeling too happy or too jazzed up too quickly, as that can be a sign of developing mania. Mania can also manifest as extreme agitation or irritability, especially in children and adolescents.

I am not suggesting that your daughter has a bipolar condition. I noticed that you chose the topic “autism” when you submitted your question. If your daughter has an autistic disorder, this might also put her at increased risk of having a bad reaction to an antidepressant.

I do not think your daughter needs to avoid all antidepressants forever, because each of these agents is different. Frequently, someone who can’t tolerate one antidepressant does just fine on another. But it goes without saying that I would certainly be cautious if you elect to try another antidepressant with your daughter. You might think about doing it during a break from school so that you can watch her closely and also so that if the agitation happens again, she won’t be in a place where it might affect her social relationships outside the family.

Finally, as the director of my residency program told me years ago, “Any medication that actually works will have side effects.” I’ve never forgotten that.

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Soldier Charged with Attempted Murder: Colorado

Note from Ann Blake-Tracy: Yet ANOTHER antidepressant-induced violent
incident!!!! Just how many of these do we need to witness in one area before society
begins to connect the dots back to these deadly drugs they are giving to so
many soldiers for PTSD?!

How many antidepressant-induced murder cases from the Ft Carson/Colorado
Springs area did I send out last week – 4 or 5? You could almost use
Colorado Springs as a microcosm sounding a warning to the rest of the world about
the potential antidepressant dangers we all face with the widespread use of
these drugs.
__________________________________________________________________

Paragraphs 45 through 47 read: "How did it come to this — a decorated war
veteran who sought help now charged with trying to kill his wife?"

"Delgado’s medical records reveal that in the nearly three months between
his mother’s death and the incident in September, the soldier sought help
four times at the behavioral health unit at the base hospital."

"Each time, he was referred to a civilian doctor. He saw the off-base
doctor twice, and was prescribed anti-depressants, sleeping pills and
anti-anxiety drugs."

_http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/08/06/accused.soldier.ptsd/

_ (http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/08/06/accused.soldier.ptsd/) By Jim
Spellman and Wayne Drash
CNN

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (CNN) — Army Spc. Thomas Delgado saved lives
as a combat medic on the front lines in Iraq, earning a Purple Heart when a
bomb rocked his vehicle during his nearly yearlong tour. Back home, he was
sometimes assigned the role of insurgent during combat training at a mock
Iraqi village in California.

Thomas Delgado is charged with trying to kill his wife just days after
their fifth wedding anniversary.

"He told me he felt like he never left" Iraq, said his wife, Shayla.

Soon after his return in December 2005, Delgado realized something many
war veterans fail to recognize. He was suffering from post-traumatic stress
and needed help. He complained of "fear of losing self control," "feelings
of hopelessness" and "paranoia," medical records show.

The 25-year-old soldier is now at the center of a controversial attempted
murder case, charged with trying to kill his wife in September 2008. She
says prosecutors have it all wrong. Her husband of five years needs medical
help, not prison. And, she says, he never tried to kill her.

Delgado’s case may become one of the first to be heard at a
soon-to-be-opened special veterans’ trauma court in Colorado. The court was created to
get professional medical care for military veterans suffering from
trauma-related disorders who are accused of crimes. An estimated 20 percent of Iraq
war veterans suffer from _post-traumatic stress disorder_
(http://topics.cnn.com/topics/post_traumatic_stress_disorder) .

Delgado’s only previous run-in with the law was a minor traffic violation.

Delgado medically retired from the Army Wednesday, and was scheduled to
appear Thursday at a bond hearing to decide if he gets sent back to jail
while awaiting his November trial. The hearing may also determine if his case
gets moved to the new veterans’ court.

"I feel like it was 100 percent preventable," Shayla Delgado told CNN.
"All we’ve really wanted this whole time was someone to help us, someone to
give him treatment."

The district attorney’s office, which covers El Paso and Teller Counties,
declined to comment for this story.

Delgado praised his wife for standing by his side.

"I would definitely be another one of the lost causes if I didn’t have her
backing me up in my corner. She’s just been amazing, doing amazing things
on my behalf," he told CNN by phone.

