invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

while i’ve been away May 10, 2009

So much news and so little time to comment but here are a few stories worth reading:

Most NAMI Money is From Psychiatric Drug Industry! BIG surprise (not) but thank you Sen. Grassley for continuing to fight for awareness and human rights while most members of Congress sit back and don’t say a word.

The FDA has approved yet another drug for schizophrenia, Fanapt. Keep your eyes on this one. Soon to be the next Seroquel, Zyprexa, Abilify, etc. When will this madness stop? The FDA continues to disappoint.

Two recent trials show akathisia occurred in 25% of Abilify patients compared to 4% of placebo patients. I’m glad I got off this one quick-even though I still have doctors pushing it. and I am growing increasingly tired by the constant Abilify ads on TV. I’m about to storm Bristol-Myers Squibb’s headquarters. Here’s their advertisement for the drug:

Merck Makes Phony Peer-Review Journal. Well, this one leaves me speechless.

The Scientist has reported that, yes, it’s true, Merck cooked up a phony, but real sounding, peer reviewed journal and published favorably looking data for its products in them. Merck paid Elsevier to publish such a tome, which neither appears in MEDLINE or has a website, according to The Scientist.

What’s wrong with this is so obvious it doesn’t have to be argued for. What’s sad is that I’m sure many a primary care physician was given literature from Merck that said, “As published in Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, Fosamax outperforms all other medications….” Said doctor, or even the average researcher wouldn’t know that the journal is bogus. In fact, knowing that the journal is published by Elsevier gives it credibility!

Psych Rights sent letters to several members of Congress:

Massive Medicaid Fraud Exposed: PsychRights Calls on Members of Congress for Assistance
In letters to Senators Charles Grassley and Herb Kohl, and Representatives Henry
Waxman, Bart Stupak, John Dingell & Barney Frank, the Law Project for Psychiatric
Rights (PsychRights®) has exposed massive Medicaid Fraud. While working on
PsychRights v. Alaska, its lawsuit to prohibit the State of Alaska from the largely
ineffective and always harmful psychiatric drugging of children and youth, PsychRights
“discovered that it is illegal for the vast bulk of these prescriptions to be reimbursed by
Medicaid.”

Extrapolating from Alaska Medicaid Claims, PsychRights calculates over $2 Billion in
fraudulent claims are being paid nationally every year for drug treatments Congress has
explicitly prohibited, and it is probably well over $4.5 Billion, based on the total amount
paid by Medicaid. Stating the carnage caused by the practice will be “recognized as the
largest iatrogenic (doctor caused) public health disaster in history,” PsychRights
analogized the situation, “to our current economic debacle caused by unrestrained Wall
Street greed,” but noted, it is much worse, ” because children’s and youth’s future, health,
and even lives, have been sacrificed and continue to be sacrificed on the altar of corporate
profits.”

Also, “because most current child psychiatrists no longer know how to help children and
youth without resort to the drugs” PsychRights suggests “the savings be used to fund
approaches that have been proven to be safe and effective.”

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the
defense of people facing the horrors of forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock.
PsychRights is further dedicated to exposing the truth about psychiatric interventions and
the courts being misled into ordering people subjected to these brain and body damaging
drugs against their will. Extensive information about these dangers, and about the tragic
damage caused by electroshock, is available on the PsychRights web site:
http://psychrights.org/.

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7-year-old commits suicide while taking psychiatric meds April 25, 2009

This story at the Miami Herald saddens me. It also infuriates me. When are doctors and the FDA going to wake up? What will it take? How many more lives will be lost before this madness stops?

From the article:

Weeks before his death, Gabriel Myers, the 7-year-old Broward boy who hanged himself in the shower of his foster home, had been prescribed a powerful mind-altering drug linked by federal regulators to an increased risk of suicide in children.

In all, Gabriel had been prescribed four psychiatric drugs, two or three of which he was taking at the time of his death, said Jack Moss, Broward chief of the state Department of Children & Families. Moss said he is not sure which medications the boy was taking because Margate police took the foster home’s medication log as part of an investigation into Gabriel’s death last week.

