Tag Archives: medication

Are All Psychiatric Drugs Too Unsafe to Take?

An interesting article found at
http://mindfreedom.uk/psychiatric-drugs-unsafe-take/

Psychiatric drugs are more dangerous than you have ever imagined. If you haven’t been prescribed one yet, you are among the lucky few. If you or a loved one are taking psychiatric drugs, there is hope; but you need to understand the dangers and how to minimize the risk.

The following overview focuses on longer-term psychiatric drug hazards, although most of them can begin to develop within weeks. They are scientifically documented in my recent book Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal and my medical text Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, Second Edition.

Newer or atypical antipsychotic drugs: Risperdal, Invega, Zyprexa, Abilify, Geodon, Seroquel, Latuda, Fanapt and Saphris

Antipsychotic drugs, including both older and newer ones, cause shrinkage (atrophy) of the brain in many human brain scan studies and in animal autopsy studies. The newer atypicals especially cause a well-documented metabolic syndrome including elevated blood sugar, diabetes, increased cholesterol, obesity and hypertension. They also produce dangerous cardiac arrhythmias and unexplained sudden death, and they significantly reduce longevity. In addition, they cause all the problems of the older drugs, such as Thorazine and Haldol, including tardive dyskinesia, a largely permanent and sometimes disabling and painful movement disorder caused by brain damage and biochemical disruptions.

Risperdal in particular but others as well cause potentially permanent breast enlargement in young boys and girls. The overall risk of harmful long-term effects from antipsychotic drugs exceeds the capacity of this review. Withdrawal from antipsychotic drugs can cause overwhelming emotional and neurological suffering, as well as psychosis in both children and adults, making complete cessation at times very difficult or impossible.

Despite their enormous risks, the newer antipsychotic drugs are now frequently used off-label to treat anything from anxiety and depression to insomnia and behavior problems in children. Two older antipsychotic drugs, Reglan and Compazine, are used for gastrointestinal problems, and despite small or short-term dosing, they too can cause problems, including tardive dyskinesia.

Antipsychotic drugs masquerading as sleep aids: Seroquel, Abilify, Zyprexa and others

Nowadays, many patients are given medications for insomnia without being told that they are in fact receiving very dangerous antipsychotic drugs. This can happen with any antipsychotic but most frequently occurs with Seroquel, Abilify and Zyprexa. The patient is unwittingly exposed to all the hazards of antipsychotic drugs.

Antipsychotic drugs masquerading as antidepressant and bipolar drugs: Seroquel, Abilify, Zyprexa and others

The FDA has approved some antipsychotic drugs as augmentation for treating depression along with antidepressants. As a result, patients are often misinformed that they are getting an “antidepressant” when they are in fact getting one of the newer antipsychotic drugs, with all of their potentially disastrous adverse effects. Patients are similarly misled by being told that they are getting a “bipolar” drug when it is an antipsychotic drug.

Antidepressants: SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and Viibyrd, as well as Effexor, Pristiq, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta and Vivalan

The SSRIs are probably the most fully studied antidepressants, but the following observations apply to most or all antidepressants. These drugs produce long-term apathy and loss of quality of life. Many studies of SSRIs show severe brain abnormalities, such as shrinkage (atrophy) with brain cell death in humans and the growth of new abnormal brain cells in animal and laboratory studies. They frequently produce an apathy syndrome — a generalized loss of motivation or interest in many or all aspects of life. The SSRIs frequently cause irreversible dysfunction and loss of interest in sexuality, relationship and love. Withdrawal from all antidepressants can cause a wide variety of distressing and dangerous emotional reactions from depression to mania and from suicide to violence. After withdrawal from antidepressants, individuals often experience persistent and distressing mental and neurological impairments. Some people find antidepressant withdrawal to be so distressing that they cannot fully stop taking the drugs.

Benzodiazepine (benzos) anti-anxiety drugs and sleep aids: Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium, Librium, Tranxene and Serax; Dalmane, Doral, Halcion, ProSom and Restoril used as sleep aids

Benzos deteriorate memory and other mental capacities. Human studies demonstrate that they frequently lead to atrophy and dementia after longer-term exposure. After withdrawal, individuals exposed to these drugs also experience multiple persisting problems including memory and cognitive dysfunction, emotional instability, anxiety, insomnia, and muscular and neurological discomforts. Mostly because of severely worsened anxiety and insomnia, many cannot stop taking them and become permanently dependent. This frequently happens after only six weeks of exposure. Any benzo can be prescribed as a sleep aid, but Dalmane, Doral, Halcion, ProSom and Restoril are marketed for that purpose.

