Sen. Grassley: Drug Companies “Bamboozled the FDA” on SSRI Antidepressants

Mon Nov 10, 2008

The following information should go out to every reporter and every other
human on the planet. Please. Please. Please help us get this information out to
as many as possible as a warning. [BUT in doing so always remember to warn
of the extreme potential danger of abrupt withdrawal with the FDA warning that
such can cause suicide, hostility or psychosis.

Please give them our 800 order line or website to download or order my CD, “Help! I Can’t Get Off My
Antidepressant!” so that they will have the formula for safe and almost
painless withdrawal and methods of recovery from the damage they have suffered.]
Now if you have read my book most of this will sound all too familiar and
old. But now the cold hard facts are coming out to the public with Iowa’s own
Senator Grassley leading the way because these drugs grabbed his attention
after overseeing many of the hearings on children and antidepressants. THANK
YOU

SENATOR GRASSLEY FOR YOUR EFFORTS!!!
Some of the most important points in the article to file in your memory
banks and repeat as often as possible to as many as possible are as follows:

#1 US HIGHEST USER OF ANTIDEPRESSANTS & ANTIDEPRESSANTS ARE AMERICA’S
MOST WIDELY PRESCRIBED DRUGS:

“Antidepressant prescribing is more rampant in this country than any other.
The US accounted for 66% of the global market in 2005, compared to 23% in
Europe and 11% for the rest of world, according to a December 2006 report by
Research and Markets.
“A June 2007 survey by the Centers for Disease Control of doctor and
hospital visits in 2005 showed that the most commonly prescribed drugs were
antidepressants, with 48% of the prescriptions issued by primary care
physicians. They have remained in the number one position ever since. Last year, 232
million prescriptions were filled for antidepressants worth nearly $12 billion,
according to a March 2008 report by IMS Health. . . .


#2 YET THE MANUFACTURERS KNEW AND HID THE FACT THAT THESE DRUGS INCREASE
THE RISK OF SUICIDE:

“For fifteen years, the SSRI makers fought against adding a warning about an
increased risk of suicidality, knowing all the long that the risk existed.
[We had the data in court cases for years but could not get the press to cover
it.] Now, the companies are making the irresponsible argument (in defense of
lawsuits claiming they failed to warn doctors and the public of the risk)
that the FDA did not require them to add a warning, so they are immune from
liability. . . .

#3 SINCE 1989 THE MANUFACTURER OF PAXIL KNEW THAT THIS DRUG INCREASES SUICIDE ATTEMPTS BY EIGHT TIMES MORE THAN PLACEBO!

“The report shows that Glaxo [makers of Paxil] knew in 1989, long before
Paxil was FDA approved, that people taking the drug were 8 times more likely to
engage in suicidal behavior than people given a placebo, or sugar pill. Now,
it stands to reason that even the most depressed person would decline to take
Paxil if given these facts. Also, parents certainly would decline if they
were told about the risks. . . .

“The FDA approved Paxil on December 29, 1992, with no warning to doctors or
patients of the significant increased risk of suicidal behavior,” he writes.
. . .