Three of the psychotropic drugs carry U.S. Food and Drug Administration ”black box” label warnings for children’s safety, the strongest advisory the federal agency issues. Three of the medications are not approved for use with young children, though they are widely prescribed to youngsters ”off label” — meaning doctors can prescribe the drug even if not formally approved for that use.

Gabriel had been prescribed Symbyax, Lexapro, Vyvanase and Zyprexa. Again, three of these meds are not approved by the FDA for use with young children. And of course, prescribing them nonetheless is not uncommon, doctors must be held accountable.

Four feet tall and 67 pounds, with short-cropped brown hair, Gabriel was a bright, charming and often sweet little boy, those who knew him say.

But he already had a sad past hinting at a troubling future. Records obtained by The Miami Herald show Gabriel may have been molested by an older boy while he was living with grandparents in Ohio, while his mother was in jail.

On Thursday, Gabriel locked himself in a bathroom and hanged himself with a detachable shower head after arguing with the 19-year-old son of his foster dad about his lunch, Moss said.

this screams trauma. and yet again, another precious child did not get the help he so desperately needed. Instead he got the “quick fix”-medicate. medicate. medicate. so very tragic.

Myers said the boy’s pediatrician had discontinued all psychotropic drugs while Gabriel lived with him, and the boy did well, earning A’s and B’s at the Hollywood Christian Academy.

”We did not have any issues with him having tantrums,” Myers said. “He would get upset, like little boys do.”

A week or two before Gabriel died, his grandfather in Ohio expressed concerns that the boy sounded overmedicated. ”My father said that the last conversation he had a couple of weeks ago Gabriel sounded like he was too drugged,” Myers said. “He sounded like he was doped up.”

Gabriel’s doctor, Dr. Sohail Punjwani, said he did not recall Gabriel. This statement sums up part of my problem with modern psychiatry today. Dr. Punjwani, since you seem to have forgotten your patient-here is a picture:

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What a sweet face. Rest in peace, Gabriel. Let this picture be a reminder to any parents thinking about medicating their children with dangerous meds like Zyprexa. Do the research on these medications before you think about filling that prescription. Unfortunately in today’s modern psychiatric world, your child’s life and well-being is rarely your doctor’s concern.

 

Oh Jesus H. Joe… March 21, 2009

I’m pretty much speechless here. Actually, I’m also quite tired and simply cannot find the words. Sooo….

From the IN VIVO blog:

Do you remember Joseph Biederman?

He’s the Harvard University psychiatrist who is one of several prominent academics being investigated by the US Senate Finance Committee for allegedly failing to properly disclose payments from the pharmaceutical industry, while also conducting grants for the National Institutes of Health (see background).

In Biederman’s case, he allegedly failed to fully report approximately $1.6 million in consulting fees from various drugmakers between 2000 and 2007, according to the committee. And court documents released late last year suggested he also pushed Johnson & Johnson to fund a research center at Massachusetts General Hospital that would advance J&J’s commercial goals (take a look).

As a result, Biederman is currently enmeshed in litigation in the Superior Court of New Jersey, where three drugmakers – AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and J&J’s Janssen unit -are being sued in connection with risks associated with their antipsychotic medications. Attorneys for the families who filed suit fought to interview Biederman under oath because his work has been crucial to the widespread acceptance of the pediatric usage of antipsychotics.

Now, though, Biederman is hoping Superior Court Judge Jamie Happas will agree to have his deposition sealed, because he doesn’t want the extent of his involvement with the companies publicized. However, we understand The New York Times is already gearing up for a story, which prompted Biederman’s attorneys to write this letter to Happas.

What’s in the deposition? Dozens and dozens of pages of detail relating to Biederman’s activities, but we encourage you to peruse both sections of the document.

Please visit the IN VIVO blog to download the deposition.

