cipramil (celexa) stories,, lundbeck, Newspaper and internet articles

Panorama Expose on Citalopram use in Pregnancy.

Unhappy pill

Next week BBC’s Panorama team are tackling the issue of antidepressant use in pregnancy. The programme will be broadcast on Mon 1st july, entitled ‘The Truth About Pills and Pregnancy‘.

According to the UK Independent “The programme will broadcast an interview with Anna Wilson, whose son David spent the first five weeks of his life in hospital. A 20-week scan had shown that David had a heart defect and would need surgery immediately after being born. Anna had been taking the prescription drug Citalopram to treat her anxiety four years before her pregnancy began, and was told that she was safe to continue whilst pregnant. The show will feature interviews with Prof Pilling, who will say that GP prescription guidelines are about to be updated to take into account evidence suggesting a link with SSRIs and heart defects.”

A manufacturer contacted by the BBC denies any link to major foetal malformations (no prizes for guessing Lundbeck here).

Panorama spoke to eight mothers who had babies born with serious heart defects after taking a commonly used SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) antidepressant while pregnant.

An article on BBC News stated “Lundbeck, the manufacturer of Citalopram, said a recent review of scientific literature concluded that the drug ‘does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of major foetal malformations’.”

It seems that Lundbeck are lying again or there is a serious lack of communication between the various medicines regulators and the pharmaceutical industry. Below is an adverse reaction report logged with the Irish Medicines Board involving a baby born with a Cleft Lip, associated with the mother’s use of Citalopram.

IMB 1

What about the following, also reported as Citalopram induced? This particular report concerns the intrauterine death of an unborn baby due to ‘Citalopram exposure during pregnancy’.

IMB 3

Then there was our meeting in Copenhagen with the two Lundbeck goons. We asked if Citalopram/Escitalopram was a teratogen. Their answers (or non-answers) may surprise you…

Leonie                       Right, will I go on because there’s no point, we’re stuck at that one?  Anyway.  Do you think that it’s advisable to virtually bathe foetuses in Serotonin given it is now accepted this family of drugs are firmly associated with birth defects?

Dr. Madsen               Virtually bathe?

Leonie                       Foetuses in Serotonin – pregnancy.

Tony                         Pregnant women.

Dr. Madsen               I don’t know what you mean by virtually bathe

Leonie                       I’m talking about anti-depressants are known to cause birth defects.  If you think so, would it not be better if women of child-bearing age were cautioned against, perhaps even contra-indicated from using this drug?  Citalopram or Escitalopram?

Dr. Madsen               Em, I think in…..

Leonie                       Your views?

Dr. Madsen               In pregnancy?

Leonie                       Yeah

Dr. Madsen               Em, I think em, physicians need to double their efforts to make sure that there is a correct risk versus eh, benefit eh, assessment of the em, of any action.

Leonie                       Is Citalopram and Escitalopram a teratogen?

Dr. Madsen               Em, meaning, what, what, what do you mean?

Leonie                       Can it cause harm to foetuses? Unborn babies.

Dr. Madsen               Em, obviously, in order to have our compounds approved we have done em, a large number of pre-clinical trials em, and we are constantly monitoring and the eh, while the recommendation I believe throughout, is to be, be extra cautious when administering any eh, medications to pregnant women…

Leonie                       Can it cause harm?….. to unborn babies?

Dr. Madsen               Anything can cause harm, can cause harm in any dose

Leonie                       So yes it can.

Dr. Madsen               depending on dose

Leonie                       Yep

Em, why if it can cause harm, is this not clearly, clearly stated on the packaging and information leaflet?

Mr. Schroll                Do you talk about the patient leaflet or do you talk about the SPC, the label that the Doctors use in order to prescribe the medication?

Leonie                       I’m talking about a pregnant woman that goes down and gets it in the chemist.  Is it on the patient information leaflet?

Mr. Schroll                In the patient leaflet it says you have to talk to your Doctor….

Leonie                       And what does it say in the Doctor’s leaflet?

Mr. Schroll                That he has to be extra cautious.  I think that if you go to the… to, to the Irish home page, I believe it is like that, it’s like that in Denmark and elsewhere.  If you go to the medicines agency authorities

Leonie                       So,

Mr. Schroll                the medicines agency authorities you can see what is in the checks that the Doctors and that is up to them to decide…..

Leonie                       So you are passing the buck back to the Doctor again.

Mr. Schroll                I think when it’s prescription medication, yes.  If it was eh, eh,

Leonie                       And will they be told that it can harm their unborn baby?

Mr. Schroll                Sorry?

Leonie                       Will the pregnant woman be told that the drug can, can harm her unborn baby?

Mr. Schroll                It would be part of the discussion to talk about the risks and the benefits and that would be up to the Doctor.

Leonie                       It would be up to the Doctor to tell them that the drug can harm their unborn baby?

Mr. Schroll                Eh, now, you’re talking…..

Leonie                       It’s not up to Lundbeck, no?  It’s up to the Doctor to tell the woman that the drug can harm their unborn baby?

Mr. Schroll                To be cautious, yes, yes.

The Irish word ‘amadáin’ springs to mind. I could think of a few English ones too but think I’d better refrain. The Panorama programme should be excellent viewing as usual, particularly with Shelley Jofre as reporter. She did the previous expose concerning GSK and Seroxat suicides. I can see her putting Lundbeck in their place.

