CELEXA: Youth in India Dies During Clinical Trial

Paragraph 10 reads: “Concerns about the ethics of clinical trials do not exist merely in the realm of speculation. The GVK exposés are not unusual. An increasing number of reports are coming to light of unethical and illegal practices that exploit people’s social and economic vulnerability, subject them to serious risks without their knowledge and consent, and do not even assure them of access to the drugs developed from the trials. Certain types of trials depend on paid volunteers who desperately need money. In Gujarat, unemployed diamond workers and migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar get paid between INR 5000 and INR 20,000 to take part in bioequivalence trials – sums large enough for them to put money over personal safety. Indeed, trial participants may be both financially and socially vulnerable. It is reported that Surender, who died in the Hyderabad felodipine trial, was one of a number of Dalit students being recruited for clinical trials in that city. Likewise, some years ago, a 22-year-old Adivasi youth died in a bioequivalence trial of the antidepressant citalopram [Celexa] by the Sun Pharma Advanced Research Centre in Vadodara. ”


Bodies for hire; The outsourcing of clinical trials August 2009
By: Sandhya Srinivasan

Medical testing by Western countries is having a staggering impact on India, if only we were to care to pay attention. And the government’s own policies are encouraging this.

Karen Haydock
In November 2008, the Hindustan Times’ LiveMint broke the story of an infant in Bangalore having died after being administered a vaccine in a drugs trial. The Drugs Controller-General of India (DCGI), Dr Surinder Singh, halted the testing, reportedly the first time that the office of the DCGI had taken such action. The trial, for a new pneumonia vaccine, was being conducted by a Hyderabad-based contracted research organisation, GVK Biotech, for the US-based multinational Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. The infant had been recruited from St. John’s Medical College, a reputed private medical institution in Bangalore.

GVK’s spokesperson claimed that the vaccine had nothing to do with the death, as the child had received an approved and widely used vaccine – not the experimental product. However, the DCGI’s investigation revealed that the infant had a heart condition, and that the trial had been meant to be conducted only on healthy babies. According to C M Gulhati, editor of the Monthly Index of Medical Specialities, India and a Delhi-based expert on clinical-trial regulations, the investigation revealed a number of other irregularities as well: the informed-consent document had not been signed before the child was recruited; and the St John’s ethics committee had not been properly constituted, as it was not chaired by an external member to ensure independent functioning.

Yet the infant’s death was not an aberration. In December 2008, 25-year-old K Surender, of Hyderabad, died in a ‘bioequivalence’ trial of a blood-pressure drug, felodipine. Bioequivalence trials test generic versions of drugs to ensure that they are as effective as the original, and involve administering the drug and then monitoring the individual through blood tests and other investigations. These tests are conducted on healthy people who are paid for their participation. The Hyderabad trial also happened to be run by GVK Biotech, which subsequently issued a statement that Surender had simultaneously been part of many bioequivalence studies, with GVK as well as other contracted research organisations. This multiple trial participation could have accounted for his death, argued the company.

Such an explanation is unconvincing. If Surender had taken part in many trials, it would only have been for the money, which would amount to an inducement according to national and international ethical guidelines for research – an inducement that might have made him overlook the risks of the trials. And, in any case, why did the company let him take part in the felodipine trial when it was aware that he had taken part in many others? The answer to this question lies in the compulsions of the global pharmaceutical industry. The GVK trials are among the increasing number of international clinical trials that are taking place in India – and the concerns that they raise will come up increasingly frequently in the future. The reports of various government and private bodies put the potential of the clinical-trial industry into billions of dollars, though the method of calculating these numbers is not available. One market-research company, Frost and Sullivan, reportedly estimates a USD two billion turnover by 2010.

Marcin Bondarowicz
The growth of the outsourced clinical-trial industry in India followed changes in the law in January 2005 that encourage clinical research in India. The most important of these was an amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, permitting clinical trials in India to be carried out at the same time that they are done in other countries, rather than waiting until the results of drug trials in other countries were made public. Previously, this ‘phase lag’ had ensured that India was of no interest to big pharmaceutical companies to test their drugs. At that time, Phase II trials were permitted in India only after the results of a Phase III trial abroad were declared. And Phase I trials of foreign drugs were simply not permitted. (Phase I or safety trials are done on healthy ‘volunteers’, Phase II trials look at the drug’s safety and effectiveness on patients, and Phase III trials also look at safety and effectiveness, but in large numbers of patients.) It should be noted, though, that an exception was made for drugs deemed of importance to India. While the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules do not specify, such drugs would probably include the HIV vaccine.

This changed in January 2005, and India is now prominently on the radar screen of the international pharmaceutical industry in terms of clinical trials, given its vast population of potential trial subjects. As of today, the bulk of clinical trials are still located in rich countries. To illustrate, as of 19 July 2009, the US government clinical-trial database lists a total of 76,018 trials, of which 44,758 have sites in North America and 17,878 have sites in Europe – accounting for the bulk of trials. In contrast, only 1021 clinical trials have sites in India, in addition to 122 in Pakistan, 61 in Bangladesh and 12 each in Nepal and Sri Lanka.

However, the number of trials in India is growing fast. Figures given by the DCGI’s office show that the number of newly approved trials every year went from 100 in 2005, when the new rules kicked in, to about 500 in 2008. What is of concern here is that many of the trials that come to countries such as India are likely to be those rejected as unethical in Western countries. As trials shift to countries such as India, there has been an international debate on ethical concerns of the outsourcing boom. This debate has been partly responsible for amendments in the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki, “Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects” in 1996, 2000 and in October 2008. Drug regulators in Europe and the US require that clinical trials submitted to them adhere to the Declaration.

Some of these changes have dealt with placebos or ‘sugar pills’. The October 2008 revision took a strong stance against the use of a placebo in a trial when a treatment exists. Clinical trials compare the effect of an experimental drug to an existing drug. If there is no drug for the condition, the experimental drug may be compared to a placebo. Using a placebo when a treatment exists deprives the trial participant of effective treatment. The ethical guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research and the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki both forbid the use of a placebo when an effective treatment exists, with certain specific exceptions. While both of these documents have been a bit ambiguous in the past, the 2008 revision of the Helsinki Declaration is clear: placebos can be used only when absolutely methodologically necessary, and when the risk to the participant is low. This revision was reportedly preceded by behind-the-scenes lobbying by the drug industry to permit greater use of placebo controls.

In the same month that the revised Declaration was announced, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended its own requirements for clinical trials. While placebos are rarely necessary, regulatory bodies such as the FDA require placebo-controlled trials to give marketing approval to new drugs. Yet as of October 2008, trials conducted for FDA approval no longer had to adhere to the Declaration of Helsinki – an internationally accepted document, but not binding unless incorporated into national regulations. The FDA would continue to require placebo controls, and no one was going to tell them otherwise.

Concerns about the ethics of clinical trials do not exist merely in the realm of speculation. The GVK exposés are not unusual. An increasing number of reports are coming to light of unethical and illegal practices that exploit people’s social and economic vulnerability, subject them to serious risks without their knowledge and consent, and do not even assure them of access to the drugs developed from the trials. Certain types of trials depend on paid volunteers who desperately need money. In Gujarat, unemployed diamond workers and migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar get paid between INR 5000 and INR 20,000 to take part in bioequivalence trials – sums large enough for them to put money over personal safety. Indeed, trial participants may be both financially and socially vulnerable. It is reported that Surender, who died in the Hyderabad felodipine trial, was one of a number of Dalit students being recruited for clinical trials in that city. Likewise, some years ago, a 22-year-old Adivasi youth died in a bioequivalence trial of the antidepressant citalopram by the Sun Pharma Advanced Research Centre in Vadodara.

Certain types of trials are more likely to be conducted in India and other countries where regulatory and monitoring mechanisms are weak, or regulators are too willing to please drug companies. The use of placebos is a good example, as it is not difficult to conduct placebo trials in India. In 2005-06, Indian patients with schizophrenia were taken off their regular medication and given either a new, ‘extended-release’ formulation of an approved drug (quetiapine, marketed by AstraZeneca) or a placebo, to compare the time it took for people in each group to have a relapse attack of schizophrenia. The trial was conducted by a Contract Research Organisation (CRO) called Quintiles, in India as well as a number of countries in Eastern Europe. One patient (not in India) who was on the placebo committed suicide. Experts are unanimous in their view that a placebo was methodologically unnecessary in that trial, as the new formulation could have been compared to the existing ‘immediate-release’ drug. But the European regulators required a placebo-controlled trial, noted Irene Schipper and Francis Weyzig of the Dutch research organisation Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, in a 2008 report. They also argued that placebo-controlled trials for severe conditions, which put the participants at greater risk, are more likely to be conducted in developing countries.

Trials in government hospitals in India can also be of special concern. In one trial, 290 people who had been hospitalised because they were having a severe attack of acute mania were given either a drug (risperidone, marketed by Johnson & Johnson) or a placebo. The idea, of course, was to examine how many people recovered with the drug, and how many with the placebo. This subjected seriously ill people to harm. The majority of patients in this India-only trial, also conducted by Quintiles, were recruited from government hospitals where, according to the principal investigator of the trial, the most seriously ill patients could be found. It is also where patients can be recruited easily, because trial participation ensures a hospital bed and free, quality treatment.

Another concern about trials in government hospitals is that they are conducted on poor people who may have no access to the drugs tested on them after the trial is over. In August 2008, the media reported that 49 children died in 42 clinical trials that were conducted over two and a half years in the Department of Paediatrics at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi. An investigation ordered by the National Human Rights Commission concluded that the trials were conducted properly: the children in the trials were seriously ill, and all the deaths occurred because of the serious illnesses, not the treatments. However, the committee’s report left many questions unanswered. What, for instance, was the purpose of these trials? Would they help other poor children in India?

One of these trials tested the blood-pressure drug valsartan, supplied by its manufacturer Novartis. Paediatric hypertension is indeed a serious condition, but companies conduct paediatric trials for various reasons, including to get information for the benefit of doctors who prescribe the drug to children. Another reason is because the US FDA extends a drug’s exclusive marketing rights when it is tested on children; this provision is meant to encourage research on children who are otherwise prescribed drugs based on the results of research on adults. However, companies also use this clause to maximise their profits. Another trial was linked to gene-activated human glucocerebrosidase, a treatment for Gaucher’s disease, a serious genetic condition in which a fatty substance (lipid) gets deposited in cells and specific organs. The drug for this trial was provided by the US-based Shire Human Genetic Therapies. Will the drug be made available in India once it is proved effective? Both the Helsinki Declaration and the ICMR’s guidelines emphasise that a community on which a drug is tested should have access to the drugs, if proven effective, once the trial is over. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Although all of the new drugs being tested in India will indeed be available in India, this will be at prices unaffordable to the very people who agree to have them tested on their bodies.

More generally, but of no less concern, AIIMS has stated that the trials did not “target” children from poor backgrounds. But there is no need to target poor people at AIIMS – they constitute the majority of patients at this government referral hospital. The simple fact is that the vast majority of people seeking care at the AIIMS centre would be there because they cannot afford treatment elsewhere.

Body market
The pharmaceutical industry depends on constantly getting new drugs into the market. New drugs include new uses for old drugs (a cancer drug that can also be used for infertility?) or ‘improved’ or ‘me-too’ versions of older drugs (all those antacids, blood-pressure and cholesterol-lowering drugs, anti-depressants or antibiotics). These drugs must be tested on human beings before they can go into the market. Permission has to be obtained, patients have to be recruited, trials carried out and the results filed – all at top speed, because time is money.

This is where the Contract Research Organisation – the CRO, such as GVK Biotech referred to earlier – steps in. The CRO undertakes all aspects of the process involved in getting regulatory clearance: getting the necessary permissions, tying up with doctors and hospitals to recruit patients on whom the drugs are to be tested, analysing the data that emerges from the trials, monitoring the trial to make sure that the information collected meets standards, putting together reports and even ghostwriting articles for publication in medical journals. Of course, the most important aspects of all this is the recruitment of patients. The best place to recruit patients for, say, a diabetes-drug trial, is a country with a large diabetic population. And diabetics who have not received treatment make better trial subjects, as the results of drugs tested on them will not be ‘contaminated’ with the results of drugs that they have already used.

Clinical trials in developing countries depend not only on physical infrastructure – hospitals and laboratories – and trained human power. They also depend on drug companies getting access to bodies on which they can test their drugs. So, CROs in India market Indian bodies. In a 2006 advertisement on their website (which has since been removed), a CRO named Igate advertised the ‘India advantage’ as “40 million asthmatics, about 34 million diabetics, 8-10 million people HIV positive, 8 million epileptic patients, 3 million cancer patients.”

CROs in India all claim to have ‘access’ to patients with various health problems for which drugs can be tested. For instance, a research group called Veeda claims to have “access to vast patient populations and has specific expertise in recruiting patients with cardiovascular disease, oncology, diabetes, renal disease”. The CRO Quintiles India once boasted that, for a paediatric-flu-vaccine trial, it recruited 201 one- to three-year-olds from three sites in India in just six days. What kind of network does Quintiles have, and what kind of influence does it have with the medical profession, that it can round up 200 children and convince their parents to let them get an experimental flu shot – all in just six days flat?

It seems that at least some of this is able to take place through wilful misinformation. Spectrum Clinical Research specialises in recruiting patients, collecting patients through networks of private clinics, hospitals, specialists and family physicians. It also runs ‘awareness campaigns’ – for instance, a “white ribbon initiative” on osteoporosis, co-organised with the women’s magazine Femina of the Times of India stable, collected data on 2000 patients with osteoporosis. Another campaign, this time to “defeat diabetes”, collected data on 1000 patients with diabetes. In these ways, people who think they are joining patient-support groups are actually being tracked so they can potentially be put on a trial.

