All posts by a_jones

Avoiding Withdrawal Syndrome for SSRIs Requires Months, Not Weeks, and a More Gradual Curve, Paper Concludes

New research questions conventional practices regarding rapid withdrawal from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, which are sometimes prescribed for migraine, peripheral neuropathy, and other neurologic disorders. Neurologists who prescribe these drugs said the study recommendations fit with their own clinical experience.

Tapering patients off selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) should be done much more slowly and gradually than currently recommended, over a period of months rather than weeks, in order to avoid withdrawal syndrome, a team of researchers suggested in a paper published online March 5 in Lancet Psychiatry.

Although serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) were not the subject of the paper, studies show they show the same hyperbolic dose-response pattern, said the paper’s first author, Mark Abie Horowitz, PhD, a neurobiologist who is currently a clinical research fellow at University College London and a psychiatry trainee at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

“The clinical data also show that withdrawal symptoms from SNRIs last much longer than the one to two weeks ascribed to them by standard texts, much more in the region of months,” Dr. Horowitz told Neurology Today. “Tapering protocols suggested for SSRIs in the paper also apply to SNRIs; they should occur over at least months, down to doses close to one-fortieth of therapeutic doses and titrated to individual tolerability.”

The study authors proposed what they call a “pharmacologically informed method for tapering SSRI treatment.”

For instance, reducing doses of citalopram in steady 5 mg decrements resulted in serotonin transporter inhibition hyperbolically rising from 3 percent when the dose was cut from 20 mg to 15 mg, to 6 percent when the dose was cut from 15 mg to 10 mg, to 13 percent when the dose was cut to 5 mg, and to 58 percent when cut to zero.

“These large reductions in inhibition could account for the paucity of success of previous tapering regimens, and particularly for the difficulties with withdrawal symptoms that patients have towards the end of their taper, at low doses,” the study authors concluded.

Rather than taper by fixed amounts, the study authors recommended that clinicians taper the dose by following a hyperbolic slope. In the case of citalopram, for instance, the dose would be dropped from 20 mg, to 9.1 mg, to 5.4 mg, 3.4 mg, 2.3 mg, 1.5 mg, and then to 0.8 mg, 0.4 mg, and finally to zero.

Neurologists who treat migraine, diabetic neuropathy, and other disorders for which SSRIs and SNRIs are sometimes prescribed said the recommendations fit with their own clinical experience.

“I have seen the withdrawal effect; it can go on for months,” said Richard B. Lipton, MD, FAAN, the Edwin S. Lowe Professor and vice chair of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he is also director of the Montefiore Headache Center. “I definitely agree with the authors of this paper on the need for more gradual tapering in some patients. I’ve certainly had certain patients buy pill cutters to cut an already low dose of an SSRI into quarters and take them daily, then take them every other day, to try to make the taper more comfortable.”

Dr. Lipton said he also agreed with the authors of the paper that current guidelines on tapering SSRIs should be reconsidered, and that randomized, controlled trials would be useful to more rigorously test the effects of a slower, more gradual tapering protocol.

Full article –

https://journals.lww.com/neurotodayonline/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2019&issue=04180&article=00004&type=Fulltext

UK’s top paramedic Malcolm Woollard died of prescription drug overdose

Britain’s top paramedic, 57, was found dead in bed by neighbour after taking accidental overdose of morphine prescribed for his chronic back pain

Britain’s top paramedic died after overdosing on the 19 drugs he took for back pain each day, an inquest heard.

Professor Malcolm Woollard, 57, was found lying naked in his bed in Llangattock, near Abergavenny, South Wales in July last year.

He was discovered after a neighbour became concerned with mail piling up outside his house – but could have been dead for a week before he was found.

Pontypridd Coroner’s Court heard he had chronic back pain and was regularly admitted to hospital for taking too much morphine.

He was the first paramedic in the UK to be awarded the title of Professor and was Chairman of the British Paramedics Association

More….

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6573327/Chairman-Paramedics-Association-Malcolm-Woollard-overdosed-prescription-drugs-inquest-hears.html

The new drug that addicts are turning to because heroin isn’t enough

It’s designed to treat epilepsy but heroin addicts are now using the legal drug Pregabalin to get their fix

An epilepsy drug known as ‘the new Diazepam’ is being linked to an increasing number of deaths among drug users in Wales.

