JAMA: Mild to severe depression better treated with alternatives to medications

Last month, a team at the University of Pennsylvania found only patients
with very severe depression were measurably helped by antidepressant drugs. Mild
to severe depression might be better treated with alternatives to antidepressant
drugs, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


From: nandtbearden@yahoo.com
To: ,
ssri-crusaders@yahoogroups.com, atypical_antipsychotics@yahoogroups.com,
atracyphd2@aol.com
Sent: 2/14/2010 8:12:09 A.M. Central Standard
Time
Subj: Even when treated, depression costs employers

http://uk.mobile.reuters.com/mobile/m/FullArticle/eUK/CHLTUK/nhealthNews_uUKTRE6183DO20100209

Even
when treated, depression costs employers
Tue, 09 Feb 20:05 PM
GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Workers with depression stay home
sick more often than healthy colleagues, even when their disease is treated,
according to a Thomson Reuters report released on Tuesday.

The report,
commissioned by drug maker Sanofi Aventis, suggests that employers would
benefit from better treatments of their workers for depression. Depression is
the leading cause of disability among Americans aged 15 to 44, according to
the National Institute of Mental Health.

“Even when depressed patients
are treated with antidepressants, there are substantial productivity losses.
Therapies that can better manage depression may provide opportunities for
savings to employers,” the Thomson Reuters research team wrote in the Journal
of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

“Despite the widely
acknowledged effectiveness of antidepressant therapy, productivity costs
related to depression persist even after patients receive treatment,” Suellen
Curkendall, director of outcomes research at Thomson Reuters, said in a
statement.

“This may be due to the fact that patients often don’t
respond to the first type of antidepressant that they are prescribed. They
also may fail to take their medications on a regular basis,” added Curkendall,
who led the study.

Curkendall and colleagues analyzed insurance claims
and employee health and productivity data for more than 22,000 patients
treated with antidepressants and compared them to people without
depression.

Workers who had been treated for depression were twice as
likely as others to use short-term disability leave, they found.
Disability-related costs for a year, on average, were $1,038 for patients
treated for depression and $325 for the non-depressed workers.

“Over 40
percent of patients with depression were diagnosed with at least one of the
other included psychiatric conditions besides depression,” the researchers at
Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, added.

Most common were
anxiety, dissociative and so-called somatoform disorders — a group of
disorders with physical symptoms but no apparent physical cause.

Last
month, a team at the University of Pennsylvania found only patients with very
severe depression were measurably helped by antidepressant drugs. Mild to
severe depression might be better treated with alternatives to antidepressant
drugs, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical
Association.

At least 27 million Americans take antidepressants and
more than 164 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written in 2008,
totaling nearly $10 billion in U.S. sales and $20 billion globally, according
to IMS Health.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Jackie
Frank)
Sent via BlackBerry by
AT&T

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Senate Orders Study on Military Suicides

Paragraphs 7 & 8 read: “By voice vote, the Senate approved a Cardin-sponsored amendment to the 2010 defense authorization bill that would order an independent study by the National Institute of Mental Health on the potential relationship between suicide or suicide attempts and the use of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and other behavior-modifying prescription drugs.”

“That study is expected to take two years. In the meantime, Cardin’s amendment also would require a report every June from 2010 through 2015 giving the number and percentages of troops who are serving or have served in Iraq or Afghanistan who had prescriptions for antidepressants or similar drugs.”

http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2009/07/military_suicides_antidepressants_072309w/

Senator: Study prescriptions-suicide link
By Rick Maze – Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Jul 23, 2009 11:32:42 EDT

The Senate on Wednesday ordered an independent study to determine whether an increase in military suicides could be the result of sending troops into combat while they are taking antidepressants or sleeping pills.

Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., who pushed for the study, said he does not know whether there is a link, but he believes prescription drug use, especially when it is not closely supervised by medical personnel, needs a closer look.

“One thing we should all be concerned about is that there are more and more of our soldiers who are using prescription antidepressant drugs … and we are not clear as to whether they are under appropriate medical supervision,” Cardin said.

