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IONA Hypocrisy?

Patricia Casey

My attention was drawn recently to an Irish Catholic article involving Professor Patricia Casey, well known Irish psychiatrist and IONA Institute patron (conservative Catholic advocacy group). The article ‘Simplistic therapy approach to suicide criticised in new study’ was published in the ‘Irish Catholic’ and centers on a study published in the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. The study Psychiatric and psycho-social characteristics of suicide completers: a comprehensive evaluation of psychiatric case records and postmortem findings is based on toxicology tests done post mortem and expresses the opinion that people dying by suicide were not adhering to their treatment (drug regime). The journal itself is the official journal of the ‘College of Psychiatry of Ireland’ – the same college which I have previously shown to engage in some dubious practices. While sending an ‘internal’ college e-mail to its members (regarding my son’s death where an antidepressant was implicated), it also forwarded the same literature to the drug company in question. While I have queried the ethicality of the latter with the college of psychiatry, no satisfactory answers have ever been forthcoming.

Leaving aside my possible subjectivity on the college’s questionable ethics, the article itself raises other relevant issues. Toxicology results post mortem are notoriously unreliable (Drummer et al 2004) and should not, as yet, be relied upon to conclude drug concentrations before death. I personally know of mothers who have lost their sons to antidepressant-induced deaths where the antidepressant escaped detection in toxicology tests. Two of these mothers vehemently objected and insisted on a re-test – in both cases the drug was eventually detected, once on the second time and once on the third time.

Issues:

Firstly, as the basis of the study relies on toxicology results, the reliability of toxicology tests post mortem was not addressed in the study.

Secondly, even if these toxicology tests were 100% reliable, it raises other important questions – how is it that 1/3 of the people who died by suicide were taking their medication? Were the drugs at best ineffective or at worst a causal factor in these deaths? It is noteworthy that the suicidality warnings included in antidepressant PILs (patient information leaflets), were put there, not by any well-meaning intentions of the drug industry, but by order of the FDA (American Drug Regulator) and EMA (European Medicines Agency) following lengthy investigations.

Lastly, again in the case of the toxicology being 100% effective, how many of the victims were in withdrawal from these highly toxic drugs? Treatment-induced (and withdrawal-induced) suicide has been discussed in another study (Healy et al 2006). This possibility has led regulatory authorities to warn doctors about the risk of suicide in the early stages of treatment, at times of changing dosage, and during the withdrawal phase of treatment. Was ‘withdrawal’ a simple oversight on behalf of the original study authors?

It seems to me that the Irish Catholic and the IONA institute have bigger fish to fry – treatment of the living for example. Considering the current abortion debate raging in Ireland, it strikes me as strange that the pro-life IONA patrons have not addressed the issue of the widespread treatment with antidepressants in pregnancy. Speaking last year on the problem of assessing suicidal pregnant women, Professor Casey said “Who will offer her the first-line treatments (antidepressants and/or cognitive therapy) she so desperate needs?” That antidepressants save lives is not evidence based(Healy 2006) and problematic in pregnancy according to Adam Urato (personal communication, June 29, 2015), expert in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. He stated –

“The antidepressants freely cross over the placenta and into the developing fetus (baby) throughout the pregnancy. They have significant harmful effects for moms and babies including miscarriage, birth defects, preterm birth, preeclampsia, newborn complications, and long-term neurobehavioral problems. These chemical compounds—what we call antidepressants—are made in chemical factories and they go from these factories, into the pregnant moms, and then into the developing babies (fetuses). Nowadays, with 5 to 10% of all pregnancies being exposed to these drugs, what we are basically witnessing is a large scale human experiment. The track record of what happens when we expose developing babies to foreign chemical compounds is not good.  Chemicals have consequences for developing babies.”

Rather than focusing on dead people, the IONA Institute need to address treatment-induced fetal harm or it could be left wide open to accusations of hypocrisy. Suffer little children – a thorough investigation by the ‘Irish Catholic’ might be a good place to start.

