Zantac Lawsuit


Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award Recipient (Twice)
Humanist, humorist

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Discussion: Medicating Normal - Flowers of Scotland



W
henever I see the words 'Perth' and 'Angus' mentioned in the same sentence I'm reminded of my favourite rock band. Perth (Australia) being the final resting place of former AC/DC vocalist, Bon Scott, and Angus being the guitar rock God that he is. AC/DC's roots are, in the main, from Scotland. Bon, Angus, and his brother, Malcolm, being born there.

Anyway, I digress.

PLUS Perth, Angus Voices and the Dundee Healthy Minds Network have recently been involved in a discussion after each watching the critically acclaimed documentary/film, Medicating Normal (See review here)

The discussion panel consisted of representatives from the above mentioned, namely; Beverley Thomson, writer, speaker and researcher; Dr. Dan Fisher, psychiatrist and person with lived experience of recovery from schizophrenia; Dr. Dainius Pūras, Professor of Child Psychiatry and Public Mental Health at Vilnius University; Susan Scott, development manager at Plus Perth, Mick Rattray, musician, and Angela Peacock, who appears in Medicating Normal. The discussion was moderated by Nicole Lamberson.

It's not easy listening to how lives have been shattered but one does come accustomed to it. Being a blogger and researcher for over 16 years, I've heard/read many first hand accounts, many similar to my own experiences on, and withdrawing from, GSK's 'miracle pill', Seroxat (Paxil)

Groups such as those featured in the video (below) have so many commonalities. They were brought together because they encountered similar experiences. They, after years of being told they had something wrong with them, all reached a point of Eureka after researching the prescribed drugs they were given, some by choice, some by accident. They are part of a club that has grown considerably over the years as more and more laypeople question the efficacy and safety of psychiatric drugs (brain pellets).

It's a tragedy, that despite there being thousands upon thousands of similar stories, people who have never experienced brain pellet harm, be it personally or witnessing a loved one going through withdrawal hell, seem apathetic to the problem. Medicating Normal isn't a movie being directed toward those who sing from the same hymn book, it's directed at those who choose, for whatever reason, to shrug their shoulders and continue about their daily routines of posting photos of their dinner on Facebook and Twitter.

So, how can we tap into the psyche of the apathy crowd? - Making movies about personal experiences is one way, writing blogs is another, forming groups that put these horrendous accounts into the public domain and also discussions. Talk, talk, talk! Write, write, write! Eventually the apathy crowd, which includes prescribers, coroners and pharmacists, will have to sit up and pay attention.

There has been quite a campaign in recent years to stifle the voices of those harmed by brain pellets. Those who prescribe after assessing patients refuse to see the damage they are doing - prescribed harm is often dismissed as anecdotal or conspiracy - the latest trend, on Twitter at least, is that those who speak out about their experiences on brain pellets are part of an antipsychiatry cult.

It's quite laughable but a normal human reaction, I guess. I mean, who wants to go to bed at night knowing they may have caused suffering to another human being? A defence mechanism kicks in and those that do wrong convince themselves that they are doing right. With no logical explanation, they create a façade in the hope that others in their profession will promote. It buries the problem and clears the conscience of the problematic pill-pushers.

The discussion below hits home in so many ways for me. Patient has depression - Patient is given brain pellet - Patient still depressed - Patient given another brain pellet brand. Patient develops side effects - Patient told it's another disorder - Patient given another brand of brain pellet - and so the cycle continues.

Polydrugging is papering over the mistakes made by the prescriber, nothing more, nothing less.

The quote, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results", is often attributed to Einstein.

When we hear or read about experiences of those harmed by drugs on top of drugs, it's quite easy to see who the insane ones are. It certainly isn't the flowers of Scotland featured in this video.

I salute you all.

Here's the discussion: 


Bob Fiddaman




Monday, September 21, 2020

The Cinderella Mock Exam

 

Just when you thought you'd seen all the madness for the year 2020 comes a shocking document that was released on Twitter last week that defies belief!

The upload came from Marie Bismark, a Psychiatry registrar and Principal Research Fellow - Public Health Law at the Melbourne School Of Population And Global Health.

Bismark told almost 6,000 of her followers she was questioning her entire profession after she stumbled upon a mock exam guidance question (below)

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

The document received backlash from many on Twitter. Both medical professionals and patients alike found it stigmatizing. Remember, this is an example of the kind of question a trainee psychiatrist would expect when sitting an exam.

The tweet has been liked and shared many times, some have even chipped in with their own diagnosis for poor old Cinders, although in the main this is Twitter psychiatrists and psychologists.

One offered the following advice: "Adjustment Disorder with resulting depression and anxiety. Main defence fantasy.  Requires psychosis support and ego strengthening."

I had to pinch myself.