The problem, he said, is that some antidepressants “take several weeks before they reach their full potential,” and during that time there is a risk of increased suicidal thoughts among 18- to 24-year-olds ­ an age group that includes many service members.

When people taking antidepressants are deployed, they may not be under close medical supervision, especially if they are in a unit that is on the move in combat, Cardin said.

“Surveys … have shown that as many as 12 percent of those who are serving in Iraq and 17 percent of those who are serving in Afghanistan are using some form of prescribed antidepressant or sleeping pills,” Cardin said. “That would equal 20,000 of our service members.”

By voice vote, the Senate approved a Cardin-sponsored amendment to the 2010 defense authorization bill that would order an independent study by the National Institute of Mental Health on the potential relationship between suicide or suicide attempts and the use of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and other behavior-modifying prescription drugs.

That study is expected to take two years. In the meantime, Cardin’s amendment also would require a report every June from 2010 through 2015 giving the number and percentages of troops who are serving or have served in Iraq or Afghanistan who had prescriptions for antidepressants or similar drugs.

The reports would not include names or any specifics that would identify the service members, Cardin said. “We protect their individual privacy,” he said. “There is no stigma attached at all to this survey.”

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Atracyphd1@aol.com
To: post@drugawareness.org, DCKCCPAS@aol.com, Atracyphd2@aol.com
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2009 03:08:48 EDT
Subject: ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Senate Orders Study on Military Suicides
Paragraphs 7 & 8 read: “By voice vote, the Senate approved a Cardin-sponsored amendment to the 2010 defense authorization bill that would order an independent study by the National Institute of Mental Health on the potential relationship between suicide or suicide attempts and the use of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and other behavior-modifying prescription drugs.”

“That study is expected to take two years. In the meantime, Cardin’s amendment also would require a report every June from 2010 through 2015 giving the number and percentages of troops who are serving or have served in Iraq or Afghanistan who had prescriptions for antidepressants or similar drugs.”

http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2009/07/military_suicides_antidepressants_072309w/

Senator: Study prescriptions-suicide link
By Rick Maze – Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Jul 23, 2009 11:32:42 EDT

The Senate on Wednesday ordered an independent study to determine whether an increase in military suicides could be the result of sending troops into combat while they are taking antidepressants or sleeping pills.

Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., who pushed for the study, said he does not know whether there is a link, but he believes prescription drug use, especially when it is not closely supervised by medical personnel, needs a closer look.

“One thing we should all be concerned about is that there are more and more of our soldiers who are using prescription antidepressant drugs … and we are not clear as to whether they are under appropriate medical supervision,” Cardin said.

The problem, he said, is that some antidepressants “take several weeks before they reach their full potential,” and during that time there is a risk of increased suicidal thoughts among 18- to 24-year-olds ­ an age group that includes many service members.

When people taking antidepressants are deployed, they may not be under close medical supervision, especially if they are in a unit that is on the move in combat, Cardin said.

“Surveys … have shown that as many as 12 percent of those who are serving in Iraq and 17 percent of those who are serving in Afghanistan are using some form of prescribed antidepressant or sleeping pills,” Cardin said. “That would equal 20,000 of our service members.”

By voice vote, the Senate approved a Cardin-sponsored amendment to the 2010 defense authorization bill that would order an independent study by the National Institute of Mental Health on the potential relationship between suicide or suicide attempts and the use of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and other behavior-modifying prescription drugs.

That study is expected to take two years. In the meantime, Cardin’s amendment also would require a report every June from 2010 through 2015 giving the number and percentages of troops who are serving or have served in Iraq or Afghanistan who had prescriptions for antidepressants or similar drugs.

The reports would not include names or any specifics that would identify the service members, Cardin said. “We protect their individual privacy,” he said. “There is no stigma attached at all to this survey.”

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02/15/2001 – RISKING KIDS' HEALTH FOR SAKE OF SCIENCE – AT WHAT COST?

http://www.nypost.com/commentary/23654.htm

RISKING KIDS’ HEALTH FOR SAKE OF SCIENCE

Monday,February 12,2001

By DOUGLAS MONTERO

————————————————————————
AT WHAT COST?
Columbia’s Dr. Laurence Greenhill heads the Ritalin study.
– NYP: Rick Dembow

TWO city research institutions will extend their tentacles into our
communities today, looking for hundreds of kids, some as young as 3, to use
as guinea pigs.