"It’s unfortunate that it took an incident like this to get proper
treatment."

He said his lawyer advised him not to talk about the night in question.
"I’m hoping to stay out of jail," he added.

What really happened?

For the Delgados, the evening of September 24, 2008, just days after their
fifth wedding anniversary, began with drinks and an argument. Then
everything escalated with whirlwind speed.

Shayla Delgado says her husband grabbed a gun and rattled off suicidal
thoughts. "I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to do it," she recalled him
saying. "I just can’t live like this any more. I can’t do it, I can’t do
it."

"He was telling me, ‘Take our son and leave because you don’t want to be
here for this,’" she said, breaking down in tears. "I was really, really
scared."

She says she pleaded, begged him, to get on the phone with his father. The
two spoke. The soldier kept telling his dad how much he loved him, she
says. She rushed to the bedroom, cradling their sleeping year-old son, and
sprinted out of the apartment.

She dropped the infant off at a neighbor’s and returned home, heading
straight to the bathroom where her husband was holed up. She kicked in the
door. "I see him with the gun in his mouth and I just ripped the gun from his
arms and I ran."

It was during that scuffle to wrestle the gun away, prosecutors say, that
the soldier tried to kill his wife, breaking her nose and attempting to
choke her. Prosecutors have charged Thomas Delgado with one count of
first-degree attempted murder and an array of other charges. They have offered a
plea bargain of 5 to 15 years in prison — a deal Delgado has so far rejected.

A police report on the incident says Shayla Delgado was treated for a
broken nose at a hospital, but she had no "visible marks on her neck at that
time." The police affidavit says she told authorities her husband wrapped his
arm around her neck in the fight for the gun. "Ms. Delgado stated that she
was in fear that he was going to kill her or hurt her very badly," the
affidavit says.

She then got away and he pursued her, according to the affidavit. "He
followed her into the bedroom and again attempted to choke her once more," it
says. "Ms. Delgado stated she stopped fighting in belief that he would let
her go and after a few moments he did."

Shayla Delgado told CNN her nose was broken as a result of the struggle
for the gun — not from a malicious, intentional blow from her husband. Her
husband was in crisis, she says, and she saved him from suicide in a violent
scuffle.

Delgado’s medical records, reviewed by CNN, indicate he remembers few
details from that night. Delgado, who was taking the anti-anxiety drug Ativan,
"believes that he got suicidal while intoxicated, got a weapon to kill
himself, his wife wrestled with him through this, called the police, and with
her visible injuries, he was taken into custody for assault and attempted
murder," the medical records say.

"He has limited recall of these events," the records say. "He feels if his
mother had not died, ‘that day’ would not have happened." His mother had
died three months earlier, in June 2008, after battling breast cancer.

Trauma court for veterans

The veterans’ court is being set up in response to an alarming trend: A
growing number of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are returning
home and committing crimes — from offenses like theft and forgery to more
serious charges like domestic violence and murder. However, the court will
not deal with homicide cases.

Fort Carson is at the epicenter of the problem, with 14 homicides and
attempted homicides there since 2005. Numerous soldiers have been charged with
an array of other offenses.

"If you catch this early, you stop a cycle of people who are
self-medicating or acting out in a violent way," says Ron Crowder, a district court
judge and retired major general from the National Guard who served in Vietnam.

Crowder has been tapped to preside over the new court, which will model
itself after a handful of others already established in the United States.
Veterans and active-duty soldiers accused of crimes will be offered plea
bargains in exchange for mental health treatment that will be rigorously
monitored. The district attorney’s office will be heavily involved in deciding
which cases get sent to the veterans court.

Crowder says the goal of the court is "to get these people the help they
may have not gotten heretofore."

According to a recent U.S. Army study, only 65 percent of authorized
positions at the behavioral health department at Fort Carson were filled in
2008, forcing Army doctors to send half of all cases to civilian doctors off
base.

Fort Carson, home to about 25,000 soldiers, has seen the number of
soldiers seeking help skyrocket to 2,400 walk-in cases a month — or nearly 1 in
every 10 soldiers.

"I’m trying to track my population and identify people who are
symptomatic," said Col. George Brandt, the senior behavioral health officer at the
base hospital.