When Biederman is quizzed about his professional ranking at Harvard, well, here is his response:

Lawyer: “What does that mean?”

Biederman: “To move in the ranks from one rank, for example, at Harvard, there is instructor, from instructor you move to assistant professor, from assistant professor you move to associate professor, from associate professsor you move to full professor.”

Lawyer: “Full professor?”

Biederman: “Hm…mmm.”

Lawyer: “What rank are you?”

Biederman: “Full professor.”

Lawyer: “What’s after that?”

Biederman: “God”

Lawyer: “Did you say God?”

Biederman: “Yeah.”

yeah. you read that correctly.

and then there’s this:

Q. And do you agree that you are one of the most forceful advocates of the aggressive treatment of preschoolers?

A.(Biederman)It is her statement about me.

Q.I didn’t ask you if it was her statement about you.I’m asking you if you agree that you are one of the most forceful advocates of the aggressive treatment of preschoolers.

A.(Biederman) I am.

lock this guy up now for the love of, um, GOD…

opinions of this story are all over the place. here’s the NY Times piece, Furious Seasons, Beyond Meds, soulful sepulcher, The Carlat Psychiatry Blog and the Boston Globe to name a few.

 

3 year anniversary March 8, 2009

march 8, 2006-my first blog entry at my old website.
so much has happened since then.
is my life better?
absolutely.
am i still on the path to recovery?
yes, and i always will be.

I would like to think I have helped some people along the way. maybe they don’t feel so alone. but i will be honest-this is an outlet as well. after my last therapist dozed off during our pricey session, i quit therapy for good. this website allows me to voice my concerns, my fears, my anxieties and I would like to thank all of you who have been there for me over the years. I cannot tell you how much it means to me. I have met some wonderful, beautiful, strong and compassionate people like Gianna, Stephany, John, Ana and so many others.

Over the last three years I’ve had many ups and downs, if you will. I lost my beloved cat of 16 years and I still miss her so. We adopted a beautiful, funny boy from a shelter a few months later. He had a rough past. Beaten, bloodied and lost most of his teeth when he was brought to the shelter but he, like so many of us, is strong and survived. His purrs soothe my soul. I was diagnosed with Adenomyosis and had several ovarian cysts. Shortly after, I had an injury at work and was diagnosed with sciatica. There has been much physical pain the past three years, and I’ve had a hard time dealing with it. My entire life I have been battling the mental pain and was extremely healthy otherwise. I lost my health insurance, a frightening reality I never thought I would have to face. My work has slowed down tremendously due to the economy and strikes but I also reached a goal in my line of work that will soon provide health insurance and a pension. Lastly and most importantly, I got married and it was a beautiful day. The man I married knows me, he gets me and he is not afraid. He loves me unconditionally and has helped me break down some old walls. I know it’s not easy for him. He has no idea what it must have been like to be raped at 15 but he is always there, listening and comforting. I feel very lucky.

Over the past three years it has been bittersweet to see Big Pharma more and more in the news. As much as I hate the Rebecca Riley stories, these stories need to be heard. Thanks to Furious Seasons the Zyprexa and Seroquel documents were made available to the people who have earned the right to read them. Speaking of which, we have seen the descent of journalism. Newspapers are closing their doors. Great journalists are hard to find and we need them now more than ever. So, please head over the Furious Seasons and donate if you can. And over the past few years the Joe Biederman’s of the world are being called out. It has been a long time coming.

I have also began to question my mental illness. I have been labeled with so many, it’s hard to keep track of. I have been on antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. None of them have worked-although a few worked temporarily but that is not good enough. I deserve better. We all deserve better. And on the mark of my 3rd anniversary, I can say that I am happy to say goodbye to psychiatric medications. I have had a long love/hate relationship with them beginning many, many years ago. I’ve suffered through horrific side effects and withdrawals. I may never be the same because of them. However, I have learned there are other paths out there. Safer paths and I am choosing the safer one. It might be a more difficult path but it will be worth it in the end.