The experiments, to determine the safety and efficacy of Ritalin in
preschoolers, have advocates up in arms – they think researchers are playing
fast and loose with the brains of children.

“Where’s the limit?” asked Dr. Ellen Isaacs, a member of the Coalition
Against the Violence Initiative, a grass-roots group in the Washington
Heights section of Manhattan. “Are they going to give it to kids in the
womb?”

The rationale of the nationwide experiment on the preschoolers seems noble –
Ritalin is already prescribed by doctors like lollipops without any sound
medical evidence to show that it’s safe for a child’s developing brain.

About 2 million kids nationwide, nearly a quarter-million of them between
ages 2 and 4, take Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs, according to a March
2000 report by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The report inspired then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, who was a candidate for
the U.S. Senate at the time, to prod the White House to look at ways to stop
the alarming trend, and that translates into experiments. Some thought
Clinton’s motives were political, others applauded her.

The National Institute of Mental Health subsequently gave $6 million to a
consortium of six institutions, led by Dr. Laurence Greenhill of Columbia
University, to conduct the Ritalin study. New York University also is part
of the group.

Two-thirds of the more than 300 kids in the nationwide study called
Preschool ADHD Treatment Study (PATS) will be under 6 years old.

They are looking for kids with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder who have never been medicated.

Members of the coalition two weeks ago protested outside Columbia
Presbyterian Medical Center, which is affiliated with Columbia University,
handing out leaflets alerting parents, schools and community groups.

The coalition is worried researchers will offer money for subjects or give
parents false hopes that their children will be cured. They also worry that
the unknown, long-term side effects of the drugs might harm kids.

Advocates are also wondering how researchers are going to properly diagnose
the preschoolers – some of who can’t express themselves thoroughly.

“Obviously, if it’s the researchers doing the diagnosis, it is in their
interest to diagnose kids with ADHD because they need them for the study,”
said Leonard H. Glantz, a law professor at Boston University and author of a
book on the ethics of researching on children.

“Unlike doctors, researchers don’t have the best interest of the patient in
mind.”

Greenhill said the five-stage, 40-week study has been reviewed and
re-reviewed by five ethics panels “to make sure the rights of the children
and their families’ rights are protected.”

Researchers will seek kids by advertising, by referrals from local doctors
and by sending flyers to private schools – since they are prohibited from
recruiting at public schools, Greenhill said.

The children will be diagnosed by a special group of researchers composed of
up of six institutions, including Johns Hopkins, University of California at
Los Angeles, University of California at Irvine, and Duke, said Greenhill,
who insisted the parents will only be given money to get and from the
hospital.

Greenhill is seeking more than 60 kids whose parents will first receive
training to see if their child’s behavior improves. The second stage
involves low-dose medication that’s later upgraded, Greenhill said.

The fourth stage includes a placebo experiment, where some kids get a sugar
pill. Advocates say children will suffer from withdrawal symptoms because
Ritalin is addictive.

Parents have to sign consent forms for each stage, including the last, which
includes a gradual tapering off or continuation of the drug.

Informed of the study she inspired, Clinton spokeswoman Karen Dunn said,
“Hillary Clinton is very concerned about the increased use of Ritalin in
young children and has strongly supported efforts to determine whether it is
being used appropriately and effectively.”

That sounds politically and morally correct, but the folks in Washington,
D.C., aren’t going to be around to see what becomes of these kids who donate
their brains to science.

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1/9/2000 – The Legal Drugging Of America

The Legal Drugging Of America

Here is a recent article from Arianna Huffington. – Mark M.
———-

The Legal Drugging Of America: A Status Report
Filed December 23, 1999
by Arianna Huffington

Two reports out this month highlight the continuing trend toward the
legal drugging of America.

The Surgeon General’s report on the state of the nation’s mental health
found that 22 percent of the population has a diagnosable mental
disorder.” At the same time, a study by the National Institute of
Mental Health concluded that we are under-medicating our children and
that for those diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder,
drugs — specifically Ritalin — are more effective than therapy.