Brandt came on board last year with a mission to improve mental health
care for troubled soldiers. He has brought staffing levels up to 74 percent,
with a total of 14 psychiatrists, 14 psychologists and 29 social workers. "I
always want more staff and resources," Brandt said. "We’re trying to build
the system right, get the care near where the soldiers are, increase
access."

The facility does not have any in-patient care on the base. Even with
staffing shortcomings, Brandt said, "I’m never going to let a soldier go
without care who asks for it."

One nearby facility utilized by Fort Carson, he said, has a staff
consisting of two-thirds former military members who are specially trained in PTSD.
"If I can’t provide it, I’m going to get a civilian colleague to help me
with that," Brandt said.

Maj. Gen. David Perkins, the new commander of Fort Carson, told CNN the
base has spent a lot of time assessing problems with PTSD and trying to
develop solutions. One of the biggest concerns, he said, is overcoming the
stigma of seeking help.

"This is the key point that we’re focusing on across the Army," he said.
"You have seen, from four-star generals on down, personally come out and
talk about their issues with post-traumatic stress disorder. And this alone
has created a large momentum to taking the stigma away."

A soldier’s journey

Delgado was deployed to _Iraq_ (http://topics.cnn.com/topics/iraq_war) as
a combat medic in January 2005, stationed about 20 miles south of Baghdad.
His war at home began around Christmas of that year.

His medical records show that he "treated more Iraqi casualties than
Americans," but he twice lost comrades — one from war wounds in the field and
another to infection. "States he saw it all," the records say. "He takes
great pride in being a competent combat medic. He notes he has had great
emotional distance, feeling numb and disconnect since his tour."

Delgado’s first job back in the States, at Fort Irwin in California, was
to train combat soldiers in a mock Iraqi village. Sometimes, he dressed in
Army fatigues and battled would-be bad guys; other times, he suited up as an
Iraqi villain, according to his wife.

Delgado first began getting treatment for his PTSD at Fort Irwin,
according to his family. At that time, his mother was dealing with terminal breast
cancer back in the couple’s home state of Colorado. In March 2008, as his
mother’s condition worsened, the Army relocated Delgado to be near his
mother’s side and the couple, now with a young son, moved to Fort Carson.

He worked at the emergency room of Evans Army Community Hospital on base,
and spent his time off with his ailing mother. She died in June 2008, and
according to his wife, that’s when he began to unravel. Three months later,
he was arrested.

How did it come to this — a decorated war veteran who sought help now
charged with trying to kill his wife?

Delgado’s medical records reveal that in the nearly three months between
his mother’s death and the incident in September, the soldier sought help
four times at the behavioral health unit at the base hospital.

Each time, he was referred to a civilian doctor. He saw the off-base
doctor twice, and was prescribed anti-depressants, sleeping pills and
anti-anxiety drugs.

"It scared me, because I didn’t know what was really happening," his wife
said of his troubled state. "I didn’t know what was going on."

Shayla Delgado believes the treatment her husband received was inadequate.
Unfortunately, she says, it took his arrest to get him the care he needed:
in-patient treatment at civilian facilities specializing in PTSD.

While her husband tries to heal from his invisible war wounds, she’s
trying to clear his name.

"It’s just so sad because, you know, my husband’s a really good person,"
she said, weeping. "He deserves to be treated better."

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6/26/2001 – Part 1 – Creating an Epidemic of Columbine Shooters!!!

This week I was interviewed on CNN about new “research” on treating anxiety
in children with the SSRI, Luvox.

[I will first send you research out of Australia about anxiety and serotonin
levels along with an e-mail that just came in from a mother whose son had his
life ruined by Luvox and then I will send the Washington Post article next on
the study.]

I must say that we have taken insanity to an all new height with this recent
study out on anxiety in children. The same drug Eric Harris was on in the
Columbine High School shooting, Luvox, is the drug that was used in this
study to treat anxiety in children. But look at what behavior was considered
to be abnormal enough to give this drug that has “psychosis” listed as a
“frequent” side effect!

