A recent 2011 report from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that over 10% of Americans are taking antidepressants. That equates to 30 million individuals on antidepressants. There has been a staggering 400% increase in the use of antidepressants between 1991 and 2010. Withdrawal side effects, which can be severe, occur in upwards of 78% of the patients who try to discontinue antidepressants.
The serious side effects caused by antidepressants and the withdrawal reactions associated with discontinuing antidepressants clearly represent a public health disaster of enormous proportions.
A perfect example of such a disaster is the recent Newtown shootings, as was mentioned in a recent article in the Houston Chronicle about gun-rights advocates who promote the view that psychiatric drugs fuel mass shooters.
Ignatius Piazza, who runs Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in Windsor, California, was quoted in the article as saying:
denominator (is) the creation of strong, mind altering, psychiatric drugs…
…these drugs create the monsters who are killing their parents, teachers and schoolmates.”
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights hired a computer consultant to review the Food & Drug Administration MedWatch data to isolate cases of psychiatric use linked to violent behavior.
This was their conclusion:
Women are prescribed antidepressants 3 times more frequently than men. Nearly 30% of white women between the ages of 40 and 60 are taking antidepressants. This percentage increases as you move up the socioeconomic scale.
Joseph Glenmullen, M.D., explains in his book, The Antidepressant Solution, how, for over two decades, pharmaceutical companies have only reported positive studies about the use of antidepressants. They have denied any serious side effects caused by use of the antidepressants or withdrawal reactions when they are discontinued. As a matter a fact, the pharmaceutical companies have disingenuously adopted the terminology of “discontinuation symptoms” so that they can deny that there are withdrawal effects. Warning of withdrawal reactions would be an admission that antidepressants are addictive, a classification that the drug companies continue to deny.
Drug companies conduct their own studies, independent of the FDA, in an attempt to prove the statistical significance of the drug. The pharmaceutical companies look at the results of the various studies and then design further research in such a way that they achieve two statistically positive studies. In order to grant its approval for a drug, the FDA only requires that two studies be submitted that show that there is a statistical difference between the drug being evaluated and a placebo. The drug research studies by the drug companies only last for one month. Drugs have a cumulative effect on those who take them. A one month study cannot evaluate the long term effects of the drugs. The current antidepressants are referred to as “Blockbuster Drugs” by the pharmaceutical companies. According to Reuters, in 2009 antidepressant sales reached $9.9 billion.
Antidepressants are the third leading class of drugs in sales revenue in the United States.
The FDA does not require that the drug companies submit any studies which demonstrate negative statistical effects. It does not matter whether the effects are clinically significant are not. This differs from the requirement of the British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), equivalent to our FDA, which requires that the drug companies submit all the studies, both positive and negative, for review. Drug companies are not required to study any drug withdrawal reactions.
The British MHRA has banned the use of any antidepressants in children under 18 years of age. The MHRA evaluated all the drug companies’ reports and determined that antidepressants had no positive effect for children under 18. In fact, the MHRA determined that antidepressants were dangerous and that they led to an increase in suicidal thoughts and actions.
The drug companies have been aware of the side effects and the withdrawal reactions associated with the antidepressants, but they have been more interested in the multi-billion dollar profits from antidepressant sales than in public safety.
The pharmaceutical companies have done everything in their power to hide these negative studies from the public and from physicians.
Drug companies also finance studies created by public relation researchers and ghostwriters to prove positive statistical results for antidepressants to submit to medical journals. These studies are then published under the name of influential academic physicians who are paid handsome fees for the use of their names.
Steven F. Hotze, M.D.