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Drummer O, Forrest ARW, Goldberger B, Karch SB, International Toxicology Advisory Group. Forensic science in the dock: Postmortem measurements of drug concentration in blood have little meaning. BMJ : British Medical Journal. 2004;329(7467):636-637

Healy D, Herxheimer A, Menkes DB. Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law. PLoS Medicine. 2006;3(9):e372.

Healy D, The antidepressant tale: figures signifying nothing? 

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Random

The Truthman Ruffles Goldacre’s Feathers.

Ben GoldacreNot too sure what to make of this. Truthman recently wrote a blog ‘Will The Real Ben Goldacre Please Stand Up’. Mr Goldacre is a psychiatrist and author of ‘Bad Pharma’, a book on the misdeeds of the pharmaceutical industry. What Truthman was saying was that Goldacre’s book was just a rehash of other books which came before it, eg., David Healy, Marcia Angell etc – ah feck it, it’s too hard to explain; read his blog here.

The thing that surprised me most was Goldacre’s comment on Truthman’s blog. He’s not one to shy away from an argument it seems, although Truthman did refer to Goldacre’s book as ‘impotent’ and you know how sensitive men get with ‘that’ word. He also alluded to Goldacre’s involvement or ‘non-involvement’ with GlaxoSmithKline’s supposed transparency decision; in my opinion, a non-existent publicity stunt by GSK.

I thought that Goldacre was a little churlish bringing David Healy into his comment, although then again, Truthman did mention the latter’s review of the book at issue: “An insightful (albeit also complex) review of Bad Pharma from David Healy (not so bad pharma) seems to conclude that the problem with Bad Pharma rests not upon the repetition of content already covered, or the many flawed arguments raised which seem to rally against the pharmaceutical  industry but actually often work in their favor, “but on the premium Ben puts on controlled trials not found in other books”.

Truthman is a very intelligent writer, whose research is usually impeccable. On this occasion he seems to have rubbed Ben Goldacre up the wrong way. This is a very interesting and enjoyable read (handbags at dawn) but I’m afraid you’ll just have to make up your own mind – Will The Real Ben Goldacre Please Stand Up?

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.

Cases, cipramil (celexa) stories,, lundbeck, Newspaper and internet articles, Shanes story.

Citalopram in the Sunday Post

Sunday Business Post

Sunda Business Post 1

I never expected my life to turn out like this. Before Shane died, I was happily rambling along minding my own business (I was, I swear!). There are more and more compelling arguments that Citalopram and other SSRIs can cause people to kill themselves and others. Don’t let it be you or your family. Be aware that these type of drugs are powerful mind altering drugs. Do not believe lazy doctors who spout the ‘chemical imbalance’ rubbish. We were not born with an inherent defect that only the pharmaceutical industry can save us from. These supposedly ‘safer’ drugs can kill in overdose. They can cause heart attacks, stroke, suicide, homicide, birth defects, et cetera. Thank-you to John Breslin and Iain Harrison for writing this article. I was happy to be interviewed for it. Thanks also to Mike Schoger who captured the article for me; his lovely mum died as a result of taking her prescribed Citalopram.

Newspaper and internet articles

A nation of zombies?

mannequinsThis week the  revelation that we are eating horse and pig with our beef burgers has come as a bit of a shock. Although I have to say, surprisingly, it hasn’t come as a huge shock for many, and a commonly held opinion is ‘Ah well, sure if you’re willing to eat parts of a cow, there’s not too much difference’. Surely that is completely missing the point? We are entitled to know exactly what we are buying. Whether we, as consumers, pay 10 euro or 10 cent for a beef burger, it’s supposed to be beef and if we wanted a filly burger, we’d have asked for one! Apart from the fact that if the company who sells the product cannot vouch for the content (and therefore any contagious diseases), it’s false advertising. Vegetarianism is looking increasingly attractive.