“Extreme separation anxiety disorder, he said, would be displayed in a child
who avoided birthday parties and sleepovers. A medium-grade example would be
children who refused to sleep in their own rooms and wanted to get into bed
with their parents.”

Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but I had a child that often jumped
in bed with mom and did not like birthday parties very much. Given a choice
between waiting for children to grow out of that as opposed to drugging them
into psychosis, should not be a difficult choice at all!

We don’t get to enjoy these little children in our lives for very long.
Before we know it they are grown and gone. Why not enjoy the short time they
want to crawl into bed with mom and dad to be cuddled and reassured that
everything is okay? But to look at this as a serious mental disorder for
which they need to be drugged?!! This is greed beyond anything imaginable!

When we look at the science behind anxiety disorders the insanity grows by
leaps and bounds because medical research over the last several decades has
continued to show (as documented in Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?) that
anxiety, along with other mood disorders, is associated with ELEVATED levels
of serotonin, rather than decreased levels of serotonin. So in a patient
suffering from anxiety, WHY would we want to increase already elevated levels
of serotonin with an SSRI?

Dr. Murray Ellis at the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne,
Australia found last year that 75% of those suffering from various anxiety
disorders had EIGHT times higher levels of serotonin even on days when they
did not demonstrate anxiety symptoms.

So, as I asked on CNN, I once again ask, “Why on earth would we want to do
anything to increase serotonin in those who already demonstrate symptoms of
ELEVATED serotonin?”

My heart aches for these children who were tortured and maimed as guinea
pigs, given this deadly drug for the sole purpose of increasing the profits
of those who still have their hands dripping with the blood of all the
Columbine victims.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org
____________________________

http://theage.com.au/news/20000514/A59189-2000May13.html

Dramatic reversal in research on anxiety

By STEVE DOW
Sunday 14 May 2000

Startling and unexpected findings on panic disorder patients could
fundamentally change the way anxiety and anxiety-related depression are
treated.

The findings by Melbourne’s Baker Medical Research Institute, presented to a
recent scientific meeting and soon to be submitted to the medical journal The
Lancet, have unsettled scientists and turned upside down their ideas on brain
chemistry among the anxious.

But the evidence from the work by cardiologist Professor Murray Esler and
colleagues is so strong that it is being taken seriously.

The scientists tested the levels of the mood-regulating chemical serotonin in
20 patients who suffer panic attacks and found that, even on a good day, the
average levels of the chemical in the brains of at least 15 of the patients
were eight times higher than normal.

Until now, the theory has been that anxiety, panic and anxiety-related
depression are caused by a lack or underactivity of serotonin in the brain.
Based on this theory, the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI)
wonder drugs that emerged in the ’90s – marketed as Prozac, Aropax and Zoloft
– are intended to increase serotonin around the brain neurons involved in
anxiety.

Professor Esler emphasised that the SSRIs were “great drugs” and should
remain worldwide bestsellers.

However, there were two important implications of the new research, he said.

First, the conventional view of how SSRIs operate has been challenged. It
would appear that the drugs are effective because, over time, they somehow
decrease, rather than increase, serotonin as originally thought.

Second, the new findings could spark drug companies to create drugs that stop
serotonin directly. Such a response might stop the common problem of
“serotonin agitation” experienced by many patients on SSRIs. These patients
experience increased anxiety in their first weeks of treatment on drugs such
as Prozac, Aropax and Zoloft; the drugs making the problem “worse before they
make it better”, Professor Esler said.

He said there was now compelling evidence that panic disorder and depression
were on a par with high blood pressure and smoking as risk factors for heart
disease. A study of several panic disorder patients had shown a spasm of
coronary arteries was common after an attack. One patient, a woman of 40,
suffered a clot and subsequent heart attack because of her panic disorder.

The Baker Institute wishes to recruit patients who suffer panic disorders and
depression for future studies. Contact the institute on 95224212.

NEWS 14: The Health Report
_____________________________________

Teenager on Luvox – aggressive, homicidal
3/26/01

This letter is for your feedback section on the net. In July of 1999 our son,
then 14 years old, was started on Luvox by a psychiatrist for treatment of
his compulsive behavior. We had actually taken him there for treatment of
depression, but the doctor said he was depressed because of his compulsive
disorder. As our son was 6 foot tall and 300+ pounds, the doctor eventually
had him on a dose up to 300 mg a day. Our son started to act very aloof and
irritable. When he was depressed he talked about killing himself, he would
sleep a lot, and he drew pictures of guns. But once on the Luvox, he became
aggressive towards us and would swing at us at the least provocation.