Former Royal College of Psychiatrists president, Wendy Burn even chimed in with:



Dr Kate Lovett, Dean of Royal College of Psychiatrists, however, did not see it as a 'misguided idea of a joke' when she tweeted directly to Bismark: "Hi Marie. Was extremely disturbed to see this. I know you are based in Australia but I am sure colleagues @RANZCP would be very concerned too. Would you DM me the context so we can make sure this is dealt with. There is no place for such stigmatising & harmful attitudes anywhere."

The document, as far as I can see, has caused a lot of red faces in the field of psychiatry. If this is how they guide trainees then it would appear that any future patient will be almost immediately stigmatized as soon as they visit a psychiatrist, some would argue that this goes on today. The Cinderella question isn't really that bad, I guess they had to pick a fictional character. It's the options for answers that I find troublesome and, it appears, Bismark did too.

I really like the following tweet of hers describing the morals of the story of Cinderella. Sadly, psychiatrist, David Foreman, who is well known to this blog, couldn't help but post something negative as a reply to Bismark's heartfelt message.


Schadenfreude, if you didn't know, is pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.

The general consensus is Cinderella teaches the morals of kindness towards all, forgiving others for doing wrong, and never letting bad things ruin your heart. The themes of the story are good versus evil and luck changing your life.

Quite why Foreman chose to piss in Bismark's Cornflakes is anyone's guess but it does highlight his negative thinking and rationale.

Many patient safety advocates were astounded by the mock exam question and decided to throw out their own questions and possible answers. Here's just a small collection of them.



I, myself, somewhat flippantly, came up with...



Marie Bismark's original tweet can be found here.

Bob Fiddaman

Hat-tip to Ann Marcos for bringing this to my attention


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Californian Law Firm Lead the Way in Gardasil Litigation

 

In 2009 an FDA advisory committee voted to recommend approval of the vaccine Gardasil for males ages 9 to 26 to prevent genital warts.

So, it must be safe then because the FDA granted it a licence, right?

Well, there's been much debate regarding the safety of HPV vaccines over the years. Those that have questioned the safety have often been labelled 'anti-vaxxers'. This is standard protocol for drug companies who often fund pro-vaccine movements who viciously target vaccine safety advocates.

Not many people know that Gardasil has been approved for boys, most think the vaccine was for girls. 

On recommending its approval in 2009, the FDA said, "No serious side effects were seen."

Gardasil allegedly protects boys against the HPV infections that can cause cancers of the anus, penis, and mouth/throat, at least that's the way it was driven to market in various television ads.

One such person who saw these marketing ads was Jennifer Otto whose son, Zach, was just 16 at the time.

She relied on the information in the ads and various online print. She was convinced by the vaccine-maker, Merck, that all was above board.

Zach received his first shot of Gardasil in 2012 and his second some two years later in 2014, shortly after which he started experiencing body pains, headaches, cold-like symptoms, unexplained rashes, joint pains, ear pain, and enhanced lymph nodes in his neck.

In 2015, he received his third Gardasil shot and things went rapidly downhill. Here's a snapshot of the conditions Zach, now a wheelchair bound 24-year-old, is having to deal with:

Fiber Neuropathy (SNF), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), mast cell activation syndrome, autoimmune disease, and fibromyalgia

Dysautonomia - a condition in which the autonomic nervous system (ANS) does not work properly. This may affect the functioning of the heart, bladder, intestines, sweat glands, pupils, and blood vessels.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome - a blood circulation disorder

Orthostatic Intolerance - a disorder of the autonomic nervous system occurring when an individual stands up

Small Fiber Neuropathy - a type of peripheral neuropathy that affects the small nerve fibers in the skin.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome -  a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for at least six months and that can't be fully explained by an underlying medical condition

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome - a condition in which the patient experiences repeated episodes of the symptoms of anaphylaxis – allergic symptoms such as hives, swelling, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing and severe diarrhea

Autoimmune Disease - a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body

Fibromyalgia - a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues

Zach is now represented by Attorneys from the national law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman who, on his behalf, have filed a lawsuit against Gardasil manufacturers, Merck, claiming, amongst other things that:

 - Merck allegedly presented misleading data to the FDA suggesting that human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and some abnormal cervical tissue—cervical interepithelial neoplasia (CIN) lesions inexorably result in cancer

- Merck failed to disclose to regulators and consumers that Gardasil contained host of hazardous ingredients

- In the Gardasil clinical trials, Merck did not use a true placebo, the complaint alleges. Instead, the company “spiked” the placebo with AAHS and the vaccine’s other additives, which resulted in approximately equal numbers of subjects in the vaccine group and the placebo group suffering adverse reactions.

This should be concerning to us all given the current climate and the rush to find a vaccine for Covid-19. If a drug company can hide host of hazardous ingredients from those who approve vaccines then this seriously puts the general public in danger.

Moreover, vaccine-makers have been given indemnity regarding any Covid-19 vaccines that come to market.

Fortunately, for Zach Otto at least, Merck were not afforded that indemnity when they launched Gardasil on an unsuspecting public.

You can read more about Zach's plight on the Baum Hedlund website here.