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Lundbeck Meeting here.

IMB adverse reaction reports.

MHRA (UK) adverse reaction reports.

Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry

The dark side of depressants…oops I meant anti-depressants!

I received an e-mail this morning from a fellow blogger and a like minded friend with first hand experience of ssri’s and who said…”I think you might be interested in this, it’s from 2004.. Quite shocking that they have known for so long”.

It is quite shocking how the evidence has been around for so long and 7 years later we have actually gone backwards! In this article even Patricia Casey admits that some GPs are wrongly prescribing SSRIs, that the drugs don’t work for everyone and even more surprisingly did not deny the stated side-effects in this article! So what has happened in 7 years?  The evidence is still there, more compelling evidence is emerging connecting suicide and acts of violence with ssri antidepressants, and more experts and whistleblowers are telling the truth about Pharmaceutical company corruption. Yet, instead of more awareness, psychiatry in Ireland will still deny any problems, subsequently doctors will be unaware or unsure, and the Irish Medicines Board will not do their job properly and investigate! (And my lovely son will still be dead!)

Excerpts from an article published in the Irish Independent on Thursday June 03 2004

 The dark side to the ‘happy pills’

1. As a result of anxiety, stress, phobias and depression, 300,000 Irish people take anti-depressants. There are fears they can be a prescription for self-mutilation, suicide and even murder
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.2.An estimated 80% of anti-depressants prescribed here are SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors). They include drugs like Seroxat, Prozac and Cipramil.
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3. But there’s a dark side to the so-called ‘happy pills’ that have taken Ireland by storm. As evidence of their dangers becomes increasingly compelling, there’s a huge groundswell of concern among medical experts that not only do SSRIs not work for many people, but they can be a prescription for suicide, self-mutilation and even murder.

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4. Many medical experts say the most popular medical answer to the unhappiness caused by adversity is worse than the hellish state it’s prescribed to treat. They say the distressing and sometimes fatal side-effects and withdrawal symptoms of SSRIs are a chemical time-bomb ignored by doctors and flatly denied by pharmaceutical companies.

5. Irish doctors are in the firing line from their own colleagues for unwisely and dangerously over-prescribing SSRIs. The war of words is reaching fever pitch.The stakes are enormously high: Irish people’s health and lives are on the line. So are doctors’ reputations and the financial health of the multinational drugs companies whose billion-dollar earnings are boosted by the huge success of SSRIs.

6. The case against SSRIs has been building with relentless force. The US Food and Drug Administration says that from 1997 to 2002, the six most popular SSRIs were suspected of triggering 3,309 incidents of suicide, attempted suicide or hostile, violent behaviour in America. Suicidal or aggressive behaviour were reported in children who took the drug, more than twice as often as among adults who did.

7. Irishman David Healy is Visiting Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director of the North Wales Department of Psychiatry. He has written two books on SSRIs and is a leading international expert. Three years ago in Wyoming a 60-year-old doting grandfather went on a shooting spree, killing his wife, daughter and granddaughter, and then himself, after taking Paxil, the US brand name for Seroxat.

8. Two years ago BBC’s Panorama investigated Seroxat. The BBC was inundated with unprecedented feedback. The 68,400 calls and emails offered vivid stories about suicide, domestic violence, addiction, self-mutilation, paranoia, homicidal fantasies and attempted murder.

9. Tom O’Dowd is a GP and Professor at Trinity College Dublin’s Department of Public Health and Primary Care. “The side-effect that frightens me most is the suicide element.

10. Psychotherapist Dr Terry Lynch, author of Beyond Prozac, says up to a third of Irish people who take SSRIs stop taking them because of their side-effects. A very worrying side-effect is akathisia (restlessness leading to tension and panic), which has driven people to kill themselves.”

11. Three years before Prozac got the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987, the German government refused to approve the drug, based on studies showing that previously non-suicidal people who took Prozac had three times the rate of suicide and suicide attempts than those who didn’t take the drug.

12. Patricia Casey, consultant psychiatrist at the Mater Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry at UCD, says some GPs are wrongly prescribing SSRIs. “SSRIs don’t work for negative life events, which resolve themselves with time. I’m as likely to take people off an anti-depressant as I am to put them on one. We’ve mistakenly assumed everybody with a depressed mood has a chemical depression. It’s not always the same thing.”

13. Dr Healy says SSRIs help about half the people who take them, but make many others more anxious, violent or suicidal and physically addicted.

14. Dr Michael Corry…”Depression is wrongly treated because of the notion of a chemical imbalance. Serotonin levels can’t be measured. “Depression is a normal emotional response to someone’s life experience,” says Dr Michael Corry. “Making someone realise they’ve good reason to feel depressed incredibly empowers them. Otherwise, we’re degrading what it is to be human. We need to be humanising, not chemicalising, life’s problems.”

15.”Irish doctors are in denial,” says Dr Lynch. “We’re letting our patients down by failing to educate ourselves about anti-depressants. Five or 10 years from now, the true story about SSRIs will have emerged. Questions will be asked why nothing was done to alert people about the dangers.”

 Full article here…Independent.ie