#4 SENATOR GRASSLEY FINDS THAT PAXIL MAKER “BAMBOOZLED” THE FDA PUTTING
PATIENT SAFETY AT RISK

“Senator Grassley has also asked the FDA to go back and review the clinical
trial data submitted on Paxil. In a statement on the Senate floor on June 11,
2008, he said: “Essentially, it looks like GlaxoSmithKline bamboozled the
FDA.”
“We cannot live in a nation where drug companies are less than candid, hide
information and attempt to mislead the FDA and the public,” he stated. “These
companies are selling drugs that we put in our bodies, not sneakers.”
“When they manipulate or withhold data to hide or minimize findings about
safety and/or efficacy they put patient safety at risk,” Senator Grassley said.
“And with drugs like Paxil, the risks are too great.”
Now I need to note here that the only reason Paxil is taking so much heat
and the only reason we have all of this inside information on Paxil is because
of the information obtained during the Wyoming murder/suicide case of Donald
Schell. Before that these companies were settling cases so that they did not
have to go to court and disclose all of this information to the attorneys
working in our behalf.
After waiting three long years for one attorney to decide if he would take
the case, it went to Andy Vickery’s office. Andy took the case and Glaxo
allowed it to go all the way into court instead of settling the case. The jury
heard and saw enough to rule that the two pills of Paxil that Donald Schell
took before getting up one morning and shooting his wife, his daughter and his
baby grand daughter before shooting himself was the main cause.
Glaxo did all they could to seal that information back up again, but it was
too late. The cat was out of the bag. And it is long past time to let the cat
out of the bag on all these other antidepressants as well!
#5 THE RESULTS OF SENATOR GRASSLEY’S INVESTIGATION OF THE LARGE PAYMENTS
AND KICKBACKS TO DOCTORS BY DRUG MAKERS

“According to Senator Grassley’s June 4, 2008 statement in the Congressional
record, although conflict-of-interest disclosure forms make it appear that
the Harvard psychiatrists only received a couple hundred thousand from drug
companies over the past 7 years, the true figures show Dr Biederman received
over “$1.6 million,” Dr Spencer “over $1 million” and Dr Wilens “over $1.6
million” in payments from the drug companies.

“Based on reports from just a handful of drug companies,” he states, “we
know that even these millions do not account for all of the money.”
“Senator Grassley also notes that Dr Schatzberg owns stock worth more than
$6 million in one drug company. Ed Silverman reports on Pharmalot that there
are “30 or so physicians at two dozen universities which the Senate Finance
Committee is probing concerning disclosure of grants from drugmakers.” The
names of those 30 doctors, along with the research mills they operate out of,
need to be made public. . . . .


#6 RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS AND ACADEMIA ON THE TAKE FROM DRUG MAKERS AS WELL
ACTING AS “APOLOGISTS FOR COMMERCIAL SCIENTIFIC FRAUD” – SENIOR ACADEMICS
PROSTITUING MEDICINE.

“It is no longer a case where Americans need only be concerned about the
amount of money the academics are pulling in. The pharmaceutical industry also
has a stronghold on most major research institutions in this country. Many
could not exist if the drug companies withdrew all their research funding, a
state of affairs that did not occur by accident.

“In fact, according to Dr Aubrey Blumsohn, who publishes the Scientific
Misconduct Blog, when all is said and done:

“The chief villains remain our academic institutions and medical leadership.
They have colluded with and have acted as apologists for commercial
scientific fraud. They have tolerated the telling of lies by senior academics.
They have encouraged the prostitution of medicine. They have allowed abuse of the
most fundamental safeguards of science. Most importantly, they have set
terrible examples for our students.”

#7 WHO TOOK THE MONEY TO PUSH ANTIDEPRESSANTS TO CHILDREN?

“. . . . While Dr Keller took the lead on pushing Paxil for children and
adolescents, Dr Emslie was the main man on the Prozac trials, and Dr Wagner was
the queen bee on Zoloft studies. The co-authors of papers that appear in the
medical literature encouraging the use of SSRI’s for kids include Drs
Biederman, Schatzberg, Wilens and, of course, Charles Nemeroff.
“Dr Nemeroff was recently forced to resign as chairman of Emory’s psychiatry
department after Senator Grassley’s investigation revealed that he failed to
disclose to his university more than a million dollars in drug industry
income. All total, Nemeroff had earnings of $2.8 million from drug companies
between 2000 and 2007, but failed to report at least $1.2 million. . . . .


#8 YET AMAZINGLY ENOUGH . . . .

“Shrinks on the take are so addicted to industry money that it’s impossible
to embarrass them. Last year, the press ran major stories when this report
came out, highly critical of how much money they were making. This year, the
average amount rose by 25%.

Now for some hard questions. . . .

