The Bitter Pill

The Official Blog of UNITE – uniteforlife.org

Brief Post on Diabetes and Antidepressants

http://ssristories.com/show.php?item=3283

Sentence eights reads:  “The magnitude of the risk was similar for long-term use of moderate to high daily doses of tricyclic antidepressants (incidence rate ratio=1.77, 95% CI=1.21-2.59) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (incidence rate ratio=2.06, 95% CI=1.20-3.52).”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19339356?dopt=Abstract

Long-Term Use of Antidepressants for Depressive Disorders and the Risk of Diabetes Mellitus.

Andersohn F, Schade R, Suissa S, Garbe E.

Objective Use of antidepressants has been reported to cause considerable weight gain. The aim of this study was to assess the risk of diabetes mellitus associated with antidepressant treatment and to examine whether the risk is influenced by treatment duration or daily dose. Method This was a nested case-control study in a cohort of 165,958 patients with depression who received at least one new prescription for an antidepressant between January 1, 1990, and June 30, 2005. Data were from from the U.K. General Practice Research Database. Patients were at least 30 years of age and without diabetes at cohort entry. Results A total of 2,243 cases of incident diabetes mellitus and 8,963 matched comparison subjects were identified. Compared with no use of antidepressants during the past 2 years, recent long-term use (>24 months) of antidepressants in moderate to high daily doses was associated with an increased risk of diabetes (incidence rate ratio=1.84, 95% CI=1.35-2.52). The magnitude of the risk was similar for long-term use of moderate to high daily doses of tricyclic antidepressants (incidence rate ratio=1.77, 95% CI=1.21-2.59) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (incidence rate ratio=2.06, 95% CI=1.20-3.52). Treatment for shorter periods or with lower daily doses was not associated with an increased risk. Conclusions Long-term use of antidepressants in at least moderate daily doses was associated with an increased risk of diabetes. This association was observed for both tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

PMID: 19339356 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

http://ssristories.com/show.php?item=2416

Paragraphs 1 & 2 read:  “Patients who take antidepressant medications may be at increased risk for developing diabetes, according to results of a new study.”

“’If antidepressants prove to be an independent diabetes risk factor, clinicians will need to consider this when prescribing depression treatment,’ Richard R. Rubin, PhD, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University, told Endocrine Today.”

http://www.endocrinetoday.com/view.aspx?rid=26973

Posted on March 13, 2008

Antidepressant use, progression to diabetes linked

However, basis for association remains unclear.

Patients who take antidepressant medications may be at increased risk for developing diabetes, according to results of a new study.

“If antidepressants prove to be an independent diabetes risk factor, clinicians will need to consider this when prescribing depression treatment,” Richard R. Rubin, PhD, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University, told Endocrine Today.

Rubin and colleagues assessed the association between antidepressant use and diabetes in individuals at high risk for the disease. They evaluated 3,187 participants enrolled in one of three treatment arms in the Diabetes Prevention Program: intensive lifestyle, metformin and placebo.

Depression scores, medication use and diabetes

Researchers from various sites in the United States followed the participants for an average of 3.2 years and found that elevated depression scores consistent with mild depression at baseline and during the study were not associated with progression to diabetes in any of the three treatment arms.

However, antidepressant use at baseline was associated with increased diabetes risk in both the placebo arm (HR=2.25) and intensive lifestyle arm (HR=3.48). Participants who took antidepressants on a continuous basis during the study were also at increased risk for diabetes (placebo arm, HR=2.60; intensive lifestyle arm, HR=3.39). Intermittent use was associated with diabetes risk only in the intensive lifestyle arm (HR=2.07).

Evaluating Antidepressant Use and Progression to Diabetes: Three Treatment Arms in the Diabetes Prevention Program

Intensive lifestyle modification arm 7% loss of initial body weight through a calorie-controlled, low-fat diet and 150 minutes per week of moderately intense physical activity

Metformin arm Standard lifestyle intervention plus metformin 850 mg twice daily

Placebo arm Standard lifestyle intervention plus placebo pill twice daily

Medication use was not significantly associated with progression to disease in participants in the metformin arm.

According to the researchers’ calculations, treating 5.4 participants in the placebo arm and 5.2 in the intensive lifestyle arm with antidepressants would cause one additional case of diabetes after three years.

“The association between antidepressant use and diabetes risk remained significant when likely mediators were controlled, such as fasting glucose, weight and weight gain,” Rubin said.

Women were more likely to use antidepressants at baseline­7.4% of women vs. 2% of men. Prior to this evaluation, only second-generation atypical antipsychotic agents have been associated with increased diabetes risk. Most participants in this study used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

“Antidepressant use could simply be a marker for the actual cause of increased diabetes risk,” he said. “The lingering effects of past depression or the current effects of that depression, even with its symptoms controlled by medication, could explain the association.”

Future research should focus on minimizing the potentially adverse effects of antidepressants on glycemic control, according to the researchers. – by Katie Kalvaitis

For more information:

Rubin RR, Ma Y, Marrero DG, et al. Elevated depression symptoms, antidepressant medicine use, and risk of developing diabetes during the Diabetes Prevention Program. Diabetes Care. 2008;31:420-426. []

PERSPECTIVE

These data are provocative. This raises the question of whether antidepressants can play some kind of etiologic role in the induction of diabetes in people who are susceptible. It makes me wonder whether use of these agents could be doing something bad. I think antidepressants are good at treating depression, and people are going to treat with these drugs even if there is an increased risk for conversion to diabetes in susceptible people. I suppose if you are going to use antidepressants, you should get baseline values on your patients and watch them if it looks like they have any risk factors for diabetes. Based on studies like this one, you want to perhaps screen these patients a little more carefully. The whole issue of depression is hard to quantitate. These researchers are saying that people treated with antidepressants had a higher incidence of conversion to diabetes. But the reasons are apparently not clear. There was no association with body weight gain. This study also raises the question, to which we do not have an answer at the moment: can this be replicated in other studies? Maybe we need a large-scale clinical trial to look at this.

– Philip Levy, MD

Endocrine Today Editorial Board member

Filed under: pharmacology

Bob Fiddaman Pokes Fun at “Pro-Antidepressant” Crowd

Brief musical interlude from Post Partum Drugs for Moms and Dads Inc. (PPDMD, Inc.)

If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
And soon I will be [sending your prescription straight to your door]

Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
All you have to do is call
And Ill be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Youve got a [prescribing doctor friend]

Check out Bob Fiddaman’s blog, Seroxat Sufferers Stand Up and Be Counted and his opposition to The MOTHERS Act and the Sad Daddies programs. (Philip, no worries, PPD is not just for women anymore).

Fiddy has a rather amusing (to say the least) short video called “The Waltons – The Lost Episode – ‘John Boy is a Dysfunctional Scientologist'” and some good coverage of Evelyn Pringle’s recent series on The MOTHERS Act in a post called “Pro-Antidepressant Brigade Use Scientology as their Defence.”

Here’s “The Lost Episode” on YouTube (Warning: this video may offend some people; if impressionable teenage boys are nearby, you may want to put in your headphones before pressing play):

Filed under: antidepressants, antipsychotics, Congress, Melanie Stokes, mothers act, Postpartum Men, PPD, Pregnancy, suicide, , , , ,

The Mothers Act Disease Mongering Campaign – Part V

http://www.naturalnews.com/026933_pregnancy_depression_SSRI.html

Friday, August 28, 2009 by: Evelyn Pringle, health freedom writer

(NaturalNews) This is part five of an article series by Evelyn Pringle. Find previous parts here: Part One (http://www.naturalnews.com/026634_d…), Part Two (http://www.naturalnews.com/026707_h…), Part Three (http://www.naturalnews.com/026742_d…) and Part Four (http://www.naturalnews.com/026926_d…). What follows is the full text of part five:

In the title of a paper in the May, 2009, Journal of Affective Disorders, Stephen Matthey, of the University of Sydney Infant, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service Research Unit in Australia, asks, “Are we overpathologising motherhood?”

The paper was critical of self-report screening measures such as the Edinburgh Depression Scale for overestimating the rate of psychiatric disorders in motherhood. “The properties of the Edinburgh Scale show that around 50% of women scoring high are not in fact depressed,” the paper’s abstract reports.

The paper was further critical of the high percentage of women being screened as ‘at-risk’. Classifying women to be ‘at-risk’ based upon “the presence of a single risk factor is questionable given that the majority of women with risks do not become depressed, and also the rate of women reported to have at least one risk (up to 88%) is so high as to negate the usefulness of this concept,” the abstract warns.

Matthey also questioned the use of the diagnostic criteria for depression in the DSM IV, such as weight loss, sleep problems and fatigue, which could easily be attributed to new parenthood rather than depression.

“Current estimates of the prevalence of perinatal distress, and of women with risks, are an overestimation of the true rates,” the abstract concludes.

“The clinical practice of using the presence of a single risk factor, or a single high score on a self-report mood scale, to form part of the assessment to determine whether or not to actively intervene may also overpathologise the situation,” Matthey warns.

“A more thorough understanding of these issues will improve our assessment procedures so that resources can be appropriately targeted to those women, and their families, who really need specialist mental health intervention,” he points out.

With the above paper in mind, consider the posting on Postpartum Progress by Katherine on July 29, 2009, of: “A Nurse/Mother’s Letter to Time Magazine: Alison Palmer.”

In the letter to the editors, Palmer described herself as, “a maternal-newborn clinical nurse specialist, coordinator of a Postpartum Emotional Support Program, and most importantly as a mother.”

It sounds like she works at the Maternity Center at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire, which “does about 2200 births per year,” according to the letter.

“Postpartum depression or other mood and anxiety disorders occur at least 20% of the time, and can occur anytime in the first year after birth,” Palmer claims in the letter.

“Our organization recently implemented an Inpatient Postpartum Depression Risk Assessment,” Palmer told the editors.

“An 11-item questionnaire is distributed to EVERY new mother who delivers, and screens them into a risk category for developing PPD,” she wrote.

“This screening tool identifies risk factors and does not indicate that a woman will definitely experience PPD,” she said.

“Just like someone who smokes, is obese, has high blood pressure and a family history of cardiac disease is at higher risk for a heart attack, these PPD risk factors simply indicate that one might be at a higher risk for the illness,” Palmer explained to Time editors.

“In our first month of screening, we had patients screen out as 46% low risk, 21% moderate risk, 30.5% high risk and 2.5% immediate risk,” she reported.

“More than HALF of all of the new mothers who delivered had some increased risk for PPD,” Palmer added.

“The “at-risk” moms view a PPD video, receive more in-depth PPD education, get follow up phone calls at home, are offered Visiting Nurse visits and are invited to attend weekly New Moms Groups and the Postpartum Depression Support Group,” she told Time.

After reading the above information, on July 29, 2009, Amy posted a blog to Nurse Palmer on Postpartum Progress and asked: “Did the program refer the low risk women for further evaluation? Is low-risk considered at risk?”

“In the risk assessment survey, the mother needs to answer “NO” to ALL 11 items in order to be scored as “LOW” risk,” Palmer wrote back to Amy, demonstrating that no mother will ever escape this dragnet.

“I always tell people there is no such thing as “NO RISK”, since simply giving birth puts a woman at risk due to the hormone and biological changes that occur,” she explained.

“Even answering “yes” to one item on the survey puts mom in a “moderate risk” category,” Palmer claimed.

“Women who score low risk still have routine PPD teaching done by the RNs,” she told Amy. “They just don’t have the follow up by VNA and phone calls.”

“Interesting,” Amy wrote back to Palmer. “I myself was told I needed drugs because of my high risk for PPD.”

“I was later told by a pediatrician, lactation consultant and OBGYN that perhaps I should consider staying on drugs permanently even during pregnancy or not having any more kids because of my high risk of having PPD again after the birth of any subsequent children,” she explained further.

“I had no problems at all after the birth of Toby,” Amy said. “I am thankful I did not listen to them.”

Nurse Palmer compares the use of “risk factors” to diagnose women with mental disorders to the use of risk factors for other diseases. In June 2005, the Seattle Times published a series of reports including one titled, “Suddenly Sick,” by Susan Kelleher and Duff Wilson, with the byline: “The hidden big business behind your doctor’s diagnosis,” and discussed the successful trick of using “risk factors” in past drug marketing campaigns.

“You are suddenly sick,” the authors wrote, “simply because the definitions of disease have changed.” And behind those changes, the Times found, were “the companies that make all those newly prescribed pills.”

The authors noted that “Dartmouth Medical School researchers estimate that during the 1990s, tens of millions more Americans were classified as having hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes or obesity simply because the definitions of those diseases were changed.”

“The medical profession’s term for these people is ‘the worried well,'” the authors said. “They are otherwise healthy people who have risk factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, but may never suffer a heart attack or stroke.”