Behind a veil
Other than the boasts of CROs, there is little information available on the hundreds of clinical trials being conducted in India. This is despite the evidence that many of these trials are conducted for the benefit of international drug companies, at unacceptable cost to the local population; that trial subjects could be put at risk; that subjects often have not given their informed consent to participate; that they might be provided care that is of lower quality than if they had been recruited for a trial in the West; that injuries during a trial might not be investigated thoroughly, and that those injured may not receive treatment of the highest standard, or even compensation; and that drugs that are tested are often too expensive for people who need them in India.

The only institution to have direct power over the conduct of a trial is the ethics committee (EC). Research institutions appoint their own institutional ethics committee to conduct an ethics review of all research proposals from within the institution. Independent or freelance ethics committees undertake ethics review for a fee, from anyone who applies – usually the CRO or drug company who coordinates the trial at a number of small nursing homes or private clinics, which don’t have their own ethics committee. The EC is a collection of specialists from various fields who review trial documents, including the trial design, the manner in which subjects are recruited, the patient information sheet and the informed-consent form, and approve or reject the application. These committees also have the authority to investigate a trial, and even to stop it if they feel that something is not right.

Ethicist Amar Jesani points out that ethics committees have a lot of power, as the DCGI requires that all trials be passed by such an appointed group. In fact, the DCGI only requires approval by an ethics committee, since it does not monitor the actual conduct of the trial – it does not check that informed consent is taken, that the investigators do their job correctly, that subjects are not harmed, and so on. Thus, says Jesani, it is the ethics committee, not the DCGI, that is the real regulator of clinical trials.

Yet the effectiveness of an ethics committee depends entirely on the setting in which it functions. Important factors, for instance, include the institution that funds the committee’s work or that determines its level of independence, the training of its members, and their competence in terms of doing a proper ethics review. Likewise ‘independent’ or freelance ethics committees are more accountable to the companies that pay for their services. Even the patient information sheet and informed-consent document are treated as confidential documents by the ethics committee – and, of course, the trial’s sponsor. These contain the information on the purpose of the trial, its risks and benefits, and an assurance that a patient’s treatment will not be jeopardised by refusal to participate, or withdrawal from a trial. There is nothing here of proprietary value – on the contrary, everything in these documents is of public interest, and they should be available to the public. Ethics committees are also often poorly educated in their responsibilities.

The reports of people dying in trials are likely to be merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. And many more are likely to suffer an injury related to the trial drug, injuries that require treatment and that could result in temporary or permanent disability. Indian guidelines require that trial participants be compensated for injuries suffered during research. However, a study by Urmila Thatte and others in a 2009 issue of the UK-based Journal of Medical Ethics found that many trial investigators as well as ethics committee members are not even aware of this requirement. The guidelines of trial sponsors – such as drug companies – provide for medical treatment of any participant who suffers a trial-related injury, or reimbursement of their medical costs. However, Thatte and her colleagues found that none of the companies sponsoring trials, or ethics committees reviewing their trials, had a policy of compensation for trial-related disability or death. Yet for ethics committees to be a law unto themselves is hardly surprising, given the overall environment of lax regulation and monitoring.

Now, the FDA’s decision to do away with the Declaration of Helsinki will create a dilemma for the DCGI. If CROs in India are to follow the FDA requirements – such as using a placebo even when it is not absolutely necessary, and when it might put subjects at risk – they will be violating Indian regulations, which require that the Declaration of Helsinki be followed. The latest revision of the Declaration is quite clear that the placebo may be used in very few circumstances. At the moment, however, the DCGI’s record – permitting a number of unethical trials – suggests that his office places greater value on the potential financial returns of clinical trial outsourcing than on protecting the people who take part in drug trials in India.

Sandhya Srinivasan is a Bombay-based journalist specialising in public health and development issues. She is executive editor of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics.

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PROZAC: Man Hallucinates for Two Weeks: U.S.A.

Paragraphs 2 and 3 read: “I had a bout of hallucinations about 10 years ago. I was suffering quite badly with depression and had been on anti-depressants for years. Then came along Prozac®. The doc thought they would be good so off I went!

The three stages of my hallucinations always happened at night and in bed. I had always been asleep for a while and was awakened by the goings on. They happened in quite quick succession, perhaps over the space of two weeks, then stopped.


August 1, 2009

Dear Clusterflock: Have you ever hallucinated?

I had a bout of hallucinations about 10 years ago. I was suffering quite badly with depression and had been on anti-depressants for years. Then came along Prozac®. The doc thought they would be good so off I went!

The three stages of my hallucinations always happened at night and in bed. I had always been asleep for a while and was awakened by the goings on. They happened in quite quick succession, perhaps over the space of two weeks, then stopped.

1. I woke violently as a tiger jumped from sitting above the bedroom door, onto my pillow and then jumped up onto a shelf (which didn’t exist in reality) above the bed. I woke my wife, quite calmly pointed out said tiger, but was told to return to sleep as there wasn’t one. He only appeared once.

2. I woke to see a man standing in the doorway of the bedroom — that would have been about 4 feet from me. He didn’t scare me. I came around slowly to see him standing there. I don’t remember colour — I do remember him being an Abe Lincoln type ­ stovepipe hat, and a beard. He wasn’t moving. I woke my wife and asked her quite calmly if she could see the man stood in the corner ­ she could not. I lay there for a while looking at him, closing my eyes and opening them. He stayed for a while and then left.

He returned for quite a few nights. He was always in the same place, always in monochrome and he never spoke. Unfortunately, I never spoke to him.

3. I woke one night. I was lying on my back, and as I looked up at the ceiling it was alive with a sea of frogs ­ all moving as one. I again woke my wife ­ just for the reality check. They stayed until I closed my eyes, say 20 minutes, then disappeared.

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DEPRESSION MED: Violence: Man Beats Up Frail Neighbor: England

Fourth paragraph from the end reads: “Rod Hunt, in mitigation, said his client had been mixing alcohol with anti-depressant tablets, which had made him turn violent.”

Paragraphs four & five read: “In a letter to the court, Mr Hodgson described Summersgill as a decent man and said the brutal assault was out-of-character.”

“The pair were friends at the time, and Summersgill and his partner, Heather Barnett, acted as carers for their neighbour.”

Paragraphs seven & eight read: “Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said that without warning, Summersgill turned to his housebound friend and said he would kill him.”

“He then grabbed him by the throat and squeezed tightly as he pushed him onto a bed in his front room.”

SSRI Stories Note: The Physicians Desk Reference states that antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and alcohol abuse. Also, the liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol simultaneously, thus leading to higher levels of both alcohol and the antidepressant in the human body.


Man jailed for threats to kill frail neighbour
1:06pm Tuesday 28th July 2009

By Neil Hunter »

A DRUNK who throttled a wheelchair- bound neighbour after threatening to kill him was yesterday jailed for four years.

Paul Summersgill left the frail pensioner on the floor of his home and stole his mobile phone and spectacles before fleeing.

Teesside Crown Court heard that Bernard Hodgson, 65, blacked out during the attack, which left him covered in wounds and bruises.

In a letter to the court, Mr Hodgson described Summersgill as a decent man and said the brutal assault was out-of-character.

The pair were friends at the time, and Summersgill and his partner, Heather Barnett, acted as carers for their neighbour.

On the day of the attack, April 9, Summersgill had been at Mr Hodgson’s home watching television and drinking his beer.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said that without warning, Summersgill turned to his housebound friend and said he would kill him.

He then grabbed him by the throat and squeezed tightly as he pushed him onto a bed in his front room.

On the brink of consciousness, Mr Hodgson then had his face pushed into a pillow.

Summersgill then loosened his grip and took the phone and glasses.

After a short time, Summersgill threw a chair at Mr Hodgson, knocking him to the floor.

Mr Newcombe said: “He then straddled him, using his knees on the victim’s shoulders to pin him to the floor. He again put his hands around the victim’s throat, strangling him and striking him repeatedly across the face.”

Rod Hunt, in mitigation, said his client had been mixing alcohol with anti-depressant tablets, which had made him turn violent.

Summersgill, 34, of The Bungalows, Grangetown, Middlesbrough, admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The court heard that last year he throttled his girlfriend, now pregnant, until she lost consciousness.

Judge Tony Briggs, who described Mr Hodgson’s supportive letter as “unusual and extremely generous”, said: “It was a nasty, vicious attack and custody is inevitable.”

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Strattera Deaths (German TV Request) False Reports from Eli Lilly

Wed Nov 12, 2008

We have received a request from a German TV crew who is doing a special on Lilly’s newer ADHD medication, Stratera. These investigative reporters from Germany are doing a 45 minute piece and looking for experiences of tragedy /suicide or severe adverse reactions in children treated for ADHD with this drug. I know we have had reports, but I do not keep close track anymore of which drug is involved after so many cases because all these drugs work basically the same way. An antidepressant is an antidepressant no matter what you callmit or what you prescribe it for or how you explain its supposed uniqueness. So if you or someone you know has been through a Strattera-induced nightmareand would be willing to help get some exposure of this in the press, please get in touch with me so that I can put you in touch the reporters.

O nce you read the following article on Strattera deaths you will see how very important it is to get information about this drug out to the public –

especially throughout the UK and Europe. What is going on here IS CRIMINAL!!
And here is just one example out of the article below that is full of data on how
the government agency in the UK who oversees these drugs is ignoring
critical information – even fatalities, and doing NOTHING but making excuses
for their own behavior:

MHRA has for almost three years been in possession of data showing that
Strattera in many cases actually can cause or worsen the œcondition it is
claimed to alleviate. More than 700 reports were submitted to the manufacturer,
Eli Lilly, about Strattera inducing “œpsychomotor hyperactivity. Lilly called
this an exacerbation of the “œunderlying ADHD”. If we would apply this to
the area of real medicine and to diabetes we could say that the patient got a
diabetes medication with resulting heavy increase in blood sugar level. Such a
medication would probably be withdrawn very fast from the market. But the
MHRA has not yet, after three years, succeeded to get even a bad quality review
of these cases done not even from the manufacturer.

Do read the rest of the information because it is clearly eye opening!! This
newer ADHD drug, Strattera, which is really an SSRI antidepressant, is
getting away with murder right under everyone’s noses. So definitely if you
know someone who is willing to talk to this news crew about their experience with
this drug, please do let me know ASAP.

Thank you,

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
_www.drugawareness.org_ (http://www.drugawareness.org/) &
_www.ssristories.org_ (http://www.ssristories.org/)
Author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our
Serotonin Nightmare & the audio, Help! I Can’t
Get Off My Antidepressant!!! ()

_atracyphd1@…_ (mailto:atracyphd1@…)


October 20, 2008
_Print this article_

Strattera adverse effects: UK Medicines Agency refuses to act
By Sepp Hasslberger

_Pharma_ (http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp/pharma.htm)

Janne Larsson, an investigator and reporter in Sweden, has obtained
information about adverse event reports on Eli Lilly’s ADHD drug Strattera,
using the Swedish freedom of information laws. The data, coming from both the FDA’s
adverse reaction database and from reports to the UK’s Medicines agency, shows
numerous adverse effects and scores of deaths by suicide.

Yet the agency, even after repeated prodding by Larsson to initiate action,
has refused to budge or even acknowledge that there is a problem. MHRA
apparently accepts the drug’s producer Eli Lilly’s data rather than its own and
FDA’s adverse event reports.

Image credit: _Monheit Law_

Larsson says: An investigation of MHRA™s handling of the harmful effects of
the ADHD drug Strattera has proven the following:

MHRA has ignored data about instances of death among children in connection
with Strattera treatment. At least 41 children have died. The agency has not
investigated the reported cases and does not even have a compiled summary of
cases with fatal outcome. Further the agency has allowed the manufacturer Eli
Lilly to give false information about the number of fatal cases and has
taken no action against the company once the false information was revealed.

MHRA has for almost three years been in possession of data proving that
Strattera can cause agitation, mania and psychotic reactions with hallucinations
among children. Yet no warning has been issued to doctors and parents. The
agency has withheld these disastrous consequences despite clear evidence. Due
to bureaucratic procedures no warnings have been issued even if Eli Lilly reluc
tanly conceded to include these harmful reactions in its information to the
public almost a year ago.

MHRA has for almost three years been in possession of data showing that
Strattera in many cases actually can cause or worsen the œcondition it is
claimed to alleviate. More than 700 reports were submitted to the manufacturer,
Eli Lilly, about Strattera inducing œpsychomotor hyperactivity. Lilly called
this an exacerbation of the œunderlying ADHD. If we would apply this to
the area of real medicine and to diabetes we could say that the patient got a
diabetes medication with resulting heavy increase in blood sugar level. Such a
medication would probably be withdrawn very fast from the market. But the
MHRA has not yet, after three years, succeeded to get even a bad quality review
of these cases done“ not even from the manufacturer.
The background data for these conclusions can be found in the following text
and in the linked documents. When reading the data below please remember the
promise from the MHRA: we take any necessary action to protect the public
promptly if there is a problem._MHRA, About us_
(http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Aboutus/index.htm) [1]

Note that the linked documents (within letters described below) in most
cases could not be obtained in UK where the issuance of them would be deemed as
prejudicing œthe ability of the Assessory body to offer impartial advice and
where the MHRA wants to allow marketing authorisation holders the chance to
respond to regulatory action and make commercial decisions before data are
in the public domain. (MHRA, e-mail about FOIA-request, 29th September,
2006). However the documents could be obtained in Sweden, even if the MHRA has
tried to stop the issuance of them by implying that publication could threaten
the relations between Sweden and UK.
Deaths among children in connection with Strattera treatment

In May I submitted detailed data about cases of Strattera death to the MHRA.
1st October I finally got an answer from the Scientific Assessor of the
Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines (VRMM). 7th October I got an answer
from Professor Kent Woods, CEO of the MHRA, referring to the letter sent by the
Scientific Assessor.

My data about Strattera deaths can be found _in the letter_
(http://jannel.se/Strattera.death2.pdf) Strattera: Eli Lilly gave false
information about
deaths from Strattera treatment “ a request for full investigation from 15th
May. [2]
The answer from the Scientific Assessor shows that MHRA is continuing to
ignore data about instances of death among children and adults in connection
with Strattera treatment. Despite limited resources and having to rely on data
released by reluctant medical agencies I had been able to produce a summary of
reported cases of Strattera death. Thats much more than the MHRA, with its
immense resources, had been able to do.