*** When Glaxo knew in 1989 that Paxil was inducing suicide at a rate EIGHT
TIMES HIGHER than with a placebo and did not warn, is that not at least
negligent homicide?

Or is it not in some way contributing to a premeditated loss of life?

How often do we read in criminal cases where someone has died and someone
else did not assist that person in need but instead allowed the death to happen
and that person has then been prosecuted and given a prison term?

What is the difference here? The only difference I see is that these people
at Glaxo made a lot of money by keeping quiet and allowing these deaths to
continue!!

*** I have been asking this question for a very long time. Why is it okay
for our academic institutions to peddle drugs and use our students as guinea
pigs in studies?

Why is it okay for them to make so much money from drug companies? Much of
their operating expenses come from this drug company blood money.

Why would anyone be surprised, when seeing this close financial situation
with the drug companies and the academic institutions, that so many students
are placed on these same drugs by campus health centers often addicting them to
the drugs for many years to come?

*** How can shrinks be so stupid, or just plain “in your face” with it, as
to take even more money from these companies while they are already in the
process of being investigated for doing so???

Oh, that’s right we already know the answer to that one – they take more of
these mind altering drugs than just about anyone else! The psychiatric nurse
attending my lecture last year estimated that at least 75% of her colleagues
are on these drugs.

And why are they on these drugs? Because the drug reps are telling them all
that they are in a stressful profession and that sooner or later they are
going to be hit by the anxiety or depression that comes with the stress . . .
so they need to start on the drugs now so as to ward off “the pending
inevitable” anxiety or depression.

Of course then we need to ask the question, “How could they have fallen for
that old sales pitch?” That alone makes you wonder about their sanity!

But then you must ask if it is okay for a drug user to then be a drug pusher
even when we are discussing “legal” drugs? Because that is exactly what we
are seeing happen with this situation with antidepressants – doctors on the
drugs pushing them to others – no different than what you see in street drug
use where those hooked on the drugs are the ones pushing them to others. When
you see how similar in action these antidepressants are to LSD or PCP that
whole scenario becomes totally transparent.

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@…)

_http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0811/S00080.htm_
(http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0811/S00080.htm)

Pharmaceutical Industry Hustlers – Part I
Thursday, 6 November 2008, 1:25 pm
Column: Evelyn Pringle
Pharmaceutical Industry Hustlers – Part I
SSRI Antidepressants Pushers

By _Evelyn Pringle_
(http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/print.html?path=HL0811/S00080.htm#a)
After twenty long years, it appears that the epidemic in mental disorders in
America might be coming to an end. It won’t happen because of any great
medical breakthrough but rather because the perpetrators of the greatest
healthcare fraud in history are finally being exposed. The demolition of the
giant “psycho-pharmaceutical complex” appears to be on the horizon.
For far too long, the focus has been on the drugmakers only. In recent
months, the spotlight has shown where it belongs – on the highly-paid
opportunists responsible for fueling the epidemic in prescribing of psychiatric drugs by
doctors in every field of medicine and the research institutions that enabled
the process.
The antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or
SSRI’s, such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa and Lexapro are at the center of
the storm. These drugs have been prescribed to more Americans than any other
class of medications over the past two decades. Cymbalta, Effexor and
Wellbutrin are often referred to as SSRI’s, but they are slightly different
chemically. However, the drugs all carry similar side effects and warnings.
The top sales pitch for SSRI’s has been the “chemical-imbalance-in-the-brain”
myth.

“There is no evidence whatsoever that depression is caused by a
biochemical imbalance,” says Dr Peter Breggin, one of the world’s leading
experts on psychiatric drugs and author of the new book, “Medication Madness.”
People take for granted pronouncements such as, “You have a biochemical
imbalance,” and “mental disorders are like diabetes,” he explains in the book.

“In reality,” Dr Breggin writes, “these are not scientific observations –
they are promotional slogans, so adamantly repeated in the media and by
individual psychiatrists that people assume them to be true.”
“The psycho-pharmaceutical complex fosters these falsehoods in order to
promote the widespread use of their products,” he says. “Reluctant patients by
the millions are pushed into taking drugs by doctors who tell them with no
uncertainty that they need medication.”