It the same with antidepressants. The name itself is false advertising. If I wanted a product which can double  the rate of suicide and cause worsening depression, not to mention heart-attacks and strokes, surely I’d have bought myself a gun? A game of Russian roulette would at least minimise the suffering. Or maybe I wouldn’t do the job properly and end up physically disabled too. Then even worse, I could be forced by the Irish judicial system to roam this world until my ‘natural’, undignified, and painful death, as shown in a recent Irish case. In my opinion, this brave woman is being discriminated against because she is disabled, by the very system which purports to do ‘justice’.

Maybe, as a consumer, I’d be one of the lucky ones, where that antidepressant would do the job which the name implies, and I’d live happily ever after, discarding the drugs after a few months. Then again, I could be the one who can’t get off the drugs, the one who is addicted and any attempt to stop the drug leaves me with debilitating side effects, unable to function, love, or care either way.

Or maybe I’d be on them for life, thinking they’re doing a great job but everyone else is thinking ‘there’s something not quite right’ with Leonie? It’s quite possible that has been said already, but if so, it’s down to life experiences and genetics, not any prescription drug. You know the type though? That woman or man who speaks a little too loud, unaware or uncaring of people around them? The one that isn’t aware of personal or societal boundaries. That woman you meet at the shop who wants a full-blown conversation with you, despite having never met her before? Or the one that always seems to be on a different planet and just that little bit ‘different’? The one who never did illegal drugs, doesn’t drink but yet has slightly slurred speech and a slightly longer reaction time to others.

Over-prescribing and prescribing dangerous medication for every twinge is rampant globally, not just in Ireland. The only winner is the pharmaceutical industry, not the patients or their families. Be informed, read the leaflet, or in the case of the Irish Medicines Board, go to the FDA website where more information is provided. Don’t be turned into a unwitting drug company zombie. Whether this rings a bell or not, the importance of finding a good doctor should never be underestimated.

If your current doctor hasn’t the time to listen, maybe it’s time to find another one!

Irish Times, Assisted suicide case

The Telegraph, Horsemeat in burgers.

EMA, Suicide/Aggression with ssri’s Link 

Antidepressants and Violence; Prof. David Healy et al, here or download here.

Suicidality, Violence and Mania Caused by SSRIs; Dr Peter R Breggin here.

Drugs associated with violence. Here.

cipramil (celexa) stories,, Newspaper and internet articles, Our story., psychiatry, Shanes story.

My ‘Mad in America’ article…

Mad in AmericaToday my article was published on Robert Whitaker’s ‘Mad in America’ website, here.

This follows the publication of my November article in the Irish Independent, here. I really appreciate the publication of my work/views, particularly as it might just warn somebody, or give an insight into the corrupt pharmaceutical industry. The most telling sentence in the Independent article is the last one “The Irish Medicines Board declined to comment.” It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. The body entrusted with the safety of Irish medicine couldn’t or wouldn’t clarify the situation?

I have previously quoted John Le Carré; speaking of his fictional writings of the pharma industry, he said “…But I can tell you this. As my journey through the pharmaceutical jungle progressed, I came to realise that, by comparison with the reality, my story was as tame as a holiday postcard.” From my experiences since Shane died in 2009, I think even John Le Carré may have underestimated the extent of the corruption within the pharmaceutical industry, which tapers all the way down to your friendly, or not so friendly, GP.

The pharma corruption is then firmly established by psychiatry’s active and frantic denials of any problems with the pills they prescribe. Even our KOPs (Key Opinion Leader’s) in Irish psychiatry will attend inquests in order to argue that the victims death was due to his/her own fault and not the fault of the drug itself. They will trample over the dead bodies and grieving relatives in order that the defense of the drug be heard.