“Every time the boundary of a disease is expanded — the hypertension threshold is lowered by 10 blood-pressure points, the guideline for obesity is lowered by 5 pounds,” they pointed out, “the market for drugs expands by millions of consumers and billions of dollars.” The results, they wrote:

“Skyrocketing sales of prescription drugs. Soaring health-care costs. Escalating patient anxiety. Worst of all, millions of people taking drugs that may carry a greater risk than the underlying condition. The treatment, in fact, may make them sick or even kill them.”

“Pharmaceutical firms have commandeered the process by which diseases are defined,” the Times found. “Many decision makers at the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and some of America’s most prestigious medical societies take money from the drug companies and then promote the industry’s agenda,” the authors reported.

“Treatment guidelines established by international and national health organizations instruct physicians on diagnosis and treatment of disease and are meant to be scientifically pristine,” they said. But the Times found that for a broad spectrum of diseases, “the experts writing the treatment guidelines had drug-company ties ranging from research contracts to consultancies to stock ownership.”

Attack on Vogue Magazine Journalist

On April 29, 2009, Hale used her website to “refute” some of the top experts in the field, quoted by Alexis Jetter, in an article in the May issue of Vogue Magazine titled, “Pregnant Pause,” which warned that: “With a flurry of recent reports challenging the safety of antidepressant drugs for unborn babies, doctors and concerned mothers-to-be are rethinking the guidelines.”

“What alarms doctors is the sheer number of pregnant women who use SSRI antidepressants – perhaps as many as 250,000 in the U.S. each year – when we still know so little about how the drugs effect babies,” Jetter reported.

The number of pregnant women on SSRIs has apparently skyrocked over the past three years. Back in 2006, the American Medical Association gave an estimate “that over 1% of pregnant women in the U.S., or more than 40,000, are taking antidepressants,” the Wall Street Journal reported in July 2006.

“SSRI usage dramatically increases the chances that a baby may be miscarried, born prematurely or too small, suffer erratic heartbeats, and have trouble breathing,” Jetter points out in Vogue.

In response to the article, Hale wrote a commentary titled, “Thoughts on exploring a “Pregnancy Pause,” and sent it to Vogue. “I methodically refuted and balanced the article’s bias against medicating with anti-depressants during pregnancy,” she wrote, when publishing the letter in full on her website.

On May 6, 2009, Katherine posted a link to Hale’s site with the headline, “Hale Responds to Vogue Piece on Antidepressants in Pregnancy,” and Kleiman provided a link on her treatment center website, telling readers: “Please take the time to read her very thoughtful and well-researched post.”

Upon reading the commentary, anyone with knowledge on this topic would have a hard time believing that the human face, Hale, did the “methodical refuting” all on her own.

In the Vogue article, Jetter explains that serotonin, “the neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, also sends crucial developmental signals to the fetal heart, lung, and brain.”

“Some scientists think that SSRIs, which prevent the body’s natural absorption of serotonin, could be tampering with essential cell growth,” she reports.

“Never before in human history have we artificially changed the architecture of brain development,” said Feng Zhou, PhD, of the Indiana University School of Medicine, in the Vogue article.

“We always predicted that developmental exposure to these drugs would have some deleterious effects,” Jean Lauder, PhD, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, told Jetter. “But no one was listening back then.”

Jetter also cites warnings by Dr Adam Urato, the guy who alerted JAMA to the undisclosed financial conflicts of interest among the authors of the Cohen Relapse in Depression study, and assistant professor of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, stating:

“Women and their providers have been told that even mild depression or anxiety will hurt their baby …. And these antidepressants are portrayed almost like prenatal vitamins that will level out their mood and lead to a healthier baby.”

“But antidepressants have not been shown to decrease rates of miscarriage or birth defects or low birth weight. On the contrary, they’ve been show to increase those problems.”

“On top of that,” argues Urato, “only one voice is reaching the ears of most women’s health practitioners: that of a small coterie of influential doctors who he says underplay the dangers of antidepressants,” Jetter reported.

“Many of these physicians have accepted lucrative speaking fees and consulting contracts from drug companies,” she wrote. “And yet – sometimes without divulging those connections – these same doctors are shaping treatment guidelines.”

True to form, in her commentary, Hale referred to work by the industry shill Wisner. In fact, the Mothers Act disease mongers repeatedly tout papers by Wisner without disclosing her financial ties to the drug makers.

For instance, Hale’s headline for a March 28, 2009, blog read: “The Confusion of Ante-Partum Depression: To Medicate or Not?”

“Ante-Partum Depression” being another newly coined buzz term for depression during pregnancy, a disorder not listed in the DSM.

In her blog, Hale reported that: “A recent study by Dr. Katherine Wisner … Found that continuous exposure to either SSRI or Depression during pregnancy results in pre-term delivery rates in excess of twenty percent while mothers with no exposure to either depression or SSRI over the course of their pregnancy experienced rates of pre-term delivery at six percent or lower.”

The actual study titled, “Major depression and antidepressant treatment: impact on pregnancy and neonatal outcomes,” was published in the March 2009, AJP. And the researchers in fact found women exposed to continuous treatment with SSRIs had an increased risk for preterm birth of 23%, and women with continuous depression but no SSRIs had a lower increased risk of 21%, compared to a 6% rate for women with no depression and no SSRIs.

However, women reading spinmaster Hale’s summary of the results were told “the pre-term delivery rates were the same with depression exclusive of SSRI treatment.”

“So what’s a pregnant depressed mama to do?”, Hale wrote on her website.

“I read,” she stated. “Voraciously.”

“The two biggest sources of help for me,” she said, “were Karen Kleiman’s What Am I Thinking? Having a Baby After Postpartum Depression and Kornstein/Clayton’s Women’s Mental Health.”

“Karen’s book allowed me to realize my emotions were right on target for a woman facing pregnancy (expected or not) after surviving a PMD episode while Women’s Mental Health laid out the risk factors in a no-nonsense manner,” she wrote.

“I was convinced to stay on medication,” Hales said, “after I read my risk for relapse went up by 50% if I discontinued my medication during pregnancy.”

“With my risk factor already 50% higher than women having never experienced a PMD, there was no way I was giving myself a 100% risk of traveling down that road,” she wrote.

Kleiman’s book sells for about $19 on Amazon and Women’s Mental Health is listed for $85.

In a May 12, 2009, Postpartum Progress blog, Katherine made sure to promote the continued use of SSRIs by pregnant women in posting a sentence from an editorial in the AJP titled, “Assessing Risk and Benefit: To Treat or Not to Treat Major Depression During Pregnancy With Antidepressant Medication,” by Dr Barbara Parry, which states:

“Thus, all things considered, on the basis of the findings from the methodologically sound and rigorous study of Wisner et al. and the evidence available from long-term studies, this author thinks that the risk of untreated major depression outweighs the risk of effects of SSRI treatment on neonatal outcomes.”

As part of the campaign against Vogue, Hale published in full a letter sent to Vogue from Arienne Einarson, without disclosing Einarson’s drug industry ties or controversies surrounding Einarson’s Canadian program.

In a blog on Hale’s site, Einarson said of the Vogue article: “I am the author of the largest study on paxil(no drug company funding) published in a premier psychiatry journal and they certainly did not contact me. I WONDER WHY NOT?”

First off, maybe Einarson wasn’t contacted because she is a nurse and not a doctor. She is the Assistant Director of Clinical Services of the Motherisk program at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, also known as SickKids, and works under Motherisk Director, Dr Gideon Koren.

And maybe it was because her often co-author, Dr Koren, was involved in one the biggest academic research scandals in history a few years back when he sent vicious letters to discredit fellow researchers and denied doing so until DNA evidence from postage stamps proved he was lying, years later. In September 2003, the Canadian Association of University Teachers reported in the CAUT Bulletin:

“The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons has formally reprimanded University of Toronto professor of medicine Dr. Gideon Koren. He had written anonymous harassing letters about Dr. Nancy Olivieri and three colleagues during Olivieri’s dispute with the Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Toronto and Apotex Inc. He then had lied repeatedly to conceal his responsibility. The college also cited him for additional misconduct, in research.”

“In its decision, the discipline committee said it was “deeply troubled by this case” and “seriously considered administering a more severe penalty” than that proposed to it, as it wished “to express unequivocally its condemnation of Dr. Koren’s misconduct.”

“It defies belief that an individual of Dr. Koren’s professed character and integrity could author such vicious diatribes against his colleagues as he did in the ‘poison pen letters’,” the committee wrote in its decision.

The committee described Koren’s actions as “childish, vindictive and dishonest” and noted that “only when confronted with irrefutable scientific evidence of his guilt did he admit he was the perpetrator” of the letter campaign. The Teachers Association further explained in the Bulletin:

“The college’s finding of research misconduct was in relation to a study on a drug to treat a blood disorder in children that Koren and Olivieri had once collaborated on. Olivieri identified risks that the drug was ineffective and caused liver damage, and voiced her concerns despite legal warnings from its maker, Apotex. Koren differed and, contrary to accepted norms, published an article on the drug using data from other researchers, including Olivieri, without their knowledge or consent.”

“The penalty had been jointly proposed to the college discipline committee through prior agreement between counsel for Koren and counsel for the college,” the Bulletin reported.

“The discipline committee did not have before it the facts that Koren had violated additional university and international norms of conduct in this publication,” it pointed out.

“Koren had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from Apotex after the company had terminated the drug trials in its efforts to prevent Olivieri from disclosing risks to patients, as well as the hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding he had received during the trials,” the newsletter reported, citing an journal article by the authors of “The Olivieri Report.”

It should be noted that Apotex went on to market a generic version of Paxil, or paroxetine. In September 2005, the FDA issued a warning about possible birth defects associated with Paxil when the drug is taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The warning was based on one study that found about a 2% risk of heart defects in babies born to mothers who took Paxil in early pregnancy, compared with a 1% risk in the general population, and a second study that found the risk of heart defects was 1.5% in babies whose mothers took Paxil in the first three months, compared with 1 percent in babies whose mothers took other antidepressants in the first trimester.

In October 2005, Einarson put out a paper titled, “The safety of psychotropic drug use during pregnancy: a review.”

“This article reviews the various classes of psychotropic drugs that are commonly used to treat psychiatric disorders–antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, lithium and monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors–in terms of their safety during pregnancy,” the abstract on PubMed states.

“A substantial number of women of childbearing age are prescribed psychotropic drugs, and because nearly 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, many women are still taking them upon becoming pregnant,” Einarson points out.

“Evidence-based information from epidemiologic studies indicates that most psychotropic drugs are relatively safe for use during pregnancy,” the abstract states. A November 2005 abstract for another Einarson paper on PubMed states:

“A number of pregnant women suffer from psychiatric disorders that require treatment with psychotropic drugs. A literature review suggests that these medications are relatively safe to use during pregnancy. Abrupt discontinuation of these drugs can have both physiological and psychological ramifications, which include unpleasant physical symptoms and re-emergence of the psychiatric condition. Therefore, it is not good practice to discontinue these medications abruptly upon diagnosis of pregnancy.”

Here’s Einarson and Koren back in November 2005, still available on the Motherisk website, answering questions under the tab for “Pregnancy & Breastfeeding” with a heading: “Counseling pregnant women who are treated with paroxetine”.

One webpage says: “Motherisk questions are prepared by the Motherisk Team at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ont.” In a November 2005 Special Supplement, the question was phrased as:

“I have always reassured my patients that taking an SSRI in pregnancy would not increase their risk for having a child with a major malformation. However, I recently read the warning from Health Canada regarding the release of a study from GSK, stating that infants exposed to paroxetine may be at a higher risk of congenital malformations, specifically cardiovascular defects. Some of my pregnant patients who are taking paroxetine (Paxil) heard about this information in the media and called me to ask if they should stop taking it. What should I tell them?”

Their answer was:

“The new warning is based on small non peer review, unpublished studies. It ignored 2 published studies that failed to show such association, and no such association has been shown for SSRI’s as a class. The data suggested that even if there is a risk, it is small. The warning does not disclose the details of the cardiovascular malformations in these studies. Many cases of ventricular septal defect, the most common cardiac malformation, resolve spontaneously. Concerned mothers to be should know that beyond the first trimester a drug cannot cause cardiac malformation. Failure to treat depression during pregnancy can have significant negative ramifications for both mother and child, and it is the strongest predictor of postpartum depression.”

In December 2005, the FDA instructed GlaxoSmithKline to reclassify Paxil from a Category C to D for pregnant women. A Category D warning means studies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. An advisory to “Neuropsychiatric and other healthcare professionals,” specifically stated that the “FDA has determined that exposure to paroxetine in the first trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk for congenital malformations, particularly cardiac malformations,” and advised:

“Physicians who are caring for women receiving paroxetine should alert them to the potential risk to the fetus if they plan to become pregnant or are currently in their first trimester of pregnancy. Discontinuing paroxetine therapy should be considered for these patients. Women who are pregnant, or planning a pregnancy, and currently taking paroxetine should consult with their physician about whether to continue taking it.”

A little over a year ago, a study in the April 2008 American Journal of Psychiatry, reported an “Evaluation of the Risk of Congenital Cardiovascular Defects Associated With Use of Paroxetine During Pregnancy,” with authors that included Einarson and Koren.