“If you have got a biochemical imbalance in your brain,” Dr Breggin advises
in the book, “the odds are overwhelming that your doctor put it there with a
psychiatric drug.”

All Eyes on Glaxo
At the moment, all eyes are on Paxil maker, GlaxoSmithKline (formerly
SmithKline Beecham), due to reports that the company is under investigation by
the US Department of Justice, as well as the Senate Finance Committee, with
Iowa’s Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Committee,
leading the charge.

The report that led to the investigation by Senator Grassley was generated in
litigation and was only recently made public after it was unsealed by the
court. It was submitted by Dr Joseph Glenmullen, a Clinical Instructor in
Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of “The Antidepressant
Solution”

and Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and
Other Antidepressants with Safe, Effective Alternatives.” He was retained as
an expert by the Los Angeles-based law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman.
The litigation involves several Paxil-induced suicide cases, including a 13-year-old child.

The report shows that Glaxo knew in 1989, long before Paxil was FDA approved,
that people taking the drug were 8 times more likely to engage in suicidal
behavior than people given a placebo, or sugar pill. Now, it stands to reason
that even the most depressed person would decline to take Paxil if given
these facts.

Also, parents certainly would decline if they were told about the
risks. Dr Glenmullen explains that, by submitting what he refers to as “bad” Paxil
numbers to the FDA, Glaxo was able to avoid adding a warning about suicide to
the label when the drug was approved. “GlaxoSmithKline’s ‘bad’ Paxil numbers
carried the day: The FDA approved Paxil on December 29, 1992, with no warning
to doctors or patients of the significant increased risk of suicidal behavior,” he writes.

Instead, Glaxo listed suicide and suicide attempts that took place during the
“run-in” period of the studies as if they happened in the placebo group. The
run-in period, also called the “wash-out” phase, occurs when all patients
are taken off their existing drugs to let the old drugs wash out of their
systems, and all patients are given placebos. The rationale for washing out old
drugs is to prevent them from confusing the results of the study, so that
patients start out in a similar condition, according to the report.
The official trial only begins after the wash-out phase, once the patients
are assigned to receive either the antidepressant or a placebo. The patients
who continue to receive the placebo are referred to as the placebo group.

“Confusing the pre-study placebo wash-out phase with the placebo group in the
actual study is improper,” Dr Glenmullen writes, “especially when the
concern is a potentially lethal side effect.”

The “correct data shows that suicide attempts in patients on Paxil occurred
at a rate eight times higher than the rate in patients on placebo,” he notes.
Senator Grassley has also asked the FDA to go back and review the clinical
trial data submitted on Paxil. In a statement on the Senate floor on June 11,
2008, he said: “Essentially, it looks like GlaxoSmithKline bamboozled the
FDA.”

“We cannot live in a nation where drug companies are less than candid, hide
information and attempt to mislead the FDA and the public,” he stated. “These
companies are selling drugs that we put in our bodies, not sneakers.”
“When they manipulate or withhold data to hide or minimize findings about
safety and/or efficacy they put patient safety at risk,” Senator Grassley said.
“And with drugs like Paxil, the risks are too great.”

A good start as the Glaxo scandal unravels, the public will learn that other
antidepressant makers such as Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Wyeth and Forest Laboratories
are equally guilty. Likewise, there are many more supposedly independent academic
doctors who have been receiving substantial financial benefits from drug
companies than are currently identified in the media as being under investigation.

Exposing Harvard University’s Joseph Biederman, Thomas Spencer, Timothy
Wilens, Stanford’s Alan Schatzberg, Brown University’s Martin Keller, Melissa
DelBello at the University of Cincinnati, and Drs Karen Wagner and John Rush,
who operated out of the University of Texas, might be a good place to start, but
the trail of Big Pharma’s funding academic research for marketing
purposes certainly does not end with a handful of psychiatrists.