In case I sound like a ‘conspiracy theorist’ here, let me clarify that one. I believe that antidepressants (SSRIs in particular) cause suicide and cause homicide, among other terrible reactions. I believe that that is what happened in the case of Shane, my son. I firmly believe that psychiatry worldwide know full well that these drugs are very dangerous, but are protecting their own monetary interests. People say that these drugs save lives, and maybe that is the case, BUT, that has nothing to do with the fact that they can also kill. My son never offered to be a number in the carcrash of collateral damage left behind.

So, that’s why I appreciate the publication of my work.  If you are reading this, maybe you will be pre-warned of the possible dangers, when you or a loved-one are prescribed these drugs.

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Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Eli Lilly and the Irish Government

Corruption picture courtesy of topnews.inI often wondered how involved the Irish Government is with the cesspit that is the pharmaceutical industry. I have never been able to understand why the Irish Government have failed to protect its citizens from the dangers of dubious drugs; drugs that are not illegal but prescribed to innocent people and licensed by the Irish Medicines Board.

This week it was reported that the Irish Government came under pressure from the larger pharmaceutical firms over the HSE’s decision not to approve new drugs for payment. There was an implied threat that this could ‘have implications for 25,000 jobs and future investment’. So naturally, like good little boys, our Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his sidekick James Reilly backed down.

The Irish Times reported that Minister Reilly and Enda Kenny met with representatives of ‘Abbott Laboratories’ in July. The Times further reported that James Reilly met with Andrew Hotchkiss (European boss of Eli Lilly) in June and that Enda Kenny attended the Eli Lilly board dinner at the Old Kinsale golf club on June 2011. Bit too close for comfort? This year Abbott Laboratories were fined $1.6 billion for off-label marketing of Depakote (an anti-seizure drug). They actively promoted this dangerous drug for dementia sufferers in nursing homes; nice company! Can dementia sufferers answer back?

Ah yes, then there is Eli Lilly; one of the bigger pharma companies, and one with the dubious accolade of being fined over a billion dollars for the illegal off-label marketing of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa. In previously hidden data which Eli Lilly did not want to become public knowledge, Zyprexa had the highest suicide rate in clinical trial history. If that wasn’t bad enough, the drug was known to cause diabetes in some people. Eli Lilly are also the creators of Prozac, you know the one; mother’s little helper.  Prozac has caused numerous deaths (including Maria’s son, Toran Henry) and was found, last Nov, by a Canadian Judge, to be the cause of a teenager (with no history of violence) killing his friend. Lilly’s Cymbalta was the drug that Traci Johnson (a 19 year old student) was on when she died by suicide in an Eli Lilly lab. She had no history of depression and was a ‘healthy’ volunteer.

Eli LillyUnsurprisingly perhaps, Eli Lilly are not fans of Professor David Healy, who was instrumental in getting the ‘hidden’ data released. In the internal e-mail on the left, Lilly execs stated, among other things, that conferences will not receive sponsorship if ‘Healy’ was present. You couldn’t make it up, could you?

Then there is John Virapen who I mentioned in my last post. He worked for Eli Lilly for over 30 years and describes how he bribed a Swedish Government official to ‘help’ with the licencing of Prozac. You can download a free copy of his book here. It makes for very interesting reading.

John Virapen:

“I am not afraid of my former bosses, even though I know that others, who revealed wrongdoings, have all gambled with their lives to do so. The pharmaceutical industry’s lobby is extremely powerful. It constantly lobbies politicians and the judiciary and even blackmails governments by threatening to withdraw investments or to close down sites, thus, creating unemployment in a country. Before you know it, the government backs down and plays the game, just as the industry stipulates.”

Looks like the pharmaceutical industry is calling the shots in Ireland. Collateral damage wasn’t mentioned at the dinner, was it Enda? It will be interesting to see how many of the 2o lobbying pharmaceutical companies these two representatives of the Irish public, met up with. No such thing as a free lunch? Well for the Irish people whose health is on the table, it seems not, but it seems to be a different story for our own ‘Sir Stan and Hardy’.