And lastly, I feel I have grown quite a bit the past three years. I have learned a lot. I cut off ties with my family around the historic election last year and have since began to mend things. We might not see eye-to-eye politically or even socially but I still love them. I have learned you can’t open everyone’s eyes and that is okay. What is important is….love. And enjoying life and your loved ones while we are here on this planet.

peace to you all.

 

Eli Lilly and 1.4 Billion dollar settlement? January 14, 2009

Filed under: antipsychotics,big pharma — clementine @ 2:10 pm
Tags: , ,

From the NY Times:

Eli Lilly is rumored to be near a $1.4 Billion U.S. settlement on their drug, Zyprexa. The amount of the settlement is a record sum for so-called corporate whistle-blower cases, which are federal lawsuits prompted by tips from company employees or former employees. Details of the agreement were provided by people involved in the negotiations.

In my opinion no amount of money is worth the lives destroyed by this drug but it does send a clear message. I hope this is the beginning of the end of big pharma and their illegal tactics.

Eli Lilly, the drug company, is expected to agree as soon as Thursday to pay $1.4 billion to settle criminal and civil charges that it illegally marketed its blockbuster antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for unauthorized use in patients particularly vulnerable to its risky side effects.

Among the charges, Lilly has been accused of a scheme stretching for years to persuade doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to two categories of patients — children and the elderly — for whom the drug was not federally approved and in whom its use was especially risky.

In one marketing effort, the company urged geriatricians to use Zyprexa to sedate unruly nursing home patients so as to reduce “nursing time and effort,” according to court documents. Like other antipsychotics, Zyprexa increases the risks of sudden death, heart failure and life-threatening infections like pneumonia in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.

In October, Lilly agreed to pay $62 million to 32 states and the District of Columbia to settle consumer protection claims related to Zyprexa. It paid Alaska $15 million and agreed to pay $1.2 billion to 31,000 Zyprexa plaintiffs. Some private Zyprexa claims remain unresolved.

 

side effects and stockings hung by the fireplace December 6, 2008

those bloody side effects. (sorry, i recently worked with an actress from england and i love saying bloody) oh, according to The American’s guide to speaking British we should never say bloody!

Bloody – One of the most useful swear words in English. Mostly used as an exclamation of surprise i.e. “bloody hell” or “bloody nora”. Something may be “bloody marvellous” or “bloody awful”. It is also used to emphasise almost anything, “you’re bloody mad”, “not bloody likely” and can also be used in the middle of other words to emphasise them. E.g. “Abso-bloody-lutely”! Americans should avoid saying “bloody” as they sound silly.

sorry, made me laugh…which is a good thing! anyway, back to those…horrific… side effects. i’m not sure what is going on. definite slurred speech from the Abilify. my swain has been sad and told me he doesn’t like seeing me this way. the only way i can describe what i assume he means is…i am not myself, just a shell of myself. physically my body is here but emotionally i am somewhere else, actually not somewhere else. just emotionally NUMB. and that is precisely the problem i have with antipsychotics. if a low dose of Seroquel or Abilify can turn me into a zombie, imagine the thousands of children taking them…horrific…and who knows the long term effects.

the xanax works just fine i suppose. it knocks down any anxiety but they are certainly the addictive little pills. the celexa…i’m not so sure about. might be messing with my sleep schedule. for example, we started watching a movie last night (a movie i have wanted to see for a long time and was excited or as excited as a zombie can be) and i fell asleep before the opening credits finished running. woke up at 10:30pm and then to bed around 2am. woke up at 6am with severe pain in both arms/wrists/hands. took a few ibuprofen and fell asleep on the couch around 830a only to awake at 1050am and haven’t been able to sleep since. i googled carpal tunnel thinking maybe that’s what is wrong with my hands. or it could be one of the medications.