The conclusion for the abstract stated: “Paroxetine does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular defects following use in early pregnancy, as the incidence in more than 3,000 infants was well within the population incidence of approximately 1%.”

The Winter 2009 issue of the Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a paper by Einarson titled, “Risks/safety of psychotropic medication use during pregnancy–Motherisk Update 2008.” The abstract contains the standard talking points, and states in part:

“Psychiatric disorders are relatively common among women of childbearing age, who may be prescribed psychotropic drugs. There remains a high level of anxiety regarding their safety among patients and healthcare providers alike, most likely because of the conflicting studies that have been published in the literature and warnings from government organizations.”

“The body of evidence in the literature to date suggests that psychotropic drugs as a group are relatively safe to take during pregnancy and women and their health care providers should not be unduly concerned if a woman requires treatment,” the abstract concludes.

Koren and Einarson routinely fail to list financial ties to drug makers in their papers. The following disclosure was published in the November 2008 American Journal of Psychiatry as a correction to an article for which no disclosures were made:

“Dr. Koren and Ms. Einarson have received research support from Janssen-Ortho and Wyeth. Dr. Koren has received research support from Apotex, Duchesnay, Novartis, and Pfizer. Ms. Einarson has received unrestricted research grants from GlaxoSmithKline for studying ondansetron in pregnancy and from Organon for studying mirtazapine in pregnancy. Dr. Einarson has received research support from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Janssen-Ortho, Lundbeck, Novo Nordisk, and Organon.”

When reposting Einarson’s letter on her website, Hale states, “Adrienne currently serves as Coordinator for the International Reproductive Psychiatry group at Motherisk in Toronto.”

At the start of the letter to Vogue, Einarson writes: “I am writing to you on behalf of an international group of individuals who are involved with reproductive mental health, as either clinicians, researchers and in some cases both.”

“We would like to voice our concerns regarding your recent piece entitled “Pregnant Pause,” which we felt, did not achieve a balanced perspective on this issue, which was surprising to us, coming as it did from such a highly esteemed publication as Vogue,” she states.

Einarson makes claims on behalf of this group without identifying a single member by name. If these “International” groups exist, there is remarkably little information about it on the internet. A google search a couple months ago for “International Reproductive Psychiatry Group” brought up 2 hits – both to the comments above. A search for “North American Reproductive Psychiatry Group” had 2 hits – both to references made by Einarson at various times.

In her letter to Vogue, Einarson wrote: “Another disturbing theme that came up several times in the article, is that physicians hand out antidepressants like candy, and physicians in our group were most offended by this statement as they are very careful about prescribing antidepressants and would not give them to someone who not does not require treatment.”

Here she is likely referring to Dr Urato’s warnings and statements such as: “What alarms doctors is the sheer number of pregnant women who use SSRI antidepressants – perhaps as many as 250,000 in the U.S. each year – when we still know so little about how the drugs effect babies,” as Jetter reported.

In conclusion in her letter to Vogue, Einarson refers to her “International” group again, and states: “Finally, and I am sure this was not your intention, several of our group members who are psychiatrists have reported that their pregnant patients have decided to stop taking their antidepressant since they read your article,” she claims.

She then gives what she calls “one example of the damage you may have caused by this highly biased and often inaccurate article.”

“After reading this article, a woman called her psychiatrist and informed her that she was not going to take her Prozac anymore,” she told Vogue, in what can only be considered good news.

Disease Mongers Wage War on TV Series

In a February 2, 2009, headline on Postpartum Progress Katherine gleefully announced: “ABC’s “Private Practice” to Feature PPD Storyline”.

ABC Television Network’s “Private Practice” will feature a storyline related to postpartum depression on its February 12 episode, the blog reported.

“After the show, viewers will be directed to ABC’s website to see a public service announcement on postpartum depression that will link to Postpartum Support International,” Katherine wrote. “We don’t know any details about the episode because it’s top secret. I’ll definitely be tuning in.”

On February 11, 2009, Postpartum Progress told readers to: “Get Your DVRs and Your TV Dinners Ready,” and Katherine wrote: “Don’t forget this Thursday night (tomorrow) is the episode of Private Practice on ABC featuring a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, and a link after the show to a new PSA on ABC.com.”

However, on February 13, 2009, the tone suddenly soured with Katherine posting the headline: “ABC Television Should Be ASHAMED of “Private Practice” Postpartum Psychosis Treatment”.

“I’m horrified that I encouraged you to watch what I thought would be a responsible storyline about postpartum depression on the ABC network television show “Private Practice,” she wrote.

“Never again,” she said, “will I tell the readers of Postpartum Progress to watch something that I haven’t already seen myself and can’t fully endorse.”

“Sorry I waited to write about this until now,” she continued, “but I was so spitting mad late last night I couldn’t calm down enough to type,”

“Last night’s episode was promoted, both to the public and to the members of Postpartum Support International, as one about postpartum depression,” she said, “but — surprise, surprise — it immediately devolved into a show about postpartum psychosis and a mom attempting to kill her child by holding her down under the water in the bathtub.”

“Every time the media, whether entertainment or news, chooses to cover perinatal mood and anxiety disorders,” Katherine claimed, “the portrayal is always of some out-of-control woman committing or attempting to commit infanticide.”

Katherine obviously could not accept that the show was not meant to be a pitch for the new cottage industry of “Reproductive Psychiatry,” or an extension of the disease mongering campaign for all the other “illnesses” in the “perinatal mood and anxiety disorder spectrum.” The plot rightfully remained focused on the rare occurrence of “postpartum psychosis.”

“We have to stand up at some point and let the media know the way they treat perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and mental illness in general, is unacceptable,” Katherine wrote, to incite readers.

“Just as I stopped going to Tom Cruise movies,” she said, “I will not watch “Private Practice” ever again.”

“In fact,” she said, “I may stop watching my favorite ABC show “Grey’s Anatomy” and switch over to NBC which has equally compelling shows in the 9pm EST time slot (“The Office” and “30 Rock”).”

“I ask you to please join me to PULL THE PLUG ON PRIVATE PRACTICE,” Katherine told readers.

“I also encourage you to write about this on your own blogs and use the tag ‘Pull the Plug on Private Practice'”, she advised all the other disease mongers.

Katherine then went on to list “some other bloggers’ takes on this,” and included excerpts from a blog by Susan Stone, posted on the website for her treatment center, with a headline that said: “ABC’s Private (Mal)Practice Fails to Present the Facts In a Botched Opportunity to Raise PPD Awareness.”

Katherine also provided a link to a blog by Hale with a title, “ABC’s Private Practice Misses the Mark.”

On February 13, 2009, tag-team member, Hale, chimed in with the headline: “More irresponsibility from ABC regarding PMD’s,” and told visitors to her website: “A quick visit to Katherine Stone’s blog this morning got my juices revving again. And Susan Dowd Stone was not happy about the display either.”

As if anybody gives a rat’s butt about whether the two Stone broads are happy or not.

“Katherine is calling for a boycott of the show and I have to wholeheartedly agree,” Hale wrote.

“Pull the Plug on Private Practice and their sham of attempting to represent the medical world,” she said. “How dare they drop the ball on such a sensitive topic!”

“No voice will have a louder effect than a sudden drop in viewership because that means decrease in advertising and then well, if a show isn’t profitable anymore…….,” she wrote.

“Spread the word – and stop watching,” Hale told readers.

On February 15, 2009, Katherine announced: “Warrior Moms Pull the Plug on ABC’s ‘Private Practice'”.

“I’m so happy to hear from those of you who are choosing to stop watching “Private Practice” (and a lot of you quitting “Grey’s” too) or to speak out against ABC’s irresponsible portrayal of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and postpartum psychosis,” she wrote in the blog.

“And my original post is also over on PsychCentral (thank you Dr. John Grohol for allowing me a little real estate on your amazing site),” she reported.

In fact, Grohol allowed Katherine to repost her entire rant in full on the PsychCentral.

In a reply on Grohol’s site, an “anonymous” commentator, calling himself a shrink, wrote: “As a psychiatrist, although I did not see this show, I have seen how TV and movies portray mental health issues, and the consensus is the majority overtypifies symptoms and issues, as mainstream illness is not “exciting” enough to warrant a show to titilate/wow audiences.”

“My advice,” the shrink said, “although wary to give it, is ask NAMI to get involved if they see it as a viable issue. They have the manpower to mobilize people.”

NAMI of course being another Big Pharma front group that serves as funnel of drug company money to fund disease mongering campaigns, called the “National Alliance on Mental Illness.” NAMI is listed as a main supporter of the Mothers Act on Susan Stone’s Perinatal Pro site, and was recently forced to admit that 56% of its funding since 2005, came from the pharmaceutical industry.

The February 15, 2009, headline on Postpartum Progress read: “In Their Own Words: Why They’ll Never Watch ABC’s “Private Practice” Again.”

“I wanted to share with all of you some of the commentary I received, so that you can see the kind of impact media, whether news or entertainment, has on vulnerable women,” Katherine wrote.

On February 17, 2009, she posted a headline with instructions on: “How to Contact the Media About Responsible Mental Health Representation,” and provided a link “to contact ABC to share your feelings directly on the “Private Practice” episode,” complete with a clickable email address for Anne Sweeney, President, ABC Entertainment.

It’s worth mentioning that despite all the efforts to intimidate ABC by the disease monger above, a rerun of the same episode of Private Practice just aired a few weeks ago.

Pringle Ordered to Cease and Desist

Evelyn Pringle’s first in a series of articles on the Mothers Act was published on April 7, 2009, with the title, “Mother’s Act Fuels Multibillion Dollar Industry,” by Scoop Independent News, and several other internet dailies.

The same day, Pringle received an email from Susan Stone with orders to: “Immediately correct current and past falsehoods in all posts, articles, blogs, communications and other media content regarding me and my practice.”

“In addition you are warned to cease and desist from future false and libelous statements with regard to my practice, income, funding and resources,” Susan informed Pringle, and went on to misstate the comments and topics discussed in the article.

“As far as your comments about the legislation which are ridiculously inaccurate,” she said, “I wonder how you can intentionally mislead thousands of suffering women who need treatment.”

“It appears your anti pharma agenda has clouded your reason, your compassion and your ability to be truthful in journalism,” Susan told Pringle.

“A blind copy of this email is being sent to my attorney,” Susan wrote, clearly as an intimidation tactic meant to shut Pringle up due to a fear of being sued.

“You can blind copy anything you want to your attorney or to anybody else for that matter,” Pringle replied in email. “It’s a free country.”

“I plan to blind copy my reply to several people,” she told Susan.

“Nothing I reported is factually incorrect or false but I have no intention of wasting my time debating with you,” Pringle said. “The article will remain as is and I will try to remember to mention your intimidation tactic in my next Mother’s Act article.”

“As far your phony line about me misleading “thousands of suffering women,” save it for your future victims,” Pringle told Susan.

“Maybe you could have one of the Big Pharma front groups listed on your site as backing the Mother’s Act put out a press release warning members of Congress not to read my articles,” she advised Susan.

“From this day forward, I want you to cease and desist contacting me,” Pringle told her.

On April 7, 2009, on the website for her treatment center, Kleiman also swung into action with the headline: “Mother’s Act “Scoop”ed Again.”

“Those of you who know me, know that I try hard to resist the temptation to repond to any misinformed rant with respect to postpartum depression,” she stated.

“It’s really not worth my time to defend the work that we do,” she added. “But still …” Kleiman wrote, and went on to warn readers:

“To any of you who inadvertently found yourself reading a piece called “Mother’s Act Fuels Multibillion Dollar Industry” by Evelyn Pringle, please be advised.

Here’s the article’s opening tease line: “Motherhood has fallen prey to the psycho-pharmaceutical complex. If new legislation as the Mother’s Act becomes law, the drugging of infants through pregnant and nursing mothers will no doubt increase.”

“We should be flattered to have received attention from an excellent writer who spends a great deal of her time seeking media-soaked and provocative avenues for her unique perspective and right to free speech,” Kleiman wrote. “But when it gets personal, it reveals the flaw in this particular effort of hers.”

“I suspect that if Ms Pringle were to sit down with Katherine Stone, Susan Dowd-Stone or myself, she might actually understand this issue a bit better,” she continued. “If she could step down from her big Pharma platform for long enough to see the other side of this picture that is inundated with women in real life who are pleading for their lives, she might consider another angle to her protest.”

“Let’s not be distracted,” Kleiman said. “And let’s certainly hope that Ms Pringle never experiences the hardship of loving someone who suffers with a severe mental illness.”

Just like clockwork, the human face Hale showed up on Kleiman’s website and added the comment: “Couldn’t have said it better myself, Karen.”

On April 8, 200, Amy picked up on the postings and ran the headline: “Karen Kleiman Attacks Evelyn Pringle,” on her “Bitter Pill” website.

“Evelyn Pringle has angered the beast,” Amy said. “After months of ignoring victims who speak out against The MOTHERS Act and pretending that the pro-informed consent movement did not exist, it seems that the perinatal “experts” are gearing up for an online twist-a-thon.”