Does that sound very irreverent? I have zero respect for a Government, who are aware that prescribed drugs are killing people, and are burying their heads in the sand due to kowtowing to the billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. Is it an excuse to say that all Governments do it? I think not. My son was Irish, he was born in Ireland, he loved Ireland and yet he was badly let down by these ‘penpushers’ we call Ministers.

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http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/1211/1224327730089.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/12/us/student-19-in-trial-of-new-antidepressant-commits-suicide.html?ref=cymbaltadrug

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/07/us-abbott-settlement-idUSBRE8460UK20120507

http://www.whale.to/drugs/landmark.html 

http://pharmagossip.blogspot.ie/2012/10/david-healy-rides-again-time.html

lundbeck, Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Dr No: No, doctors don’t Know…

Depressed DoctorToday’s Irish Independent reported on the tragic deaths of two young doctors from Tallaght Hospital. The two junior doctors had died by ‘their own hand’ in the past six months.

The article raises concerns about the ‘high-pressure and stressful work environments in the country’s hospitals’. The article states that ‘doctor support services’ have warned that the deaths are not isolated incidents and urged medics to seek help rather than self-treat when they are sick. Dr Ide Delargy, said: “Doctors don’t tend to come forward for treatment at the moment. They tend to self-treat and self-medicate…”

Is anyone, apart from me, seeing a totally different perspective here? Doctors are bombarded from a early stage in their training with pharmaceutical company funding and drug company spiel. Medical students and young doctors are more likely to believe what the ‘friendly’ drug company sales rep is saying; the sales rep’s objective is to convince the medical professionals that their drugs are ‘safe and effective’. As we all know, that’s not always true; perhaps more often than not, untrue and a downright lie.

As we now know, most of the large pharmaceutical companies have been slapped with hefty fines for wrongdoing and fraudulent marketing, some amounting to billions; take a bow GSK, Pfizer, Abbott, Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly. John Virapen, who worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 35 years, mostly for Eli Lilly, but with various others including Lundbeck, has said the sales reps are taught to persuade, bribe and use whatever it takes to get these (often dangerous) drugs prescribed. He readily admitted to bribing the Swedish government in order to get Eli Lilly’s Prozac past the licencing process. He also said, in the case of SSRIs, that reps were aware that these drugs were causing people to kill themselves and others but they were told to keep quiet.

My point is that these young doctors are victims of pharmaceutical industry propaganda. They believe that these so called ANTIdepressants will do exactly what it says on the tin. Yes, I’m aware that these drugs work for some people, and whether or not that’s because of the placebo effect hardly matters; If they work for you, that’s great. In many, many cases though, the word ‘ANTIdepressant’ is false advertising at its very worst, as these drugs at least double the risk of suicide upon starting, discontinuing and change of dosage (up or down). In the US, after accidents, suicide is the most common cause of death among medical students. It seems that there are problems here in Ireland too with self medicating. Unless the media (against the recommended guidelines it has to be said) actively report on the circumstances surrounding a person who has died by their own hand, we might never know if the drugs played a part. From what I have observed in over 3 years of researching, my opinion is that the majority of people who die by suicide have been on one antidepressant or another at the time leading up to their deaths. False advertising? For these people, ‘depressant’ would have been a better word.

Ex Pharmaceutical Rep John Virapen: “I became the General Manager of Eli Lilly & Company in Sweden and later worked for global players such as Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck from Denmark. As far as the product range goes: sometimes it was wonder pills against arthritis, or the human insulin scandal, or rejuvenating cures (growth hormones), and finally the new psychotropic family of Selective Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are wrongly called mood lifters. These drugs are anything but that. They drive people to suicide or to kill others.” (Preface Page ix) Free download of John Virapen’s brilliant book Side Effects Death’.

BMJ, British Medical Journal: Doctors’ self prescribing.