Bob Fiddaman





Saturday, September 05, 2020

Informed Consent ~ The Maths Don't Add Up

 



Earlier this week I posed the following question on Twitter:

Do time constraints persuade psychiatrists and GPs to prescribe brain pellets?

The question wasn't really posed for those that follow my Twitter account, it was, in the main, directed at the large number of brain pellet prescribers, one of which answered my question with:

"No, just necessity, when necessary."

This got me thinking.

70.3 million prescriptions for brain pellets were dispensed in 2019 (UK). If most of these were repeat prescriptions that's still a substantial amount, especially when the average appointment time with a GP is 9.2 mins.

How do we know the 9.2 minute statistic?

Well, in 2019, the Royal College of GPs announced that "the average length of GP consultations in the UK is 9.2 minutes, one of the lowest amongst economically advanced nations."

Further, they called for GP appointments to last "at least 15 minutes", at the same time condoning the current system as “unfit for purpose”.

Depression Assessment Instruments

*The following is from the American Psychological Association

Many of the instruments described below were used in the studies that served as the evidence base of the systematic reviews that under-gird the guideline recommendations. These instruments include both interview and self-report measures and may be used to screen, diagnose and/or track treatment outcomes. Each instrument has been demonstrated to be valid and reliable, and most are available at no cost.

In viewing the American Psychological Association I wanted to determine how long each assessment takes.

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) 
The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is widely used to screen for depression and to measure behavioral manifestations and severity of depression. The BDI can be used for ages 13 to 80. The inventory contains 21 self-report items which individuals complete using multiple choice response formats. The BDI takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)
The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) was designed for use in the general population and is now used as a screener for depression in primary care settings. The CES-D can be used for children as young as 6 and through older adulthood. It has been tested across gender and cultural populations and maintains consistent validity and reliability. The scale takes about 20 minutes to administer, including scoring.

EQ-5D
EQ-5D is a standardized, non-disease specific instrument for describing and evaluating health-related quality of life. The instrument measures quality of life in five dimensions: mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression. Respondents can complete the questionnaire in under 5 minutes.

Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D)
The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) measures depression in individuals before, during and after treatment. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete and score.

One test not mentioned on the American Psychological Association webpage is the PHQ-9 test.

Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)
The PHQ-9 test is a 9-question instrument given to patients in a primary care setting to screen for the presence and severity of depression. It is the 9-question depression scale from the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). The results of the PHQ-9 may be used to make a depression diagnosis according to DSM-IV criteria and takes less than 3 minutes to complete. It's important to note that the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) was underwritten by an educational grant from brain pellet manufacturers, Pfizer US.

Given the average GP appointment is just 9.2 minutes, only two of these assessments (EQ-5D and PHQ-9) could be being used by GPs across the UK. If others were being used then the average appointment time with a UK GP would be much higher than 9.2 minutes.

Informed Consent
Informed Consent is defined as: permission granted in the knowledge of the possible consequences, typically that which is given by a patient to a doctor for treatment with full knowledge of the possible risks and benefits.

I'm going to be using Prozac as an example here. Let's just say a patient takes either the EQ-5D or PHQ-9 assessment.

For the EQ-5D a GP will have approximately 4.2 minutes to relay his/her full knowledge of the possible risks to the patient. With the PHQ-9 the GP will have approximately 6.2 minutes to relay his/her full knowledge of the possible risks to the patient.

Both these figures decrease when we take into account the scenario.

Patient walks into GPs office and is asked, 'How can I help you?' - The patient then explains to the GP how they are feeling and possible reasons, work-related problems, marital problems etc. These then prompt the GP to mentally use either the EQ-5D or PHQ-9 assessment. 

Let's just see the possible risks associated with Prozac use. Remember, a GP, when giving informed consent, must give full knowledge of the possible risks to the patient.

Here is a list of risks associated with Prozac use. One has to bear in mind here that not everyone of these risks are self-explanatory and a GP would need to, if asked, explain what some of them mean. This would further eat into the average of 9.2 minutes.