The Home Office announced in October that Pregabalin – which is used to treat epilepsy, anxiety, and nerve pain, among other conditions – will become a Class C drug from next April due to the rising number of deaths linked to the drug.

In Wales Pregabalin – which is marketed under names including Lyrica and others – was first mentioned in a death certificate in 2013, when one death was recorded. Since then the number has grown from two in 2014 to nine in 2017.

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/new-drug-addicts-turning-because-15433365

Mental Health

e-Petition: Add Mental Health Education to the mandatory teaching curriculum for all schools in Wales

open quote / dyfyniad agored

When working for Mental – The Podcast to Destigmatise Mental Health, I am continually concerned by the lack of education in schools around mental health. With 1 in 4 of us experiencing mental illness every year according to the charity Mind, this seems to be a real and significant gap in our education system.

KEY STATISTICS:

Over half of all mental ill health starts before the age of 14, and 75% of this has developed by the age of 18;

A 2015 survey found that 13% of adults (16 & older) living in Wales were reported to have received treatment for a mental health problem, an increase from 12% reported in 2014;

The overall cost of mental health problems in Wales is an estimated £7.2 billion a year.

The statistics are shocking, yet whilst there is a whole subject in the Welsh curriculum about our physical health in the form of PE, our young people are left without knowledge of even the most common mental illnesses.
Not only does this leave them unprepared & vulnerable when it comes to looking out for their own mental health, but also sets the standard that Mental Health is not discussed. This plants a seed of stigma that many carry for their whole lives.

We are keen to hear back from those in power on a more extensive plan to better the lives of Wales’s young people.

CAMPAIGNING FOR:

Mental Health education becoming mandatory teaching for all schools in Wales without the addition of any exams/homework on this subject.
Every child in Wales having the ability to access a qualified counsellor through their school.
Every school in Wales offering Mental Health training for its staff.

Please join our petition to help bring us one step closer to making these requests a reality for Welsh children, thus safeguarding the health of generations to come.

Thank you for reading, Annie Harris

Learn more about this petition & the team behind it at mentalpodcast.co.uk/petition

1. Source: Murphy M and Fonagy P (2012). Mental health problems in children and young people. In: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2012. London: Department of Health.

2. and 3. Source: Mental Health Foundation. Mental Health in Wales, Fundamental Facts 2016 (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/FF16%20Wales.pdf)

Please see https://www.change.org/p/get-mental-health-education-on-the-school-curriculum-mentalpetition-join-me-and-over-100-000-others for the national interest in this petition. We handed in the petition to 10 Downing Street on 3rd October 2018.

Sign here

https://www.assembly.wales/en/gethome/e-petitions/Pages/petitiondetail.aspx?PetitionID=1446

EXPERIENCES OF DEPENDENCE TO PRESCRIBED PAIN MEDICATION

EXPERIENCES OF DEPENDENCE TO PRESCRIBED PAIN MEDICATION

Hello, my name is Louise and I am a student from the University of Surrey. I am looking for UK based participants over 18 years of age to take part in my study.

I am looking to talk to people about their experiences of dependence on prescribed medication for pain. Please note this study is confidential and anonymous.

If you would like to be involved or have any questions email me at ln00214@surrey.ac.uk

This study has been approved by the University of Surrey’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences’ Ethics Committee.

The Top 20 Medications That Cause Memory Loss

Here is a list of medications known to have memory loss as a side effect:

  • for Parkinson’s — scopolamine, atropine, glycopyrrolate
  • for epilepsy — phenytoin or Dilantin
  • painkillers — heroin, morphine, codeine
  • sleeping pills — Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata
  • benzodiazepines — Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Dalmane
  • quinidine
  • naproxen
  • steroids
  • antibiotics (quinolones)
  • antihistamines
  • interferons
  • high blood pressure drugs
  • insulin
  • beta blockers (especially those used for glaucoma)
  • methyldopa
  • antipsychotics — Haldol, Mellaril
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • lithium
  • barbiturates — Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, phenobarbital
  • chemotherapy drugs

This list was assembled by Richard C. Mohs, Ph.D., former vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The Top 3 Types of Drugs That Cause Memory Loss

If you are taking any prescription medication, the odds are that it falls into one of these three categories of drugs known to cause memory loss and other cognitive problems:

The “Anti” Drugs

If you take a drug that starts with “anti,” such as antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antibiotics, antispasmodics, or antihypertensives, it’s likely that it will affect your acetylcholine levels.

Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter involved with memory and learning. Low acetycholine can lead to symptoms that resemble dementia including mental confusion, delirium, blurred vision, memory loss, and hallucinations.

Sleeping Pills

Prescription sleeping pills are notorious for causing memory loss.

The popular drug Ambien has been coined by some as “the amnesia drug.” Some users experience night terrors, sleep walking, sleep driving, and hallucinations.

Prescription sleeping pills have been found to put you in a state similar to being passed out drunk or in a coma while bypassing the restorative sleep your brain needs. There are much better ways to get to sleep!

https://realfarmacy.com/beware-20-medications-cause-memory-loss/

The public must be warned about the dangers of the online medicines free-for-all

The government needs to take action to stop prescription drugs, including opioids and slimming tablets, being obtained from online pharmacies that can avoid regulation.

The internet has become the blind spot in the regulation of medicines in the UK and it is clear some unscrupulous companies are taking advantage.

Most recently, the BBC Panorama programme found that opioid-based painkillers and slimming tablets were being sold through online clinics using doctors in Romania. It was one of several exposes in the media looking at how prescription drugs can be bought in large quantities with few checks in place, and which in turn can be easily bypassed. It is a worrying situation that has left regulators scrambling to catch up.

Full Article

https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/

Big Pharma and Organized Crime — They Are More Similar Than You May Think

It is scary how many similarities there are between this [pharmaceutical] industry and the mob. The mob makes obscene amounts of money, as does this industry. The side effects of organized crime are killings and deaths, and the side effects are the same in this industry. The mob bribes politicians and others, and so does the drug industry …” ~ former Vice-President of Pfizer pharmaceuticals ¹

If you believe pharmaceutical corporations hold the health of the general public in high regard, it’s time to reconsider. The industry is filled with examples of wrongful death, extortion, fraud, corruption, obstruction of justice, embezzlement, fake journals, harassment and hit lists that would make even the most hardened Mafia godfather blush. Big Pharma has been fined billions by the U.S. Department of Justice, but these enormous fines don’t curb the corruption, it’s just looked upon as “the cost of doing business,” similar to paying the utilities.

As a physician and researcher, Peter C Gøtzsche has firsthand experience with the criminality behind the pharmaceutical industry — and subsequently exposed the massive fraud in “Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare.

Dangerous Science

Dr. Gøtzsche has an impressive clinical background, as noted by The Nordic Cochrane Center — a not-for-profit organization that produces credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest:

Professor Peter C Gøtzsche graduated as a Master of Science in biology and chemistry in 1974 and as a physician 1984. He is a specialist in internal medicine; worked with clinical trials and regulatory affairs in the drug industry 1975-1983, and at hospitals in Copenhagen 1984-95. With about 80 others, he helped start The Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 with the founder, Sir Iain Chalmers, and established The Nordic Cochrane Centre the same year. He became professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis in 2010 at the University of Copenhagen.

Peter has published more than 70 papers in “the big five” (BMJ, Lancet, JAMA, Ann Intern Med and N Engl J Med) and his scientific works have been cited over 15,000 times. Peter is also author of:

  • Deadly Psychiatry and Organized Denial (to appear in September 2015)
  • Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare (2013)
  • Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy (2012)
  • Rational Diagnosis and Treatment: Evidence-Based Clinical Decision-Making (2007)

A large part of Dr. Gøtzsche’s academic career has focused on bias, trials and evidence synthesis.

In “Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime,” Gøtzsche reveals the corruption behind exorbitant prices for branded drugs, bringing attention to the fact that drugs are not expensive because of development costs, but because of the political lobbying, marketing and excess profit taking. He also points out many trials are nothing more than smoke and mirrors, where pharmaceutical companies organize research in such a way that the best populations and comparison groups are selected for the very reason that they support the preferred outcome of the company; they control data and do analyses in-house and hire professional writers to write the papers. The pharmaceutical companies then cherry pick the results to suit their marketing needs, instead of what’s in the best interest of patients. Many times, academics are paid to be listed as contributors to the study, yet in reality, they had very little input and cannot substantiate the data. According to Gøtzsche, “The ‘best’ drugs may simply be those with the most shamelessly biased data.”

