Several articles by me, Ann Blake-Tracy, were published in the Citizens’s Section of the Salt Lake Tribune & Deseret News in 1997 & 1998. The publishers just could not seem to get enough of what I was writing about these drugs until pressure was brought to bear to discontinue that section of the news. Gee, I wonder why? But here is a copy of what I believe may have been the very first article I wrote for them. Note I was discussing the brain damage from antidepressants back in the 90’s as these new studies are only bringing it out now.
Do I believe the brain damage associated with these medications is permanent? NO! But I am an eternal optimist also. I firmly believe there are several alternative treatments that can turn this damage around. Certainly it will take time & effort, but I believe it can be done. I also believe the drug manufacturers are who should foot the bill for the necessary treatments to assist in healing from the effects of their deadly drugs. Now to the article:
CITIZEN’S Section of the Salt Lake Tribune & Deseret News
December 3, 1997
Since my book, PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? was the catalyst for Ruth Lehenbauer’s article (Citizens, September. 24) which has triggered a two month long debate on the pros and cons of antidepressants, it seems only fitting and proper that I respond to this latest article by the U of U Mood Disorders Clinic (CITIZEN’S, December. 3). [The most popular serotonergic medications are: Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Effexor(venaflexomine), Serzone (nefazadone), Anafranil (clomipramine), Fen-Phen (fenfluramine), & Redux (dexfenfluramine).]
Candace B. Pert, Research Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C
While the Mood Disorders Clinic defends these drugs, the discoverer of the serotonin binding process which made this whole group of serotonergic medications possible, Dr. Candace Pert, stated in TIME (October. 20), “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.”
“…the public is being misinformed…”
“The public is being misinformed about the precision of these selective serotonin-uptake inhibitors when the medical profession oversimplifies their action in the brain and ignores the body as if it exists merely to carry the head around! In short, these molecules of emotion regulate every aspect of our physiology. A new paradigm has evolved, with implications that life-style changes such as diet and exercise can offer profound, safe and natural mood elevation.”
Prozac’s FDA approval was based on only six week safety studies. Latest figures on Prozac show 39,000 adverse reaction reports filed with the FDA. Not even close was runner-up Norplant, a contraceptive, with 24,000 reports. The FDA’s “serious” side effect classification includes death, hospitalization, cancer, and permanent disability. Again Prozac placed in the number one position with 8,600 adverse reaction reports. And again second place didn’t even come close as Coumadin accumulated 4,800 reports. The fact that four antidepressants (Prozac #1, Paxil #4, Zoloft #7, Effexor #19) rank in the top 20 for side effects emphasizes their basic toxicity and potential for danger.
In the December THE WASHINGTONIAN Thomas Moore, author of DEADLY MEDICINE, discussed antidepressant withdrawal and stated, “Few drug companies are likely to volunteer to pay for an expensive study that has a good chance of revealing a new drug hazard.” During clinical trials investigators of Effexor found that 35% experienced withdrawal. [With the high rate of withdrawal I see with Effexor it sounds to me like those investigators had blinders on!!!!] Withdrawal can go unnoticed with the other serotonergic medications because in longer-term use severe withdrawal is often delayed several months. Patient and physician alike, mistake the symptoms of withdrawal as the reemergence of the symptoms of depression. The patient is given the drug again and the withdrawal symptoms disappear. The reintroduction of the drug stops the drug withdrawal – your first evidence of drug dependence!
Among patients, Prozac and Zoloft have gained a reputation for addictiveness and withdrawal. Paxil is gaining a reputation worldwide for serious withdrawal. (Obviously the two researchers for Paxil, who were just indicted on 172 counts of fraudulent research, missed that aspect of this popular Prozac clone.) One of the side effects of serotonergic drugs is joint and muscle pain (part of the cause for the recall of the first SSRI introduced in Norway) which becomes more pronounced in withdrawal leading to a diagnosis of MS or fibromyalgia. Patients continue to report withdrawal symptoms of nausea and vomiting, electrical shocks throughout the body, burning pains, severe insomnia leading to mania, crying, anger, anxiety or adrenalin rushes, chronic fatigue, nightmares, suicidal thoughts, etc.
Elevated levels of serotonin, exactly what these drugs are designed to produce, are associated with brain damage, psychosis, mania, mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, mental retardation, constriction of the bronchial tubes and arteries to the heart, etc. The new NIH study on brain damage and fenfluramine would naturally cause scientists to suspect the possibility of brain damage with other serotonergic medications.