**Reported Prozac Risks taken from the MHRA website:

Risks

Blood disorders
Cardiac disorders
Congenital disorders
Ear disorders
Endocrine disorders
Eye disorders
Gastrointestinal disorders
Asthenic conditions
Death and sudden death
Febrile disorders
Feeling abnormal
Feeling jittery
Fibrosis
Gait disturbance
Peripheral swelling
Face oedema
Chest pain
Drug withdrawal syndrome
Hepatic disorders
Immune system disorders
Infections
Exposure during breast feeding
Foetal exposure during pregnancy
Fractures and dislocations
Electrocardiogram QT prolonged
Heart rate increased
Abnormal liver function
Blood sodium decreased
Weight decrease
Weight increase
Blood prolactin increase
Platelet count decrease
Haemoglobin decrease
Blood creatine phosphokinase increase
Blood pressure increase
Blood pressure decrease
Metabolic disorders
Muscle & tissue disorders
Neoplasms
Nervous system disorders
Seizures and seizure disorders
Tremors
Foetal growth complications
Ectopic pregnancy
Foetal death
Abnormal behaviour
Agitation
Anxiety
Nervousness
Aggression
Disinhibition
Homicidal ideation
Hostility
Paranoia
Personality change
Violence-related symptoms
Confusion and disorientation
Delusion
Depression
Depersonalisation/derealisation disorders
Insomnia
Eating disorders
Emotional and mood disturbances
Fluctuating mood symptoms
Impulsive behaviour
Restlessness
Mental disorders
Tearfulness
Apathy
Orgasmic disorders and disturbances
Panic attacks
Nightmares and abnormal dreams
Hallucinations
Personality disorders
Acute psychosis
Psychotic behaviour
Psychotic disorders
Schizophrenia
Libido decrease
Libido increase
Loss of libido
Sleep disorders
Dysphemia
Bruxism
Alcohol abuse
Akathisia
Completed suicide
Intentional self-injury
Suicidal ideation
Thinking abnormal
Tics
Renal & urinary disorders
Reproductive & breast disorders
Respiratory disorders
Skin disorders
Homicide completion
Vascular disorders

As you see there are some rather vaguely named risks that would need further explanation from a GP to their patient.

Two questions:

1. Of the 70.3 million brain pellet prescriptions (2019), how many were handed over with the patient being given full knowledge of the possible risks?

2. Can a mental health 'disorder' be diagnosed and full knowledge of the possible risks of treatment be given in 9.2 minutes and under?

One needs to take into account that the above reported risks were from patients and GPs who took advantage of the MHRA Yellow Card Reporting System. As yet, no drug company has ever released individual patient data from clinical trials.

Food for thought.

Bob Fiddaman


*Hat-Tip: @QuestioningJenn


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Medicating Normal ~ The Film

 



Last night I watched 'Medicating Normal', a film directed by Lynn Cunningham and Wendy Ractliffe.

It left me feeling angry - there was no sadness, I've almost become immune to feeling sadness upon hearing about the devastation and destruction these drugs can and do cause, that's not to say I'm totally devoid of empathy as I know that as the anger subsides the empathy will return and I'll calm down.

It's almost 18 hours since I finished watching and the anger is still with me. This has, somewhat, surprised me as the content of the film is, pretty much, something I've been researching for the past 16 years or so ~ one would have thought I had become accustomed to hearing about the horrific withdrawal of psychiatric brain pellets and the wanton contempt shown by those who manufacture, regulate and prescribe such dangerous 'pills'.

The film centres around a group of people from different walks of life, including military personnel, a waitress and a young girl, all of whom were initially given a diagnosis of a mental health disorder, prescribed brain pellets, returned to prescriber after the brain pellets either didn't work or were causing adverse reactions, only to be given another diagnosis and different brands of brain pellets. The demise of these individuals is plain to see, for me at least. It begs the question why a layperson, like me, can see the problem yet so-called professionals completely miss, or ignore what is right in front of them.

There are three types of people in this world. There are those who stand up for those harmed by brain pellets, there are those who shrug their shoulders whilst offering snippets of empathy like, "It's a shame" or "how awful" then there are those who talk about those who fight for the truth (usually behind their backs) claiming they are not experts, in fact they are just conspiracy theorists. I've encountered all three types - I still do.

There's a fourth type of person too, I say person but these types are often devoid of human emotion, yet on the surface they claim they are helping humanity. They often see themselves as gods or life-savers, in fact, over the years they have convinced themselves that whatever evidence shows that they are wrong is nothing more than a study that misinterprets data, either that or it's come from an advocacy group who have links to flat-earthers, ghost-hunters and celebrity-like religions. This puts them, they feel, in a position higher than anyone else - this gives them the false belief that they are omnipotent. It's a dangerous belief and one that is causing devastation to their flock.

I am, of course, talking about prescribers, be they your run-of-the-mill GP or psychiatrist. They've lost their way over the years, they've been convinced by a higher power (manufacturers and regulators) that they are on the correct highway and those who oppose them are beneath them so not worth listening to.

This is highlighted throughout 'Medicating Normal', albeit in a more subtle way than I have just described. The film does not intend to slam brain pellets, it is not calling for their removal, it's merely calling for informed consent to be given when these toxins are prescribed.

There are experts who claim that 'these drugs work short term', such statements are usually followed up by, "people shouldn't take them for long periods." With respect, the 'short-term' claim, I feel, is merely a defence mechanism designed to ignore the bigger picture that these 'drugs' are causing so much pain and misery around the world.

Sure, you'll have your patients stepping forward to defend the use of brain pellets, more often than not these are folk who are not able to function without them - this, they feel, is the reason why brain pellets such as antipsychotics, antidepressants and benzodiazepines have their place. They don't, for one minute, stop to think that their lack of function upon stopping the brain pellet may be a withdrawal effect. Their gods tell them it's a return of the illness ~ and so the cycle continues. Higher doses, different brands, various cocktails targeting invisible receptors with the claim that brain chemicals will be balanced out.