According to Senator Grassley’s June 4, 2008 statement in the Congressional
record, although conflict-of-interest disclosure forms make it appear that the
Harvard psychiatrists only received a couple hundred thousand from drug
companies over the past 7 years, the true figures show Dr Biederman received
over “$1.6 million,” Dr Spencer “over $1 million” and Dr Wilens “over $1.6
million” in payments from the drug companies.

“Based on reports from just a handful of drug companies,” he states, “we know
that even these millions do not account for all of the money.”
Senator Grassley also notes that Dr Schatzberg owns stock worth more than $6
million in one drug company. Ed Silverman reports on Pharmalot that there are
“30 or so physicians at two dozen universities which the Senate Finance
Committee is probing concerning disclosure of grants from drugmakers.” The names
of those 30 doctors, along with the research mills they operate out of, need
to be made public.

The new book, “Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a
Best-selling Antidepressant on Trial,” by investigative journalist Alison Bass,
provides the inside scoop on the fraudulent SSRI research conducted at Brown
University by Dr Keller.

The book also supplies background information on the financial ties between
the so-called “opinion leaders” in psychiatry and the other antidepressant
makers. For instance, Ms Bass explains that Drs Schatzberg and Keller worked as
a team a decade ago to promote Bristol-Myers Squibb’s antidepressant Serzone.

In 1998, Dr Schatzberg was paid to moderate an industry-sponsored symposium
that touted the benefits of Serzone, and Dr Keller was one of the paid
speakers at the event. The same year, Dr Keller received $77,400 in consulting
fees from Bristol-Myers, Ms Bass points out.

Dr Keller later published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine also
touting the benefits of Serzone. The drug was removed from the market in
2004 after it was found to cause liver damage but not before a number of
patients died.

Ms Bass reports that Keller did not report any income from Glaxo on his 1998
tax return. But during her research for “Side Effects,” she discovered he had
earned personal income from Glaxo in 1998, as well as subsequent years.
Keller admitted as much during a September 2006 deposition for a lawsuit filed
against Glaxo, she says.

It is no longer a case where Americans need only be concerned about the
amount of money the academics are pulling in. The pharmaceutical industry also
has a stronghold on most major research institutions in this country. Many could
not exist if the drug companies withdrew all their research funding, a state
of affairs that did not occur by accident.

In fact, according to Dr Aubrey Blumsohn, who publishes the Scientific
Misconduct Blog, when all is said and done:

“The chief villains remain our academic institutions and medical leadership.
They have colluded with and have acted as apologists for commercial
scientific fraud. They have tolerated the telling of lies by senior academics.
They have encouraged the prostitution of medicine. They have allowed abuse of the
most fundamental safeguards of science. Most importantly, they have set
terrible examples for our students.”


U
niversities keep corrupt academics on board for good reason. “Side Effects”
reports that, between 1990 and 1998, “Martin Keller brought in nearly $8.7
million in research funding from pharmaceutical companies.”
The clinical trial industry itself provides a perfect slush fund. Spending in
the U.S. was an estimated $25 billion in 2006 and is expected to reach about
$32 billion by 2011.

Most of the money for trials comes from private
industry, and federal funding assumes a second place position, with the
National Institute of Health budgeting $3 billion for clinical trials in 2006, according
to the paper, “State Medical Board Responses To An Inquiry On Physician
Researcher Misconduct,” by Dr Stefan Kruszewski, Dr Richard Paczynski and
Marzana Bialy, in the Journal of Medical Licensure and Discipline 2008: Vol 94 No 1.
Paxil Study 329 “Side Effects” also covers the whole sordid affair on Paxil Study 329, the
most infamous fraudulent pediatric trial of all time. The study “offers a
landmark for the point at which science turned into marketing,” according to Dr
David Healy.

Dr Healy is a Professor of psychiatry and Director of the North Wales School
of Psychological Medicine at the University of Wales, and an outspoken critic
of the psycho-pharmaceutical complex, with 21 books to his name, including
“The Creation of Psychopharmacology.”