Dr Janet Wreglesworth was prescribed Cipramil/Celexa in Nov 07. She was dead by Feb 08.

Dr Mark Gradwell diagnosed himself with “full blown clinical depression” and was prescribed anti-depressants.

Console.ie/2012 “In the year prior to death, 81% (of suicide victims) had been in contact with their GP or a mental health service. Among those who had been in contact with the GP, the majority (67.4) had done so 4 times or more during the year prior to death.” Link

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Newspaper and internet articles, Our story.

IMB; Ireland’s Grunewald?

Checkpoint Charlie

Forgive my ramblings here; it may be attributed to another of my ‘bereaved mother’ episodes.

In his latest post, Professor David Healy stated that in the two months since RxISK was set up, it has had more patients report effects than the ‘Pharma funded’ Irish Medicine’s Board (IMB) has had in the last three years. Now a cynic such as I would believe that the huge discrepancy here, is precisely because the IMB is funded by the Pharmaceutical industry. There is no incentive to encourage adverse reaction reporting; why bite the hand that feeds you?

The IMB are letting people down; I know the IMB let my son down. Where is the information that SSRI drugs can cause worsening depression, suicide, aggression, mania and birth defects? How many deaths could have been saved if this information was made public, to the public, by the IMB?

It has been a strange few weeks for us. We went to Berlin last week as I thought it would be a good idea to introduce my children to Germany and it’s tragic history. Despite it’s history, maybe because of it’s history, it really is an amazing City and they had a great time. The Germans we met were lovely, helpful and loved chatting to the smaller ones. One of the most profound and weird experiences was our trip to Grunewald station. Tony and I went with Lucy, 5, as the lads wanted to go elsewhere; the ‘Trabant’ museum.

More than 50,000 Jewish Berliners were transported from Grunewald station, platform 17, to various concentration camps including Auschwitz, mostly to their deaths. To say Grunewald station is an awful, awful place is a terrible understatement for the 50,000 innocent victims. The three of us stood on platform 17, alone, with not another person in sight and thought about the victims and Shane, always thinking of Shane. He is on my mind and in my heart from the minute I wake until my dreams. Our lives have changed irrevocably since he died and we are not the same people that we were before 2009.

Anyway, back to Grunewald; we wondered how this was allowed to happen, not hundreds of years ago, but a short 70 years ago? Lucy of course was too young to understand the enormity of Grunewald but as sometimes happens with the sixth sense of small children, she refused point blank to stand near the track and just wanted to go home.

Tony took this picture when we weren’t looking; I find it really hard to look at. What of all the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who stood on the same track, in the same spot, who were subsequently mass murdered by the Nazis?

I would liken the IMB to an Irish Grunewald, where it has actively allowed innocent and unsuspecting people to be transported to their deaths, not via a train, instead via pills. RxISK having had more adverse reaction reports in 2 months than the IMB has had in 3 years, is an absolute disgrace! The IMB; Protecting the Irish people or protecting the drug industry?

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https://leoniefennell.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/conflict-of-interest-in-irelands-drug-regulator-the-imb/

cipramil (celexa) stories,, lundbeck, Newspaper and internet articles, Our story., psychiatry, Random, Shanes story.

Are they mad or what?

I have written an article which appears in the ‘health and living’ section of the Irish Independent today; here.

The writing is all mine this time, so for anyone who doesn’t agree; it’s all my work and I stand by everything I said. There was a paragraph missing to do with antidepressants and miscarriages; I feel this is very important so I’ve left it in here. All stats were verified by Prof David Healy.