Watching this 80 minute film highlights the devastating effects of these brain pellets and also the flawed diagnostic tools used as a means to determine the type of brain pellets one should be prescribed. 

The film, for me at least, raises the question: What is going on in the head of a prescriber when he/she writes on that pad, does no part of them say, "this is wrong, why am I medicating normal?"

The film is being shown on various dates via here.

I highly recommend people to pay the small fee to watch it. If it wasn't for Covid this would probably be on general release at Cinemas, so, bring it into the comfort of your home.

You probably won't feel the anger I felt, if you don't, you should ask yourself why.

Bob Fiddaman


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Baum Hedlund Take a Stand Against Vaccine Maker

 

Los Angeles based law firm, Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman filed a Gardasil lawsuit against Merck yesterday on behalf of Julia Balasco, a 19-year-old, who suffered severe and permanent physical injuries after receiving multiple injections of the human papillomavirus (HPV) Gardasil vaccine.

Merck, the makers of the controversial vaccine, are accused of failing to properly test Gardasil before the HPV vaccine was fast-tracked and administered to millions of young girls and boys throughout the United States and the world. It is also alleged that "Merck knew or had reason to know that its vaccine was defective and ineffective, but instead of warning the medical community and the public, the company wrongfully concealed information and further made false statements concerning the safety and efficacy of Gardasil."

Furthermore, it is claimed that Merck manipulated the Gardasil clinical trials by spiking the placebo with AAHS and the vaccine’s other additives, which resulted in approximately equal numbers of subjects in the vaccine group and the placebo group suffering adverse reactions thus giving the impression that Gardasil was just as safe as taking a placebo.

Julia Balasco was just a 13-year-old when she was administered Gardasil. Her mother, Michaela, the lawsuit claims, was persuaded by the various Merck ads for Gardasil that claimed it was 'very safe' and 'prevented cancer'. Little did she know that her daughter would later develop serious and debilitating autoimmune disease, including POTS, a disorder that affects a branch of the nervous system that regulates functions we do not consciously control, including blood pressure, heart rate, perspiration, and body temperature.

Merck are no strangers to controversy. The New Jersey drug company have been fined over $3 billion dollars since 2000, some of which include health and safety-related offences (see below)


You can read more about the case of Julia Balasco here

Bob Fiddaman



Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Malcharist Review

 

In the words of the late Bon Scott (no relation to Paul John Scott) "The following is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty." (Ain't No Fun Waitin' Round to be a Millionaire)

Griffin Wagner is a frustrated freelance reporter working for a men's magazine in Minneapolis. Shivani Patel plys her trade over 1200 miles away in Manhattan. She's a medical ghostwriter working, in the main, for Krøhn-McGill, the world’s largest drug-maker.

Her job is to turn bad news (poor outcomes in clinical trials) into good news. This manipulation pays both her and Krøhn-McGill well.

The scene is set, as all good mysteries writers know. Male, female at different ends of the spectrum, a brief encounter, a loss of communication, then rekindling.

It's the classic format and has stood many writers since the dawning of time.

But wait, isn't Malcharist a mystery that delves into the murky practices of drug companies and ghostwriting PR companies?

Simply put, no.... it's so much more than that.

The author, Paul John Scott (PJ), has crafted something quite brilliant here. If you're familiar with Glaxo's 329 study, you're halfway on board with PJ. Those not familiar with such underhand edits will soon pick up the mantle and run with what PJ offers. He carefully lays out what ghostwriting is all about in a manner that is easy on the eye and not so taxing on the brain.

Malcharist is the reel of film, your eyes are the projector, PJ directs his characters into your mind, which is, in essence, your own personal silver screen.

There's twists and turns, as one would expect from the mystery genre. To an unskilled eye it may all sound far-fetched, the worrying thing in all of this is it has gone on, it goes on, and it will continue to go on. Don't believe me? Google 'Spravato'.

I read the book over three days, corresponded with PJ via email to offer my congratulations, at this point the book hadn't gone to print. He, as a debut fictional writer, was chomping at the bit and looking forward to seeing his work in print.

I'm now looking forward to seeing it on the silver screen...for real.

It deserves it.

PJ, as we say in England, 'knows his onions'. Stumbling on Study 329, as I did many years ago, took a lot of figuring out and years of research and many articles (via my blog). I'm familiar enough now with how the drug companies operate and employ the Patel's of this world. I also know that there are some great journalists out there. Griffin Wagner is one such journalist, albeit in fictional form.

For me, at least, Wagner is a male version of Shelley Jofre, Neither Wagner (Nice surname by the way) or Jofre were unable to let go of what they had found whilst reading through clinical trial data. Both untrained eyes, (medical knowledge), that smelled a rat.