Pringle responded to Kleiman with the following comments in a blog on Kleiman’s website: “I am going to do everything in my power to derail this profiteering scheme, for one reason and one reason only, to protect the helpless, voiceless victims – the fetus and nursing infants.”

“I have been investigating and reporting on off-label drug marketing schemes set up with screening scams since 2004, and this is the most disgusting one I’ve covered because it is aimed straight at the nursery and most helpless victims in the world,” she wrote.

Queen of the Spin Masters

On April 6, 2009, Grohol allowed Katherine to publish an entire article, also posted on Postpartum Progress, on PsychCentral, with the truthful title for a change of, “MOTHERS Act To Drug America’s Moms for Fake Postpartum Depression.”

However, the article was actually an attack on the people and groups that have worked to expose the Mothers Act for what it is, and quite possibly Katherine’s most brazen disease mongering article to date.

“The emotional health of approximately 1 million American families each year depends on this,” she claimed in regard to the need to get the Mothers Act passed.

“Because honestly,” she wrote, “if we can’t get this one bill passed, how are we going to tackle the much bigger task of helping every single woman with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder who needs help in this country?”

“There are some people who, for whatever reason,” Katherine said, “have decided to convince others that the singular purpose of the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act is to line the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies and drug our nation’s mothers.”

Katherine then posed the question: “Have these people not seen the research?”, and proceeded on with a rant of totally false and misleading statements about the medical problems occurring in women and infants resulting from the treatment or non-treatment of pregnant women for depression.

Do they not know, she said, that women with untreated depression during pregnancy are (1) twice as likely to have pre-eclampsia, (2) twice as likely to have a C-section, (3) twice as likely to have a preterm delivery, and (4) twice as likely to have their baby go to NICU?

A good place to start the debunking process is with the false claims about preeclampsia, because it leads to preterm birth and babies ending up in intensive care, if they live at all.

Preeclamsia is a disorder of pregnancy typically occurring after the 20th week of gestation. “It is characterized by sudden and dangerous spikes in blood pressure, protein in the urine, abnormal swelling of feet, face, and hands, upper abdominal pain, and nausea,” according to the Preeclampsia Foundation.

“The only known treatment is to deliver the baby,” the Foundation states. “Preeclampsia is the most common known cause of premature birth and responsible for half a million neonatal deaths worldwide.”

“Women taking antidepressants experienced significantly higher frequency of birth complications, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and premature rupture of membranes, than women with depression who had not taken antidepressants during pregnancy,” according to a report on a study presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, by Psychiatric News on December 7, 2007.

A more recent study in the March, 2009, AJP, titled, “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Use and Risk of Gestational Hypertension,” assessed the effects of treating pregnant women with SSRIs on the risks of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia, compared to women who did not receive SSRIs during pregnancy or received SSRIs only in the first trimester of pregnancy.

The study found gestational hypertension “was present in 9.0% of the 5,532 women who were not treated with SSRIs and 19.1% of the 199 women who were treated with SSRIs.”

“Among women who received treatment, gestational hypertension was present in 13.1% of the 107 women who received treatment only during the first trimester and in 26.1% of the 92 women who continued treatment beyond the first trimester,” the research showed.

“The occurrence of preeclampsia was 2.4% among women who were not treated with SSRIs, 3.7% among women who were exposed to SSRIs only during the first trimester, and 15.2% among women who continued SSRI treatment beyond the first trimester,” according to the study.

Then there is the study by the drug company hack, Wisner, discussed above that found women exposed to continuous treatment with SSRIs had an increased risk for preterm birth of 23%, and women with continuous depression but no SSRIs, had a lower increased risk of 21%.

Voiceless victims

The warning section on the labeling for antidepressants contains the following statements on babies being born to women who use the drugs during pregnancy, listing features “consistent with either a direct toxic effect of SSRIs and SNRIs or, possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome:”

Neonates exposed “late in the third trimester have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. … Reported clinical findings have included respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying.”

In some states, mothers who take street drugs are arrested for subjecting newborns to drug withdrawal, yet the antidepressant withdrawal syndrome is no less traumatic. The only wall separating culpability between the two drug ingesting mothers is that addicts are usually aware of the consequences of their use, while the naive mothers on legal drugs are seldom warned about the withdrawal effects they may cause.

An August, 2006 study in the Archives of General Psychiatry compared babies born to depressed mothers treated with SSRIs to those born to depressed mothers who were not treated, and found a significantly greater incidence of respiratory distress, 13.9% vs 7.8%, as well as longer hospital stays for infants exposed to SSRIs. The study also found birth weight and gestational age were significantly less in SSRI exposed infants.

“These findings are contrary to an expectation that treating depressed mothers with SSRIs during pregnancy would be associated with lessening of the adverse neonatal consequences associated with maternal depression,” lead researcher, Dr Tim Oberlander, told Reuters on August 25, 2006.

On August 13, 2009, Psychiatry Update carried the headline: “SSRI babies need monitoring,” for a report by Louise Wallace on a study in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry that found infants exposed to antidepressants in late pregnancy were at risk of discontinuation symptoms and more likely to suffer from jaundice and be admitted to special care nurseries.

“In more than 50 pregnant women who took part in the prospective study, newborns exposed to SSRI antidepressants had more symptoms including reflux, poor sleeping and feeding, crying, sneezing and tremor than those who were not exposed,” Wallace wrote.

The authors of the study, “suggested the length of hospital stay for mothers who are exposed to antidepressant medication in late pregnancy should be reviewed and that the length of stay should be measured in days rather than hours after giving birth,” Wallace reported.

“Symptoms such as tremor, irritability and jitteriness may be easily confused with convulsions, which may result in misdiagnosis and significant associated morbidity for the infant,” the authors said. “This suggests the need to clarify diagnostic criteria for the neonatal to improve identification and management.”

On July 19, 2006, the FDA issued a warning that: “A recently published case-control study has shown that infants born to mothers who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) after the 20th week of pregnancy were 6 times more likely to have persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) than infants born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy.”

Infants with PPHN require intensive care nurseries often with mechanical assistance to breath, and 10% to 20% do not survive even if they receive treatment. Those that do, may experience developmental delays, brain abnormalities and hearing loss.

PPHN normally occur in 1-2 live births per 1,000. Based on the estimate of 250,000 pregnant women taking antidepressants in the US, and a rate increase of 6-fold, the rate of babies born with PPHN would increase from between 250 and 500 per year, to between 1,500 and 3,000.

A number of jury trials are scheduled to begin in the US this fall involving families of infants born with heart birth defects as a result of women not being warned about the danger of taking Paxil while pregnant, with jury selection in the first case, at last check, scheduled to begin in Philadelphia on September 10, 2009.

More than 600 birth defect cases are currently pending against Paxil maker, GlaxoSmithKline, alone in the combined Multi-District Litigation in Pennsylvania.

Recruitment of Life-long customers

In the article on Grohol’s website, in reference to people fighting against the Mothers Act, Katherine asks: “Do they not know that women with untreated postpartum depression can go on to have chronic depression for the rest of their lives?”

No, but we do know that Katherine was diagnosed with what must be chronic and possibly life-long “postpartum OCD” in 2001, because she is still on antidepressants eight years later in 2009, and was still calling the drug company shill, Jeffrey Newport, her shrink in 2007.

But then much to the drug makers’ delight, many people are forced to take antidepressants for years. The author of the new book, “Drug-Induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime,” Dr Grace Jackson, explains that many patients find they can not stop. Not because they develop a craving, she says, “but because the withdrawal effects are severe and often misinterpreted by doctors as proof of a relapse into depression.”

In the book, “The Antidepressant Solution,” Dr Joseph Glenmullen calls this situation the “antidepressant catch 22,” because withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia, and crying spells can mimic a patient’s original condition. “When this happens, patients are needlessly put back on the drugs, often for years and despite severe side effects,” he reports.

In July 2009, UK expert, Dr David Healy, author of the new book, “Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder,” issued a “SSRI Withdrawal Guide,” available on Bob Fiddaman’s popular website, “Seroxat Sufferers Stand Up and Be Counted.”

“One of the biggest problems of SSRI dependence involves women who are on treatment and unable to stop who wish to become pregnant,” Dr Healy warns in the guide. “Getting off an SSRI at present seems more difficult for women than men, even with the incentive of wishing to become pregnant.”

Dr Jackson warns that almost all psychiatric drugs either sensitize the brain to other addictions, such as benzos cross-sensitizing to alcohol or stimulants cross-sensitizing to cocaine, or become addictive substances on their own.

For most patients, she says, the use of psychiatric medications fulfills four of the seven DSM criteria for dependence including: (1) tolerance; (2) withdrawal; (3) larger amounts consumed, or longer use than intended; and (4) continued use despite the fact that the treatments cause significant suffering and disability, such as impaired judgment when driving, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, or impulsivity.

This knowledge provides additional reasons to fight against the Mothers Act disease mongering campaign in order to prevent the forced drugging of more helpless and voiceless infants through pregnant and nursing mothers.

Filed under: antidepressants, Congress, forced 'treatment', Melanie Stokes, mothers act, PPD, Pregnancy, suicide

The MOTHERS Act Disease Mongering Campaign Part IV

The Mothers Act Disease Mongering Campaign – Part IV

Thursday, August 27, 2009 by: Evelyn Pringle, health freedom writer

(NaturalNews) This is part four of an article series by Evelyn Pringle. Find previous parts here: Part One (http://www.naturalnews.com/026634_d…), Part Two (http://www.naturalnews.com/026707_h…) and Part Three (http://www.naturalnews.com/026742_d…). What follows is the full text of part four:

The Mothers Act campaign has evolved into the most rabid gang of disease mongers seen in recent years, likely due to its 8-year existence.

In the 2002 paper titled, “Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering,” in the British Medical Journal, Ray Moynihan, Iona Heath, and David Henry, describe the mechanisms of the Mothers Act disease mongering campaign to a tee when explaining that:

“Within many disease categories informal alliances have emerged, comprising drug company staff, doctors, and consumer groups. Ostensibly engaged in raising public awareness about underdiagnosed and undertreated problems, these alliances tend to promote a view of their particular condition as widespread, serious, and treatable.”

“A key strategy of the alliances is to target the news media with stories designed to create fears about the condition or disease and draw attention to the latest treatment. Company sponsored advisory boards supply the “independent experts” for these stories, consumer groups provide the “victims,” and public relations companies provide media outlets with the positive spin about the latest “breakthrough” medication.”

The A Team

In review, the main leaders of the Mothers Act disease mongering campaign include Susan Dowd Stone and Karen Kleiman, two social workers who own treatment centers recruiting customers via their websites, PerinatalPro and Postpartum Stress Center, and who also sell books. The two most prominent “victims” or “human faces” in the campaign are Katherine Stone with the “Postpartum Progress,” website and Lauren Hale with a site called “Sharing the Journey.”

All the websites follow the lead of a group called, “Pospartum Support International,” and parrot the buzz words and phrases invented by the self-interested specialists and experts, such as “women’s reproductive mental health,” and “pregnancy related mood disorders,” and “reproductive psychiatry.”

Old Chemical Imbalance in the Brain Scam

On July 7, 2006, in discussing a press release for book in which: “Mothers share their challenges with sleep deprivation, anxiety, colicky and ill babies, and other issues that sent them into a downward spiral,” Katherine Stone wrote on Postpartum Progress:

“In my opinion, I consider chemical brain imbalances to be the source of sending us into a downward spiral, not colicky babies and sleep deprivation as the press release seems to infer. Those things just make the experience worse.”

Dr David Stein, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Virginia State University, and author of, “Unraveling the ADD/ADHD Fiasco,” has taught psychopharmacology for 25 years. One of the greatest myths about mental disorders, is that they are caused by a chemical imbalance, he says.

“The myth is founded on some of the tricks that are pulled in so-called scientific research in psychology and psychiatry,” he explains.

“The manipulation of research has become one of the most powerful and most unethical marketing tools ever devised,” he says. “Not one study can be replicated at the testing labs of hospitals or by laboratories involved in clinical patient care.”

“Replication is a basic step for all sciences,” Dr Stein explains.

When a drug alleviates a certain condition, such as depression and anxiety, patients are told that the drug is correcting a chemical imbalance. “However, this type of logic is not permitted in true science,” Dr Stein reports.

To simplify the point, he provides the analogy of people drinking alcohol, which is a sedative drug, and experiencing relief from anxiety. “Can we say that alcohol clears up chemical imbalances that cause anxiety?”, he points out.

If so, Dr Stein says, “then the entire human race is running around with chemical imbalances.”

“This type of logic is not permitted within proper scientific circles,” he says. “Sadly, proper scientific circles are evaporating within psychiatry and psychology.”

Sad Daddies

As part of this overall disease mongering scheme, the Mothers Act campaign has now taken aim at new fathers. All the gals provide links to the “PostpartumMen,” website. And in return, PostpartumMen dedicates a whole webpage to promoting the Mothers Act, complete with a link that takes readers directly to the website of Susan Stone’s treatment center.