Are they mad or what? 
The Irish Independent have asked me to write this article; are they mad or what? ‘Mad’ is a word I am well used to hearing. Having lost my son in the ‘most’ tragic circumstances in 2009, I’m left as most mothers with a dead child are left: in cloud cuckoo land, extremely sad and just a little bit mad. In my case I’d say ‘more than a little mad’ but I don’t want to tar every bereaved mother with my madness brush. What is it with Irish people and their reluctance to talk about death and dead people? I have never heard so many people talk about the ‘dreadful’ weather; whatever you do, don’t mention that big fat elephant in the room. Most of the time I couldn’t tell you what day of the week it is, never mind what the ‘dreadful’ weather is like, but please feel free to talk about that big fat grey thing with the huge trunk; my son. He’s dead, not erased from existence, but don’t upset the ‘mad’ bereaved woman whatever you do! Say the wrong thing, by all means, but don’t pretend he didn’t exist and talk about the ‘dreadful’ weather! I can’t tell you how close some people have come to manual strangulation, simply by saying ‘it’s a lovely day’ or more likely ‘the weather’s terrible, isn’t it?’
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Before I get shot down for using the ‘m’ word, I’d like to say that the so-called ‘mad’ people that I’ve met in the last three years are no madder than most of you, and definitely not I. Some of these people have been told that they have a ‘chemical imbalance’ of the brain; so in order to keep their brain functioning as it’s supposed to, they will need to stay on medication for the rest of their lives. These mad dysfunctional lot could teach the so-called ‘normal’ society a thing or two; mainly about kindness, compassion and a willingness to help others. They are also the ones who are shouting from the rooftops that the chemical imbalance theory is just that; a theory. For decades we were led to believe that depression was caused by low serotonin levels in the brain. There is no way, never has been, to measure serotonin in a person’s brain, and absolutely no evidence that low serotonin levels ever caused depression.
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By way of background; my son killed himself and another young man in 2009. He was prescribed an approved SSRI antidepressant 17 days beforehand. I absolutely believe that these ‘mind altering drugs’ are killing people at an alarming rate. Professor David Healy (a world leading expert on these drugs) has said that the pharmaceutical companies, in a court of law, have no choice but to admit that these drugs can cause suicide. According to Professor Healy, “there are 20 more Irish suicides per year than there would have been and 20 extra Irish cases of violence per year that can be linked back to antidepressants.” So given that the SSRI antidepressants have been on the market for 20 years; that’s 800 extra cases of suicide and violence caused by antidepressants in this country alone.
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The first major Case involving antidepressant induced suicide/homicide was in the US and involved a 60 year old man, Donald Schell. This man was put on Seroxat by his doctor, not for any mental illness, but for anxiety; yet 2 days later he shot and killed his wife, his daughter, his 9 month old granddaughter and then himself. The jury found that the drug had caused him to become suicidal and homicidal and found the pharmaceutical company liable, in that Case GlaxoSmithKline. There have been similar Cases since, the most recent in a Canadian trial where the Judge found that an antidepressant caused a 16 year old to kill his friend. The Judge (Justice Heinrichs) concluded that the teenager was no longer a danger and that at the time of the killing “his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac.”Shane was sad, I know that; was that depression, no! Can these prescription drugs help with a broken heart or some other awful life experience? Can they un-break a heart or un-dead a loved one? No, but they can cause these terrible tragedies.
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From the time Shane was prescribed these drugs, he became very restless, which was very unlike him. He seemed to find it hard to stay in the one place for any length of time. What I didn’t understand until later was that this condition is called ‘akathisia’ and is known to be the precursor to suicide and/or homicide. Akathisia is an adverse effect which can be caused by these drugs and is described as ‘inner restlessness’. People suffering from this condition have described it as ‘a living hell’ and also that they would do anything to stop this feeling, including death as a welcome release. My son went from being well respected and loved by his lecturers, friends and family, to a person capable of destroying his own life and that of another human being in 17 days. Whether people believe me or not, matters little to me, as I cannot win either way. I can tell you this though: I knew my son inside out, and if it could happen to Shane, it could happen to you.
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The level of ‘antidepressant’ prescribing has never been so high and yet the suicide rate is rocketing. Join the dots here if you dare and please don’t argue the recession point; I’ve heard it already. We’ve come through the famine, oppressive English rule, Centuries of emigration and barefoot children; for goodness sake, get a grip! The suicide rate has never been so high and the barefoot children are long gone; presumably dead from old age and natural causes, not by their own hand. Each year there is (at least) one antidepressant prescription per year for every man, woman and child in Ireland. If these drugs actually cure people; how come we once had less than 1 per 1000 of us depressed, and now it’s more than 1 in 10? In the year 2010 the cost of medicines in the health service was €1.9 billion. Have we all gone mad? Why do we need €1.9 billion worth of medication every year; were we all born with inherent defects that only the (billion dollar) pharmaceutical industry can fix? Wake up and smell the pharma coffee when you take that statin this morning! Is that antidepressant you just consumed keeping you happy or can you remember either way? Without doubt the most medicated Country in the world is the US; would it surprise you to know that the life expectancy in the US has fallen below that of Cuba?