Paul's new novel, Malcharist, is available via Amazon in the UK here and the US here

Bob Fiddaman

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Akathisia - The Taboo Terminology




Earlier this week the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) published an updated report on suicide prevention. The report was put together by a so-called 'Patient Safety Group' (see image above) and other 'contributors', one of whom is the current President of RCPsych, Dr Adrian James.

The report focuses on adult suicides and, according to RCPsych, "provides new, practice-focused guidance for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals on suicide and self‑harm that examines what interaction is now needed between these topics."

Woe Is Me

I found the following finding quite striking. It's a contradictory statement that, on one hand, highlights the failings of the psychiatric profession's choice of treatment, whilst on the other hand calls for more help for those prescribers who experience patients dying by suicide whilst under their care:

"There is evidence that most psychiatrists have experienced the death of a patient by suicide during their career, a large number of them more than once. Half of them described increased stress in the weeks following the suicide, and a sizeable minority reported a change in their practice, including more referrals to colleagues and requests for admission. The evidence suggests that there is a lack of structured support for psychiatrists and psychiatric trainees following a death by suicide."

It's remarkable isn't it. A report on the prevention of suicide highlighting the stress of prescribers who may have contributed to the suicide by prescribing antidepressants that increase the risk of suicide.

What RCPsych seem to be doing here is telling their members, "don't worry, we have your backs and we will help you through the tough times when one of your patients kill themselves whist on the 'life-saving' antidepressant you prescribed them."

Akathisia - The Taboo Terminology

Whilst the new report references the apparent safety and efficacy of antidepressants, it makes no mention of their role in inducing self-harm, suicidal thinking and suicide completion, all three of which that appear on current patient information leaflets as 'warnings'.

There is also no mention of the taboo word, 'akathisia', a condition caused by the very same drugs that RCPsych members prescribe to patients.

They Know About Akathisia 

Last July (2019) Wendy Dolin, founder of The Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin (MISSD), flew from Chicago to London to present suicide prevention information to the then President of RCPsych, Wendy Burn, and RCPsych audience members. The presentation highlighted akathisia and included a promotional video on how to spot signs of akathisia. Dolin wasn't the only safety advocate there that day who spoke about akathisia. Dr Lade Smith also spoke about this mind-crippling condition, she was even promoted by Burn who tweeted the following:



It seems a tad strange that the latest Suicide Prevention Report fails to mention akathisia, so I asked one of the 'Patient Safety Group members, Alys Cole-King, why. Cole-King had tweeted, back in March 2020, that "akathisia matters too."

Here's her reply to me (in two parts)



Appleby Ever After

The current UK Suicide Prevention expert is Prof Louis Appleby, he too is referenced throughout the new report although I am unsure of his input.

Appleby, to me at least, is a strange one. He has blocked many voices of the #PrescribedHarm community on Twitter (myself included) but back in October last year made a startling revelation regarding akathisia and the suicide prevention plan. According to Appleby he claimed, "When we came to update the strategy a few years ago, the Government wanted as few changes as possible. We were keen to add something about antidepressants after hearing from families who felt strongly about this."

What actually ended up the the suicide prevention strategy was "There are also risks in the early stages of drug treatment when some patients feel more agitated." (page 27).

Nothing about akathisia, surprising given Appleby's own personal thoughts that akathisia "can make people feel desperate and suicidal."

So, no suicide prevention warning about akathisia in a prevention strategy and no suicide prevention warning about akathisia in RCPsych's new Patient Safety Report.

Something is amiss here.



Why are Appleby and RCPsych, seemingly, afraid to address this elephant in the room?

Answers on a postcard please.

Bob Fiddaman

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Seroxat in the News






For those of you who took an interest in the UK Seroxat litigation, a full judgement has been posted online here.

The judgement stipulates, "...the Claimants should pay the Defendant's costs of this litigation; those costs are paid on an indemnity basis from 21 June 2018 and there should be a payment on account of costs in the sum of £4.5 million."

With one case over, newer ones may be looming with regards to Seroxat causing birth defects, unless, of course, cases like these can't go to trial due to the Statute of Limitations coming into play.

"...the researchers noted that, compared to control groups, paroxetine-exposed mini-brains developed with up to 75% fewer oligodendrocytes, the support cells that are crucial for the proper "wiring" of the brain."

"The scientists, who published their findings in February in Frontiers of Cellular Neuroscience, used the mini-brains to determine that the antidepressant paroxetine, commonly called Paxil or Seroxat, suppresses the growth of synapses, which are the connection points between neurons, and leads to significant decreases in an important support-cell population. Paroxetine, which can cross the placenta in pregnant women, currently comes with a warning against use in early pregnancy, largely due to a known risk of heart and lung defects. Some epidemiological studies also have suggested that paroxetine raises the risk of autism."

Full story here.

Bob Fiddaman


Saturday, July 11, 2020

#ShowUsYourMeds: I See Dead People






The response by some of the #ShowUsYourMeds project campaigners to my blog post (here) has left me baffled.

Apparently, if I dare to raise the issue on antidepressant-induced suicide I'm 'stigmatising' those who are currently taking and posting about their antidepressants.