He explains that, in 1998, Glaxo’s original assessment of Study 329 had
concluded that it and another study had shown Paxil did not work for children,
but that it would not be “commercially acceptable” to publicize this finding.
“Instead the positive findings from the study would be published; they were in
an article whose authorship line contains some of the best known names in
psychopharmacology (Keller et al., 2001),” Dr Healy writes in the 2007 paper,
“The Engineers of Human Souls & Academia.”

Dr Keller gets most of the credit for the study, which was completed in
the mid-90’s. Keller et al had some difficulty getting it published at first,
but finally found a journal willing to take the bate in 2001, the Journal of
the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In all, 20 academics
allowed their names to be attached to this ghostwritten infomercial, and not
one has stepped forward to acknowledge wrongdoing or to admit that a mistake
was made.

Long before the paper was published, the authors of study 329 were fanned out
all the way to Canada giving lectures and presentations to prescribing
doctors at medical conferences and seminars to promote the off-label use of
Paxil for kids. More than any other paper, Study 329 led to an epidemic in
pediatric prescribing. “After its publication, the use of antidepressants for
children skyrocketed,” Dr Glenmullen notes.

These handsomely paid key opinion leaders all deserve to have their names
in lights, especially Drs Graham Emslie and Karen Wagner from the University
of Texas.

Between 2000 through 2005, Glaxo paid Dr Wagner $160,404, but the only
payment she reported to the university was $600 in 2005, according to Senator
Grassley. Dr Wagner also failed to disclose earnings of more than $11,000 from
Prozac-maker Eli Lilly in 2002.

On August 18, 2008, the Dallas Morning News reported that a state mental
health plan naming the preferred psychiatric drugs for children has been quietly
put on hold over fears drug companies may have given researchers consulting
contracts, speakers fees or other perks to help get their products on the
list.

The Children’s Medication Algorithm Project, or CMAP, was supposed to
determine which psychiatric drugs were most effective for children and in what
order they should be tried at state-funded mental health centers, the Morning
News explains.

The academics who developed the CMAP include Drs Wagner and Emslie. Records
show Dr Emslie may have made up to $125,000 from drug companies since
2004, according to the report in the Morning News. While Dr Keller took the lead on
pushing Paxil for children and adolescents,Dr Emslie was the main man on the Prozac
trials, and Dr Wagner was the queen bee on Zoloft studies.

The co-authors of papers that appear in the medical
literature encouraging the use of SSRI’s for kids include Drs Biederman,
Schatzberg, Wilens and, of course, Charles Nemeroff.
Dr Nemeroff was recently forced to resign as chairman of Emory’s psychiatry
department after Senator Grassley’s investigation revealed that he failed to
disclose to his university more than a million dollars in drug industry
income. All total, Nemeroff had earnings of $2.8 million from drug companies
between 2000 and 2007, but failed to report at least $1.2 million.

A complete list of academics who should to be investigated can be found among
the authors of the SSRI papers and studies highlighted in the 2006 Third
Edition of, “Essentials of Clinical Psychopharmacology,” described as “a
synopsis and update of the most clinically relevant material from ‘The American
Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychopharmacology,'” by none other than Drs
Schatzberg and Nemeroff.

Keep Following the Money
On July 10, 2008, Senator Grassley extended his investigation to include
psychiatry’s top industry-funded front group with a letter to Dr James Scully,
Medical Director and Chief Executive Officer of the American Psychiatric
Association, asking for “an accounting of industry funding that pharmaceutical
companies and/or the foundations established by these companies have provided to
the American Psychiatric Association.”

The Senator wants records from January 2003 to the present. According to the
July 12, 2008, New York Times, in 2006, the “industry accounted for about 30
percent of the association’s $62.5 million in financing.”
A factor rarely discussed in this debate is the amount of money doctors who
prescribe SSRI’s make during brief office calls charged at regular rates. This
practice has taken a tremendous toll on public healthcare programs and has
resulted in higher insurance premiums and overall healthcare costs for all
Americans.