The agency was provided with specific data about instances of death forming
an excellent starting point for a full investigation. But instead of using
the data the MHRA used its energy to explain why it is impossible to
investigate these cases further, and in doing so presents some remarkable

The Scientific Assessor states _in the letter 1st October_
(http://jannel.se/Reply.from%20MHRA.Assessor.October.pdf) [3]:

in order to calculate the total number of reports with a fatal outcome
it is not simply a case of adding up reports with a fatal outcome mentioned
in our assessment reports of the PSURs [Periodic Safety Update Reports] and
those available on the FDA website as these different sources may contain
duplicate information. [Emphasis added.]

I fully agree and it takes only a casual reading of my letter from 15th May
to find out that much care has been taken to exclude possible duplicates. It
is quite easy to see that the data presented about fatal cases in my letter
is NOT simply a case of adding up reports with a fatal outcome. The only
way to come to another conclusion would be not to look in the first place and
it is a condemnation of the effectiveness of the agency to state the following
in the letter:

We have looked at the data you have sent us to see if they can add insight
to the statutory sources of data we have received and do not think that they
are of benefit as we cannot verify their source or accuracy. (p. 3)
[Emphasis added.]

I must add to all the data provided in my letter 15th May that the our

of the information about fatal cases is FDA™s Medwatch system and the PSURs
(submitted directly to the MHRA). I must make it clear that is very easy for
a lay person to find out that almost all reports about fatal outcome from
Strattera treatment submitted to the FDA came from Eli Lilly!

Thus the our of the information about fatal cases was in most of the
cases the manufacturer itself“ Eli Lilly. And yet the MHRA has not been able
to verify the source or accuracy of the information. The MHRA Scientific
Assessor states in the letter:The sources of data that regulators use such
as company data, spontaneous adverse reaction reports and literature are set
out in European and national law.
My FOIA request earlier this year to get a compilation of fatal cases in
connection with Strattera treatment was answered 12th August:

Thats very good and now we know that the data I submitted to the MHRA about
all fatal cases from Strattera treatment “ in the absolute majority of cases
were known by and reported via the manufacturer Eli Lilly.
The MHRA holds no data other than that previously released to you [the
misleading data from Eli Lilly in November 2007, see my letter from 15th May
more data] which was the data provided by the company. If you have any
questions about FDA data or the data provided by the company, you should
contact those organisations.

In other words the MHRA didn’t have a compiled summary of cases with fatal
outcome in August and the agency has not to this point been able to compile
such a summary.

As the agency has not been capable of getting the data or not even been
capable of using the specific data submitted for its use in a full
investigation NO action is taken despite the many verified deaths among
children in connection with Strattera treatment. This disregard for the safety of children is a scandal which should lead to a full formal investigation by the
Department of Health.

Drug induced agitation, mania and psychosis with hallucinations

Ive been contacted by parents asking if Strattera can induce mania and
psychosis with hallucinations. Their children have had such symptoms. The
parents have not found any warnings about it and their childrens doctors don’t
think that the symptoms are caused by the drug. The parents were desperate.

However the MHRA has known for almost three years that Strattera can cause
agitation, mania and psychotic reactions with hallucinations among children,
but has refused to issue warnings about it.

The Scientific Assessor from the MHRA _in the letter of 1st October_
(http://jannel.se/Reply.from%20MHRA.Assessor.October.pdf) [3] now confirms my
earlier arguments that the agency had knowledge about these effects a long time ago:

following an initial request in the assessment report for the Periodic
Safety Update for the period (dates 27-05-2005 to 26-11-2005) we asked Eli
Lilly for more information to enable us to review this issue in more detail. (p. 2)

This means that in the period ending 26th November, 2005 at the time when
Strattera was approved only in UK and four other European countries, but not
in the 22 additional European countries where it is now approved Eli Lilly
and the MHRA had knowledge about these disastrous effects in children taking
Strattera. But neither the MHRA nor Eli Lilly told anything about it and
Strattera was approved in 20 additional European countries in April 2006.
Image credit: _Wikimedia Commons_

Professor Kent Woods, CEO of the MHRA seems to be very misinformed by his
staff when answering about Strattera in a recent _letter of 7th October, 2008_
(http://jannel.se/answer.kent.woods.pdf) . In the letter Professor Woods
states [4]:

The MHRA is committed to ensuring that all safety concerns are subject to
robust scientific assessment and the best possible regulatory action is taken
in a timely manner. We strive to maintain the highest standards of work and
review our practices to ensure these standards are maintained or improved
upon where necessary. (p. 1)

In their 3rd March, 2006 report Psychiatric Adverse Events Associated with
Drug Treatment of ADHD: Review of Postmarketing Safety Data [5], the FDA
stated that there was compelling evidence for a likely causal association
between [Strattera/amphetamine drugs] and treatment emergent onset of signs and/or
symptoms of psychosis or mania, notably hallucinations, in some patients.

(p. 17) 360 reports about the drug inducing these effects had been received
up to June 2005.

From this FDA report the MHRA had knowledge about the œcompelling evidence for Strattera causing these effects on or about 3rd March, 2006 but did nothing.

In August the same year (2006) the MHRA requested the same data set from Eli
Lilly that was submitted to the FDA and which formed the basis of the FDA
report for Strattera. The data was sent to the MHRA some days later. But the
agency then decided not to do anything with the information. Instead it was
decided that Eli Lilly the manufacturer should do an analysis of the data
and submit its conclusions to the agency.

Professor Kent Woods says in his letter: An important aspect to this [ robust scientific assessment, highest standards] is ensuring that data from all available sources have been consider This may be true in some other area but it is definitely not true for the
safety work around Strattera. A very good example of this is the complete
rejection of the robust scientific assessment of Strattera in the FDA report.
Answering the question why the agency did not use the compelling evidence for harm in the FDA report _an official at the MHRA declared in a letter_
(http://jannel.se/mhraanswer.pdf) [6]:

Changes to European product information are based on assessment by EU
regulators, agreement between member states and in line with legal requirements
about product information, not on conclusions of FDA assessors. (25th May,
2007) [Emphasis added.]

Responsible officials at the MHRA had instead decided to rely completely on
the analysis of the manufacturer of the drug Eli Lilly. (In an article in
the Daily Mail this summer, Andrew Herxheimer, editor of the Drug and
Therapeutics Bulletin, and emeritus fellow of the Cochrane Centre commented:
Asking a drug company to review its own product is crazy, but it goes on quite a lot.
) [7]

At the end of 2007/beginning 2008 Eli Lilly submitted its review of
Strattera induced agitation, mania and psychosis with hallucinations to the
MHRA. It was a complete whitewash.

In summary: FDA was very clear about the psychosis-inducing effects of
Strattera; the MHRA did not listen. Instead the MHRA turned to the
manufacturer. Eli Lilly tried to explain away all the bad results found in its review. For
the full history about MHRA’s failure in this area and for a comparison of
the FDA report with the Lilly report, please see the following letter: _The
ADHD drug Strattera“ actions needed now_
(http://jannel.se/letter.mhra.strattera.jan08.pdf) [8] from January 2008, and
the letter _The ADHD drug Strattera“
an analysis of reports of drug induced mania, psychosis and hallucinations_
(http://jannel.se/strattera.mhra.March.08.pdf) [9] from March 2008.

In the letter from March [9] Eli Lilly’s whitewash report for the period up
to November 2007 is presented. At the end of that report Lilly says [10]:

Nevertheless, Lilly will consider adding language regarding psychotic symptoms
including hallucinations to its product information sheet. (p. 1279)

Larsson – _Suicides & Psychiatric Drugs_

And so we come to October 2008 and the letters from Professor Kent Woods and
from the Scientific Assessor for Strattera. We are reassured that the MHRA
is acting to ensure that Strattera is used as safely as possible that

all safety concerns are subject to robust scientific assessment and the best
possible regulatory action, that any new safety signals are evaluated in
an independent, scientifically robust manner (Woods); we are told that

discussions between European Member States and Eli Lilly are ongoing to agree
on the most appropriate information to be included in the product information
for patients and prescribers; we are told to be patient, to understand that
it takes time from the point where œupdates have been agreed for inclusion in
the product information to the point where these will appear in the packs
in the market place due to movement of stock in the supply chain, and that
the appearances are estimated to be within the next 6 months (Scientific

It is probably hard to find a more obvious violation of the promise¦ we
take any necessary action to protect the public promptly if there is a
problem than the case described above. The worried parents still have no answers if
Strattera can induce the symptoms they find in their children. And the MHRA
knew about it three years ago but withheld the data. This should be
included in the investigation of the agency by the Department of Health.

Strattera causing hyperactivity“ the condition it was supposed to alleviate In my earlier letter to the Department of Health (29th August) I took up the data about the 700 forgotten cases of hyperactivity. I referred to my _letter 2nd January to the MHRA_
(http://jannel.se/letter.mhra.strattera.jan08.pdf) [8] and gave data about the
fact that Eli Lilly had withheld sensitive information and classified harmful effects as an exacerbation of the underlying ADHD.

The logical solution would have been for the MHRA to request all data about
this security risk, followed by an independent review of the data. But this
was not done and as expected nothing is still done. MHRA asked Lilly for an
explanation about this signal stemming from Periodic Safety Update Report
5 (dates 27-05-2005 to 26-11-2005) but got no answer. Three years later the
Scientific Assessor from the MHRA writes in the letter from 1st October:

The information submitted by the MAH [Market Authorization Holder] has been
evaluated and the MAH will be requested to provide further detailed
information within the next 2 months to ensure the issue has been investigated
in a thorough and scientific manner. (p. 2) [3]

The MHRA got this safety signal almost three years ago and is still in
the process of getting some sensible answers from Eli Lilly.


I again request the Department of Health to take action. This does not
concern only the children in UK; it concerns the children in the whole of
Europe, indeed it concerns all the children of the world.

The failure of the agency will also mean that psychiatrists within The
Guideline Development Group in NICE can push through more treatment with
Strattera and other ADHD drugs. The MHRA is withholding the clear evidence for
harmful effects and the psychiatrists with close relations to the manufacturers
of the drugs can unimpeded recommend these medicines to unsuspecting
doctors and parents.

The answers given by Professor Kent Woods and the Scientific Assessor did
not in any way handle my concerns. On the contrary, they finally proved that a
full formal investigation of the matters raised above is needed.

Yours sincerely,

Janne Larsson

Reporter – investigating psychiatry
_janne.olov.larsson@…_ (mailto:janne.olov.larsson@…)

[1] MHRA, About us, _http://www.mhra.gov.uk_ (http://www.mhra.gov.uk/)
[2] Larsson, Strattera: Eli Lilly gave false information about deaths from
Strattera treatment“ a request for full investigation, May 15, 2008,
_http://jannel.se/Strattera.death2.pdf_ (http://jannel.se/Strattera.death2.pdf)
[3] MHRA, Re: letter of 9th September 2008 to “Assessor responsible for
Strattera, October 1, 2008,
[4] MHRA, Re: Open letter to Pr. Kent Woods (10th August 2008), October 7,
[5] FDA, Psychiatric Adverse Events Associated with Drug Treatment of ADHD:
Review of Postmarketing Safety Data, released March 3, 2006.
[6] MHRA, answer FOI request, May 25, 2007,
_http://jannel.se/mhraanswer.pdf_ (http://jannel.se/mhraanswer.pdf)
[7] Daily Mail, Heart attacks and suicides… yet the dangers were all kept
so quiet. So how CAN you trust your medicine? July 7, 2008,
[8] Larsson, The ADHD drug Strattera – actions needed now, January 2, 2008,
[9] Larsson, The ADHD drug Strattera – an analysis of reports of drug
induced mania, psychosis and hallucinations, March 9, 2008,
[10] Eli Lilly, Cumulative review of Spontaneous Case Reports of Mania,
Psychotic Disorders, Hallucinations, and Agitation, Appendix 16 to Periodic
Safety Report 9 for Strattera, 2008,

See also:

_Doctors told to curb use of Ritalin in hyperactive children_
_Children’s suicide attempts raise concerns about ADHD medication_

_The ADHD drug Strattera: Lilly to issue warnings about psychosis,
hallucinations, mania and agitation_ (http://jannel.se/strattera.psychosis.doc)
_Strattera side effects_ (http://www.bonkersinstitute.org/stratteraffex.html)

_Strattera – 10,988 adverse “psychiatric reactions” reported in less than
three years_ (http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/view_press_release.php?rID=16662)
_Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? No, they’re just naughty, say

435 total views, no views today

NEJM: On Zoloft Homicidal Ideation Frequent In Those 17 & Under

Since I believe that people should always get credit for the hard work and contribution they make in life I want to give our thanks to Rosie Meysenburg for getting this out to us today and for her comments on it. Rosie has done so much, along with her husband Gene, in posting our years and years worth of work gathering these SSRI & SNRI cases together for the _www.ssristories.drugawareness.org_
(http://www.ssristories.drugawareness.org) site.

“This Adverse Event Report, from a study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that of 133 children 17 & under on Zoloft there were 2 who reported “Homicidal Ideation”. There were no reports of “Homicidal Ideation” in the placebo group.

[According to the Physicians Desk Reference, a Frequent adverse reaction is one that occurs in 100 people or less.  Homicidal Ideation occurred in 1 in 66 children on Zoloft aged 17  and under.]

“According to the Physicians Desk Reference, a Frequent adverse reaction is one that occurs in 100 people or less. Homicidal Ideation occurred in 1 in 66 children on Zoloft aged 17 and under.

“This Adverse Event Report was the appendix for this study in the New England Journal of Medicine.”

adverse event report1.pdf

This Adverse Event Report was the appendix for this study in the New England Journal of Medicine:


And with this new information from the New England Journal of Medicine I want to include information out of Australia which is that Pfizer, the maker of Zoloft, along with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA similar to our FDA), recommends that any SSRI antidepressant should not be prescribed to Australians under the age of 24. Funny, but I missed that warning from Pfizer for Americans under 24, didn’t you?