Being part of an "Anti-med crew" has also been thrown around on Twitter. This, after I contributed to the project with some tweets of my own.

I'm still scratching my head and searching for reasons why those who promote these drugs without warnings are, seemingly, offended by me posting the following:


 
 

Friday, July 10, 2020

GSK wins legal case over withdrawal effects of Seroxat after 13 years and £9.33m in costs






I have much to say about this. For now, I'll wait.

This from the BMJ

by Clare Dyer

A group action in the High Court in London by scores of claimants over withdrawal problems with the antidepressant paroxetine has ended in a victory for the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), 13 years after the case was first launched.1

A High Court trial was to start in February 2011 but the action was put on hold after legal aid was withdrawn and 369 claimants dropped their cases. In 2015 the litigation was revived when the remaining 124 claimants instructed new solicitors and found commercial funding.

In 2016 GSK asked the court to bring the case to a permanent halt, but Mr Justice Foskett said he wanted to see how the case progressed in stages before deciding if it should be stopped or go to trial.2

From the beginning, the claimants’ case had been that paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) known in the UK as Seroxat, was a defective product because it caused worse problems than other SSRIs when patients tried to stop taking it. Later, their lawyers tried to expand the case to argue that paroxetine had no particular benefits compared with other SSRIs on a risk-benefit basis, but Foskett ruled that it was too late to change the basis of the case, and it could go ahead only on the narrow basis that paroxetine was the “worst in class” for adverse effects on discontinuance.

In 2018 a new judge, Mrs Justice Lambert, took over from Foskett. At a pre-trial hearing she ruled, “It is now far too late to expand the scope of the trial to include evidence of risks and benefits.”

When the trial opened in April 2019, Lambert ruled again that the claimants’ case could not extend to examining the relative risks and benefits and the claimants could not advance the case that paroxetine had no relative benefits compared with other drugs in the class.

The trial was adjourned so the claimants could take the matter to the Court of Appeal. The appeal court ruled in November 2019 that the claimants were not entitled to put their case on a risk-benefits basis because previous case management rulings had held that it was to be based on the “worst in class” scenario.

GSK had maintained from the outset that the claimants’ pleaded case, relating just to adverse effects on discontinuance, was the wrong approach and that a “holistic” view should be taken in determining the safety of a prescription drug.

After the appeal court ruling, GSK made an application asking the High Court to continue the trial with just one matter: whether it was appropriate in principle to assess whether paroxetine was a defective product by seeking to establish whether it caused adverse effects on discontinuance which were more frequent, more severe, and longer lasting than other SSRIs, and whether the effects made it more difficult to stop taking it.

Two working days before the hearing, the claimants’ lawyers told the court that they would not contest the company’s application and they agreed that judgment should be entered for GSK.

GSK told the court it had run up costs of nearly £9.33m since the case was revived in 2015. Lambert ruled that the claimants should pay the company’s costs. But GSK is expected to apply to the court for an order that the costs should be paid by the commercial litigation funder.

The losing party in the UK will not usually be ordered to pay the full costs incurred by the winning party, but only costs that are reasonable and proportionate to the matter. This is known as the standard basis.

Lambert ordered that part of the total costs to be paid to GSK, for the period from 21 June 2018, should be assessed on a higher than usual basis—the indemnity basis. This means that GSK is more likely to get back the actual costs the company incurred for that period.

The date chosen was 28 days after more than 300 people lost a High Court group action alleging that the DePuy metal-on-metal hip implant was defective.3 In that case the judge underscored the need for a holistic approach.

Following that decision, said Lambert, it was clear that the paroxetine claimants were “pursuing a case which was, quite simply, unarguable” and continuing the litigation was “unreasonable to a high degree.”

--

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

The #ShowUsYourMeds Project




Image courtesy of Hole Ousia

Professor David Nutt (above) says modern antidepressants are ‘probably the safest drugs ever made

Nothing grinds my teeth more than false information, moreover sloppy journalists who allow selective quotes into the mainstream media from both professionals and the layperson.

Today I was alerted to an article that appeared in the online edition of The Metro. The headline says it all, "I might not be here without them’: Photos help fight the stigma of antidepressants".

The stigma line is thrown around anytime a patient harmed by antidepressants voices an opposing opinion about them. I've been researching them for 16 years during which time I've met fellow safety advocates, none of whom have ever lambasted or ridiculed anyone for taking their prescribed tablets.

Do I think they are dangerous? Yes, I do.
Do I think they are over-prescribed? Yes
Do I think the dangers of taking them are downplayed? Yes

This does not make me, or anyone else for that matter, a critic of those who take antidepressants. I am, however, baffled at some of the responses I see on social media whenever the bad side of antidepressants is debated. 'Pill-shamer', 'antipsychiatry' and, more recently, 'white privilege' are labels that are thrown at the #PrescribedHarm community on Twitter.

