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Journal Raises Fresh Concerns Over Antidepressants
  1. #1
    rusty is offline Junior Member
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    Default Journal Raises Fresh Concerns Over Antidepressants

    Journal Raises Fresh Concerns Over Antidepressants
    Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:36 PM ET

    LONDON (Reuters) - People taking popular Prozac-type antidepressants may be twice as likely to attempt suicide than those on placebo and the risks are particularly high early in treatment, according to research released on Friday.
    The British Medical Journal, which published results from three studies on selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), said the findings underlined the need for caution in using the medicines.

    "How many people who turned to 'happy pills' would not have done so if they had been fully aware of the potential harm?" acting editor Kamran Abbasi wrote in an editorial.

    One study, pooling results from 702 trials involving 87,000 patients, found a doubling of suicide attempts, although there was no increase in actual suicides.

    A second analysis of 477 trials submitted by drug companies to regulators found weak evidence of an increased risk of self-harm but not of suicide, while a third study highlighted a raised risk among under-18s.

    Concerns about the safety of SSRIs are not new and drugs including GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Seroxat - the most widely prescribed among the drug class in Britain - were banned from use in children in 2003.

    The UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said the latest studies in the BMJ had been taken into account when the regulator issued new guidelines on the use of SSRIs last December.

    Those called for doctors to use antidepressants sparingly and, in most cases, to only prescribe the lowest recommended dose.

    Drug companies argue that millions of people have been prescribed SSRIs without suffering major adverse events and that suicidal thoughts are more likely to be the result of their depression rather than the treatment.

  2. #2
    Casey55 is offline Member
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    rusty,

    The only drug study you mentioned that I know action has been taken on in the US is possibily developing suicidal ideation or suicide attempts in children.

    I don't know 87,000 people on SSRI's but I do know well over 1,000 almost all adults, and the only one I know who developed suicidal ideation was a child. At least over 50 of those adult people I am friends with and I don't know a single one who became suicidal on an SSRI. According to that study, at least 1/2 of them should have. And all these people have been on their SSRI's for many years. I have been on one for 9 yrs, it saved my life. I don't buy it.

    I also know Dr. Michael Jenike, top psychopharmacologist in the field of SSRI's in the world. If anyone would know, he would and he has reported no such findings.

    No matter what antidepressant one takes, it should be prescribed by a psychiatrist who can monitor the patient on a monthly basis, more if needed, just for this reason.

    NOTE: People on an antidepressant are obviously depressed. When they go on an antidepressant, whether and SSRI or something else, there is no guarantee it is going to work. So people can be walking around on an antidepressant, depressed, on a medicine that isn't touching ther depression. They may need a dosage increase which the psychiatrist would probably do if they knew there was no improvement in the level of depression or they would try them on another one.

    I took all 6 of the SSRI's, one at a time, and not one of them touched my Major Depression, but it did work for my OCD. So just calculate the number of people on SSRI's that don't work for them and they end up going through with their suicidal ideations, all those people would be in that study. I think this fact always gets over looked.

    Also, severely depressed people can become suicidal. These meds save peoples lives everyday. There are just way too many people on SSRI's in the US that if this were true, we certainly would have know about it by now.

    Absolutely, use with caution in children, be aware of the warning signs and be monitored closely by a psychiatrist. But to just stop givening them to children altogether is ridiculous. There are far too many children taking these meds for depression and OCD with success. Yes, I have read the articles about children who committed suicide on an SSRI, and it can happen, but it is not common by any stretch of the imagination. You always here of the unusual cases because the media sensationalizes them. Then that starts a panic and a scare.

    There are tons of all different kinds of medications that can cause strokes, heart attacks and even death, but they are working fine for most people and we don't pull them off the market. Liver damage is a common side effect of many meds. and in that case, that should be monitored as any potential problems should be as the patient continues taking it.

    Karen

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    Myki is offline Junior Member
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    My personal opinion is that the ones that become suicidal in early treatment just go show their dosage was still too low. I also think these are individuals that would have much sooner without them. Its a good excuse lawyers grab onto for their clients behavior but unfortunately gives meds a bad rap

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    Casey55 is offline Member
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    Myki,

    I agree with you on both points.

    Casey

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    Transaction7 is offline New Member
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    The drug companies, and your posters, are right on this one. If someone has just started antiderpessant medication, the odds are that they were already actively suicidal or heading in that direction before and independently of any side effect of an SSRI or most other medications any professional worth his salt or in his own right mind would give such a patient, whether child or adult.