Next I will send that article that just came out over the weekend because it ties in so closely with this new information on Zoloft. And because there is so much to read in this article alone I am going to cut my comments at this point and let the article speak for itself.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
_www.drugawareness.org_ (http://www.drugawareness.org/) &
_www.ssristories.org_ (http://www.ssristories.org/)
Author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our
Serotonin Nightmare & the audio, Help! I Can’t
Get Off My Antidepressant!!! ()

_atracyphd1@…_ (mailto:atracyphd1@…)


Published at www.nejm.org October 30, 2008 (10.1056/NEJMoa0804633)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Sertraline, or a Combination in Childhood

John T. Walkup, M.D., Anne Marie Albano, Ph.D., John Piacentini, Ph.D.,
Boris Birmaher, M.D., Scott N. Compton, Ph.D., Joel T. Sherrill, Ph.D., Golda
S. Ginsburg, Ph.D., Moira A. Rynn, M.D., James McCracken, M.D., Bruce Waslick,
M.D., Satish Iyengar, Ph.D., John S. March, M.D., M.P.H., and Philip C. Kendall, Ph.D.

Background Anxiety disorders are common psychiatric conditions affecting children and adolescents. Although cognitive behavioral therapy and selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors have shown efficacy in treating these disorders, little is known about their relative or combined efficacy.

Methods In this randomized, controlled trial, we assigned 488 children between the ages of 7 and 17 years who had a primary diagnosis of separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or social phobia to receive 14 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy, sertraline (at a dose of up to 200 mg per day), a combination of sertraline and cognitive behavioral therapy, or a placebo drug for 12 weeks in a 2:2:2:1 ratio. We administered categorical and dimensional ratings of anxiety severity and impairment at baseline and at
weeks 4, 8, and 12.

Results The percentages of children who were rated as very much or much improved on the Clinician Global Impression “Improvement scale were 80.7% for combination therapy (P<0.001), 59.7% for cognitive behavioral therapy (P<0.001), and 54.9% for sertraline (P<0.001); all therapies were superior to placebo
(23.7%). Combination therapy was superior to both monotherapies (P<0.001).

Results on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale documented a similar magnitude and pattern of response; combination therapy had a greater response than cognitive behavioral therapy, which was equivalent to sertraline, and all therapies were superior to placebo. Adverse events, including suicidal and homicidal
ideation, were no more frequent in the sertraline group than in the placebo group. No child attempted suicide. There was less insomnia, fatigue, sedation, and restlessness associated with cognitive behavioral therapy than with sertraline.

Both cognitive behavioral therapy and sertraline reduced the severity of anxiety in children with anxiety disorders; a combination of the two therapies had a superior response rate.

(ClinicalTrials.gov number,
NCT00052078 _[ClinicalTrials.gov]_
) .)

Anxiety disorders are common in children and cause substantial impairment in
school, in family relationships, and in social functioning._1_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R1) ,_2_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R2) Such disorders
also predict adult anxiety disorders and major depression._3_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R3) ,_4_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R4) ,_5_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R5) ,_6_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R6) Despite a high
prevalence (10 to 20%_3_
,_7_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R7) ,_8_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R8) ) and substantial
morbidity, anxiety disorders in childhood remain underrecognized and
undertreated._1_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R1)


An improvement in outcomes for children with anxiety disorders would have important public health
implications.In clinical trials, separation and generalized anxiety disorders and social
phobia are often grouped together because of the high degree of overlap in
symptoms and the distinction from other anxiety disorders (e.g., obsessive compulsive disorder). Efficacious treatments for these disorders include cognitive behavioral therapy_10_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R10) ,_11_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R11) and
the use of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)._12_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R12) ,_13_

However, randomized, controlled trials comparing cognitive behavioral therapy, the use of an SSRI, or the combination of both therapies with a control are lacking. The evaluation of combination therapy is particularly important because approximately 40 to 50% of children with these disorders do not have a response to short-term treatment with either monotherapy.
_14_(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R14) ,_15_

Our study, called the Child “Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study, was designed to address the current gaps in the treatment literature by evaluating the relative efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy, sertraline, a combination of the two therapies, and a placebo drug. This article reports the results of short-term treatment.


Study Design and Implementation

This study was designed as a two-phase, multicenter, randomized, controlled trial for children and adolescents between the ages of 7 and 17 years who had separation or generalized anxiety disorder or social phobia. Phase 1 was a 12-week trial of short-term treatment comparing cognitive behavioral therapy, sertraline, and their combination with a placebo drug. Phase 2 is a 6-month open extension for patients who had a response in phase 1.

The authors designed the study, wrote the manuscript, and vouch for the data gathering and analysis. Pfizer provided sertraline and matching placebo free of charge but was not involved in the design or implementation of the study, the analysis or interpretation of data, the preparation or review of the manuscript, or the decision to publish the results of the study.

Study Subjects

Children between the ages of 7 and 17 years with a primary diagnosis of separation or generalized anxiety disorder or social phobia (according to the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R16) ),
substantial impairment, and an IQ of 80 or more were eligible to participate. Children with coexisting psychiatric diagnoses of lesser severity than the three target disorders were also allowed to participate;
such diagnoses included attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) whilereceiving stable doses of stimulant and obsessive compulsive, post-traumatic stress, oppositional defiant, and conduct disorders. Children were excluded if they had an unstable medical condition, were refusing to attend school
because of anxiety, or had not had a response to two adequate trials of SSRIs or an adequate trial of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Girls who were pregnant or were sexually active and were not using an effective method of birth control
were also excluded. Children who were receiving psychoactive medications other than stable doses of stimulants and who had psychiatric diagnoses that made participation in the study clinically inappropriate (i.e., current majordepressive or substance-use disorder; type ADHD; or a lifetime history of bipolar, psychotic, or pervasive developmental disorders) or who presented an acute risk to themselves or others were also excluded.

Recruitment occurred from December 2002 through May 2007 at Duke University Medical Center, New York State Psychiatric Institute Columbia University Medical Center New York University, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Temple University University of Pennsylvania, University of California, Los Angeles,and
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The protocol was approved and monitored by institutional review boards at each center and by the data and safety monitoring board of the National Institute of Mental Health. Subjects and at least one parent provided written informed consent.


Cognitive behavioral therapy involved fourteen 60-minute sessions, which included review and ratings of the severity of subjects’ anxiety, response to treatment, and adverse events. Therapy was based on the Coping Cat program,_17_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R17) ,_18_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R18) which was adapted for the
subjects’ age and the duration of the study._19_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R19)

Each subject who was assigned to receive cognitive behavioral therapy received training in anxiety-management skills, followed by behavioral exposure to anxiety-provoking situations. Parents
attended weekly check-ins and two parent-only sessions. Experienced psychotherapists, certified in the Coping Cat protocol, received regular site-level and cross-site supervision.

Pharmacotherapy involved eight sessions of 30 to 60 minutes each that included review and ratings of the severity of subjects’ anxiety, their response to treatment, and adverse events. Sertraline (Zoloft) and matching placebo were administered on a fixed flexible schedule beginning with 25 mg per day and adjusted up to 200 mg per day by week 8. Through week 8, subjects who were considered to be mildly ill or worse and who had minimal side effects were eligible for dose increases.

Psychiatrists and nurse clinicians with experience in medicating children with anxiety disorders were certified in the study pharmacotherapy protocol and received regular site-level and cross-site supervision.
Pill counts and medication diaries were used to facilitate and document adherence. Combination therapy consisted of the administration of sertraline and cognitive behavioral therapy. Whenever possible, therapy and medication sessions occurred on the same day for the convenience of subjects.

Study objectives were, first, to compare the relative efficacy of the three active treatments with placebo; second, to compare combination therapy with either sertraline or cognitive behavioral therapy alone; and third, to assess the safety and tolerability of sertraline, as compared with placebo. We hypothesized that all three active treatments would be superior to placebo and that combination therapy would be superior to either sertraline or cognitive behavioral therapy alone.

Outcome Assessments
We obtained demographic information, information on symptoms of anxiety, and data on coexisting disorders and psychosocial functioning using reports from both the subjects and their parents and from interviews of subjects and parents at the time of screening, at baseline, and at weeks 4, 8, and 12.

The interviews were administered by independent evaluators who were unaware of study-group assignments.
We used the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV-TR, Child Version,_20_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R20) to establish diagnostic eligibility. The categorical primary outcome was the treatment response at week 12, which was defined as a score of 1 (very much improved) or 2 (much improved) on the Clinical Global Impression Improvement scale,_21_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R21) which ranges from 1 to 7, with lower scores indicating more improvement, as compared with baseline. A score of 1 or 2 reflects a substantial, clinically meaningful improvement in anxiety severity and normal functioning. The dimensional primary
outcome was anxiety severity as measured on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale, computed by the summation of six items assessing anxiety severity, frequency, distress, avoidance, and interference during the previous week._22_(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R22)

Total scores on this scale range from 0 to 30, with scores above 13 indicating clinically meaningful anxiety. The Children’s Global Assessment Scale_23_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R23) was used to rate
overall impairment.

Scores on this scale range from 1 to 100; scores of 60 or lower are considered to indicate a need for treatment, and a score of 50 corresponds to moderate impairment that affects most life situations and is readily observable. Agreement among the raters was high for anxiety severity (r=0.85) and diagnostic
status (intraclass correlation coefficient= 0.82 to 0.88) on the basis of a videotaped review of 10% of assessments by independent evaluators that were performed at baseline and at week 12.

Adverse Events
Adverse events were defined as any unfavorable change in the subjects’ pretreatment condition, regardless of its relationship to a particular therapy. Serious adverse events were life-threatening events, hospitalization, or events leading to major incapacity. Harm-related adverse events were defined as thoughts of harm to self or others or related behaviors. All subjects were interviewed at the start of each visit by the study coordinator with the use of a standardized script. Identified adverse events and harm-related events were then evaluated and rated by each subject’s study clinician.

This report presents data on all serious adverse events, all harm-related adverse events, andmoderate and severe (i.e., functionally impairing) adverse events that occurred in 3% or more of subjects in any study group. The data and safety monitoring board of the National Institute of Mental Health performed a quarterly review
of reported adverse events. Given the greater number of study visits (and hence more reporting
opportunities) and the unblinded administration of sertraline in the combination-therapy group, the test of the adverse-event profile of sertraline focused on statistical comparisons between sertraline and placebo and sertraline and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Randomization and Masking
The randomization sequence in a 2:2:2:1 ratio was determined by a computer-generated algorithm and maintained by the central pharmacy, with stratification according to age, sex, and study center. Subjects were assigned to study groups after being deemed eligible and undergoing verbal reconsent with a study investigator. Subjects in the sertraline and placebo groups did not know whether they were receiving active therapy, nor did their clinicians. However, subjects who received combination therapy knew they were receiving active sertraline. The study protocol called for independent evaluators who completed assessments to be unaware of all treatment assignments.

Statistical Analysis
On the basis of previous studies,_10_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R10) ,_11_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R11) ,_12_
,_13_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R13) ,_14_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R14) ,_15_
we hypothesized that 80% of children in the combination-therapy group, 60% in either the sertraline group
or the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group, and 30% in the placebo group would be considered to have had a response to treatment at week 12. We determined that we needed to enroll 136 subjects in each active-treatment group and 70 subjects in the placebo group for the study to have a power of 80% to detect a minimum difference of 17% between any two study groups in the rate of response, assuming an alpha of 0.05 and a two-tailed test with no adjustment for multiple comparisons.

Analyses were performed with the use of SAS software, version 9.1.3 (SAS Institute). For categorical outcomes (including data regarding adverse events), treatments were compared with the use of Pearson’s chi-square test, Fisher’s exact test, or logistic regression, as appropriate. Logistic-regression models included the study center as a covariate. For dimensional outcomes, linear mixed-effects models (implemented with the use of PROC MIXED) were used to determine predicted mean values at each assessment point (weeks 4, 8, and 12)
and to test the study hypotheses with respect to between-group differences at week 12.

In each linear mixed-effects model, time and study group were included as fixed effects, with linear and quadratic time and time-by-treatment group interaction terms. Each model also began with a limited number of covariates (e.g., age, sex, and race), followed by backward stepping to identify thebest-fitting and most parsimonious model. In all models, random effects included intercept and linear slope terms, and an unstructured covariance was used to account for within-subject correlation over time. All comparisons were planned and tests were two-sided. A P value of less than 0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance. The sequential Dunnett test was used to control the overall (familywise) error rate._24_

We analyzed data from all subjects according to study group. Sensitivity analyses were performed with the last observation carried forward (LOCF) and multiple imputation assuming missingness at random. Results were similar for the two missing-data methods. We report the results of the LOCF analysis because the
response rates were lower and hence provide a more conservative estimate of outcomes.

A total of 3066 potentially eligible subjects were screened by telephone
(_Figure 1_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#F1) ). Of these subjects, 761 signed consent forms and completed the inclusion and exclusion evaluation, 524 were deemed to be eligible and completed the baseline assessment, and 488 underwent randomization. Eleven subjects (2.3%) stopped
treatment but were included in the assessment (treatment withdrawals); 46 subjects (9.4%) stopped both treatment and assessment (study withdrawals).

On the basis of logistic-regression analyses, pairwise comparisons indicated that subjects in the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group were significantly less likely to withdraw from treatment than were those in the sertraline group (odds ratio, 0.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13 to 0.87; P=0.03) or the placebo
group (odds ratio, 0.24; 95% CI; 0.09 to 0.67; P=0.006). Of the 488 subjects who underwent randomization, 459 (94.1%) completed at least one postbaseline assessment, 396 (81.1%) completed all four assessments, and 440 (90.2%) completed the assessment at week 12. Subjects were recruited primarily through advertisements (52.2%) or clinical referrals (44.1%).
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Figure 1. Enrollment and Outcomes.

Subjects who are shown as having withdrawn from treatment discontinued their assigned therapy but continued to undergo study assessment. Subjects who are shown as having withdrawn from the study discontinued both therapy and assessment. CBT denotes cognitive behavioral therapy.