“PostpartumMen is a place for men with concerns about depression, anxiety or other problems with mood after the birth of a child,” according to its website.

Dr Will Courtenay runs the site. Courtenay is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has served on the clinical faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School, according to his bio.

“Yes, men do get postpartum depression,” he writes on PostpartumMen.

“It’s a fact that most people – and even many health professionals – don’t know,” he claims.

“Depression, anxiety or other problems with mood can occur anytime during the first year of your child’s life,” he tells men.

“The truth is, depression, anxiety and other mood disorders are common,” he states. “In fact, they’re just as common – and just as real – as physical problems, like heart disease and diabetes.”

“It really pains me to see so many men suffering alone, in silence,” Courtenay says on PostpartumMen. “Especially since depression, anxiety and the other mental health problems that afflict us are treatable.”

For men, the newly coined disorder is called “paternal postpartum depression,” and referred to as “PPND.”

“Up to 1 in 4 new dads have PPND,” Courtenay tells readers on PostpartumMen. “In the United States alone, that amounts to 2,700 new fathers who become depressed every day.”

And as it turns out, Courtenay hosts a total of six websites for men, accessible with live links from PostpartumMen, including one for his “Men’s Health Consulting,” firm.

In advertising for this firm, he provides a webpage on, “Media Coverage of Dr. Will Courtenay,” and posts selective remarks and comments made regarding himself or PPND and men.

For instance, this description of himself was listed as coming from Newsweek: “An expert on why fathers can also become depressed after the birth of a child, and what couples can do about it.”

“Each day in the U.S., 1,000 new dads become depressed, and according to some studies that number is as high as 3,000,” was posted as coming from CNN.

According to the above, at 3,000 new dads per day, times 365 days year, a potential 1,095,000 new customers could be recruited each year for the “Reproductive Psychiatry” industry, via the PPND component of the disease mongering campaign alone.

On the Media Coverage page, Courtenay also provides a link to a May 14, 2008, Parent Map article titled, “Sad dads: postpartum depression in men,” in which he states: “Men need to know that this can happen to them, and that if it does happen to them, there are other people out there experiencing it, too.”

This article says Courtenay publishes a website about “postpartum depression among dads” called “www.saddaddy.com.” However, when clicking on the saddaddy link, PostpartumMen comes up today.

And surely by coincidence, Courtenay will soon have a new book for sale titled, “Sad Dads,” which he is currently writing, according to his bio on the consulting firm’s website.

“If you’d like to arrange an individual consultation with Dr. Courtenay, please call 415-346-6719,” the PostpartumMen website states.

And apparently postpartum depression in dads is catchy. “If you’re experiencing PPND, it increases the likelihood that your partner is also depressed,” Courtenay informs men on his website.

“It’s important that she get help for herself as well,” he kindly advises.

He then provides a link to a page with resources “specifically for women,” where Kleiman’s Postpartum Stress Center just happens to be listed as specializing “in the diagnosis and treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety disorders,” along with a clickable link to the center’s website.

On the StorkNet website, where Kleiman dishes out disease mongering tidbits on a regular basis, she does her part to promote PPND by telling readers: “Yes, absolutely dads can get depressed after the birth of a baby. We just don’t hear a lot about it.”

“PPND is a very serious condition,” Courtenay states on PostpartumMen. “But it’s also a very treatable condition.”

“If left untreated,” he warns, “PPND can result in damaging, long-term consequences for yourself, your child, and your family as a whole.”

Men who think they might have it can click on a link and be screened right on the spot, for free no less.

“Do YOU have PPND? Complete the PPND Assessment and find out,” the website tell men.

In fact, Courtenay is running the “Dads’ Postpartum Depression Study,” on his website, “in collaboration with the Center for Men and Young Men at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School.”

“You are invited to participate in a research study conducted by Dr. Will Courtenay, an internationally recognized scholar in understanding men,” the website tells men.

“Upon completion, you will receive a score from an assessment for postpartum mood disorders,” the consent form states. “This will allow you to determine whether you might be suffering from anxiety or depression.”

Respected Researchers support the Mothers Act

No psychotropic drug is FDA approved as safe for use by pregnant and nursing mothers, meaning every prescription written to these women is off-label. The drug makers cannot legally push their drugs for unapproved uses to doctors or consumers so they simply hire a few highly paid quacks to do it.

Then these quacks will drag a “human face” along for drama when giving seminars or public interviews. For instance, on February 26, 2009, Katherine wrote a Postpartum Progress blog with the headline: “Interview Today on Postpartum Depression & Related Illnesses”.

“Getting ready to go do interview with CNN/Turner Private Networks for the CNN Accent Health Network that appears in doctors’ offices and reaches more than 140 million viewers each year,” she told readers.

“They will also be interviewing Dr. Zachary Stowe from the Emory Women’s Mental Health Program,” Katherine added, with a live link to Stowe’s Emory program.

Not mentioned is the recently revealed matter that Stowe, the director of the Emory Women’s Program, made a quarter million dollars from the Paxil maker alone in 2007 and 2008, and failed to disclose the majority of those earnings to Emory University.

The “National Institute of Mental Health said it is reviewing Stowe’s activities, prompted by a letter from a U.S. Senate committee that said Stowe received $253,700 in 2007 and 2008 for “essentially promotional talks” for the drug maker GlaxoSmithKline,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on June 11, 2009.

One of Stowe’s emails that turned up in litigation, dated September 19, 2003, shows his nicer side when demanding to be paid for promotional talks he never gave for Glaxo because they were apparently canceled due to lack of interest.

“I do not want to be a prick,” he said, “but given the time and frustration, I think she should arrange to pay me for both talks, as noted in my last email to her.”

On October 17, 2008, Katherine appeared at a “Perinatal Depression Conference,” in Chicago with another “prominent speaker,” Dr Lee Cohen, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health, and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, put on by the Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling Postpartum Depression Foundation.

Other featured speakers who have appeared at seminars sponsored or co-sponsored by the same Foundation include Zachary Stowe, and Dr Katherine Wisner, according to the Foundation’s website.

In February 2006, Cohen was the lead author on a paper titled, “Relapse of Major Depression During Pregnancy in Women Who Maintain or Discontinue Antidepressant Treatment,” published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association,” for a study that claimed stopping antidepressants could greatly increase the risk of pregnant women relapsing into depression.

A few months after the study was published, the July 11, 2006, Wall Street Journal revealed the obvious motives of the “experts” who authored the paper in wanting pregnant women to stay on antidepressants.

The Journal reported that, “the study and resulting television and newspaper reports of the research failed to note that most of the 13 authors are paid as consultants or lecturers by the makers of antidepressants,” and “the authors failed to disclose more than 60 different financial relationships with drug companies.”

The Journal noted that Cohen was a longtime consultant to 3 antidepressant makers, a paid speaker for 7, and his research work was funded by 4 drug companies. Adele Viguera, associate director of the Mass General perinatal psychiatry program and professor at Harvard, also did not disclose a paid speaking relationship with Paxil maker GlaxoSmithKline.

Among the most significant absent disclosures found, were those of Dr Lori Altshuler, director of the Mood Disorders Research Program at UCLA, who was a speaker or consultant for at least five antidepressant makers. “Two of her colleagues — Vivien Burt and Victoria Hendrick — were also authors who didn’t report financial relationships they have with antidepressant makers,” the report said.

JAMA has required authors to list all financial interests since 1990, and publishes the disclosures. In an online editorial in July 2006, JAMA editor, Dr Catherine DeAngelis, announced her intention to enforce disclosure policies in part, by publicizing any author’s failure to follow the rules and specifically noted that 3 consecutive nondisclosures involved authors from Harvard, and included the Cohen study.

The financial ties of the authors to the drug makers was brought to the attention of JAMA by Dr Adam Urato, and a letter from Dr Urato was published in JAMA, stating that since the study dealt in part with the question of pregnant women stopping antidepressants, the readers should be aware of the potential for pro-drug bias.

In the case of SSRI use by pregnant women, the Journal noted that the industry-paid opinion leaders have become dominant authorities in the field, and explained that:

“They help establish clinical guidelines, sit on editorial boards of medical journals, advise government agencies evaluating antidepressants and teach courses on the subject to other doctors.”

Ironically, the only financial relationships disclosed were for Zachary Stowe and Jeffrey Newport of the Women’s Mental Health Program at Emory. However, nowhere was it revealed that Stowe might be raking in a quarter million dollars from each drug company, and Newport’s list of disclosures on financial ties to drug makers is every bit as long as Stowe’s.

In blogs on Postpartum Progress, Katherine Stone refers to Newport as her shrink.

Emory’s bio page for Newport shows he received an Eli Lilly Fellowship from the Society of Biological Psychiatry, an Eli Lilly Psychiatric Research Fellowship from the American Psychiatric Association, and a “Psychiatry Resident of the Year Award,” from Pfizer.

Newport also received a “Young Investigator Award,” from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD). Eli Lilly’s 2007 grant reports shows a $15,000 donation to NARSAD in one quarter and second $15,000 grant in another. The 2008 grant report lists a $15,000 donation, two $5,000 grants, and another $100,000 donation to NARSAD.

In her book, “Perinatal and Postpartum Mood Disorders,” Susan Stone tells readers: “Respected university medical centers conducting research and offering education include Emory University School of Medicine (website address inserted) and Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health (website address inserted).”

On April 14, 2009, the Harvard’s website for the Mass General program posted a blog with the headline, “Postpartum Depression Legislation Still Needs Your Support,” with the message that “Susan Dowd Stone, fomer president of Postpartum Support International, has taken the lead in putting together a petition of those who support the MOTHERS Act,” and listed Susan’s email address to sign the petition.

The website for the Women’s program also includes a link to the “Screening for Mental Health,” website, where SMH is described as:

“SMH is a non-profit organization that provides screenings for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, suicide intervention, alcohol problems and eating disorders. These programs are designed for community and mental health sites, employers, health care organizations, colleges/universities and high schools.”

Tax returns show drug companies have provided this “non-profit” with at least $4,985,925 up to 2008

Eli Lilly’s grant report for 2007, lists three grants of $24,250, $50,000 and $50,000 to SMH. In 2008, SMH received donations from Lilly worth $100,000.

And Speaking of Harvard

On September 27, 2007, the New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct reported that Dr Jack Gorman, now the former president and psychiatrist-in-chief of Harvard University’s McLean Hospital, in charge of psychiatry at the other Harvard-affiliated hospitals in the Partners HealthCare system, was found guilty of negligence on more than one occasion for engaging in “inappropriate sexual contact with a patient.” A month later he surrendered his right to practice medicine in Massachusetts.

Gorman was instrumental in both selling the diseases, and promoting SSRIs to treat, Social Anxiety Disorder and General Anxiety Disorder, as well as “Compulsive Shopping Disorder,” in conjunction with Katherine Stone’s former employer, the Cohn & Wolfe public relations firm hired by Glaxo.

On June 9, 2008, with a headline, “Harvard doctors’ studies tainted,” the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote: “Harvard Medical School doctors who helped pioneer the use of psychiatric drugs in children violated U.S. government and school rules by failing to properly disclose at least $3.2 million from drugmakers led by Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly & Co., a U.S. senator said.”

An investigation by the US Senate Finance Committee found Dr Joseph Biederman earned about $1.6 million from drug companies between 2000 and 2007, but failed to report about $1.4 million on forms filed with the school. Doctors, Thomas Spencer and Timothy Wilens, raked in a combined $2.6 million in the same time period.

Biederman, Spencer and Wilens are major proponents for the validity of the bogus “Adult ADHD” diagnosis, with claims that over 4% of the population in the US has it.

Moving right along, Dr Jeffrey Bostic, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and the medical director of the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project at Massachusetts General, became the “star spokesman” for Forest Labs in the promotion of Celexa and Lexapro for unapproved uses with children from 1999 through 2006, according to a lawsuit filed in February 2009, by the US Department of Justice, charging the company with defrauding the government of millions of dollars by illegally marketing the drugs off-label for kids.

Between 2000 and 2006, “Forest paid Bostic over $750,000 in honoraria for his presentations on Celexa and Lexapro,” the complaint reports. Bostic gave more than 350 Forest-sponsored talks and presentations in 28 states, many of which addressed the pediatric use of Celexa and Lexapro.

On March 13, 2009, Bloomberg News reported that, “Harvard Medical School doctor Lee Simon, accused last year of plagiarizing a scientific article on immune disease, has resigned.”

On April 10, 2009, the Wall Street Journal health blog announced: “More news on the research-fabrication front.” Robert Fogel, “a former assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, fabricated and falsified data in a study of sleep apnea in severely obese patients, the Office of Research Integrity at HHS said,” the Journal noted.

Fogel “has been disciplined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for falsifying as much as half of the data he used for a Harvard study on sleep apnea in morbidly obese patients,” the Harvard Crimson reported on April 9, 2009.