The Metro article features an initiative called the #ShowUsYourMeds Project. At first glance all seems fine, if posting selfies of yourself with medication is your thing.

The project, according to The Metro, was launched by Emma Dalmayne "to make people realise they’re not alone but also to dispel a number of myths and misconceptions about antidepressants."

Dalmayne, who is the CEO of Autistic Inclusive Meets, a not-for-profit organisation created by autistic people to enable families with autistic children, talking of some of the experiences people have shared with her said, "A lot of them say they get a lot of crap for taking medication, from relatives, from mates. They say they shouldn’t be taking meds, that they could be out getting exercise and doing yoga." She added, "You can only get up and go outside and do yoga if you’re able to cope with getting out of bed. I think people believe that they will be addicted to them or that they will be a placebo, we know that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance."

I've some news for Emma Dalmayne, depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance. She has been misinformed, by whom I don't know. If by chance she reads this I urge her to contact the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) to ask 'is depression caused by a chemical imbalance?' She may be gobsmacked at their answer.

I have nothing against Dalmayne or any of those who have posted photos of themselves with their meds, some of whom are on different cocktails, many of which that raise red flags when taken together. I doubt very much if they are aware of this though. (See 'Same Campaign, Different Name' below)

This is fake news and gives people the wrong impression that they have something wrong inside their head, they don't, not physically anyway.

An article about mental health and depression wouldn't hold any clout if it didn't feature a quote from a key opinion leader. Step forward Prof. David Nutt, himself a members of RCPsych, who speaks in spectacular fashion:

"There are people who don’t want to believe that you can be mentally ill, they like to label everything as a social stigma. They’re a minority but they’re a very loud minority. There are ‘people who believe that you can have a mental illness but they say that they’re psychological rather than physiological and therefore you don’t need to use drugs to treat them, of course there’s some truth in that many people can be helped by psychological treatment but many can’t. There are people who have been on medication treatments who have withdrawal reactions coming off or sometimes funny reactions coming on and these people have become a very vocal group.When you look at the evidence, antidepressants are extremely safe, they’re probably the safest drugs ever made. Most people don’t have problems and most people get enormous benefits from them."

Let me just read that one line again:

"When you look at the evidence, antidepressants are extremely safe, they’re probably the safest drugs ever made."

This is an outrageous statement to make and people, after reading his claim, may be persuaded to take them without first doing their own research, of which I have over 16 years of experience.

Nutt is no stranger to controversy. In 2009, Nutt was sacked from his Government drug adviser position after claiming that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol.

A year later, Nutt co-authored a paper that appeared in the Lancet where he claimed that alcohol was 'more harmful than heroin'.

Maybe he was trying to even the playing field on his previous claim that alcohol was more dangerous than ecstasy and LSD, or maybe he just doesn't quite have his finger on the pulse regarding the dangers of drugs, be they prescription drugs or street drugs.

His comment in the Metro regarding antidepressants being the safest drugs ever made was left unchallenged by the journalist James Hockaday. This is shoddy journalism. Maybe Hockaday should ask Nutt for the evidence he claims exists. Maybe, at the same time, Hockaday can ask Nutt why he did not declare his conflict of interests in the article. History shows that Nutt has received a pretty penny from antidepressant manufacturers GSK, Pfizer, Lilly and Lundbeck, to name but a few.

I doubt Hockaday will challenge Nutt, maybe he witnessed Nutt's response (attack) to journalist Peter Hitchens back in 2011 where he accused the respected journalist of  'baseless alarmism’ about drugs.

It seems a tad strange, to me at least, that Nutt is seemingly worried about the 'very loud minority' who are trying to raise awareness regarding the dangers of antidepressants. It is these people who are often stigmatised by RCPsych members, maybe because they've had it their way for far too long and they don't want anyone, especially former patients, rocking their very lucrative boat.

Same Campaign, Different Name

The #ShowUsYourMeds project isn't new.

Last year Hattie Gladwell, a journalist and columnist, tweeted the following:


This particular hashtag was picked up by former president of RCPsych, (See Hashtag Backfires on Twitter) Wendy Burn who, seemingly, took great delight in retweeting various Twitter users cocktail of drugs.  Burn didn't offer any warning regarding the cocktail of drugs this tweeter was taking.



Here's what drugs.com reports about the interactions of Lithium, Quetiapine, Venlafaxine, and Mirtazipine:


If I had the time and/or energy I'd take a look at the #ShowUsYourMeds Project selfies with drugs. I'm sure there will be many taking cocktails that have dangerous interactions, interactions that the uploader may not have been warned about. The onus is on them to do their own research, any advice offered by me and other members of the #PrescribedHarm community is met with name-calling by many of the Twitter psychiatrists. (See The Pill Shaming Myth) 

The Metro's article, along with Nutt's outrageous disinformation*, can be read here

Bob Fiddaman

*“Misinformation” vs. “Disinformation”: Get Informed On The Difference






Please contact me if you would like a guest post considered for publication on my blog.