Of 14 possible sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy, the mean (±SD) number of sessions completed was 12.7±2.8 in the combination-therapy group and 13.2±2.0 in the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group. The mean dose of sertraline at the final visit was 133.7±59.8 mg per day (range, 25 to 200) in the combination-therapy group, 146.0±60.8 mg per day (range, 25 to 200) in the sertraline group, and 175.8±43.7 mg per day (range, 50 to 200) in the placebo group.

Demographic and Clinical Characteristics
There were no significant differences among study groups with respect to baseline demographic and clinical characteristics (_Table 1_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#T1) ). The mean age of participants was 10.7±2.8 years, with 74.2% under the age of 13 years.

There were nearly equal numbers of male and female subjects. Most subjects were white (78.9%), with
other racial and ethnic groups represented. Subjects came from predominantly middle-class and upper-middle-class families (74.6%) and lived with both biologic parents (70.3%). Most subjects had received the diagnosis of two or more primary anxiety disorders (78.7%) and one or more secondary disorders
(55.3%). At baseline, subjects had moderate-to-severe anxiety and impairment (_Table
2_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#T2) ).

Given the geographic diversity among study centers, there were significant differences among sites on several baseline demographic variables (e.g., race and socioeconomic status). Overall, these variables were equally distributed among study groups within each center; however, three centers had one instance each of
unequal distribution for sex, race, or socioeconomic status.

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Table 1. Baseline Characteristics of the Subjects and Recruitment According
to Study Center.

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Table 2. Key Outcomes at 12 Weeks.

Clinical Response
In the intention-to-treat analysis, the percentages of children who were rated as 1 (very much improved) or 2 (much improved) on the Clinical Global Impression–Improvement scale at 12 weeks were 80.7% (95% CI, 73.3 to 86.4) in the combination-therapy group, 59.7% (95% CI, 51.4 to 67.5) in the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group, 54.9% (95% CI, 46.4 to 63.1) in the sertraline group, and
23.7% (95% CI, 15.5 to 34.5) in the placebo group (_Table 2_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#T2) ).

With the study center as a covariate, planned pairwise comparisons from a logistic-regression model showed
that each active treatment was superior to placebo as follows: combination therapy versus placebo, P<0.001 (odds ratio, 13.6; 95% CI, 6.9 to 26.8); cognitive behavioral therapy versus placebo, P<0.001 (odds ratio, 4.8; 95% CI, 2.6 to 9.0); and sertraline versus placebo, P<0.001 (odds ratio, 3.9; 95% CI, 2.1 to 7.4). Similar pairwise comparisons revealed that combination therapy was superior to either sertraline alone (odds ratio, 3.4; 95% CI, 2.0 to 5.9; P<0.001) or cognitive behavioral therapy alone (odds ratio, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.6 to 4.8; P=0.001). However, there was no significant difference between sertraline and cognitive behavioral therapy (P=0.41).

There was no main effect for center (P=0.69); however, a comparison among centers according to study group revealed a significant difference in response to combination therapy but no differences with respect to the response to sertraline alone (P=0.15) or cognitive behavioral therapy alone (P=0.25).

Further evaluation of response rates revealed that the average response rate for combination therapy at one center was significantly lower than at the other centers (P=0.002). A sensitivity analysis of site response rates showed that when data from the one site were removed, the average response rate of the other sites was consistent with that of the full sample.

The mixed-effects model for the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale revealed a significant quadratic effect for time (P<0.001) and a significant quadratic time-by-treatment interaction for cognitive behavioral therapy versus placebo (P=0.01) but not for either combination therapy or sertraline versus placebo. In other words, as compared with placebo, cognitive behavioral therapy had a linear mean trajectory (_Figure 2_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#F2) ). Planned pairwise comparisons of the expected mean scores on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale at week 12 revealed a similar ordering of
outcomes, with all active treatments superior to placebo, according to the following comparisons: combination therapy versus placebo, t=–5.94 (P<0.001); cognitive behavioral therapy versus placebo, t=–2.11 (P=0.04); and sertraline versus placebo, t=–3.15 (P=0.002). In addition, combination therapy was
superior to both sertraline alone (t=–3.26, P=0.001) and cognitive behavioral therapy alone (t=–4.73, P<0.001). No significant difference was found between sertraline and cognitive behavioral therapy (t=1.32, P=0.19). The same magnitude and pattern of outcome was found for the Clinical Global Impressio Severity
scale and the Children’s Global Assessment Scale.
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Figure 2. Scores on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale during the 12-Week

Scores on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale range from 0 to 30, with scores higher than 13 consistent with moderate levels of anxiety and a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. The expected mean score is the mean of the sampling distribution of the mean.

Estimates of the effect size (Hedges’ g) and the number needed to treatbetween the active-treatment groups and the placebo group were calculated. Effect sizes are based on the expected mean scores on the Pediatric Anxiety
Rating Scale, derived from the mixed-effects model. The number needed to treat is based on the dichotomized, end-of-treatment scores on the Clinical Global Impression–Improvement scale with the use of LOCF. The effect size was 0.86 (95% CI, 0.56 to 1.15) for combination therapy, 0.45 (95% CI, 0.17 to 0.74) for
sertraline, and 0.31 (95% CI, 0.02 to 0.59) for cognitive behavioral treatment.

The number needed to treat was 1.7 (95% CI, 1.7 to 1.9) for combination therapy, 3.2 (95% CI, 3.2 to 3.5) for sertraline, and 2.8 (95% CI, 2.7 to 3.0) for cognitive behavioral therapy. Treatment and Study Withdrawals
Most treatment and study withdrawals were attributed to reasons other than adverse events (43 of 57, 75.4%) (_Table 3_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#T3) ).

Of the 14 withdrawals that were attributed to an adverse event, 11 (78.6%) were in the groups receiving either sertraline alone or placebo and consisted of 3 physical events (headache, stomach pains, and tremor) and 8 psychiatric adverse events (worsening of symptoms, 3 subjects; agitation or disinhibition, 3; hyperactivity, 1; and nonsuicidal self-harm and homicidal ideation, 1).
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Table 3. Subjects Who Withdrew from Treatment or the Study.

Serious Adverse Events
Three subjects had serious adverse events during the study period. One child in the sertraline group had a worsening of behavior that was attributed to the parents’ increased limit setting on avoidance behavior; the event was considered to be possibly related to sertraline. A child in the combination-therapy
group had a worsening of preexisting oppositional defiant behavior that resulted in psychiatric hospitalization; this event was considered to be unrelated to a study treatment. The third subject was hospitalized for a tonsillectomy, which was also considered to be unrelated to a study treatment
4_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#T4) ).
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Table 4. Moderate-to-Severe Adverse Events at 12 Weeks.

Adverse Events
Subjects in the combination-therapy group had a greater number of study visits and therefore significantly more opportunities for elicitation of adverse events than did those in the other study groups, with a mean of 12.8±4.0 opportunities (range, 1 to 22) in the combination-therapy group, as compared with 9.9±3.6 (range, 1 to 14) in the sertraline group, 10.6±2.0 (range, 1 to 14) in the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group, and 9.7±4.2 (range, 1 to 14) in the placebo group (P<0.001 for all comparisons). Rates of adverse events,
including suicidal and homicidal ideation, were not significantly greater in the sertraline group than in the placebo group. No child in the study attempted suicide. Among children in the cognitive-behavioral-therapy group, there were fewer reports of insomnia, fatigue, sedation, and restlessness or fidgeting than in the sertraline group (P<0.05 for all comparisons). For a list of mild adverse events that were not associated with functional impairment, as well as moderate and severe events, see the _Supplementary Appendix_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633/DC1) ,

available with the full text of this article at www.nejm.org.

Our study examined therapies that many clinicians consider to be the most promising treatments for childhood anxiety disorders. Our findings indicate that as compared with placebo, the three active therapies combination therapy with both cognitive behavioral therapy and sertraline, cognitive behavioral therapy alone, and sertraline alone — are effective short-term treatments for children with separation and generalized anxiety disorders and social phobia, with combination treatment having superior response rates. No physical,psychiatric, or harm-related adverse events were reported more frequently in the sertraline group than in the placebo group, a finding similar to that for SSRIs, as identified in previous studies of anxious children._12_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R12) ,_13_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R13) ,_25_

Few withdrawals from either treatment or the study were attributed to adverse events. Suicidal ideation and homicidal ideation were uncommon. No child attempted suicide during the study period. Since they were recruited at multiple centers and locations, the study subjects were racially and ethnically diverse. However, despite intense outreach, the sample did not include the most socioeconomically disadvantaged children.
Subjects were predominantly younger children and included those with ADHD and other anxiety disorders, factors that allow for generalization of the results to these populations.

Conversely, the exclusion of children and teens with major depression and pervasive developmental disorders may have limited the generalizability of the results to these populations.The observed advantage of combination therapy over either cognitive behavioral therapy or sertraline alone during short-term treatment (an improvement of 21 to 25%) suggests that among these effective therapies, combination therapy
provides the best chance for a positive outcome. The superiority of combination therapy might be due to additive or synergistic effects of the two therapies. However, additional contact time in the combination-therapy group, which was unblinded, and expectancy effects on the part of both subjects and
clinicians cannot be ruled out as alternative explanations.

Nonetheless, the magnitude of the treatment effect in the combination-therapy group (with two
subjects as the number needed to treat to prevent one additional event) suggests that children with anxiety disorders who receive quality combination therapy can consistently expect a substantial reduction in the severity of anxiety. An increased number of visits in the combination-therapy group resulted in increased opportunities for elicitation of adverse events. Consequently, the potential for expectancies among subjects, parents, and clinicians regarding the side effects of medications in the context of more visits may have increased the rate of some adverse events in the combination-therapy group and may limit conclusions that can be drawn regarding the rates of adverse events in combination therapy.

The positive benefit of cognitive behavioral therapy, as compared with placebo, adds new information to the existing literature._26_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R26)
The number needed to treat for cognitive behavioral therapy in this study (three subjects) is the same as that
identified in a meta-analysis of studies comparing subjects who were assigned to cognitive behavioral therapy with those assigned to a waiting list for therapy or to sessions without active therapy._14_

Our study’s test of cognitive behavioral therapy included children with moderate-to-severe anxiety and addresses criticism of previous trials that included children with only mild-to-moderate
anxiety._14_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R14)
Before our study, cognitive behavioral therapy for childhood anxiety was considered to be
“probably efficacious.”_26_

This evaluation of cognitive behavioral therapy and other recent studies_27_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R27)
,_28_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R28) suggests that
such therapy for childhood anxiety is a well-established, evidenced-based treatment._29_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R29)

Given that the risk of some adverse events was lower in the behavioral-therapy group than in the sertraline group, some parents and their children may consider choosing cognitive behavioral therapy as their initial treatment.

The results of our study confirm the short-term efficacy of sertraline for children with generalized anxiety disorder_25_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R25) and show that
sertraline is effective for children with separation anxiety disorder and social phobia. The number needed
to treat for sertraline in our study (three subjects) was the same as that previously identified in a meta-analysis_15_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R15) of six
randomized, placebo-controlled trials of SSRIs for childhood anxiety disorders._12_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R12) ,_13_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R13) ,_25_
,_30_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R30) ,_31_

These studies and others_27_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R27)
suggest that SSRIs, as a class, are the medication of choice for these conditions. The titration schedule that we used, which emphasized upward dose adjustment in the absence of response and adverse events, suggests that the average end-point dose of sertraline in this study is the highest dose consistent with good outcome and tolerability. No adverse events were observed more frequently in the sertraline group than in the placebo group. In contrast to the apparent risk of suicidal ideation and behavior in studies of depression in children and
adolescents,_15_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R15) our study did not demonstrate any increased risk for suicidal behavior in the sertraline group. Given the benefit of sertraline alone or in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy and the limited risk of adverse events associated with the drug in our study, the well-monitored use of sertraline and other SSRIs in the treatment of childhood anxiety disorders is indicated.

Cognitive behavioral therapy and sertraline either in combination or as monotherapies appear to be effective treatments for these commonly occurring childhood anxiety disorders. Results confirm those of previous studies of SSRIs and cognitive behavioral therapy and, most important, show that combination
therapy offers children the best chance for a positive outcome. Our findings indicate that all three of the treatment options may be recommended, taking into consideration the family’s treatment preferences, treatment availability, cost, and time burden. To inform more prescriptive selection of patients for
treatment, further analysis of predictors and moderators of treatment response may identify who is most likely to respond to which_32_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R32) of these
effective alternatives.
Supported by grants (U01 MH064089, to Dr. Walkup; U01 MH64092, to Dr.
Albano; U01 MH64003, to Dr. Birmaher; U01 MH63747, to Dr. Kendall; U01 MH64107,
to Dr. March; U01 MH64088, to Dr. Piacentini; and U01 MH064003, to Dr. Compton)
from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Sertraline and matching placebo were supplied free of charge by Pfizer. Dr. Walkup reports receiving consulting fees from Eli Lilly and Jazz Pharmaceuticals and fees for legal consultation to defense counsel and
submission of written reports in litigation involving GlaxoSmithKline, receiving lecture fees from CMP Media, Medical Education Reviews, McMahon Group, and DiMedix, and receiving support in the form of free medication and matching placebo from Eli Lilly and free medication from Abbott for clinical trials funded by the NIMH; Dr. Albano, receiving royalties from Oxford University Press for the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV, Child and Parent Versions, but not for interviews used in this study, and royalties from the Guilford Press; Dr. Piacentini, receiving royalties from Oxford University Press for treatmentmanuals on childhood obsessive compulsive disorder and tic disorders and from the Guilford Press and APA Books for other books on child mental health and receiving lecture fees from Janssen-Cilag; Dr. Birmaher, receiving consulting fees from Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, and Abcomm, lecture fees from Solvay, and royalties from Random House for a book on children with bipolar disorder; Dr. Rynn, receiving grant support from Neuropharm, BoehringerIngelheim Pharmaceuticals, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, consulting fees from Wyeth, and royalties from APPI for a book chapter on pediatric anxiety disorders; Dr. McCracken, receiving consulting fees from Sanofi-Aventis and Wyeth, lecture fees from Shire and UCB, and grant support from Aspect, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Eli Lilly; Dr. Waslick, receiving grant support from Baystate Health, Somerset Pharmaceuticals, and GlaxoSmithKline; Dr. Iyengar, receiving consulting fees from Westinghouse for statistical consultation; Dr. March, receiving study medications from Eli Lilly for an NIMH-funded clinical trial and receiving royalties from Pearson for being the author of the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children, receiving consulting fees from Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Wyeth, and GlaxoSmithKline, having an equity interest in MedAvante, and serving on an advisory board for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson; and Dr. Kendall, receiving royalties from Workbook Publishing for anxiety-treatment materials.