In March 2009, as part of the Senate Finance Committee investigation, Senator Charles Grassley asked Pfizer to provide details of its payments to roughly 150 faculty members at Harvard Medical School since January 2007.

Disease Mongering in the Media

In an April 11, 2006, paper in PLoS Medicine, Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz of Dartmouth, point out that discussions “about disease mongering usually focus on the role of pharmaceutical companies — how they promote disease and their products through “disease awareness” campaigns and direct-to-consumer drug advertising, and by funding disease advocacy groups.”

“But diseases also get promoted in another way,” they note, “through the news media.”

“Unless journalists approach stories about new diseases skeptically and look out for disease mongering by the pharmaceutical industry, pharmaceutical consultants, and advocacy groups,” they warn, “journalists, too, may end up selling sickness.”

Journalists “should be very wary when confronted with a new or expanded disease affecting large numbers of people,” they said, in words certainly applicable to the Mothers Act disease mongering campaign.

“If a disease is common and very bothersome, it is hard to believe that no one would have noticed it before,” they aptly point out.

“Prevalence estimates are easy to exaggerate by broadening the definition of disease,” they advise.

“Journalists should also reflexively question whether more diagnosis is always a good thing,” they said. “Simply labeling people with disease has negative consequences.”

“Similarly, journalists should question the assumption that treatment always makes sense,” they state. “Medical treatments always involve trade-offs; people with mild symptoms have little to gain, and treatment may end up causing more harm than good.”

“Finally,” the authors note, “instead of extreme, unrepresentative anecdotes about miracle cures, journalists should help readers understand how well the treatment works (e.g., what is the chance that I will feel better if I take the medicine versus if I do not?) and what problems it might cause.”

“Sick people stand to benefit from treatment, but healthy people may only get hurt: they get labeled “sick,” may become anxious about their condition, and, if they are treated, may experience side effects that overwhelm any potential benefit,” they point out.

However, relaying any information in the media contrary to the propaganda pumped out by the rabid disease mongers running the Mothers Act campaign has proven to be easier said than done.

Time Magazine Blasted

In July, 2009, Time Magazine published a great article by Catherine Elton titled, “Postpartum Depression: Do All Moms Need Screening?”

Elton reported that “the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act, familiarly known as the Mothers Act, has passed the House and is headed for the Senate.”

“If it becomes law, it will mandate the funding of research, education and public-service announcements about postpartum depression (PPD) along with services for women who have it,” she explained.

In the article, Elton accurately reported the arguments put forth by people for and against the Act, and summarized the story of the Malanie Blocker-Stokes, the woman the bill is named after.

“The legislation has sparked surprisingly heated debate, dividing psychologists and spurring a war of petition drives aimed at either bolstering the bill or blocking its passage,” Elton pointed out.

“At the root of the dissent is the issue of screening,” she noted. “Does PPD screening identify cases of real depression or simply contribute to the potentially dangerous medicalization of motherhood?”

“Although the current version of the Mothers Act does not specifically include funding for PPD testing, an earlier one did (it was based on a New Jersey law that mandates universal PPD screening), and critics say the new act will naturally lead to greater use of screening if it passes,” she correctly reported

“Opponents of the bill contend that mental-health screens are notoriously prone to giving false positives — research suggests that as few as one-third of women flagged by a PPD screen actually have the condition — and say testing is a gambit by pharmaceutical companies to sell more drugs,” Elton accurately pointed out.

“But clinicians and researchers say screening is intended not as a diagnostic tool but as a way to identify patients who need further evaluation,” she said. “Studies suggest that PPD affects as many as 1 out of 7 mothers and that failing to treat it exposes women and their babies to unwarranted risk.”

“Postpartum depression is not a benign, uncommon thing. We screen all infants for [the genetic disorder] phenylketonuria, which is extremely rare. Why don’t we screen women for this?” asked University of Pittsburgh Medical Center psychiatrist Katherine Wisner, in the article.

“Why?” Elton wrote. “Because increased screening could lead to an increase in mothers being prescribed psychiatric medication unnecessarily.”

“That concern lies close to the heart of Amy Philo, 31, of Texas, who has become a leader of the anti–Mothers Act movement,” she reported.

“In 2004, shortly after her first son was born, he choked on his vomit and needed emergency treatment,” the article explained.

“Her son recovered, but after the incident, Philo became preoccupied with his safety and felt severe anxiety about protecting him — a common symptom of PPD.”

“After a one-minute conversation with my doctor,” Amy told Time, “he gave me Zoloft and said it would make me and my baby happy.”

“But Philo says she started having suicidal and homicidal thoughts, which got stronger when another doctor raised her dosage,” Elton wrote.

However, Amy explains that Zoloft caused problems that never existed, it did not “make them worse.”

The drug caused me to turn from “a worried mother after my son almost died in the ER, into a psychotic, homicidal, suicidal person,” she says, and it got worse when the dose was upped.

Eventually, Amy “weaned herself off the drug, and her violent feelings disappeared,” Time noted.

“What TIME failed to disclose is that Dr. Wisner is listed on the speakers bureau for Pfizer and Lilly, makers of the antidepressants, Zoloft and Prozac–drugs that carry Black Box label warnings about increased risks of suicide, ” Vera Hassner Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, pointed out in a June 15, 2009, infomail to the group’s mailing list.

“Doctors who serve on pharmaceutical speaker’s bureaus give “promotional talks” on behalf of the company that pays them–the service they render for pay is to advertise drugs to other doctors–despite the confirmed evidence of these drugs serious hazards,” she explains.

Wisner is a main promoter of mandatory screening of new mothers for mental disorders. In a December 2006 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Wisner recommended “that the United States take steps to implement a universal screening program, in which all women are screened between two- and 12-weeks postpartum,” her University reported in a December 5, 2006, disease mongering press release titled, “JAMA Editorial Notes Childbearing Presents Unique Vulnerability for Psychiatric Illness, Making Effective Screening, Education and Treatment Essential.”

“Those presenting with symptoms of a psychiatric disorder should be treated immediately after diagnosis,” Dr Wisner said in the news release.

Five months before her editorial called for “universal screening,” Medical News Today ran the headline: “Commonly Used Anti-depressants Safe And Effective For Treating Postpartum Depression,” on August 5, 2006, for a study led by Wisner in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.

The Alliance for Human Research Protection is one of more than 50 advocacy groups in a coalition, organized by Amy Philo, that have come out against the Mothers Act. Other prominent members of the coalition include: AbleChild, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology; International Coalition For Drug Awareness; Law Project for Psychiatric Rights; and Mindfreedom International.

Amy Liked It

“Catherine Elton did a fantastic job of showing both sides in a fair light,” Amy wrote about the Time article in a blog on her website.

“She tells the truth about the treatment given to Melanie Stokes, about my experience with Zoloft, and about screening,” she pointed out.

“People who would otherwise never think twice if their doctor hands them a prescription for psych drugs will see this article and perhaps be saved because of it,” she noted.

“But this does not sit well with people who make a living marketing disorders to the public,” Amy wrote.

Plan of Attack

Likely unbeknownst to even Amy, a well-orchestrated plan of attack against Elton, Time Magazine, and Amy herself, was already well underway.

On July 12, 2009, Lauren Hale sprung into action on her website with the headline: “TIME Magazine misfires debate on MOTHER’S Act.”

Hale went so far as to give women specific instructions to make sure the Time article was not read, and wrote: “I am personally asking you to boycott – even asking if you can take the copy of TIME home from the doctor’s office in order to keep other moms from reading it!”

“And make sure you ASK – because just taking it would be stealing and that’s illegal,” she added.

“I happen to know that Ms. Elton did indeed interview fellow survivors who support the bill,” Hale informed readers of her website.

“One has to wonder then,” she said, “why did their stories not make it into the article? Was it length? Was it editing? Or was it intentional?”

“The only survivor story featured in this article is that of Amy Philo,” Hale wrote, “one of five recipients of an Outstanding Achievement for Mothers’ and Children’s Rights awards from the Citizens Commision on Human Rights or CCHR.”

“CCHR was founded in 1969 by none other than the Church of Scientology, well-known to oppose the entire psychiatric field,” she continued. On July 13, 2009, Amy responded to Hale in a blog on the Hale’s website with the following comments:

“Actually Lauren, I was one of five women to receive a group award called “Outstanding Achievement for Mothers’ and Children’s Rights.”

“The other women include two who lost children to antidepressants and ADHD medications, and two who were targeted by schools and CPS for refusing to allow their children to be drugged with antidepressants and ADHD meds.”

“I am by far the least of these women, but thanks for bringing up my award,” Amy said. “I was honored to be recognized by an amazing mental health watchdog group.”

“I am not a member of CCHR, but I have zero problems with their group,” she continued. “Their membership includes both Scientologists and non-Scientologists.”

“I think it’s hilarious that you choose to bring up Scientology,” Amy said. “Especially considering that many of your friends received awards from drug companies.”

On July 13, 2009, on Postpartum Progress, Katherine Stone ran the headline, “Time Magazine Skips the Facts about Postpartum Depression,” and wrote in part: “Time completely blew it.”

“The editors should really be ashamed of themselves for allowing an article on a topic that they clearly knew so little about to be published,” she stated.

Katherine concluded her blog by telling readers: “If you haven’t already written to them to express your displeasure, you should,” and conveniently provided a live link to send a letter to Time.

“If you’d like to send me your letter I will be happy to share it on Postpartum Progress,” she kindly told letter writers.

Katherine would in fact go on to post a total of 6 such letters (at last count), on PostPartum Progress over the next couple weeks.

On July 15, 2009, Hale reported on her website: “I fired off a letter to TIME over the weekend.”

“Katherine Stone has graciously published the full text over at her blog, Postpartum Progress,” she told readers, and “graciously” provided a link to her letter on Katherine’s site.

On July 15, 2009, Katherine also posted “A Mother’s Letter to Time Magazine,” from a women named Kim Rogers.

“For every Amy Philo, there are 100 women who support and understand the importance of the MOTHERS Act,” Kim wrote.”I was very disappointed to not even see one of them represented.”

On July 15, 2009, Medical News Today highlighted the discussion in the Time article with a report under the headline: “Bill Fuels Debate Over Universal Screening For Postpartum Depression.”

The next day, Hale posted a response on the Medical News website with a heading: “Over 50+ Women’s Advocates And Professionals Disappointed In TIME Article.”

“When the TIME article, “The Melancholy of Motherhood” was first published online, myself and several others immediately rallied to send TIME a letter to point out many of the article’s shortcomings,” she said.

“This letter, authored by none other than Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress, advises TIME of several mistakes and oversights within the article,” she reported.

“All of us were deeply disheartened by the lack of information and one-sided presentation of this debate by TIME Magazine,” she continued.

“I am even further disappointed,” Hale said, “to read an even more lacking rehash of an already inaccurate article here at Medical News Today, a normally reliable resource.”

“I sincerely hope readers of this article will also choose to click the following URL to read our Open Letter to TIME in order to obtain further facts and information regarding the MOTHER’S Act and the TIME article,” she wrote, above a link to Postpartum Progress.

For starters, Katherine’s letter shows only 47 signatures. And of those, eleven women are listed with books to sell. Fifteen are hooked in with Postpartum Support International, as a past or current office holder, coordinator, or chairperson of affiliated groups, and many run websites or support groups

Only four names among the 47 signatures are listed as simply being a mother.

After Katherine posted the open letter to Time on Postpartum Progress, replies to it included one by a John Smith, who stated: “You know Time is abjectly derelict in its duty when it offers, as the “opposing side,” a person who seems to be an obvious Scientology sympathizer, Amy Philo.”

“Did they do no research at all? Do they not understand the importance of vetting sources?” Smith wrote.

“Do they not realize that mentally ill people don’t always have a grip on reality?” he stated, in an obvious dig against Amy, without mentioning that Amy was not mentally ill prior to taking Zoloft, after being screened by a home visiting nurse who told her take drugs to “prevent” PPD.

Internet Battle Breaks Out

On July 13, 2009, with a headline that read, “Motherhood is Not a Medical Disorder,” Dr Douglas Bremner discussed the Time article on a website called the “Drug and Health Safety News Blog.”

Bremner is a professor of psychiatry and radiology at Emory University, the director of the Emory Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit, and the director of Mental Health Research at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. He also wrote the not too Pharma friendly book titled, “Before You Take That Pill: Why the Drug Industry May Be Bad for Your Health.”

In discussing the Time article, Bremner pointed out that the Mother’s Act legislation was “initiated in response to the story of Melanie Blocker-Stokes, who leaped to her death from her hotel room in Chicago three months after the birth of her daughter.”

“Officially known as the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Post Partum Depression Research and Care Act, but referred to as the Mother’s Act, this legislation would require screening of all women post-partum for depression,” he wrote, and further explained:

“The problem with this is the attitude that being a mother is a risk factor for a psychiatric disorder. First of all, there is no evidence that women without a prior history of anxiety and depression have any increased risk of getting post partum depression. So to screen all moms as if giving birth is a risk factor for depression is ridiculous.”