The big drugmakers will no doubt use these studies as additional
weapons in their ongoing war to make mood-altering drugs the solution
to all life’s problems. Our magazines are already stuffed with ads
portraying pharmaceutical giants as noble enterprises, engaged in
nothing but the pursuit of pure science and the public good. And our
television screens are filled with commercials for drugs to cure
shyness and so-called “social phobias.”

The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved Effexor XR, a
drug for “generalized anxiety disorder” — the garden-variety
free-floating anxiety that has plagued humanity since the expulsion
from Eden. Mark Twain summed it up this way: “I am an old man, and
have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

These days, the assumption seems to be that drugs can take care of
everything unpleasant in the human condition. “At Pfizer,” one ad
boasts, “we look to the future with the knowledge that the only thing
incurable is our passion.” What the ad doesn’t mention is that drug
company profits (Pfizer’s last year were $3.35 billion) are often spent
not on finding cures for serious diseases but for “lifestyle”
maladies — baldness, toenail fungus, and of course any interruption to
a perpetually sunny mood. Not one major drug company in the United
States has an in-house research program on malaria, for example, but
sales of pharmaceutical drugs for pets are approaching $1 billion
annually.

The major flaw of the Surgeon General’s report is the lumping together
of dramatically disparate conditions. According to Surgeon General
David Satcher himself, “tragic and devastating disorders such a
schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease,
the mental and behavioral disorders suffered by children, and a range
of other mental disorders affect nearly one in five Americans in any
year.” This is a classic example of pseudo-scientific sleight of hand:
linking schizophrenia to childhood behavioral problems as though they
are in any meaningful sense on the same continuum.
It is this mind-set that has led to the Ritalin epidemic — with the
number of kids taking the powerful drug skyrocketing from 1 million in
1990 to 4 million today. And now along comes a study that says the
answer to those many instances where Ritalin has proved ineffective is
to simply up the dosage. As Dr. Peter Jensen from the National
Institute of Mental Health put it, “You find the dose that achieves
the absolute possible total benefit for this child … That’s the dose
you want, not the lowest possible dose that you can get by on.” It’s
ingenius, if Ritalin isn’t working, try more Ritalin. As they used to
say in the ’60s, “Why do you think they call it dope?”

It’s doubly tragic that these reports have arrived at a time when we’re
facing a crisis in managed health care. Because a diagnosis of a mental
disorder will almost always prompt managed care companies to take the
cheap way out — drugs rather than therapy, no matter how potentially
dangerous the long-term side effects, especially on children’s growing
brains.

Making this growing emphasis on drugs especially troubling is the
conclusion by federal investigators that the FDA has “no quality
control system” to track adverse drug reactions. Currently, doctors
and hospitals are not even legally required to report patients’ drug
side effects to the FDA. As a result, in one year, from the beginning
of June 1997 to the end of May 1998, the agency got only 13,825 such
reports even though in hospitals alone approximately 180,000 patients
die every year from drug reactions.

Even if the FDA moves from a voluntary to a mandatory reporting system,
the agency has only 80 employees to monitor more than 3,000
prescription drugs. Over the past year and a half, the agency has
banned only five drugs that it previously had approved but now deems
dangerous. But every year 2 million Americans are hospitalized due to
drug side effects.

“Most errors are not caused by stupidity, incompetence or neglect, but
by system failures that allow them to occur,” said David Lawrence,
head of Kaiser Permanente, suggesting that the safety tests done by
drug companies are not enough, and that the companies fail to educate
physicians and hospital workers on the proper administration of their
drugs.

As drugs, and the conditions treatable by drugs multiply, can we
continue to tolerate such slipshod oversight of a powerful industry
that so affects our lives — and our deaths? Or continue to rely on
reports tainted by the drug industry’s assumption that millions of
Americans are suffering from mental disorders whose cure is just a pill
pop away? Oh, the infinite possibilities of an America where everyone
has finally admitted to a mental disorder, and everyone is blissed-out
on appropriately high doses of the newest wonder drugs.

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