Non-benzo sleep aids: Ambien, Intermezzo, Lunesta and Sonata

These drugs pose similar problems to the benzos, including memory and other mental problems, dependence and painful withdrawal. They can cause many abnormal mental states and behaviors, including dangerous sleepwalking. Insufficient data is available concerning brain shrinkage and dementia, but these are likely outcomes considering their similarity to benzos. Recent studies show that these drugs increase death rate, taking away years of life, even when used intermittently for sleep.

Stimulants for ADHD: Adderall, Dexedrine and Vyvanse are amphetamines, and Ritalin, Focalin, and Concerta are methylphenidate

All of these drugs pose similar if not identical long-term dangers to children and adults. In humans, many brain scan studies show that they cause brain tissue shrinkage (atrophy). Animal studies show persisting biochemical changes in the brain. These drugs can lead directly to addiction or increase the risk of abusing cocaine and other stimulants later on in adulthood. They disrupt growth hormone cycles and can cause permanent loss of height in children. Recent studies confirm that children who take these drugs often become lifelong users of multiple psychiatric drugs, resulting in shortened lifespan, increased psychiatric hospitalization and criminal incarceration, increased drug addiction, increased suicide and a general decline in quality of life. Withdrawal from stimulants can cause “crashing” with worsened behavior, depression and suicide. Strattera is a newer drug used to treat ADHD. Unlike the other stimulants, it is not an addictive amphetamine, but it too can be dangerously overstimulating. Strattera is more similar to antidepressants in its longer-term risks.

Mood stabilizers: Lithium, Lamictal, Equetro and Depakote

Lithium is the oldest and hence most thoroughly studied. It causes permanent memory and mental dysfunction, including depression, and an overall decline in neurological function and quality of life. It can result in severe neurological dilapidation with dementia, a disastrous adverse drug effect called “syndrome of irreversible lithium-effectuated neurotoxicity” or SILENT. Long-term lithium exposure also causes severe skin disorders, kidney failure and hypothyroidism. Withdrawal from lithium can cause manic-like episodes and psychosis. There is evidence that Depakote can cause abnormal cell growth in the brain. Lamictal has many hazards including life-threatening diseases involving the skin and other organs. Equetro cases life-threatening skin disorders and suppresses white cell production with the risk of death from infections. Withdrawal from Depakote, Lamictal and Equetro can cause seizures and emotional distress.

Summarizing the tragic truth

It is time to face the enormous tragedy of exposing children and adults to any psychiatric drug for months and years. My new video introduces and highlights these risks and my book Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal describes them in detail and documents them with scientific research.

All classes of psychiatric drugs can cause brain damage and lasting mental dysfunction when used for months or years. Although research data is lacking for a few individual drugs in each class, until proven otherwise it is prudent and safest to assume that the risks of brain damage and permanent mental dysfunction apply to every single psychiatric drug. Furthermore, all classes of psychiatric drugs cause serious and dangerous withdrawal reactions, and again it is prudent and safest to assume that any psychiatric drug can cause withdrawal problems.

Widespread misinformation

Difficulty in stopping psychiatric drugs can lead misinformed or unscrupulous health professionals to tell patients that they need to take their drugs for the rest of their lives when they really need to taper and withdraw from them in a careful manner. As described in Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal, tapering outside of a hospital often requires psychological and social help, including therapy and emotional support and monitoring by friends or family.

Meanwhile, there is no substantial or convincing evidence that any psychiatric drug is useful longer-term. Psychiatric drug treatment for months or years lacks scientific basis. Therefore, the risk-benefit ratio is enormously lopsided toward the risk.

Science-based conclusions

Whenever possible, psychiatric drugs should be tapered and withdrawn either as an inpatient or as an outpatient with careful clinical supervision and a support network as described in Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Keep in mind that it is not only dangerous to take psychiatric drugs — it can be dangerous to withdraw from them. The safest solution is to avoid starting psychiatric drugs! It is time for a return to psychological, social and educational approaches to emotional suffering and impairment.

Psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin‘s scientific and educational work has provided the foundation for modern criticism of psychiatric drugs and electroconvulsive therapy. He leads the way in promoting more caring, empathic and effective therapies. His newest book is Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions. His website is Breggin.com.

Peter R. Breggin, MD is a psychiatrist in private practice in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Breggin criticizes contemporary psychiatric reliance on diagnoses and drugs, and promotes empathic therapeutic relationships. He has been called “the Conscience of Psychiatry.” See his website at www.Breggin.com

Starlings on Prozac? Fish on contraceptives!

As drugs – both legal and illegal – pass through us, they enter the UK’s waterways. But can this really lead to a change in the feeding habits, and even the sex, of wildlife?

Most people go to a music festival for the music, the mud and the social scene. But at this year’s Latitude festival Dr John Ramsey and Dr Bram Mizeres have come for the urine.

Bottling up the goods from festival urinals might not sound like cutting edge science, but it can provide a glimpse into our pharmaceutical lives.

The drugs that end up in our urine also make their way out into our waterways, with some startling effects.