    Assuming, arguendo only, because I don't know, that these can have a particular risk of causing suicidal depression in children and young people [not sure from this article or any of the other things I have seen on this of the ages of the young patients classifed generally as "children"], I respectfully submit, from my own and others' personal experiences as suicidally depressed children and having made very real suicide attempts from age five or six into adulthood before I got help and got this under control, and knowing several others with similar backgrounds and experience, as well as several good and some awful mental health professionals, that, even if this marginal increase in risk is real, it must be weighed against the very, very real risk of leaving these suicidal children and young people without such antidepressant medication and treatment.

    Like everyone else with depression, or every other psych patient, we know, I have been on a lot of different medications, some of which are no longer used or even listed. Some worked very briefly, a lot did nothing perceptible at all, and some, including some those prescribing for me should have read the FDA and manufacturers' warnings and knew or should have known would be very harmful, made me even more deeply depressed and sick as a pup. My first psychiatrist, who was good, told me up front that he was going to make some mistakes in my complex case. One, Trazadone, handled the problem pretty well for years but no longer does. I have been doing well on Celexa for several years but we are now trying the newer Lexapro from the same maker to see if it works better. Intriguingly, my wife and I discuvered that, while not sufficient alone, picante sauce often helped both of us, and that, if we really needed it, we could eat massive quantities of it, or the ingredients, hot peppers, celantro, etc., before it began to taste too hot, while, if we were in better shape, we would reach that point on a much smaller quantity like "normal" people. One very knowledgeable lay dealer in it on a botique level told us of having read that it appeared to stimulate sertonin production or reuptake inhibition, much like the SSRI drugs; when I called Pace Picante Sauce in San Antonio and asked to speak to their chief biochemist or other expert on such things, they told me they didn't have one.

    I don't trust the largely unregulated so-called "health food" organic supplements pushed as antidepressants. One psychaatrist who had studied it, and some research I did, indicated that St. John's Wort had many of the same risks and side effects as the tested commercial stuff.

    Anyone, perhaps perticularly a child or adolescent, sufficiently depressed for their treating physician or psychiatrist to consider prescribing, or prescribe, antidepressants, of the SSRI or other types, should be watched, by parents, school personnel, medical and psychiatric personnel, and hopefully friends and neighbors, like a hawk in case they nose-dive into suicidal depression. We think that a lot of attempts, and some suicides, by children, could be prevented by the use of antidepressants together with therapy. My personal sample as an attorney with an active juvenile and mental health law practice as well as active group therapy, representation of some mental health professionals, etc., has included dealing with suicide attempts and knowing of one suicide at 8 or 9, and thereafter, mostly before, but sometimes during, or after, treatment. How would one go about figuring and factoring the suicide attempts and completed suicides [I know of one suicide at 8, etc.] that were or might have been prevented by proper drug treatment, including SSRIs, together with therapy, which certainly must be weighed against any suicides or attempts at such ages arguably caused or contributed to by prescription SSRI treatment.

    I got considerable relief, for some time, early after I had forst sought and obtained treatment, from one antidepressant they no longer use because it can be converted into an amphetamine and abused, which I knew was also being used then to treat hyperactive children, one of whom I knew well, so, when anothe doctor later thought I had narcolepsy and recommended Ritalin, another mediction sued for hyperactive kids, I did't question it, until it very quickly quit working. Knowing that several of the ADD - ADHD medications reverse action and results in adolescence does raise a whole set of questions for me, which I have not seen fully explored though it may have been, about possible differences in actions and results of SSRI and other medications at different ages, a question related to whether or not some of these should or should not be rpescribed for children.

    The legal standards for proving any such causation, under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, etc., are extremely stringent, and I am not familiar with any case law in which a jury verdict that SSRI prescription caused the suicide, or serious injury while attempting suicide, in a child, has been found by a jury and upheld on appeal, in some research at Dauberttracker.com etc., dealing with such issues of sufficient legal proof of proximate or producing causation in another psychiatric context. If I were somehow not challenged and allowed to serve on such a jury, or considering taking any such case as counsel, I would have to see a whole lot more evidence to convince me that the risk of SSRI treatment of a dangerously suicidal child or teenager constituted negligence. I do hope more scientific work is done on this question, and on youth depression and suicide generally.

    Transaction7

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