“And whenever you start screening the general population,” he warned, “you get into problems with over-identification of people and an increase in the number of people that go on antidepressants.”

“I am opposed to mandatory screenings of the population, like Teenscreen, which are bonanzas for the pharmaceutical industry, but a major intrusion into the privacy and autonomy of American citizens,” Bremner said.

“In the case of Melanie Blocker-Stokes,” he wrote, “she had already been treated with multiple courses of psychotropic drugs and electro-convulsive therapy, so there is no reason to think that her life would have been saved by ‘screening'”.

On July 14, 2009, psychologist, John Grohol, took Bremner to task on the website, PsychCentral, with the headline: “Bremner’s False Claims about Postpartum Depression.”

“My BS alert goes off whenever someone tries to change the argument from a reasonable effort to help increase education and information about a stigmatized mental health issue, to hyperbole, suggesting that a piece of legislation is trying to turn motherhood into a psychiatric disorder,” Grohol reported.

“It goes off again,” he said, “when a professional makes an extraordinary claim like, ‘there is no evidence that women without a prior history of anxiety and depression have any increased risk of getting post partum [sic] depression.'”

“These are objective researchers calling for more screenings,” Grohol claimed. “Not politicians. And not people (or professionals) with a political agenda.”

The Mothers Act disease mongers will often initiate debates about topics like the Time article but then censor the comments of bloggers who try to post contrary views. When Bremner was blocked from responding to Grohol’s comments on PsychCentral, Bremner opened up the debate on his own site and stated: “Motherhood is STILL Not a Medical Disorder: Response to Critics.”

An all-out blogging war then erupted on the competing websites. On July 14, 2009, a guy named Frank Lee wrote on PsychCentral: “As far as I can tell, the ringleaders of the anti-Mothers Act movement are the anti-psychiatry, anti-medication, anti-the-brain-is-an-organ crowd.”

“Legitimate researchers and mental health experts may regard them as “Internet nutters,” in the words of one highly published psychiatrist,” he claimed. “Their views may sound so ridiculous to educated (and sane) people that they are dismissed outright.”

“But, unfortunately,” he noted, “they have a lot of time on their hands, and they gather force on the Internet and make their voices known — and LOUDLY.”

“The fact is,” Lee said, “a significant percentage of the American population has untreated mental disorders.”

“But many of them have been treated — and treated hamhandedly by ignorant physicians,” he added. ‘These former patients are angry — and LOUD.”

“Some, no doubt, blame their current disordered mental state on medication when in fact it is the natural progression of their disorder,” Lee said.

“Some are simply so selfish they will deprive others of the chance for medical care simply because treatment for theirs didn’t work out so well,” he wrote. “Selfish. Selfish. Selfish.”

“But that’s the way many mental disorders are — selfish,” Lee added.

“We need to recognize these people as the sick minds that they are,” he said, “or all progress is lost.”

“It’s a SCREENING, you wingnuts,” Lee announced.

“Learn to read,” he told the wingnuts. “And take your medication. And shut up.”

In writing on Bremner’s site, Gina Pera, who has a book to hawk on Adult ADHD, also basically claimed that statements and opinions about the Mothers Act, by Amy and people like her, should be ignored because these people are mentally ill.

“We cannot make public-policy decisions based on the stories of people who have been diagnosed with mental health disorders and treated for them,” she wrote.

“Sorry, but it’s true,” she added.

“Many mental health disorders limit objectivity,” Pera states, “so these people are just not the best judges of what has been done to them and why.”

“They can have their stories and they can share them,” she said. “But we can’t make policy on this kind of hearsay and paranoia.”

On PsychCentral, the mental health expert Pera further explained: “To those who contend that the mentally ill always know they are mentally ill, that flies entirely in the face of all that we know about anosognosia and the denial of illness.”

“Mental illness can — and often does — limit accurate perception of self and others,” she said. “It’s just a fact.”

In a July 15, 2009, post on PsychCentral, John Smith jumped on the bandwagon and wrote: “These bloggers who pander to the Scientology crowd (and their mentally ill ilk) are simply seeking the spotlight, in my opinion. Shameless self-promotion, at the expensive of accurate information.”

“They’re whipping up the hornets’ nest and taking no responsibility for their actions” he said. “Despicable.”

In a second blog posted immediately after the first, Smith said: “Check out Ms. Philo’s connection with the Scientology front’s ‘Natural News.'”

“As if it’s not obvious she’s mentally unstable,” he wrote.

“The idea that Time magazine would give her a platform is ridiculous, as if she represents the “other side” of the issue,” Smith said. “She sings straight from the Scientology songbook: off-key.”

After allowing all the attacks to be posted on his site about Amy, when Amy posted truthful information such as Katherine Stone being a paid speaker with money from Zoloft maker Pfizer, Grohol wrote a blog basically warning Amy to knock it off or she would not be allowed to post comments on his site.

“We don’t allow ad hominem or personal attacks here,” he said, “So I suggest that if you want to engage in such, you go elsewhere for your enjoyment.”

It was at this point that Evelyn Pringle (me) felt compelled to enter the debate and wrote: “This from a someone who has allowed people to posted snide remarks and inuendoes to discredit Amy, or anyone else with an opposing view, who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, rightfully or wrongfully, all over the internet, including here.”

“These people verify everything I have warned about in my articles,” she said. “Once a woman is tagged with a mental illness diagnosis via the Mothers Act, she will lose all credibility for life.”

“In the Mothers Act disease mongering campaign we now have social workers, running treatment centers with websites, diagnosing mental disorders, with 2 and 3 question screening tools, and advising women on which drugs they recommend,” Pringle wrote on PsychCentral on July 16, 2009.

“It’s hard enough to accept that the nation’s mental health is gauged on disorders defined by a single 38,000 member psychiatric professional group,” she said, “delegating the treatment of mental illness to social workers, with a doctor signing off on the diagnosis for billing purposes, is not acceptable.”

Pringle’s comments were also soon blocked on Grohol’s website.

But on July 20, 2009, she wrote on Bremner’s website: “I think every blogger who brings up Scientology should identify their religious faith for the record.”

“As I’ve said many times, I am not a fan of any organized religion, and disagree with the practices of many, but I fail to see what religious beliefs have to do with opposing the Mothers Act legislation,” she wrote.

“For instance,” she said, “I always thought it was ridiculous that Catholics were not allowed to eat meat on Fridays (when I was young), get divorced, or use birth control (to name a few).”

“However, being my father was a firm believer in the Catholic religion, I never felt the need to belittle his faith,” she wrote. “I simply decided not to be a Catholic when I grew up.”

“Nor do I feel the need to preface peoples’ name with their religion in a low-ball attempt to win a debate,” Pringle said.

“I disagree with the beliefs of many other religions but who am I to say which one of the world’s millions of religions is correct,” she added.

“Trying to use Scientology as a smoke-screen is really getting old,” Pringle said. “Anyone who is a member of an organized religion should be required to identify that affiliation if they want to make Scientology an issue in this debate.”

On July 22, 2009, a blogger on Bremner’s site named Lisa wrote: “Dr. Bremner, just my opinion, but I suspect the reason you riled Dr. Grohol has to do with the fact that he can’t very well blame your opposition to the Mother’s Act on Scientology or Anti-psychiatry.”

“I wish the debate over this bill didn’t have to devolve into that,” she said. “It’s so tiring.”

Grohol’s Internet One-stop

As noted previously in this series, Grohol, the guy supporting “objective researchers calling for more screening,” is operating a profitable one-stop treatment center on the internet with PsychCentral, where people can get therapy from “live” online “experts” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as coupons for free samples of psychiatric drugs, with instructions on what to discuss during doctors’ appointments.

Grohol’s one-stop even provides links to quizzes for people to self-screen not only for depression, but for Adult ADHD, anxiety, OCD, PSTD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and just about every other so-called mental disorder known to mankind.

One helpful link takes potential customers to the: “Do I Need Therapy? Quiz”.

A weekly chat with a PsychCentral therapist would cost a mom who screens positive for PPD roughly $120 per hour, billed at $2 per minute, or $6,240 a year.

The Abilify advertised on PsychCentral, to treat depression as an add-on with antidepressants, was recently priced at $1,230 on DrugStore.com. Add Cymbalta, one of the antidepressants Grohol promotes with another ad, complete with a voucher for a free sample, at a cost of $390 a month, and a woman is looking at a yearly tab of $19,440, bringing the combined drug and therapy total to $25,680.

And God forbid, if mom and dad both screen positive, the cost of treatment could double to $51,360. As a psychologist, Grohol can not write prescriptions, and neither can his online “therapists,” so this amount would not include the fees for office calls to the prescribing physician.

However, before heading over to Gohol’s one-stop, perhaps postpartum couples may want to see if a new car could pull them out of their funk. On the “Car Connection” website, the starting price for a brand new 2009 Kia Rio is only $11,495, and the 2009 Honda Fit is listed at $14,750, bringing the total cost to only $26,248 for two vehicles.

If the new cars don’t do the trick, the parents would still have $25,112 left over to spend on a half year of treatment at PsychCentral, based on the estimated costs for drugs and therapy found on the website.

Also, a quick search of the internet turned up a website called, “Live Psychic Readings,” supposedly featured on “Good Morning America,” that only charges $1 per minute, with a toll free number. And better yet, another site with the heading, “The Honest Psychics,” only charges a buck for 10 minutes.

Grohol also allowed Katherine to post a link on PsychCentral to a petition for people to sign in support of the Mothers Act, a process funded by the “Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance,” a Big Pharma front group that serves as a funnel of drug company money to finance disease mongering campaigns.

The DBSA’s 2007 annual report shows the group received between $150,000 and $499,000 from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Wyeth, and between $10,000 and $149,000 from Abbott, Cyberonics, Forest, Glaxo, Organon, and Otsuka American Pharmaceuticals. DBSA also received $37,510 from Eli Lilly in 2007, and another $20,000 from Lilly in 2008.

Lilly’s first quarter grant report for 2009 shows a $5,000 donation to the DBSA. The Rhode Island chapter of the group also received $7,500 from Lilly in the first quarter of 2009.

This article continues tomorrow in part five.

Filed under: antidepressants, Congress, Melanie Stokes, mothers act, pharmacology, PPD, Pregnancy

ABC Story on ACOG Release Refers Readers to momsandmeds.com and CHAADA

Following the story this weekend on abcnews.com which quoted me on the dangers of antidepressants for babies, I was contacted by a  producer with ABC.

I later sent this (along with some other extensive information / research) point / counterpoint analysis to her. I am not sure if they are going to use any of it. I do not have time at the moment to publish all the pictures or attached studies but I will update the article with the photos etc. as soon as I can. Nor do I have time to publish all the other resarch I did. Just wanted everyone to be aware of how the media story quoted people who twisted things, and how the media is currently under the impression that the medical community believes things like “antidepressants are safe for pregnant women” which is something I discussed with an ABC producer on the phone.

OK seriously now I am getting off the blog and going back to the things I have to get done today!

Point / Counterpoint On ABC Article Versus What the ACOG Release Actually Says:

http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=8378059

The main thing missing from the ACOG report is any discussion of the questionable efficacy of antidepressants. No antidepressant is FDA approved for pregnancy, and this report ignores last year’s revelations from A report by Dr. Erick Turner in the NEJM (Jan. 17 2008), that the studies which were negative on antidepressant efficacy went largely unpublished, or were published in a way to convey a positive outcome even though the FDA considered the studies negative or questionable. This NEJM report showed that antidepressants may be far less effective than once thought. Previously it seemed as if 94% of trials on antidepressants were positive, but when the unpublished studies were included, that number fell to 51%. 31% of all studies went unpublished.

Another study in PLOS medicine (Feb. 2008) by Irving Kirsch et al found that when the unpublished data from those studies was included, the benefit of antidepressants fell below the accepted criteria for clinical significance. It states that there is only a modest benefit over placebo for antidepressants. The report showed that in severely depressed patients, the very small difference between placebo and antidepressants was attributed to a decreased response to placebo rather than an increased response to antidepressants.

This is confirmation of what Peter Breggin has written in his books, that antidepressants are barely better than placebo if at all, in trials. In fact, they could be worse than placebo if you investigate and consider all the patients who dropped out or were coded as no effect when in fact their depression worsened, or suicides that may have been concealed.

Does everyone in the medical community agree that there are “no risks” to the baby with medications?

The on-call OBGYN mentioned in this story knew about Effexor babies & warned the NICU to get ready when he found out the woman whose baby he was going to deliver had been on Effexor.

The doctor who delivered this baby, Matthew, who died 2 hours after birth, was unaware of the dangers before, but he no longer prescribes antidepressants to pregnant women. In fact, he is helping the parents get in touch with certain other experts in order to investigate antidepressants during pregnancy.


POINT / COUNTERPOINT from ABC article / ACOG Release

“No scientific data” to support fetal abnormalities and death? Selected quote from doctor in ABC article conflicts with ACOG press release on risks to the baby

“But Dr. Ruta Nonacs, a psychiatrist with the Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Clinical Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, said there is no scientific data to support that treating mothers with antidepressants leads to an increased risk of fetal abnormalities or death.”