In the latest revelation within the mental health arena (Oct 2012), the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a paper which showed that the risk of suicide (in the first year of treatment) for schizophrenia is extraordinarily high. For schizophrenia generally, you are 10 times more likely to be dead at the end of the first year of treatment than you were 100 years ago. Did you read that? 10 TIMES MORE THAN 100 YEARS AGO! Professor Healy (one of the authors) said “the actual risks of suicide (in the first year of treatment) were 100 times greater than those of the general population.”
Also this week, to much fanfare it has to be said, Minister Reilly said a “very good deal” was made with the Pharmaceutical Industry, to cut the State’s drugs bill by up to €400 million. This he said would benefit patients and the taxpayer. Right; excuse the cynicism here but that’s €400 million over 3 years, which is equivalent to a saving of €133 million a year. What’s €1.9 billion divided by €133 million? The Pharmaceutical industry may find this as amusing as I do; laughing all the way to the bank.

It amazes me that drugs with adverse effects such as suicide, depression, aggression and birth defects can be licenced by the Irish Medicines Board and yet the ‘free will’ of the pubic to medicate themselves is taken away by the banning of herbal remedies. I doubt if my son would be dead as a result of consuming a large dose of ‘Echinacea’. While I realise that all prescribed medications come with side-effects, we in Ireland are not afforded the same level of warning that other countries are. For example, all antidepressants come with a black-box warning in the US which signify that these drugs can have serious or even life-threatening adverse effects.
Of course herbal medicines are not without controversy either; St John’s wort, which has similar properties to an antidepressant, was widely known in the farming community to cause miscarriage and birth defects in cattle. Farmers took steps to prevent this drug from coming into contact with their animals; yet pregnant women are afforded no such warning. 1 in 10 pregnant Irish women are on antidepressants, leading to about 40 extra babies with significant birth defects and 200 extra miscarriages each year. So in the last 20 years, antidepressants have caused birth defects in 800 Irish babies and 4000 miscarriages.

I’m not entirely stupid; I know that some drugs can save lives and there will be people who say “the drugs have saved my life”. Who will speak for the dead people though, do they have a voice? €1.9 billion worth of drugs? Surely I’m not the only one who thinks that this is the biggest wheeze of the 21th Century. The number of people requiring medication is increasing every year. Will we eventually face a world where the majority of the human race will be ‘a bit mad ted’ and will therefore be the new class of norm? It could be seen as ‘the’ miracle of the 21th Century, where the meds are cast aside as the now normal ‘mad’ people don’t need them anymore; let’s all embrace the madness. It would surely be interesting to see what subsequently happens to the pharmaceutical industry; spontaneous combustion? Or just a frantic scrambling to find a way to convince people that medicating the ‘normal’ is actually now in Vogue? The old tale of ‘be careful what you wish for’ springs to mind. Dreadful weather, isn’t it?

The Irish Medicines Board declined to comment.
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Link to article. (Courtesy of Mike)