Category Archives: Articles

A collection of articles from various sources on Prescription and OTC (over the counter) drugs.

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/

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

Many doctors may be failing to warn patients about the risks of antidepressants, new research suggests

These reports indicate that many doctors are unaware of the potential harms of antidepressants- Oliver Letwin MP

ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP FOR PRESCRIBED DRUG DEPENDENCE

PRESS RELEASE

8 October 2018

For immediate release

Many doctors may be failing to warn patients about the risks of antidepressants, new research suggests

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence today publishes two new pieces of research which indicate that many doctors and psychiatrists may be failing to warn patients about the potential risks of antidepressants, and subsequently fail to recognise withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, sources of NHS support for patients, such as NHS 111, were found to be unhelpful.

The first report, ‘Antidepressant Withdrawal: A Survey of Patients’ Experience’, was authored by researchers at the University of Roehampton on behalf of the APPG, and is based on the results of a survey of 319 UK patients affected by antidepressant withdrawal.

64% of patients surveyed claim not to have received any information from their doctors on the risks or side effects of antidepressants, while only 2.5% of patients found NHS 111 to be a helpful source of support during withdrawal. In addition, responses to the survey make clear that the impact of antidepressant withdrawal can be devastating for some individuals with severe withdrawal reactions, with 30% of respondents reporting being off work indefinitely due to the severity of their symptoms.

The second report, ‘Voice of the Patient: Petition Analysis Report’, identifies failure points in the health care system based on the testimony of 158 individuals impacted by prescribed drug withdrawal who responded to two petitions lodged with parliamentary Petitions Committees in Scotland (1) and Wales (2) in 2017. The report concludes that the failures encountered by the respondents will require systemic change. Both reports will be submitted to Public Health England as part of its review into prescribed drug dependency and withdrawal, due for publication in spring 2019.

Dr James Davies, of the University of Roehampton, commented: “The majority of the people we surveyed and who responded to the petitions indicated that they were never properly informed about the risks associated with antidepressants, including withdrawal. This undermines the principle of informed consent, which is essential if patients are to make a proper assessment of the harms and benefits. This is very concerning, particularly as the survey shows that severe antidepressant withdrawal can have a devastating effect on patients’ lives, including long-term disability. Furthermore, the research suggests that patients who suffer from withdrawal mostly find existing sources of NHS support, such as 111, unhelpful.’

Sir Oliver Letwin MP, chair of the APPG, said: ‘These reports indicate that many doctors are unaware of the potential harms of antidepressants, and fail to communicate the risks to their patients. This highlights the need for additional guidance and training in this area, and we hope that Public Health England will consider this as part of their current review into prescribed drug dependence. Furthermore, it suggests that existing NHS sources of support are inadequate, and new dedicated services, including a 24 hour national prescribed drug withdrawal helpline, are therefore urgently needed.’

NOTES TO EDITORS

The report ‘Antidepressant Withdrawal: A Survey of Patients’ Experience’ can be found at this link: http://prescribeddrug.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/APPG-PDD-Survey-of-antidepressant-withdrawal-experiences.pdf

The report ‘Voice of the Patient: Petition Analysis Report’ can be found at this link: http://prescribeddrug.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Voice-of-the-Patient-Petition-Analysis-Report.pdf

For further information please contact Luke Montagu at lukemontagu@me.com.

More information on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence can be found at prescribeddrug.org

prescribeddrug.org

Now doctors MUST wake-up to the dangers of patients hooked on depression pills

Stevie Lewis went to see her GP for help with insomnia after struggling with the pressures of starting up a business consultancy. The 41-year-old from Bristol hoped she’d be given something to help her sleep.

‘But to my surprise the doctor announced that I was on the edge of clinical depression — what my mother’s generation would have called a nervous breakdown,’ she recalls.

And instead of sleeping tablets, she was given a prescription for paroxetine, a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), thought to work by increasing the level of a mood-enhancing brain chemical, serotonin.

‘I was completely shocked, not least when he told me I had a chemical imbalance in my brain,’ says Stevie, who now lives in Rogiet, South Wales. ‘I thought very carefully about whether I should take this drug, but in the end I did, because I believed him — he was my doctor.’

However, her shock at being prescribed an antidepressant was nothing compared with the horror that awaited her when she tried to wean herself off paroxetine.

Stevie did not know this was the start of a 20-year battle to extricate herself from the grip of a drug she never needed, during which she would struggle with appalling side-effects that doctors refused to acknowledge were caused by withdrawal, dismissing them as a return of her original symptoms.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6228645/Now-doctors-wake-dangers-patients-hooked-depression-pills.html

“worse than Hitler” “pharma-whore”

A government adviser on the use of antidepressants has resigned after being called “worse than Hitler” and a “pharma-whore” in a campaign of harassment that he has accused colleagues of fomenting.

David Baldwin claimed that a fellow adviser helped to fan the flames of online abuse in a row over the effects of the drugs. The controversy began when he wrote to The Times in February to downplay the side-effects of coming off the drugs, saying: “In the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing antidepressants have resolved within two weeks of stopping treatment.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/drugs-adviser-david-baldwin-quits-after-being-branded-worse-than-hitler-in-online-abuse-row-srtqltmfs

Valium: What is it used for and why are people buying it on the street?

Harriet Williamson Wednesday 19 Sep 2018 8:12 am Last November, Christina Craig died after taking a fake Valium pill. The tablets were known as ‘Blue Plague’. She was the fourth in a group of six friends in Glasgow to lose her life to what she believed to be Valium.

Scottish police estimate that there could be millions of fake Valium pills on the streets. Why is there a thriving market for the drug? Why aren’t users getting it on prescription?

Valium, also known as Diazepam, is part of a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. It’s a sedative recommended for short-term treatment only because it can quickly become addictive.

Valium isn’t usually prescribed for longer than two to four weeks at a time, and some GPs are uncomfortable prescribing it at all. The NHS lists the side effects of benzodiazepines as including drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, vertigo, low sex drive, headaches and the development of a tremor.

After four weeks of use, benzodiazepines may start to lose their efficiency, meaning that you need a higher dose to get the same effect. The way Valium loses potency and the potential for addiction are two reasons why GPs don’t regularly prescribe the drug for long-term conditions like anxiety, as they did when it was first released. Valium was created by Leo Sternbach and released in 1963. It became one of the most frequently prescribed medications in the world, and between 1968 and 1982, it was the highest selling medication in the US. More than two billion tablets were sold in 1978 alone.

Anxiety and insomnia had previously been treated with barbiturates, which caused extreme withdrawal symptoms, were highly addictive and easy to overdose with. Benzodiazepines like Valium seemed like the safer and more effective option, and they became the prescription solution for every problem.

The drug was particularly associated with women, and in 1966, the Rolling Stones even wrote a song about it, entitled ‘Mother’s Little Helper’. It took a long time for the addictive nature and negative side-effects of benzodiazepines to be recognised, despite research in the 1980s linking the long-term use of this drug group to brain damage and calling the drug ‘more difficult to withdraw people from than heroin’.

The NHS is now supposed to prescribe benzodiazepines for a maximum of four weeks to curb the potential for addiction. However, some doctors are failing to stick to guidelines published more than 20 years ago.

Full Metro article