Clearly Dr. Nonacs has not read FDA warnings on antidepressants and has not seen the MedWatch data showing the  TOTAL REPORTS OF FETAL AND INFANT INJURIES AND DEATHS = 7,083! See attached chart showing 1,057 abortions, miscarriages and other deaths, 511 premature births, 2,730 heart disease cases, and 2,785 other birth defects from FDA’s MedWatch for psychotropic drugs from 200(summary file attached) – (link).

Moreover, Dr. Nonacs must not have read the ACOG press release, which states:


Both depression symptoms and the use of antidepressant medications during pregnancy have been associated with negative consequences for the newborn…some studies have linked fetal malformations, cardiac defects, pulmonary hypertension, and reduced birth weight to antidepressant use during pregnancy.”

“Complications” vs. Fatal Birth Defects

“We’re not in favor of women taking [antidepressants] when they’re pregnant,” said Amy Philo, co-founder of Children and Adults Against Drugging America (CHAADA) and momsandmeds.com. “I don’t know how people can logically believe that feeling sad when you’re pregnant is going to cause [complications].”

The quote I gave to Radha was “feeling depressed or being sad” while pregnant…

Some of the complications I listed off to Radha that were not mentioned, but which are shown in the attached NEJM study as confirmed risks of antidepressants to babies, were omphalocele, craniosynostosis, and anencephaly.

That’s the organs of the gut remaining outside the body in a sac at birth, requiring surgery; the bones in the skull fusing together early requiring cranial surgery; and the lack of a forebrain and sometimes lack of a skull closing over the brain, which is 100% fatal.

(NEJM Study / sample photos of what these devastating & serious / sometimes fatal birth defects actually look like attached.)

The only possible way being depressed could cause complications would be through stress hormones. According to Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, an internal Eli Lilly study (which she documents in her book, Prozac, Panacea or Pandora? Our Serotonin Nightmare) showed that a dose of Prozac doubles cortisol, so antidepressants wouldn’t really help there.

However I find it extremely difficult to believe that depression itself could cause some of these birth defects, which is what I told Radha. How could being depressed cause omphalocele, anencephaly, or craniosynostosis in the baby? Just look up serotonin syndrome and serotonin smooth muscle constriction to understand how artificially elevating serotonin affects the baby’s development. Serotonin excess has also been linked to SIDS / brain abnormalities.

Quote from NEJM article attached: Maternal SSRI use was associated with anencephaly (214 infants, 9 exposed; adjusted odds ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 5.1), craniosynostosis (432 infants, 24 exposed; adjusted odds ratio, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.5 to 4.0), and omphalocele (181 infants, 11 exposed; adjusted odds ratio, 2.8; 95% CI,
1.3 to 5.7).”

Again, many doctors disagree with medication- Sevlie’s own OBGYN recommended monitoring instead of meds:

” “I didn’t take [medication] when I was pregnant because I didn’t know there were any options,” said Sevlie, whose obstetrician recommended monitoring when she told him how she felt.”

ABC says fetuses can be affected:

“But taking antidepressants also pose risks since a fetus can be affected by any substance a mother introduces to her body.”

First guidelines?

“Today, the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a collaborative report that sums up past research and is the first to offer concrete guidelines for treating depression in pregnant women.

Actually, the ACOG press release seems to have the same talking points as most of the existing advice on perinatal depression, and is incredibly formulaic. A quick search of the internet for advice on perinatal depression confirms this. If any OBs ignored this advice before they are not necessarily likely to listen to this new report either.

“In women with a history of severe, recurrent depression, however, or those with suicidal symptoms, refraining from medication is not advised as they may become a danger to themselves and their baby.”

This completely ignores warnings from FDA on antidepressants actually causing suicidal symptoms, psychosis, etc. Where is the consideration that the antidepressants may be exacerbating the severe, recurrent depression? Where are the treatment recommendations for healthy alternatives that rival / surpass antidepressant efficacy without side effects? Psychotherapy is treated as though it does not work for severe depression.

All medical underlying causes are ignored, such as thyroid, hypoglycemia, nutritional deficiencies, anemia, etc. Omega 3 is a great alternative that has been proven effective in studies on bipolar disorder and cannot possibly hurt the mother or baby.

This quote differs from ACOG report, which states:

Women with recurrent depression or who have symptoms despite their medication may benefit from psychotherapy to replace or augment medication. Women with severe depression (with suicide attempts, functional incapacitation, or weight loss) should remain on medication. If a patient refuses medication, alternative treatment and monitoring should be in place, preferably before discontinuation.

NYU Psychiatrist confirms Medical Community Has Not Been On Board With Drugging Pregnant Moms

Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a psychiatrist at the New York University Medical Center stated:
“It might come as a surprise to some that it’s necessary to treat patients [with drugs] when they’re pregnant. I think there are clinicians that shy away from it.”

Once again confirmation that many doctors do not want to treat pregnant patients with psychotropic drugs. Again, his point completely ignores trying other methods before psychotropic drugs, and ignores screening for thyroid, anemia, nutritional problems, etc. He clearly does not put safety first.

Unless you know the exact medical cause of the symptoms there is no such thing as a necessary drug during pregnancy. There is no proof that psychotropic drugs cure anything chemically so they can never be considered essential during pregnancy, unlike antibiotics, insulin, and most other drugs that could be considered necessary for some patients. Even then, there are alternatives that doctors and midwives use for these serious problems in pregnancy, such as probiotics, vitamins (Vitamin C megadoses, garlic, etc.), and diet recommendations.

Untreated depression?

“Though the prenatal risks of taking antidepressants are not fully known, the report stresses the potential negative impact of allowing depression to go untreated as a mitigating factor in the decision to medicate.”

Again, this completely ignores alternative treatments besides drugs.

“Depressed mothers are at increased risk of substance abuse, of poor compliance with prenatal care, and have poorer nutritional habits than mothers who are not depressed.”

So address their nutritional habits and tell them to stop using substances. Giving out prescriptions that have equal or greater harmful effects than alcohol and illegal drugs is not acceptable. Furthermore, the efficacy of antidepressants is extremely questionable at best so who is to say that women on antidepressants will eat better and avoid all substances besides antidepressants?

“You cannot separate the needs of the mother from the needs of her fetus,” said Dr. Lucy Puryear, a reproductive psychiatrist and author of the book Understanding Your Moods When Your Expecting: Emotions, Mental Health, and HappinessBefore, During, and After Pregnancy. “To ignore the pregnant woman’s mental health in order to ‘protect’ her baby causes distress to the pregnant mother and her family.”

Why is protect in quotation marks? Does a baby’s death or birth defect from antidepressants not cause the family and mother distress?

Your ABC article implies that the treatment may not have worked very well for the mother quoted

“And Sevlie pointed out that her experience with untreated depression during pregnancy as well as the eight months of post-partum depression she endured — for which she did complete a course of treatment — led to feeling alienated from her daughter. “I feel like I lost that first year of her life,” Sevlie said. “I don’t remember when her teeth came in or when she sat up… I remember feeling I wasn’t the mom I was supposed to be… I would have liked to know more of my options,” Sevlie said. “Not just medications but outlets for depression and pregnancy support.” “


More research needed on antidepressants – report not conclusively in favor of drugs

“Experts stressed that some facets of the report highlight the need for more research on the risks of both depression and antidepressant treatment. But unified recommendations from both obstetricians psychiatrists should assist in more effective treatment for pregnant women with depression.”

Filed under: antidepressants, Pregnancy, , , , , ,

AMA Review: Antidepressants Pose Significant Risk of Serious Harm to Babies

You may have seen headlines this weekend or last week claiming that antidepressants are safe for pregnancy or that the ACOG recommends them for pregnant women. I did a little investigation over the weekend and I found that the AMA conducted a review of all the available research on antidepressants in pregnancy in 2007.

I will post a more extensive update later when I have more time. At the moment I am in a big rush so I am only posting a few points.

While carefully reading the review I noticed two things:

1) The authors did seem a little desperate to let antidepressants off the hook despite repeated findings that they could cause severe harm, making statements like “But this did not control for maternal depression” as though antidepressants would have reduced birth complications and defects otherwise.

2) Despite the fact that the joint council had voted for the AMA to promulgate clinical recommendations based on their findings, the AMA changed their mind midway through the process of researching and writing, and decided to hold off on making clinical recommendations, after the ACOG and APA asked them to wait until they could do something. It seems like the ACOG and APA read the extensive AMA report as a basis for forming their recommendations.

You can see the AMA report here:
http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/no-index/about-ama/17742.shtml.

Note that numerous people on the ACOG / APA report have conflicts of interest personally or at their university, while media articles covering this have quoted conflicted doctors making statements which contradict what the ACOG / APA report actually says. In addition, many of the “counterpoint” articles cited in the review were conducted by corrupt researchers who either have extensive conflicts of interest / involvement with pHARMa companies, or they are under Senate investigation for nondisclosure while working on federally funded research on pregnant and nursing women. The ACOG and APA themselves have extensive conflicts of interest.

Amery Schultz found some of the conflicts pertaining to the report or media coverage simply by googling “Dr. _____ Conflicts of Interest” or “Dr. _____ disclosure.”

Others have been documented extensively by Evelyn Pringle in her MOTHERS Act series.

Here is the quote from the AMA report that makes it look like the ACOG and APA may have hijacked the AMA’s plan to put forth treatment guidelines on SSRIs / SNRIs in pregnancy.

Resolution 519 (A-06), introduced by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, and adopted as amended, asked that our American Medical Association (AMA) work with all appropriate specialty societies to prepare a report summarizing the research on the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy and to promulgate appropriate guidelines concerning the treatment of depression during pregnancy.

During preparation of this report, the Council learned that the APA and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) were collaborating to develop guidance on the use of antidepressants in pregnancy. Therefore, as requested, this report summarizes the research on the use of SSRIs during pregnancy, but defers any action on clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of depression during pregnancy until the APA and ACOG complete their collaborative effort.

Here are some selected excerpts from my press release on Indiana Delahunty’s death.

As reported by Vera Sharav, “In April, 2004, the National Toxicology Program – Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (NTP-CERHR) panel issued a Report after examining all the available published evidence about infants exposed to an antidepressant in utero and / or breast fed by mothers taking an antidepressant.”

Sharav continued, “The NTP-CERHR expert panel found reason for concern:

Late pregnancy exposures were associated with increased incidence of prematurity, reduced birth weight and length at full term, and poorer neonatal condition characterized by admission to special care nursery and adaptation problems (e.g., jitteriness, tachypnea, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, poor tone, respiratory distress, weak or absent cry, or desaturation on feeding).

“The authors concluded that the observed effects are specific to SRI exposure rather than underlying maternal depression.”

This report, titled “The REPRODUCTIVE and DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY of FLUOXETINE”, was originally available at http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/news/fluoxetine/fluoxetine_final.pdf.

As if the conclusions of the report were not bad enough, various studies demonstrate that antidepressants double spontaneous abortions and stillbirths and quintuple preterm births. Babies exposed to SSRIs have a six-fold increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN), a potentially fatal lung problem. Nearly a third of women who take SSRIs have a baby who dies, is premature or underweight, or who has seizures.

Regarding the required FDA warnings and label changes the AMA stated:

Labeling changes to SSRIs/SNRIs

Following the June 9, 2004, meeting of the FDA’s Pediatric Subcommittee of the Anti-infective Advisory Committee, the Committee strongly endorsed class labeling for the neonatal toxicity/withdrawal syndrome related to in utero exposure to SRIs. Accordingly, class labeling changes were adopted that caution physicians and patients about neonatal complications associated with late pregnancy exposure and note that such complications have required prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. The label lists the clinical features of the SRI-related neonatal syndrome; suggests a withdrawal or toxicity mechanism, including serotonin syndrome for these symptom clusters; and states that tapering the medication in the third trimester might be considered an option to reduce or prevent these symptoms. The label also notes that women who discontinued antidepressant medication during pregnancy are more likely to experience a relapse of major depression than those who continue antidepressant medication.

Subsequently, class labeling changes incorporated the emerging data on pulmonary hypertension by noting that infants exposed to SSRIs in late pregnancy may have an increased risk for PPHN.

Specific warnings are advanced for paroxetine regarding its association with an increased risk for congenital and cardiac malformations.

Finally, in contrast with much of the media coverage of the ACOG release claims that antidepressants are safe, the AMA report concluded:

“SRIs carry a small but significant risk for serious medical consequences.”

My comment: I am not certain how reliable their conclusion of the risk being a “small but significant” one really is, considering the apparent or probable lack of any attention to the recent MedWatch data, and the extensive conflicts of interest among some of the report’s cited researchers, some of whom are under investigation.

Given that in the past three years the rate of antidepressant use among pregnant women has skyrocketed from “over 1%” to approximately 13%, I can only imagine how many babies are dying now.

Filed under: antidepressants, Pregnancy, , , , , ,

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