No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIMH, the National Institutes of Health, or the Department of Health and Human Services.
We thank the children and their families who made this study possible; and J. Chisar, J. Fried, R. Klein, E. Menvielle, S. Olin, J. Severe, D. Almirall, and members of NIMH’s data and safety monitoring board.
* The study investigators are listed in the Appendix.

Source Information
From the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore (J.T.W., G.S.G.); New York State Psychiatric Institute–Columbia University Medical Center, New York (A.M.A., M.A.R.); the University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles (J.P., J.M.); Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh (B.B., S.I.); Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC (S.N.C., J.S.M.); the Division of Services and Intervention Research, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD (J.T.S.); Baystate
Medical Center, Springfield, MA (B.W.); and Temple University, Philadelphia

This article (10.1056/NEJMoa0804633) was published at www.nejm.org on
October 30, 2008. It will appear in the December 25 issue of the Journal.
Address reprint requests to Dr. Walkup at the Division of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns
Hopkins Medical Institutions, 600 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21287.
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The following investigators participated in this study: Steering Committee:
J. Walkup (chair), A. Albano (cochair); Statistics–Experimental Design: S.
Compton, S. Iyengar, J. March; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: P. Kendall, G.
Ginsburg; Pharmacotherapy: M. Rynn, J. McCracken; Assessment: J. Piacentini,
A. Albano; Study Coordinators: C. Keeton, H. Koo, S. Aschenbrand, L. Bardsley,
R. Beidas, J. Catena, K. Dever, K. Drake, R. Dublin, E. Fontaine, J. Furr, A.
Gonzalez, K. Hedtke, L. Hunt, M. Keller, J. Kingery, A. Krain, K. Miller, J.
Podell, P. Rentas, M. Rozenmann, C. Suveg, C. Weiner, M. Wilson, T. Zoulas;
Data Center: M. Fletcher, K. Sullivan; Cognitive Behavior Therapists: E.
Gosch, C. Alfano, A. Angelosante, S. Aschenbrand, A. Barmish, L. Bergman, S.
Best, J. Comer, S. Compton, W. Copeland, M. Cwik, M. Desari, K. Drake, E.
Fontaine, J. Furr, P. Gammon, C. Gaze, R. Grover, H. Harmon, A. Hughes, K.
Hutchinson, J. Jones, C. Keeton, H. Kepley, J. Kingery, A. Krain, A. Langley,
J. Lee, J. Levitt, J. Manetti-Cusa, E. Martin, C. Mauro, K. McKnight, T. Peris, K.
Poling, L. Preuss, A. Puliafico, J. Robin, T. Roblek, J. Samson, M.
Schlossberg, M. Sweeney, C. Suveg, O. Velting, T. Verduin; Pharmacotherapists:
M. Rynn, J. McCracken, A. Adegbola, P. Ambrosini, D. Axelson, S. Barnett, A. Baskina,
B. Birmaher, C. Cagande, A. Chrisman, B. Chung, H. Courvoisie, B. Dave, A.
Desai, K. Dever, M. Gazzola, E. Harris, G. Hirsh, V. Howells, L. Hsu, I.
Hypolite, F. Kampmeier, S. Khalid-Khan, B. Kim, D. Kondo, L. Kotler, M.
Krushelnycky, J. Larson, J. Lee, P. Lee, C. Lopez, L. Maayan, J. McCracken, R.
Means,L. Miller, A. Parr, C. Pataki, C. Peterson, P. Pilania, R. Pizarro, H. Ravi,
S. Reinblatt, M. Riddle, M. Rodowski, D. Sakolsky, A. Scharko, R. Suddath, C.
Suarez, J. Walkup, B. Waslick; Independent Evaluators: A. Albano, G.
Ginsburg, B. Asche, A. Barmish, M. Beaudry, S. Chang, M. Choudhury, B. Chu, S.
Crawley, J. Curry, G. Danner, N. Deily, R. Dingfelder, D. Fitzgerald, P.
Gammon, S. Hofflich, E. Kastelic, J. Keener, T. Lipani, K. Lukin, M. Masarik, T.
Peris, T. Piacentini, S. Pimentel, A. Puliafico, T. Roblek, M. Schlossberg, E.
Sood, S. Tiwari, J. Trachtenberg, P. van de Velde; Pharmacy: K. Truelove, H.
Kim; Research Assistants: S. Allard, S. Avny, D. Beckmann, C. Brice, B.
Buzzella, E. Capelli, A. Chiu, M. Coles, J. Freeman, M. Gringle, S. Hefton, D.
Hood, M. Jacoby, J. King, A. Kolos, B. Lourea-Wadell, L. Lu, J. Lusky, R. Maid, C.
Merolli, Y. Ojo, A. Pearlman, J. Regan, S. Rock, M. Rooney, N. Simone, S.
Tiwari, S. Yeager.

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Zoloft Nightmare

“(Because of Zoloft) I was in prison and had lost my family, all of my property, my Ph.D.”


I am yet another individual whose life has been horribly disfigured by the drug Zoloft. My story is a very long one and I will not tell it all at this point but write of it in its entirety when my website is up some time in May of 03. The following is an abstract of sorts, a summary.

I began taking Zoloft in 1993. By 1996 I was in prison and had lost my family, all of my property, my Ph.D. (I was all but dissertation at the time of my arrest), my job, my reputation, and so on. I spent 6 years behind bars and was released in April of 2002. I will be on parole as a sex offender (I photographed my 15-year-old stepdaughter and her 15-year-old girlfriend) until 2016.

While in prison I was listening to a radio talk show, Cost-to-Coast, guest-hosted by the very talented Ian Punnett.

It was a Sunday, July 01, 2001. His guest was our own Dr. Ann Blake Tracy. As she spoke I was amazed at the ramifications of what she was saying. I fit the pattern of someone who had succumbed to the drugs malevolent influences to a “t”. It was on that day that I first realized what had happened to me. It all became so clear! Five long years after my imprisonment I realized what had happened! May God bless and keep Dr. Tracy.

My point in posting my story at this time is to see if there may be some way those of us who have had their lives destroyed by a drug can unite and file a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of these drugs, Pfizer in my case. The statue of limitations has run out for me here in Arkansas. I only had two years to file for damages. But that is not acceptable to me and I want to pursue remedy. If there is any one of you who would like to try to pursue this please feel free to contact me at one of the following options.

I may be hard to reach for one reason or another (when I’m on line my home phone is busy, try the cell number) but please keep trying. There has got to be restitution for us in some way. My contact information is as follows: John E. Herndon, 13150 Nickels Rd., West Fork, AR 72774. Or e-mail me at- elwain@msntv.net.

Or phone me at home 479-839-3111, or cell 479-841-1661. There must be something we can do besides lament our tragedies on the web.

John Herndon

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02/15/2001 – Doctors Say Drug Trial's Approval was Backdated

Pfizer, makers of Zoloft and Viagra cannot seem to stay out of trouble
lately. This is one of several messes they have found themselves caught in
around the world lately. I thought all of you who barely survived your bouts
with Zoloft would be interested.

Not that Pfizer is the only drug company out there doing this type of thing.
They just got caught. I have learned over the last decade of doing research
on these issues that most drug companies would not blink an eye in deciding
to do the same. They are so often caught in such underhanded dealings that I
wonder why they are allowed to continue business.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness


Doctors Say Drug Trial’s Approval was Backdated


By Joe Stephens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 16, 2001; Page A01

The Nigerian doctor who supervised a 1996 Pfizer Inc. drug experiment on
desperately ill children said in an interview that his office created a
backdated ethics approval document that the American pharmaceutical company
later used to satisfy U.S. regulators and to justify its conduct of the
human testing.

Abdulhamid Isa Dutse, the physician who oversaw the test of the antibiotic
Trovan on children with meningitis, said the letter may have been written as
long as a year after the test was completed when Pfizer officials asked him
for proof the test was reviewed by a Nigerian ethics board. Nigerian
officials are now examining the roles played by Dutse and others in
conducting the American company’s drug trial, which was the subject of an
investigation by The Washington Post.

Pfizer spokesman Andy McCormick said last week that he was unaware of
possible irregularities in the Nigerian ethics approval document. “We are
currently investigating it. We are cooperating with the authorities in
Nigeria,” he said.

The New York-based company gave the letter to the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration in 1997 during an audit of records supporting its application
to use Trovan for treatment of children during a meningitis epidemic. U.S.
regulations require that if a company intends to use foreign medical
research to support a drug application, the experiments must be reviewed and
formally approved in advance by an ethics committee.

FDA officials last week declined to comment on the Pfizer case, but one
official said it is a violation of federal law to knowingly submit false
documents to a government regulatory agency.

Typed on the letterhead of the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and dated March
28, 1996 — six days before Pfizer’s experiment began — the letter said the
hospital ethics committee had reviewed the plan to test Trovan on 100
children with meningitis and found the protocol to be “adequate.” The letter
gave permission for the test to proceed.

But Sadiq S. Wali, the hospital’s medical director, recently told The
Washington Post the document was “a lie.” He said the hospital had no ethics
committee at the time Pfizer’s test was underway and did not organize it —
or create the letterhead stationery bearing his name that was used in the
approval letter — until months later.

“The hospital is quite clear: We had no ethical committee,” he said in a
telephone interview.

Reached by telephone in Kano last week, Dutse said it was “possible” that
the approval letter was drafted up to a year after the trial.

Dutse, who was listed as Pfizer’s “principal investigator,” said he felt
that the letter reflected the informal approval he had obtained from three
doctors, who reviewed Pfizer’s test plans and told him they saw no ethical
problems. No records were prepared at the time, he said.

But one of the doctors Dutse cited, Idris Mohammed, last week disputed
Dutse’s account. Reached in London, Mohammed said: “There was no ethical
committee at the time of the trial, none met, and no approval was properly
given for the trial.”

In fact, Mohammed said that he challenged the legality of Pfizer’s
experiment while it was underway and that he demanded unsuccessfully to see
documents proving it had been properly authorized.

“You shouldn’t try an experiment in an epidemic,” said Mohammed, a medical
professor who now heads the Nigerian federal immunization program. “You
needed to give these patients something that was proven.”

Mohammed said that in 1996 he took his concerns to a senior official in the
Nigerian government — then controlled by a military dictator, Gen. Sani
Abacha — but was overruled.

Since the experiment, Pfizer repeatedly has cited the Nigerian committee’s
approval as proof its experiment was ethical. The testing was carried out on
children and infants during a record-breaking meningitis epidemic that
killed more than 15,000 Africans.

The Post’s Dec. 17 article recounted how Pfizer physicians tested the
company’s then-unapproved antibiotic in the impoverished northern Nigerian
state of Kano. The drug was later associated with liver damage and deaths in
the United States and its use was restricted.

Pfizer described the Nigerian test as a humanitarian venture, but medical
specialists and international aid workers attacked it as unethical and
challenged the company’s claim that the children knew they were part of an

Pfizer officials have said that the Nigerian ethics committee approved
giving some Nigerian children an oral formulation of the antibiotic instead
of a fast-acting intravenous version used in U.S. meningitis tests.

A Pfizer spokeswoman also said the ethics committee decided there was no
need to warn Nigerian parents that young lab animals given Trovan-class
antibiotics had suffered joint damage. American parents were told of the lab
animal results in a subsequent Trovan trial.

After receiving a copy of the ethics approval letter from The Post, Wali
said he confronted Dutse and the doctor “did admit to me he was wrong,”
although he provided few specifics.

Tim Menakaya, Nigeria’s health minister, said he had appointed a federal
investigative panel charged with determining whether the trial was conducted
legally and, if so, whether the experiment was “morally right.”

“I am investigating all of it,” Menakaya said.

The probe is headed by Abdulsalami Nasidi, a senior health official who said
that he, like Mohammed, considered the experiment to have been unethical in
1996 but failed in attempts to block it.

“It is a very serious problem; procedures were not followed,” Nasidi said.
“We are going to get to the root of the problem.”

Nasidi said that his investigation, whose findings will be forwarded to
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, failed in initial attempts to locate
“detailed evidence” that Pfizer’s investigators had secured the needed
authorization before launching the experiment. Dutse said he spent two days
last week addressing a closed session of the panel.

The Post’s investigation has generated a flurry of stories in the Nigerian
press, which have reported that “widespread condemnation rages.” Editorials
have called for international investigations, federal lawsuits and criminal

Nigerian newspapers — always fiery and at times less than entirely
factual — have quoted parents who contend their children had serious
disabilities or died after treatment.

“The government has a duty to tell us whether our children were used as
guinea pigs and, if so, who committed such criminality and who is liable,”
said the Vanguard newspaper.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company


Pfizer accused of irregularities during clinical trial in Nigeria

Sarah Boseley, health editor
Wednesday January 17, 2001


An inquiry is under way in Nigeria into allegations that the multinational
pharmaceuticals company Pfizer used an experimental drug on sick children
during a major outbreak of meningitis, without official approval.
Yesterday the Nigerian doctor employed by Pfizer to run the clinical trial
in Kano said that the letter certifying approval by the ethics committee at
the hospital where the children were treated was probably written a year
after the experiment took place.
Pfizer admitted last night that there did “appear to be possible documentary
irregularities” and said they were co-operating fully with the inquiry.
Pfizer sent a team in to Kano at very short notice in 1996, when it heard of
the outbreak of spinal meningitis. The company wanted to test the efficacy
of its new drug Trovan on children, and such outbreaks in the west are now
relatively rare……

478 total views, 1 views today

The Aftermath of Antidepressants

The Aftermath Of Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Fen-Phen, & Many Other Serotonergic Drugs

By Ann Blake-Tracy – Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness

Ann Blake-Tracy has specialized for 10 years in adverse reactions to serotonergic medications. She is the executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness (www.drugawareness.org) and author of the book PROZAC:PANACEA OR PANDORA?