Just before Christmas he came up to me, his mother, and said, “Something is
wrong with me,” but he couldn’t explain it. I didn’t realize at all what he
meant. On Christmas he opened his gifts methodically with no expression on
his face. He had always loved this holiday and now he was acting like a
zombie.

In the winter of 2000, we got a call from his school that he had threatened
some people. The police were called. Apparently our son, who had never done
anything wrong in school or out, had been talking in the cafeteria about
killing the family of a girl he knew, then killing her. He went into graphic
detail and then looked at two boys who were sitting nearby listening and said
to them, “If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you”. The boys turned him in.

We found out through interviews the police had with other kids in the school
that our son had also plotted the same demise for another family of a girl he
knew. He had told this girl to her face. She and her family, however, knew
our son and knew this was not his normal behavior. They therefore did nothing
about it.

To make a long story short, he was arrested but not taken to jail
immediately because we begged to take him home and watch him 24 hours a day.
He had to be drug tested. He had to go to a partial program for troubled kids
for two weeks. He was given 10 days out of school suspension and the story,
of course, went all over the school. He lost his best friend because the
mother would not let him hang around with our son anymore. No one called to
support him or us. We were isolated from the community. We had to hire a
lawyer because the local police wanted to put him in jail. They had written
up a report that made our son look like he was insane. The report went to the
juvenile court and Children’s Services. We were visited by Children’s
Services and interviewed. Our son went through approximately three different
psychiatric evaluations; however, all of these were done after he was taken
off the Luvox. We had taken him off the drug after this all happened because
we were afraid it might have caused his behavior problem. I had read about
Columbine and knew the boy involved had been on Luvox too. The psychologists
who evaluated him found him to be fine except for depression; again, these
evaluations were after he was taken off the Luvox. Everyone who interviewed
him after he was off the Luvox could not believe he had threatened people
the way he did, he was not the same person.

We were lucky enough to have the case dismissed as it was our son’s first
offense as a juvenile and our state allows one mistake. They supposedly
closed the file, but the local police will have it open until our son is 18.
In the meantime, if he gets into any trouble, they will use it against him.

We pulled our son out of school and homeschooled him to keep him away from
the cruelty of the kids at school. We had to have him tutored and sent him to
summer school so that he could keep up with his class. He is now called a
“Sophomore” instead of a “Junior” because he was short 3/4ths of a credit,
even with all of our effort; although he will graduate with his class as a
Senior next year. The school told us he just won’t ever be a “Junior”. Our
son faces taunting to this day, not as bad as when he first went back to
school in the fall. A boy said “rape” next to him in class and a girl in the
class told her mother and the mother called the police about our son because
she had heard the story and thought he was the one talking about rape. The
guidance counselor told him this year that he has to watch everything that he
says. He cannot say certain words at school, like “gun”, “shoot”, “murder”,
etc because he could get in trouble.

This child will never be the same because of Luvox. His high school years are
a nightmare now and people in this small town will know him as being
“dangerous”. On the bright side, the families of the two girls that he
threatened refused to file any charges against our son because they knew this
was not his usual behavior and that something was “obviously wrong”.

The psychiatrist who gave our son the Luvox became very defensive immediately
after the episode and said that it was not the Luvox, it was our son. He said
that no cases had ever been won against SSRIs. He also told our son that what
he did was horrible, that nobody would ever forget it or forgive him and that
even if he went to another school, they would find out about it.

Can you imagine a psychiatrist saying this to a patient? Needless
to say, we left him after the legal aspect of the case was closed.

My son told me later that when he was on Luvox, he wasn’t afraid to do
anything. He said he had “no fear”.

We hope this will help make people aware of the dangers of Luvox and the
other SSRI drugs. I only wish there was some way to help the people like my
son who have lost so much to this drug.

Please do not print our name or our e-mail address.

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