here’s what i hope. well, first, i hope the pain goes away. if it doesn’t in a few days-i don’t know what to do, i can’t afford to see a doctor. but, i hope when my 3 week supply of Abilify and Celexa are finished, I am done with them and I hope I won’t fall back into that dark hole. I will hang onto the Xanax (2 month supply) and deal with its nasty withdrawal symptoms later. I’m not exactly going against my doctor’s orders. She only wanted me on the Abilify for 3 weeks partially due to the fact I told her quite bluntly…I’m not stupid, I’ve been researching mental illness and their medications for nearly 10 years now…i know for a fact there is very little research and many unknowns on the short and long term effects of the pharmaceutical company’s hot, new, fancy drug (Abilify) used to treat all sorts of things from depression to bipolar to schizophrenia. I am sure there will soon be lawsuits similar to the other atypical antipsychotic (Seroquel, Zyprexa) lawsuits. and then, well…we’ll start seeing another hot, new, fancy drug advertised and doctors will be passing them out like Halloween candy.

Ok, I lied. Maybe not totally following doctor’s orders. I have been tempted to stop taking the Celexa (weight gain and loss of libido are big side effects) but I will give it a few more days and see what happens. I would also like to quit the Abilify. Before taking this I was already depressed and running to the store was a huge chore. But now, in my zombie state I can hardly function. you try working or looking for work, playing, enjoying life on any antipsychotic…trust me. I am positive when I see my doctor in 3 weeks she will want me to continue taking the Celexa and Xanax. But I hate SSRIs almost as much as I hate antipsychotics! I don’t know how I’ll continue that medication…but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Here’s the good and bad news. Suicidal thoughts-gone. Anxiety-gone. Depression-um, hard to say. But I’m so drugged up I can’t seem to focus on anything but just GETTING THROUGH THIS and getting better!!!! I called my parents because i miss them terribly and i wanted to begin repairing the damage because I love them so very much. I was immediately bombarded with questions about work. Have you found a job yet, etc… and i wanted to scream….LAST WEEK I WAS PLANNING A SUICIDE. well, not technically but i was thinking of how to do it, planning to write a list on how to distribute my belongings (i only got as far as my “C” diamond necklace to go to my niece and our dear sweet buddy to whomever could care for him the best) and then thoughts like, dear god…who will pay for my funeral. and more importantly…how selfish. and most importantly…there are so many people in this world i love SO dearly—I could not leave them. However, I have to realize my sister and my parents can’t talk about or understand any of the above. Instead I was told MSNBC is poisoning me! like that is really a concern of mine right now. I must figure out HOW to ignore and love no matter what. Oddly enough I have always loved people, all people i have met in this world and people i don’t even know…i have loved them unconditionally.

isn’t that what life is about…love? i think so.

Odd, reading through this “blog” I don’t sound like a zombie and I don’t feel like one right now. Maybe it’s the coffee. maybe i’m manic. maybe for the moment i’m just so darn happy the suicidal thoughts are gone. or maybe i’m getting better, again, for the 1,188th time in my life.

This is what I do know.
I was able to put up the Christmas decorations even though for the first time in 35 years I really didn’t want to. But I’m enjoying those Christmas lights and stockings hung by the fireplace. I know we can’t afford to buy christmas gifts and we mailed leftover christmas cards from last year even though one of my favorite things is buying christmas cards every year. And since I usually send personalized cards to family and cannot afford 10 or so at 4.99ish a piece we will be doing something different this year for the family cards.

I know that it is cold here and i’ve had a fire burning for nearly 20 hours.
And I know our cat is happier than he’s ever been.

buddy-in-front-of-fire

 

zyprexa and seroquel make top 10 list June 5, 2008

Filed under: antipsychotics,big pharma — clementine @ 10:14 pm
Tags: , , ,

Antipsychotics were the sixth best selling class of medications globally in 2007, according to IMS Health. They raked in a cool $20.7 billion, an increase of 10.7% from 2006. The sales of three antipsychotics made the top ten list—Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel. Why I am not surprised? Read the full story (and an excellent post) at Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look.