Often there is the terrible withdrawal associated with the SSRIs. Unless patients are warned to come very slowly off these drugs by shaving minuscule amounts off their pills each day, as opposed to cutting them in half or taking a pill every other day, they can go into terrible withdrawal which is generally delayed several months. This withdrawal includes bouts of overwhelming depression, terrible insomnia and fatigue, and can include life-threatening physical effects, psychosis, or violent outbursts.

Note: Keep in mind that these drugs are all serotonergic agents and clones or “copy cat” drugs of Prozac – the first SSRI antidepressant introduced to the market in America. Basically what applies to one, applies to the others. For instance we have more data out on Prozac because it has been around longer, but as the mode of action is the same for all of these meds the effects will be the same for the other drugs on this list as it is for Prozac. If we are discussing one drug, similar effects would be expected from any other company’s version of the drug. In fact it would be more honest to give them the titles of Prozac #1, Prozac #2,Prozac #3, etc. rather than the brand names they have been given, from the second clone, Zoloft, to the latest Prozac clone, Celexa.

My concern is that each new SSRI introduced seems to be a little stronger on serotonin reuptake and therefore potentially more dangerous. And the all too common practice of going from one SSRI to another blocks additional receptors and magnifies the harmful effects of these medications. It is crucial to learn that according to medical research the theory behind this group of drugs is invalid. Known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors. They are designed to block serotonin in the brain, thereby increasing brain levels of this neurotransmitter. Yet for three decades researchers have been intensely interested in serotonin because LSD and PCP produce their psychedelic effects by mimicking serotonin. Elevated serotonin is found in: psychosis or schizophrenia, mood disorders, organic brain disease, mental retardation, autism and Alzheimer’s. While low levels of the metabolism of serotonin (which also produces high serotonin), are found in those with: depression, anxiety, suicide, violence, arson, substance abuse, insomnia, violent nightmares, impulsive behavior, reckless driving, exhibitionism, hostility, argumentative behavior, etc. The drugs increase serotonin and decrease the metabolism of serotonin leading to any and all of the above results. This information is extremely crucial for patients and physicians to learn as soon as possible. We have a high rate of use of these drugs nationwide. Raising serotonin and lowering the metabolism of serotonin in such a large number of people can produce very serious, widespread and long term problems for all of society.

So why are we now in the 90’s being told that increased serotonin is good for us? Is it because it is good for the pocketbooks of the manufacturers? One manufacturer is running full page newspaper and magazine ads and half hour TV infomercials to bring in over $7 million daily, while on the other hand they are settling Prozac suicide cases for huge amounts of money in exchange for silence from victim’s families on the details of those settlements. The silence in the court cases insures that the drug will be allowed to finish out its patent time, thus bringing in the highest possible profits for the company. They know that with $7 million coming in daily, they can afford to settle a large number of lawsuits and still come out “smelling like a rose” financially.

Eli Lilly has been sued for Prozac related deaths in numerous state and federal courts with most of these cases being settled or dismissed – many were dismissed due to the unethical manipulation of the Wesbecker verdict
(see time line for details).

We have witnessed no decrease in suicide, but increases in murder/suicide, suicide, unwed pregnancies, domestic violence, manic-depression, MS, hypoglycemia, diabetes, bankruptcies, divorce, mothers (parents) killing children, road rage, school shootings, cancer, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia since these serotonergic drugs have become so popular and I relate it directly to the effects of these drugs.

The death toll has continued to climb drastically since I wrote PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? Some of the cases you may be familiar with are:

1. Mr. and Mrs. Phil Hartman (Zoloft), Prozac was found in the van of Mark Barton, the Atlanta day trader, who recently killed his family and others in a shooting spree before taking his own life;
2. Neal Furrow, in LA Jewish school shooting was reported to have been court ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications;
3. The Salt Lake Family History Library shooting;
4. School shootings in Littleton, Colorado (Luvox), Atlanta, Georgia, Springfield, Oregon (Prozac), and Caldwell, Idaho;
5. Another boy in Pocatello, ID in 1998 who in seizure activity from Zoloft had a stand off at the school;
6. 15 year old Chris Shanahan (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman;
7. The shooting at the lottery in Connecticut last spring by Matthew Beck (Luvox) that left five dead in a murder/suicide;
8. The New York City Subway bombing by Edward Leary (Prozac);
9. Nick Mansies (Paxil) in New Jersey who was convicted of killing a little boy who was selling cookies door to door;
10. In Orange County, CA Dana Sue Gray (Paxil) who co-workers described as a very caring nurse killed several elderly people;
11. Officer Stephen Christian (Prozac) one of the finest officers on the Dallas Police force, who ran into a police substation shooting at fellow officers and was killed;
12. 13 year old Chris Fetters (Prozac) in Iowa who killed her favorite aunt;
13. David Rothman (Prozac) killed two co-workers and himself at the Dept. of Agriculture in Ingelwood, CA;
14. Williams Evans (Zoloft) shot one co-worker at the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services before shooting himself in Columbus, OH;
15. Winatchee, WA where 43 people were wrongfully imprisoned in a false accusation of sexual abuse “witch hunt” fury started by a child under the influence of Prozac and Paxil;
16. Christopher Vasquez (Zoloft) killed Michael Morrow in Central Park;
17. Megan Hogg (Prozac) duct taped the mouths and noses of her three little girls and took a handful of pills; Vera Espinoza (Prozac) in Randolph, VT shot her small son and daughter before shooting herself;
18. An elderly man (Prozac) in Layton, UT axed his wife and daughter to death;
19. Margaret Kastanis (Prozac) used a knife and hammer to kill her three children before stabbing herself to death;
20. An elderly man (Paxil) in Dallas, TX strangled his wife before shooting himself twice in the chest;
21. Larramie Huntzinger (Zoloft) blacked out and ran his car into three young girls killing two in Salt Lake City, UT;
22. Mary Hinkelman (Prozac), a nurse in Baroda, MI shot her two small daughters and her sister before shooting herself;
23. Lisa Fox (Prozac) shot her small son and her dog before shooting herself in Brighton, MI;
24. Debi Louselle (Zoloft) shot daughter and then herself in Salt Lake City, UT;
25. A father in Wyoming shot his wife, daughter and baby grand-daughter then himself after only days on Paxil;
26. A mother (Prozac) in Pleasant Grove, UT killed her 17 year old son with a sledge hammer while he slept before she attempted suicide by drinking Drano;
27. Larry Butz, a superintendent of schools in Ames, IA shot his wife, son and daughter before shooting himself – many cases pending in court are not mentioned.

This is only a handful of MANY, MANY more cases – there would not be room for anything else if I continued listing the cases.

A few additional famous victims: Princess Di (Prozac) and Dodi Fayed -via their driver Henri Paul (Prozac), Monica Lewinsky (Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Serzone and Phen-Fen), Chris Farley (Prozac), Pres. Clinton’s ex-partner Jim Mc Dougal (Prozac), Abby Hoffman (Prozac), Del Shannon (Prozac), Danielle Steele’s son (Prozac), INXS singer Michael Hutchence (Prozac), Sarah – Dutchess of York (Phen-Fen)

The latest figures show Prozac has about 44,000 adverse reports filed with the FDA. Out of those reports there are about 2,500 deaths with the large majority of them linked to suicide or violence.

The suicide statistics relating to women are shocking. According to the CDC there are about 30,000 suicides yearly in the United States. Out of those about 6,000 are women – a ratio of about 4.3 to 1, male to female. About twice as many women as men are treated for depression demonstrating that generally men are more than 8 times as lethal in their suicidal gestures as women. Women were known to use less lethal means until the SSRI antidepressants hit the market. But on Prozac and Paxil, women committed 40% of the suicides – many were strikingly violent and clearly leaving no
means for rescue. (Remember that because Prozac was the first of this group of drugs its track record gives us a vision of what is to come with other serotonergic antidepressants, especially when they are so powerful in the reuptake of serotonin.)


*NOTE: Any documents beginning with PZ are Lilly documents on Prozac which have been ferreted out by attorneys and are now being used in lawsuits against the drug company. (Christian vs. Eli Lilly, by Vickery & Waldner, Houston, TX)

* Mid 1950’s: Dr. Felix Sulman began his research on those who suffer from high serotonin levels because of an inability to metabolize serotonin. He found that serotonin is a stress neuro-hormone leading even rabbits, the most docile of creatures, to be aggressive. He coined the term “serotonin irritation syndrome.” He found that those who were unable to break down serotonin would have the levels increase. They were in effect being poisoned by the serotonin produced by their own bodies, the irritation victims suffered from migraines, hot flashes, irritability, sleeplessness, pains around the heart, difficulty in breathing, a worsening of bronchial complaints, irrational tension and anxiety. . . horrifying nightmares. It also caused his volunteers to sleep badly – that is, always on the edge of consciousness so that they were not properly rested – and to wake after only a few hours of sleep.” (sleep apnea) He also found it caused pregnant women to abort.
* October, 1977: Slater, et.al., Inhibition of REM Sleep by Fluoxetine, a Specific Inhibitor of Serotonin Uptake, October 1977, at p. 385 – Prozac was found to affect sleep habits, specifically to suppress deep sleep, which the scientists call REM (rapid eye movement) sleep in cats. By the fourth day of drug treatment the cats receiving the larger doses, which had been friendly for years, began to growl and hiss. After cessation of the drug treatment, the cats returned to their usual friendly behavior in a week or two; those on the higher doses recovering more slowly. – – 1977: [PZ 1298 1999] “A total of six dogs from the high dose group were removed from treatment … due to severe occurrences of either aggressive behavior, ataxia, or anorexia.”]
* July 31, 1978: [PZ1061 1025-28, July 31, 1978] Human subjects began to be used by Lilly in controlled clinical trials. The first group of patients showed no improvement in their depression, but there were a “large number of reports of adverse reactions.” The first human to receive Prozac experienced “dystonia resembling an extrapyramidal reaction” – an uncontrollable, Parkinson-like shaking or trembling.
* July 23, 1979 [PZ 1297 969] The clinical studies in depression showed that “some patients have converted from severe depression to agitation within a few days; in one case the agitation was marked and the patient had to be taken off drug. In future studies the use of benzodiazepines to control the agitation will be permitted.”
* August 3, 1979: The clinical trials excluded patients who had serious suicidal risk. [E.g. control #001519, IND Protocol No. 14, August 3, 1979; PZ1135 695, July 2, 1986 memorandum of Dr. Wernicke].
* December 17, 1984: [PZ 65 449, report of Lilly to FDA] Lilly reported to the FDA that benzodiazepines and other sedatives were given with Prozac throughout the clinical trials. This was to help offset the stimulant effect of the drug. In a memorandum of Lilly scientist Charles Beasley [PZ 541 2007-08] issues of “agitation vs. sedation” and concomitant sedative medications like benzodiazepines (to control the agitation) are discussed. Concerns are that agitation in a suicidal patient can induce suicide.
* March 3, 1986 Lilly controlled the flow of information to the FDA and decided that suicide data on Prozac should not be evaluated, “in the safety-update for the FDA the number of suicides and suicide attempts will not be especially evaluated.” [PZ 879 1966, March 3, 1986 telex]
* September 12, 1986: German BGA very concerned with the risk of suicide and ultimately approved Prozac on the condition that physicians be warned of the risk of suicide and told to consider using sedatives and closely monitor patients. [PZ 878 1383, report of Lilly consultant Pohlmeier; PZ 2467 299, September 12, 1986] Lilly actually warned physicians in Germany and other countries that this measure “can be necessary” to minimize the risk of suicide, [PZ 1341 402, December 6, 1989 German warning; PZ 2469 490]
* February 7, 1990: In response to the Harvard study, Teicher, et al., Lilly’s top scientist, Leigh Thompson, told his fellow executives that “Lilly can go down the tubes if we lose Prozac”. [PZ 1941 827, February 7, 1990]. In the ensuing months Dr. Thompson spoke frequently with his principal FDA regulator about the issue, once at 6:15 in the morning. [PZ 391 1959, July 18, 1990]. Lilly later described the man as “our defender”. [PZ1941 2256, September 12, 1990]
* May 29, 1990, Lilly added “suicidal ideation” in the section dealing with post-marketing reports. [PZ883 562, July 26, 1990 memorandum]
* September 14, 1990: Contrary to the advice of his staff, Dr. Thompson told the Eli Lilly Board of Directors that suicide and hostile acts were probably, caused by the patients’ underlying disorders rather than Prozac. [PZ542 2101, September 14, 1990; PZ4002 889, Board Minutes]. The staff was concerned because they knew that this issue was never studied during the clinical trials.
* September 11, 1990: Note from Dr. Bruce Stadel, Chief of the Epidemiology Branch, attaching an analysis done by Dr. David Graham, Section Chief within the Epidemiology Branch, of Lilly’s July 17, 1990 submission to the FDA on the Prozac/suicidality/violence issue. The following factors were (a) brought to the attention of those in the higher echelons of the FDA, but (b) ignored, discounted or “trashed” by them: #1 Lilly’s analysis improperly excluded 76 out of 97 suicides; as Dr. Stadel expressed it, “[i]t is inappropriate in a safety analysis to exclude such a large proportion of case”; #2 Lilly admitted that its clinical trials “were not designed for the prospective evaluation of suicidality” and that “[i]n these trials, patients with current suicidal ideation were excluded”; #3 Lilly admitted that the HAMD-3 rating scale it used to assess suicidality in clinical trials was inadequate; and that Lilly’s statements about violence only demonstrated “how great under-reporting is” and that “[t]he actual data showed a higher percentage of treatment-emergent suicidality among fluoxetine (2.9% than tricyclic (0.8%) patients . . . [which percentage] was similar to that reported by Teicher.”
* July 1, 1992: A study lead by Dr. Lorne Brandes of the Manatoba Institute of Cell Biology in Winnipeg, Canada was published in CANCER RESEARCH linking the two most popular anti-depressants, Elavil and Prozac to cancer.
* 1994: A study headed by Howard Markell published in The Journal of Pediatrics showed LSD flashbacks and LSD reactions induced by Prozac.
* June 9, 1994: The New York Review of Books article by Dr. Sherwin Nuland slams Peter Kramer for pushing Prozac in his book Listening to Prozac. He pointed out that all docs are taught in med school this little poem about serotonin: “This man was addicted to moanin’, confusion, edema, and groanin’, intestinal rushes, great tricolored blushes, and died from too much serotonin.” He listed constriction of lungs and intestines, diarrhea, wheezing, flushing, mental confusion, tightening of bronchioles, and lessening conscious control over behavior from increases in serotonin. “Moreover, . . . it is still too early to arrive at a reliable estimate of possible dangers that may appear in the long term,” and 15% dropped out of the clinical trials on Prozac because of adverse reactions. He also discussed the similarity of serotonin to the psychedelics like LSD and PCP.
* November, 1994: Krystal JH, Webb E, Cooney N, et al., “Specificity of Ethanol-like Effects Elicited in Serotonergic and Noradrenergic Mechanisms,” ARCHIVES OF GENERAL PSYCHIATRY, Vol. 51, Issue 11, pgs 898-911, 1994 demonstrated that an increase in brain levels of either of two neurotransmitters, serotonin or noradrenalin, produces:
#1 a craving for alcohol,
#2 anger,
#3 anxiety.
They found this to be especially true for those who have a history of alcoholism. An increase serotonin in turn increases noradrenalin. Numerous reports have been made by reformed alcoholics who are being “driven” to alcohol again after being prescribed a serotonergic drug. And many other patients who had no previous history of alcoholism have continued to report an “overwhelming compulsion” to drink while using these drugs.