In fact, the bilking of public healthcare programs is what led to the current
investigations by the Finance Committee, which has the responsibility of
overseeing spending in Federal programs. When doctors prescribe drugs for
unnecessary uses, public programs not only have to pay for the drugs, they must
also pay the fees of the prescribing doctors and for the medical care for
injuries caused by the drugs. Government spending tied to the prescribing of
psychiatric drugs has gone through the roof in the past decade.

While testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government
Reform on February 9, 2007, Lewis Morris, Chief Counsel at the Department of
Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, discussed kickbacks to
doctors and told the panel:

“Kickbacks potentially increase the costs to Federal programs because they
encourage overutilization and may encourage the prescribing of more expensive
drugs when clinically appropriate and cheaper options (such as generic drugs)
may be equally effective.”

Mr Morris explained that, “kickbacks offered to prescribing physicians by
pharmaceutical manufacturers take a variety of forms, ranging from free samples
for which the physician bills the programs to all-expense-paid trips and sham
consulting agreements.”

Vermont is a rare state in requiring the pharmaceutical industry to disclose
the money paid to doctors. On July 8, 2008, Vermont’s Attorney General
William Sorrell released the state’s annual report on “Pharmaceutical Marketing
Disclosures,” which lists the payments made by drug companies in 2007. Of the
top 100 recipients, once again, psychiatrists received the highest payments.
Eleven psychiatrists received a total of $626,379, or about 20% of the total
value of payments made, according to the report.

Shrinks on the take are so addicted to industry money that it’s impossible to
embarrass them. Last year, the press ran major stories when this report came
out, highly critical of how much money they were making. This year, the
average amount rose by 25%.

The report also analyzes the payments based upon the drugs being marketed. Of
the top 10 drugs for which disclosures were reported, five are used to treat
mental illness and include Lilly’s Cymbalta and Forest Lab’s Lexapro.
Ironically, Cymbalta sales are also up 25%, according to Lilly’s latest SEC
filing.

Overall, estimates indicate that the drug industry spends $19 billion
annually on marketing to physicians in the form of gifts, travel, meals and
other consulting fees, according to a May 22, 2008, press release by Senator
Grassley’s office. In the November 1, 2007, New England Journal of Medicine
paper, “Doctors and Drug Companies Scrutinizing Influential Relationships,” Dr
Eric Campell, associate professor at the Institute of Health Policy at
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, writes:

“Individual physicians can take some steps to maximize the benefits for
patients and minimize the risks associated with their own industry
relationships. They can start by recognizing that such relationships are designed to
influence prescribing behavior and by carefully considering the potential
effects that their own associations may have on their patients.”

“And they can bear in mind,” he says, “that the costs of industry dinners,
trips, and other incentives are passed along to their patients in the form of
higher drug prices.” Antidepressant prescribing is more rampant in this country than any other.
The US accounted for 66% of the global market in 2005, compared to 23% in
Europe and 11% for the rest of world, according to a December 2006 report by
Research and Markets.

A June 2007 survey by the Centers for Disease Control of doctor and hospital
visits in 2005 showed that the most commonly prescribed drugs were
antidepressants, with 48% of the prescriptions issued by primary care
physicians. They have remained in the number one position ever since. Last year, 232 million
prescriptions were filled for antidepressants worth nearly $12 billion,
according to a March 2008 report by IMS Health.

The top dogs in the pharmaceutical industry are literally laughing all the
way to the bank. For example, in 2007, Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler’s pay package
was worth $9.5 million, according to the March 14, 2008, Wall Street Journal. A
previous CEO, David Shedlarz, left last year with an “exit package” worth
over $34 million. In 2007, the total value of Wyeth’s then-CEO Robert Essner’s
pay package was $24.1 million, the Journal reports.