Thomas Moore adds, “The safety of antidepressants is supposedly proven by the fact that they have been taken by more than 20 million Americans. Yet virtually no meaningful research has been conducted on their long-term risks. . . . there is no evidence that antidepressants prevent suicide – and dark hints that they may even encourage it. When society turns a blind eye to the dangers of drugs and rushes to embrace a pharmaceutical cure for nearly every condition, there is almost no end to the harm that may result.”
The unrestrained sex drive leading to promiscuity as a result of Prozac is easily explained. The drug produces a form of insanity known as mania. Sexual promiscuity, even among those who would never consider it normally, is a major symptom of mania, as is alcohol consumption, rages leading to domestic abuse, delusions of grandeur (often mistaken for increased feelings of self confidence), wild spending, various types of criminal behavior, etc. Although the drug manufacturer estimates that approximately 1% of Prozac users develop mania, FDA reports of mania continue to come in, indicating higher figures. Fieve, who specializes in manic depression, estimates in his book PROZAC that 2% of Prozac users experience mania. So we currently have approximately 750,000 cases of mania induced by Prozac. How many will other SSRIs produce?
Far more frightening is that the latest study being used to defend Prozac for use among children admits that twice that number of children or 6% involved in this study were dropped because they developed mania within only eight weeks of Prozac use. If that figure also ends up being two times higher, we will have 12% of the children who use Prozac experiencing these devastating symptoms of mania.
Drug companies go to great lengths to get new drugs approved and to get the most out of their patent time on a new drug. Physicians who could lose their next drug research project, and therefore their livelihood, feel pressured to defend drugs. The U of U Mood Disorders Clinic exists because of the millions they bring in for the university in drug research money. Prescription drugs are now the third leading cause of death in America (between 200,000 to 250,000 deaths per year) and Utah uses two to three times the national average of mind-altering prescription drugs. Taking the death toll into consideration as well as the fact that Prozac has more adverse reaction reports than any drug in the history of the FDA, I have trouble understanding why conscientious caring physicians would have any problem with critical information getting out to the public about these drugs. You would think they would be concerned about this serious health risk and emphasize along with Dr. Pert and myself the use of safe and effective alternatives such as diet, exercise, proper sleep, etc.
These prescribing physicians [in the article this was in reponse to] made a dangerous error in their article when they referred to Paxil as peroxate, when it is paroxetine, and Zoloft as sertrole, when it is sertraline. Although this may seem insignificant or petty to the reader, when a drug is misspelled on the prescription pad it can cause a fatal drug reaction or interaction.
About the Author: Ann Blake-Tracy is the author of PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA?, and the director of the International Coalition For Drug Awareness [www.drugawareness.org]. She has testified before the FDA and testifies as an expert in legal cases involving serotonergic medications.
Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & www.SSRIstories.com
Author: “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World” & Safe Withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!”
BOOK: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare! Anything you ever wanted to know about antidepressants is there along with everything drug companies hope you never find out about these drugs. Find the book & the CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!” on how to safely withdraw from antidepressants & most psychiatric medications. Available at www.drugawareness.org
“VERY BOLD AND INFORMATIVE”
“PRICELESS INFORMATION THAT IS GIVING ME BACK TO ME”
“THE ABSOLUTE BEST REFERENCE FOR ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS”
“WELL DOCUMENTED & SCIENTIFICALLY RESEARCHED”
“I was stunned at the amount of research Ann Blake-Tracy has done on this subject. Few researchers go to as much trouble aggressively gathering information on the adverse reactions of Prozac, Zoloft and other SSRIs.”
WITHDRAWAL HELP CD TESTIMONIALS:
“Ann, I just wanted to let you know from the bottom of my heart how grateful I am God placed you in my life. I am now down to less than 2 mg on my Cymbalta and I have never felt better. I am finally getting my life back. I can feel again and colors have never been brighter. Thanks for all that you do!!” … Amber Weber
“Used your method of weaning off of SSRI’s and applied it to Ambian. Took 6 months but had been on 15 mg for years so what was another 6 months. I have been sleeping without it for 2 weeks and it is the first time I have been able to sleep drug free for 15 years. What a relief to be able to lay down and sleep when I need or want to. Ambien may be necessary for people at times but doctors giving a months worth of it at a time with unlimited refills is a prescription for disaster. It is so damn easy to become dependent on. Thanks for your council Ann.”… Mark Hill
“I’m so thankful for Ann Blake-Tracy and all her work. Also for taking the time out to talk to me and educate everyone! She has been a blessing to me during this awful time of antidepressant hell!” … Antoinette Beck