Last year over a billion prescriptions were dispensed in the UK, along with a huge number of over-the-counter remedies. More medication is being taken than ever before and with an ageing population this trend is not likely to slow down any time soon.

But what is the fate of these drugs as they travel beyond our toilets?

Intersex fish

At Brunel University, Prof Sumpter has been studying the effects of pharmaceuticals in our waterways ever since intersex fish – male fish exhibiting female traits such as egg production – were first spotted in UK rivers in the 1990s.

He and his colleagues wondered what was in the water that could be causing such radical change.

“At a biochemical, molecular level, a fish is extraordinarily similar to you and I,” he explains.

“So almost every drug target in a human – receptors, enzymes, ion channels – is present in fish. And they do the same thing.”

As drugs – both legal and illegal – pass through us, they enter the UK’s waterways. But can this really lead to a change in the feeding habits, and even the sex, of wildlife?

Most people go to a music festival for the music, the mud and the social scene. But at this year’s Latitude festival Dr John Ramsey and Dr Bram Mizeres have come for the urine.

Bottling up the goods from festival urinals might not sound like cutting edge science, but it can provide a glimpse into our pharmaceutical lives.

The drugs that end up in our urine also make their way out into our waterways, with some startling effects.

Last year over a billion prescriptions were dispensed in the UK, along with a huge number of over-the-counter remedies. More medication is being taken than ever before and with an ageing population this trend is not likely to slow down any time soon.

But what is the fate of these drugs as they travel beyond our toilets?

Intersex fish

At Brunel University, Prof Sumpter has been studying the effects of pharmaceuticals in our waterways ever since intersex fish – male fish exhibiting female traits such as egg production – were first spotted in UK rivers in the 1990s.

He and his colleagues wondered what was in the water that could be causing such radical change.

“At a biochemical, molecular level, a fish is extraordinarily similar to you and I,” he explains.

“So almost every drug target in a human – receptors, enzymes, ion channels – is present in fish. And they do the same thing.”

As studies into intersex fish developed, researchers soon amassed evidence that hormones from the contraceptive pill in the effluent from sewage treatment works were responsible.

Two decades on, our wastewater treatment has improved and most scientists suggest the majority of intersex fish can still breed without difficulty. But the contraceptive pill is not the only pharmaceutical making its way to our waterways.

Starlings on Prozac

Prof Sumpter now focuses on the effects of anti-depressants on fish.

Like synthetic sex hormones, anti-depressants dissolve in fat rather than water. As a result, they enter the bloodstream of organisms exposed to contaminated water.

This can affect other wildlife too, including birds. Dr Kathryn Arnold from the University of York has been studying the effect of Prozac on starlings, a number of which feed on the worms, maggots and flies found at sewage treatment works.

These creepy crawlies, living happily on the abundance of food found at the treatment works, contain high levels of pharmaceuticals, especially Prozac.

To study the effects this might be having on starlings, Dr Arnold and her team confined wild birds to aviaries and fed them on Prozac-laced worms, with the research to be published in October. They found that these birds ate less overall, snacking throughout the day instead of having full meals.

“And it’s all these small, very subtle effects that build up and potentially compromise an animal in the wild,” Dr Arnold says.

As yet, the science is at an early stage. Although the evidence seems to be mounting that laboratory-controlled, environmentally-relevant levels of micro-pollutants can have behavioural effects on fish and birds, only a small number of studies have tried to look at these changes in animals in the wild.

Dr Arnold and her team intend to start measuring the levels of Prozac in wild starlings’ blood this winter.

“So we’ve done what many researchers in this area have done, we’ve kind of tried to do things in a controlled environment, in the lab,” Dr Arnold explains.

“I guess the question that a lot of us are asking is, well, what does it mean for a normal healthy bird or fish in the wild to be consuming anti-depressants, or anti-psychotic drugs?”

Monitoring disease outbreaks

Such emerging evidence makes it all the more important that we know what is actually in the water.

Dr Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern, an analytical chemist at the University of Bath, uses urine samples to provide near real-time data into levels of drug use.

“In the case of MDMA,” explains Dr Kasprzyk-Hordern “there will be spikes during the weekend because it is a club drug. While, when we look at heroin, its use will be stable throughout the week because it’s a very addictive drug.”

Dr Kasprzyk-Hordern thinks this technique will also be able to monitor populations for outbreaks of disease.

“Usually when we test for certain diseases we use urine,” she explains. “Why do we have to collect urine from every individual, why not look at wastewater?”

Just as an individual’s urine can help assess their risk of developing certain forms of cancer, Dr Kasprzyk-Hordern hopes that by analysing a wastewater treatment plant it may be possible to identify areas with a greater incidence of cancer and target them with increased patient screening.

Full article

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29108330

further reading

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/drugs-in-the-water