In the meantime, state Medicaid programs are going bankrupt as a result of
the mental illness epidemic occurring only in the US. Attorneys General all
over the country are using consumer fraud statutes to sue the drug giants to
recoup the money lost due to the illegal off-label promotion of psychiatric
drugs and the concealment of their side effects.

For instance, Baum Hedlund has been litigating Private Attorney General
consumer fraud class-action lawsuits against Glaxo since 2004, on behalf of
individuals and entities such as insurance companies in California, Florida,
Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio and
Washington.

The cases are based on documents showing Glaxo promoted Paxil for kids, fully
aware that Paxil failed to out-perform a placebo in the clinical trials and
had higher suicidality rates. A national class settlement of individual
claims was reached in April 2007 in which Glaxo agreed to reimburse parents for
all of the money paid for Paxil prescriptions for their children. A national
class settlement on behalf of third party payors (insurance companies) was just
approved in September 2008.

If not for the few law firms willing to stay the course, the truth would
never have been revealed. Baum Hedlund has been pursuing the SSRI makers for
nearly two decades. Most recently, it has taken up the fight for babies born
with birth defects caused by SSRI’s.

Because the industry was so successful at keeping the original SSRI trial
data hidden, the drugs most serious side effects largely became public only
as a result of the bravery and integrity of such medical experts as Dr Healy, Dr
Glenmullen and Dr Breggin, who could not be bought and could not be bullied.

For fifteen years, the SSRI makers fought against adding a warning about an
increased risk of suicidality, knowing all the long that the risk existed.
Now, the companies are making the irresponsible argument (in defense of
lawsuits claiming they failed to warn doctors and the public of the risk) that the
FDA did not require them to add a warning, so they are immune from liability.
Worse yet, the industry-controlled FDA under the Bush Administration is
supporting this audacious preemption defense and siding with the SSRI makers
against private citizens in courts all over the country, telling judges to rule
in favor of the drug companies and throw out the SSRI cases before they even
make it to a jury.

Although not an SSRI case, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case
involving federal preemption, in Wyeth v Levine, on November 3, 2008.
*************
Evelyn Pringle
epringle05@…
(Written as part of the Paxil Litigation Round-Up, Sponsored by Baum,
Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman’s Pharmaceutical Litigation Department
_www.baumhedlundlaw.com_ (http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/) )


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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:

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633

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@…)

_http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633)

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

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.

ABSTRACT
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.

Conclusions
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]_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/external_ref?access_num=NCT00052078&link_type=CLINT\
RIALGOV
) .)

____________________________________
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_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R3)
,_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)
,_9_

(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R9)

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_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R13)

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_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R15)

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.

Methods

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
[DSM-IV-TR]_16_
(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.

Interventions

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.

Objectives
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_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R12)
,_13_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R13) ,_14_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R14) ,_15_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R15)
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_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R24)

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.

Results
Subjects
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%).
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/F1)
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(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content-nw/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/F1)
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/powerpoint/NEJMoa0804633v2/F1)

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.

View this table:
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(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/T1)
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(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content-nw/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/T1)
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/powerpoint/NEJMoa0804633v2/T1)
Table 1. Baseline Characteristics of the Subjects and Recruitment According
to Study Center.

View this table:
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(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/T2)
_[in a new window]_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content-nw/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/T2)
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/powerpoint/NEJMoa0804633v2/T2)
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.
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/F2)
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Figure 2. Scores on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale during the 12-Week
Study.

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).
View this table:
_[in this window]_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/T3)
_[in a new window]_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content-nw/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/T3)
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/powerpoint/NEJMoa0804633v2/T3)
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
(_Table
4_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#T4) ).
View this table:
_[in this window]_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/T4)
_[in a new window]_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content-nw/full/NEJMoa0804633v2/T4)
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/powerpoint/NEJMoa0804633v2/T4)
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.

Discussion
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_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R25)

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_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R14)

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_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R26)

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_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R25)
,_30_ (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R30) ,_31_
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#R31)

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.
(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0804633#RFN1)

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
(P.C.K.).

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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Appendix
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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