Moreover, Gøtzsche drives home the truth that pharmaceuticals are just plain dangerous for a variety of reasons:

“Our prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in the United States and Europe. Around half of those who die have taken their drugs correctly; the other half die because of errors, such as too high a dose or use of a drug despite contraindications. Our drug agencies are not particularly helpful, as they rely on fake fixes, which are a long list of warnings, precautions, and contraindications for each drug, although they know that no doctor can possibly master all of these. Major reasons for the many drug deaths are impotent drug regulation, widespread crime that includes corruption of the scientific evidence about drugs and bribery of doctors, and lies in drug marketing, which is as harmful as tobacco marketing and, therefore, should be banned. We should take far fewer drugs, and patients should carefully study the package inserts of the drugs their doctors prescribe for them and independent information sources about drugs such as Cochrane reviews, which will make it easier for them to say “no thanks”.”²

Before you shrug-off Gøtzsche’s argument as simply one man’s view on a complex issue, consider pharmaceutical giant Merck’s tainted history.

Hit Lists, Fake Journals, Harassment and Big Money

During testimony in an Australian class action case, emails between Merck employees presented labels such as “neutralize,” “neutralized,” or “discredit” next to doctors’ names who criticized the drug Vioxx.

One email said:

We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live …

The court was told James Fries, professor of Medicine at Stanford University, wrote to the head of Merck in October 2000, complaining about the harassment certain members of his team were receiving who had criticized the drug.

Even worse were allegations of Merck damage control by intimidation,” he wrote, … “This has happened to at least eight (clinical) investigators … I suppose I was mildly threatened myself but I never have spoken or written on these issues.”

Jump to 2001 and the company was still engaging in unethical tactics. Merck apparently:

Produced a fake ‘peer reviewed’ journal under the name of “Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine” for the sole purpose of marketing pro-Vioxx articles.

Published an entirely ghostwritten journal article and had a doctor sign his name to it, even though a Merck employee felt the data presented was “wishful thinking.”

With this three-ring circus of corruption projected to become worse in the future, the American Medical Association (AMA) has — right on cue — brought forward new guidelines which will essentially place a gag order on any physicians who do not tow the party line, including those who speak out against pharmaceuticals.

“There’s a great deal of dissent among medical professionals when it comes to natural health, and many refuse to entertain the idea that healing involves more than pharmaceutical chemicals. The American Medical Association has recently set forth new guidelines that will: “create ethical guidelines for physicians in the media, write a report on how doctors may be disciplined for violating medical ethics through their press involvement, and release a public statement denouncing the dissemination of dubious medical information through the radio, TV, newspapers, or websites,”’ said Dr. Edward Group, founder of the Global Healing Center.

Incredibly, the AMA represents only 17% of medical doctors, many of which are medical students who were given a free membership. And yet, the organization is the fifth most powerful special interest group on Capitol Hill, paying out a staggering $19.7 million for lobbying efforts in 2014 alone.

Read more about the silencing of medical dissenters — and how to take action — here.

Article sources:

https://wakeup-world.com/2015/07/25/big-pharma-and-organized-crime-they-are-more-similar-than-you-may-think/

Crackdown on painkillers amid addiction fears.

Two painkillers are to be reclassified as class C controlled substances amid concerns people are becoming addicted to them and misusing them.

The drugs – pregabalin and gabapentin – are also used for epilepsy and anxiety.

The move, announced by the Home Office, means it will now be illegal to posses the drugs without a prescription and it will be illegal to supply or sell them to others.

The government acted after experts said tighter controls were needed.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs raised concerns about the drugs – amid reports of a rising number of fatalities being linked to the drug.

The law change will still mean the drugs are available for legitimate use on prescription, but there will be stronger controls in place.

What is Gabapentin – https://thedrugclassroom.com/video/gabapentin/

full story