A few personal accounts:

#1 A young woman, a recovering alcoholic, reported that during the eight month period she had been using Prozac she found it necessary to attend AA meetings every day in order to fight off the strong compulsions to begin drinking again.
#2 In the Southeastern United States a middle aged psychologist, also a recovering alcoholic, after being prescribed Prozac, found herself needing to attend AA meetings morning, noon, and night to keep from destroying the sobriety she had achieved.
#3 A young father, who was Mormon and had never before in his life used alcohol, found himself drinking Ever Clear and exhibiting bizarre as well as violent behavior, after being prescribed Prozac and Ritalin.
#4 A young mother who had never used alcohol before began drinking large amounts within weeks of being prescribed Prozac and quickly found herself committed to a mental institution due to the psychotic behavior that resulted. Added to her Prozac prescription were anti-psychotic meds and electric shock treatments. She then began to experience seizures and was started on anti-seizure meds.
#5 A concerned neighbor reported her friend was drinking straight Vodka on a regular basis after being prescribed Zoloft. #6 A daughter reported her father, sober for 15 years, began drinking again on Prozac.

* December, 1994: Not guilty verdict on Wesbecker wrongful death suit against Lilly’s Prozac.
* Treatment emergent suicidality with Prozac has been demonstrated to be two to three times higher than any other anti-depressant. (Jick, et al., Antidepressants and Suicide)
* May, 1995: Judge John Potter who presided over the Wesbecker case filed documents to demand that Lilly be forced to disclose the secret deal they made with the plaintiffs to withhold very damaging evidence in exchange for settlement. In his pleading to the court Potter stated, “Lilly sought to buy not just the verdict, but the court’s judgment as well.” Potter accused Lilly of “giving the verdict the widest possible publicity” accompanied by the claim that Lilly had “proven in a court of law that Prozac was safe.” Furious with Lilly’s attempt to turn his courtroom into an advertising agency for Prozac, he claims his motion reflects “the court’s duty to protect the integrity of the judicial system.” He believes, as do prominent legal ethicists, that a full and open disclosure of the terms of the settlement is a necessary public safety issue.
* July, 1997: Mayo Clinic found that the increased serotonin, which produces blood clotting, was causing a gummy glossy substance to build up on heart valves. Dr. Heidi Connolly with the Divisions of Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, who headed the study stated, “We do know that fenfluramine and phentermine [Fen-Phen] alter the way the brain chemical serotonin is metabolized, and serotonin that circulates in the blood can cause valve injury.” Fenfluramine produces a rapid release of serotonin, inhibits serotonin reuptake, and may also have receptor agonist activity. The study’s revelations should send a loud and very clear warning throughout the medical community concerning all serotonergic medications.
* August 25, 1997: Letter to Ann Blake-Tracy, “I caught the last part of your presentation on Radio Station KEX, Portland, while flipping through the dial last night. I was flabbergasted to hear you speak of the horrible potential side effects from Prozac, which I have been taking for approximately four years, particularly since I have been diagnosed recently with cardiomyalgia, severe artery disease, congestive heart failure and also Fibromyalgia. (I was a very “well” person prior to taking the Prozac and am now exhausted all the time, with horrible aching joints and considerable pain and a massive heart problem.) The adverse cardiovascular effects from Prozac, the one drug in this class of drugs out long enough to have somewhat of track record, are listed in the drug information sheet put out by the manufacturer. The “frequent” effects listed are hemorrhage and hypertension. The “infrequent” effects include very serious adverse effects: congestive heart failure, myocardial infarct, tachycardia, angina pectoris, arrhythmia, hypotension, migraine syncope and vascular headache.
* September, 1997: Redux and Phen-Fen were pulled from the market.
* October 20, 1997: Dr. Candace Pert, Research Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, past head of the brain chemistry department at the National Institute of Health, and author of the new book, MOLECULES OF EMOTION, sounded an alarm in TIME, October 20. She stated, “I am alarmed at the monster that Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon Snyder and I created when we discovered the simple binding assay for drug receptors 25 years ago. Prozac and other antidepressant serotonin-receptor-active compounds may also cause cardiovascular problems in some susceptible people after long-term use, which has become common practice despite the lack of safety studies.”
As we are being led to believe these drugs produce effects only in the brain, Dr. Pert accuses the medical profession of oversimplifying the action of these drugs and adds that “the public is being misinformed about the precision of these selective serotonin-uptake inhibitors.” It is critical that both physicians and patients be made aware of these adverse physical reactions. She points out that the medical profession not only oversimplifies the action of these drugs in the brain, but “ignores the body as if it exists merely to carry the head around!” And that, “these molecules of emotion regulate every aspect of our physiology.” The body plays a very significant role in how we feel and act the way we do. This fact can no longer be ignored. Serotonin and serotonin receptors exist throughout the body, as well as the brain, and every aspect of the body’s physiology is affected by these serotonergic medications. In fact approximately 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the intestinal tract. According to Dr. Michael Gershon of New York’s Columbia Presbyterian, this is the reason why Prozac produces so many gastrointestinal side effects.
* March, 1998: Two new studies published. One that shows Prozac so strongly inhibits one particular serotonin receptor that this produces both obesity and seizures and the other discusses the blockage of muscle and neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors indicating interactions between the serotonergic and cholinergic systems in the central nervous system.
* April, 1998: Our next generation of guinea pigs – one month before a 15 year old on Prozac, Kip Kinkel, in Springfield OR killed his parents and two classmates the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Psychiatrists asked the FDA to consider the serotonergic antidepressants for use in children as young as two and drugs for anxiety, aggression and manic depression in babies only one month old! The use of Prozac among young children ages 6 – 12 has increased an alarming 400% from 1995 (51.000 new prescriptions) to 1996 (203,000 new prescriptions).
* June, 1999: CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY NEWS reported that Dr. Malcolm Bowers a psychiatrist at Yale has found that physicians are not paying enough attention to patient factors that could make initiation of SSRIs dangerous. He found that “SSRI-induced psychosis has accounted for 8% of all general hospital psychiatric admissions over a recent 14-month period.” And “What is surprising is that this particular group of side effects is really underplayed.” (The 8% figure represents over 150,000 SSRI induced psychotic breaks per year!!!!!!!)

WARNING: Children so often get coughs and colds, yet using a cough or cold medication with dextromethorphan could cause the serotonin syndrome, a very serious and potentially fatal adverse reaction and/or produce PCP reactions.

Serotonin syndrome remains an often misdiagnosed or unrecognized fatal reaction due to the medical profession being so uninformed about this drug-induced disorder.

Developing brains are far more vulnerable than adult brains and brain damage generally becomes more apparent after the brain is fully developed, rather than immediately. Increases in cortisol produce brain damage while medical research shows that one single 30mg dose of Prozac DOUBLES the level of cortisol. This drastic increase in cortisol causes a multitude of serious physical reactions including impairment of linear growth, as well as impairing the development and regeneration of the liver, kidneys, muscles, etc. In light of so many unspeakable tragedies, I have grown weary of all the silly philosophical discussions we have heard since Kramer’s LISTENING TO PROZAC came out. Patients are dying or having their health destroyed mentally as well as physically (when do we begin to discuss the very serious physical side effects associated with high levels of serotonin?). These patients and their families are frantically searching for answers while this research sits right under our noses and could easily be made available to them. The widespread use of Prozac and its clones is not a statement of either their safety or their effectiveness. It is a statement about the effectiveness of an infinite marketing budget and incredible advertising campaign! These drugs have very serious physical side effects, as well as dangerous psychiatric side effects.

To prevent further tragedy this medical research must be acknowledged and addressed in headline news without delay rather than remain buried in seldom read medical research documents as has been the case in the past with other mind- altering medications, once thought to be safe, which were subsequently prohibited by law, i.e. LSD, PCP, cocaine, etc.


“I started having bad reactions . . . Oct ’96 I found Prozac to be causing joint and muscle pain itself . . . signs of Cushing’s Syndrome. . . I was very pro-Prozac until last October and wouldn’t have listened to anything said against it until I got problems (thought it was saving my life, while all the time it was insidiously and interested but quite skeptical. However, since reading it and having suffered so many problems with Prozac, I have come to the conclusion that the book is brilliant, and a life-line as far as I am concerned. I tried to fault the research and reasoning, but could not and still can’t. I would like to extend my thanks to you for your heroic stance on this enormously important issue. I have tremendous respect and admiration for your hard work, determination and courage in pursuing this subject so vigorously, against so much powerful opposition for the benefit of people like me. Your integrity puts many, if not most doctors and psychiatrists to shame. It is reassuring to find that there are a few people who are prepared to fight for the truth for the benefit of mankind.” Oct. 1998 note from a British nurse

“PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? is an incredible compilation of medical data that will lay the groundwork to educate other professionals and the general public about the new SSRI antidepressants – Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Effexor and Serzone.” (Jeff Wise, psychologist, Salt Lake County Drug and Alcohol Abuse )

“In 15 years of reading books on drugs I have never read a book with more information or so well documented as PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA?” (Dr. Kevin Millet, Bountiful, UT)

“As I lecture to physicians nationwide on the medical use of psychoactive drugs PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? always accompanies me in my brief case.” (Dr. Bruce Woolley, neuropsychopharmacologist, Brigham Young University)

“I found PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? fascinating reading and the most complete analysis of the various factors pertaining to the Prozac controversy.” (Attorney Donald Sokol, Susanville, CA)

“PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? literally saved my life, and if I’d known about it a year earlier, could have saved me untold grief and agony as well. It is the only collated, comprehensive source I know of for this information , . . .. this book described everything that had happened to me in great detail, gave scientific reasons why it happened, backed it all up with solid research, included testimonials from hundreds of others in the same situation, it immaculately details, explains, and refers one to the latest research on a whole hornet’s nest of ‘atypical’ side-and/or after-effects from the use of these antidepressants. It also contains information on how to reduce the severity of problems encountered while starting on or going off these meds.” (Nick Jameson, Prozac patient)

“Magnificent! This text is a monument to Ann Tracy’s tenacity and love for her fellow human beings.” (Dr. Paul Kennedy, N.J.)

“PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? has not left one question about these drugs unanswered! Ann Tracy has covered them all.” (Margaret McCaffery, N.Y. who lost her daughter, a neurosurgeon, in a Prozac suicide)

“The work Ann Blake-Tracy is doing is very important and she is truly a heroine.” (Dr. Candace Pert, Washington, DC, one of the two developers of the serotonin binding process which made possible the development of the serotonergic drugs. Dr. Pert has boldly stated, speaking of these serotonergic medications, “I am alarmed at the monsters I created!”)

WARNING: In sharing this information about adverse reactions to antidepressants I always recommend that you also give reference to my CD on safe withdrawal, Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!, so that we do not have more people dropping off these drugs too quickly – a move which I have warned from the beginning can be even more dangerous than staying on the drugs!

The FDA also now warns that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. And these reactions can either come on very rapidly or even be delayed for months depending upon the adverse effects upon sleep patterns when the withdrawal is rapid! You can find the CD on safe and effective withdrawal helps here: http://store.drugawareness.org/

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Here is news release in a pivotal wrongful death case involving Zoloft.
For more information on this case, you may want to visit







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Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil Antidepressant Users vs Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline

Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil Antidepressant Users vs Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline

Commonly-Prescribed Antidepressants Are Extremely Dangerous for Some


Some 200 legal actions have been filed against Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Paxil (paroxetine), respectively, to recover for suicides or homicides.
rozac, Zoloft, and Paxil Antidepressant Users v Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline


Commonly-Prescribed Antidepressants Are Extremely Dangerous for Some



Some 200 legal actions have been filed against Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Paxil (paroxetine), respectively, to recover for suicides or homicides–some completed, some only attempted–by patients in the first few days or weeks after they were prescribed one of these drugs. These three medications are in the same family, called SSRIs, for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. They are commonly prescribed for depression, and they work by increasing the amount of a chemical called serotonin in the brain.

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