Generic Paxil Suicide Lawsuit

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

Sunday, April 08, 2018

The NYT Addresses Antidepressant Withdrawal Issues

The Lame Defense

You'll hear many lines when discussing the problem of withdrawing from drugs labeled "antidepressants." They include the following:

"These drugs save lives."
"Without them, I wouldn't be here."
"Antidepressants benefit millions of people worldwide."
"They help people get through their daily routine."

While it's not for me to rebut all the above claims, the real issues are that none of the above lines have any relevance into discussing the challenges of "antidepressant" drug withdrawal. Comments such as the above are designed to get people to focus on the purported benefits of "antidepressants" and reduce discussion and/or dismiss discussion about the known risks. These lines are spouted by pharmaceutical companies, pharma-funded "health" and suicide organizations, drug regulators, doctors and consumers of "antidepressants." Some consumers, simply don't care about others who struggle with horrendous and life-threatening adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Perhaps these consumers of "antidepressants" are too frightened to look at the statistics for if they did, many would try to get off these drugs and would then find themselves gaining first-hand experience with SSRI ADRs.

Shifting the blame

If the above illogical responses don't work then the same people use the "shifting the blame" tactic. Some of these tactics include:

"Talk to your doctor."
"You're obviously not ready to come off them yet."
"It's not withdrawal, it's a return of your mental illness."
"Don't believe everything you read on the internet."
"Stop pill-shaming."
"You're a conspiracy theorist."
"Don't you think if these drugs were dangerous someone would have spoken up about them?"

I've heard all these retorts and imagine you've heard some, too. Once again, these retorts are thrown out willy-nilly in an illogical attempt to reduce honest discussion and purposeful action to solve the withdrawal problem caused by drugs labeled "antidepressants." It's an illogical argument and a selfish "I'm alright, Jack" response.

Many people who chant the above retorts state ADRs only happen to a "handful" of people. Even if this were true, how would the claims above help those suffering from severe "antidepressant" ADR's? Does society believe there is a certain magic number of victims that have to be reached before wanting to reduce avoidable suffering? How many people have to die from SSRI ADRs before it is deemed a public health issue worthy of positive action? Are some lives more important than other lives? Considering children and the elderly are two groups most at risk for ADRs, is this a sign our society cares less about children and the elderly?

Do we have to wait until we have inconclusive evidence that shows antidepressants cause severe ADRs in more than half of those who take them?

Time for Broader Discussions

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article entitled, "Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit." It's a decent article and the authors, Benedict Carey and Robert Gebeloff, seem to have done their homework with one exception. They stated, "withdrawal has never been a focus of drug-makers or government regulators." This is not accurate and I'll tell you why:

The Yugoslavia Trials 

The Yugoslavia Trials did, indeed, flag the issue of withdrawal surrounding paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat).

In summary, in 1988 GSK, then SmithKline Beecham (SKB) sponsored clinical trials in Yugoslavia. The purpose of the trials was to show how paroxetine could, when stopped, cause a relapse in depression. SKB never took into account that those relapsing (after stopping paroxetine) could have been suffering withdrawal symptoms.With the results they wanted, SKB then provided the FDA with apparent evidence that showed patients staying on Paxil continued to enjoy a normal, "depression free" life, but that those abandoning the drug would suffer relapse back into a depressive state.

One thing that irked SKB was that they had to convince the FDA that relapses shown in the study were not simply patients suffering withdrawal.
(You can read my coverage of the Yugoslavia trials at the foot of this post.)


Further, back in 2011, the British equivalent of the FDA, the MHRA, launched an "innovative" SSRI Learning Module for prescribing doctors. In it, they stated...
"Symptoms after sudden SSRI discontinuation usually last about one to two weeks and then resolve spontaneously, but they can persist for longer in some patients. Close clinical observation is required to ensure that withdrawal symptoms are not getting worse. Severe cases may call for specialist advice and possible switch to an SSRI with longer half-life before gradual tapering."
I was interested in the "specialist advice" they were recommending to doctors who had patients suffering from worsening withdrawal symptoms. I, therefore, wrote to them and asked for a list of these "specialists." I asked them what training do these specialists have, where do they get this training and by whom?

Despite many weeks of emails back and forth and the usual game of semantics played by the MHRA, they could not provide me with one specialist. The links to the launch of the SSRI Learning Module are below.

Now that is has been more than 7 years since I asked MHRA for a list of specialists and they couldn't list a single one, I pose the question again: Can MHRA provide a list of specialists who are trained to help patients safely withdraw from drugs labeled as "antidepressants."?  I also pose the same question for patients suffering from benzo withdrawal.

The New York Times article is long overdue but I suspect it may well be wrapping up someone's fish & chips tomorrow because that's how this works. Pleas for help go unanswered because the strategy from the psych and pharma industry is to shift blame and change the conversation. They aim to avoid honest discussion of these serious medical issues despite that discussion and awareness would reduce suffering and save lives.

If the Yugolslavia trials don't show you how corrupt this system is, your definition of corrupt is far different than Webster's

Bob Fiddaman

Yugoslavia Trial

The Seroxat/Paxil Yugoslavia Trial Part I

The Seroxat/Paxil Yugoslavia Trial Part II

SSRI Learning Module

MHRA To 'Re-educate' UK Doctor's on SSRi's Part I 

MHRA To 'Re-educate' UK Doctor's on SSRi's Part II "Keeping A Stiff Upper Lip" 

MHRA To 'Re-educate' UK Doctor's on SSRi's Part III - MHRA's Ghosts In The Machine 

MHRA In Buck-Passing Specialist Cahoots 

MHRA - More on the Mysterious "Ghost Specialists" 

MHRA Wishing To Call The Shots

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