The Bitter Pill

The Official Blog of UNITE – uniteforlife.org

Mass. General Recruits Pregnant Women for Bipolar Study on Craigslist

I was going through my office tonight organizing it and filing and trying to write down all the things I want to do. I finally made it through about 10 pounds of paperwork I needed to file (stacking up that much paperwork not yet filed is one of the signs of living a normal life with little boys)! Anyway, I found a printout I had saved from Craigslist from about one year ago.

MGH Drugging Pregnant Moms (Antidepressants / Anticonvulsants)

MGH Drugging Pregnant Moms (Antidepressants / Anticonvulsants)

It was posted 8-27-2008. Says for information you can contact Rachel at 617-726-2912.

I wonder if Rachel ever reads up on the drugs she is helping give to unborn babies.

Filed under: "mood stabilizers", antidepressants, MGH, Pregnancy, , , ,

1031 Deaths of Babies Exposed to Psychotropic Drugs

“There’s no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.”
– President Dwight David Eisenhower

Below is a link that shows some of the MedWatch reports submitted to the FDA of deaths caused to babies by exposure prenatally and neonatally to psychotropic drugs. This does not include the birth defects and withdrawal syndromes for babies who did survive exposure, which seems to be the only thing we usually hear about in the media concerning the drugs’ risks for babies. These figures are based on about a four year time period and represent from 1-10% of likely actual deaths. Keep in mind that these were preventable deaths of helpless babies which would not have occurred were it not for the exposure to psychotropic drugs prenatally and neonatally.

Go to http://psychdrugdangers.com/MothersAct.html and look through the summary tables for the 1,031 Abortions, Miscarriages & Other Deaths. You can see the breakdown for each drug class.

Filed under: "mood stabilizers", "prevention", Effexor, Effexor in pregnancy, experimentation, forced 'treatment', Fred Baughman MD, Indiana, Informed Consent, Isaac Philo, Julie Edgington, Katherine Stone, lawsuits, Melanie Stokes, mothers act, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Howard K. Stern and Two Psychiatrists Charged With Conspiracy in Death of Anna Nicole Smith

Anna Nicole Smith’s lover, Howard K. Stern, charged in ex-Playboy playmate’s fatal overdose

Friday, March 13th 2009, 3:11 PM

Roca/News

Anna Nicole Smith relaxed on the deck of boat off the Island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

Anna Nicole Smith‘s boyfriend Howard K. Stern and two psychiatrists supplied the former Playboy playmate with excessive amounts of drugs before she died of an accidental overdose two years ago, authorities said Thursday.

The 40-year-old Stern, Sandeep Kapoor, 40, and Khristine Eroshevich, 61, were hit with felony counts of conspiracy, obtaining fraudulent prescriptions and unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown said they “furnished thousands of prescription pills to Ms. Smith, including opiates, benzodiazepines, and other controlled and noncontrolled substances, often for no legitimate medical purpose.

“There is ample evidence that Dr. Eroshevich and Dr. Kapoor violated their ethical obligations as physicians, while Mr. Stern funneled highly addictive drugs to Ms. Smith,” Brown said.

The doctors falsified prescriptions for Smith and were guilty of “obtaining, delivering and administering these prescription drugs,” he said.

Kapoor prescribed methadone, lorazepam and Xanax for Smith in 2006 when she was months pregnant with daughter Dannielynn, according to the complaint.

The prescription was made out to “Michelle Smith,” an alias Smith was known to use.

Stern also asked a Los Angeles pharmacy to ship methadone to the Bahamas in the name “Vicki Marshall,” which was intended for Smith, the complaint states.

Dannielynn was born on Sept. 7 in the Bahamas.

Eroshevich’s lawyer, Adam Braun, acknowledged his client used fictitious names for some of the prescriptions he wrote for Smith, but only for privacy reasons.

“It was not to deceive anyone,” he said.

Attorneys for Stern and Kapoor couldn’t be reached for comment.

Smith was found unresponsive at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on Feb. 8, 2007, and subsequently died of what an autopsy ruled was an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. She was 39.

Eleven medications found in her hotel room were prescribed by Eroshevich – eight in Stern’s name, two to someone named Alex Katz and one to Eroshevich herself.

Among them were the sedative chloral hydrate that became increasingly lethal when combined with other prescription drugs in Smith’s system – 4 benzodiazepines: Klonopin (Clonazepam), Ativan (Lorazepam), Serax (Oxazepam), and Valium (Diazepam), the complaint said.

She also had taken Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) and Topamax (Toprimate), an anticonvulsant, which likely contributed to the sedative effect of chloral hydrate and the benzodiazepines.

More than 600 pills – including about 450 muscle relaxants – were missing from the prescriptions that were no more than five weeks old.

None of the drugs was prescribed in Smith’s name.

Six months earlier, Smith’s 20-year-old son, Daniel, collapsed and died in her Bahama hospital room while visiting his mother and newborn sister.

An autopsy found he died of a lethal combination of Zoloft, Lexapro and methadone.

The complaint said Stern hit the two doctors up for drugs the day after Daniel’s death and eventually asked Eroshevich “to bring excessive quantities of controlled substances” to Smith.

Eroshevich continued writing prescriptions intended for Smith all the way through Jan. 26, 2007, two weeks before Smith’s death, the complaint said.

Prosecutors have recommended bail of $20,000 each.

No arraignment date has been set.

lstandora@nydailynews.com

Filed under: "mood stabilizers", antidepressants, patient deaths, Pregnancy, shrinks disciplined, toxicity deaths, Zoloft,

Epilepsy Drugs and Neurontin Double Risk of Suicidal Behavior

Epilepsy and Psychiatric Drugs like Neurontin Double Risk of Suicidal Behavior

Monday, October 06, 2008 by: David Gutierrez
Key concepts: Epilepsy, The FDA and Suicide
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(NaturalNews) The FDA issued a warning on earlier this year that anti-epileptic drugs double the risk of suicidal thoughts among people that take them, regardless of whether they are used as a treatment=2 0for epilepsy or other conditions.

Anti-epileptics, also known as anticonvulsants, are taken by millions of people as treatment for epileptic seizures, bipolar disorder, and severe pain like that from migraine headaches.

“All patients who are currently taking or starting on any anti-epileptic drug should be closely monitored for notable changes in behavior that could indicate the emergence or worsening ofsuicidal thoughts or behavior or depression,” the FDA said. The agency also advised that doctorsconsider whether the benefits of prescribing the drugs outweigh the risks for each individual patient.

The FDA warning currently applies only to the 11 anti-epileptic drugs included in the agency’s comprehensive review of 199 clinical trials: carbamazepine, marketed as Carbatrol; Equetro, Tegretol and Tegretol XR; felbamate, marketed as Felbatol; gabapentin, marketed as Neurontin; lamotrigine, marketed as Lamictal; levetiracetam, marketed as Keppra; oxcarbazepine, marketed as Trileptal; pregabalin, marketed as Lyrica; tiagabine, marketed as Gabitril; topiramate, marketed as Topamax; valproate, marketed as Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene and Depacon; and zonisamide, marketed as Zonegran.

But the agency said that all anticonvulsants probably carry the same risks, and that the new warnings may be applied to the entire class of=2 0drugs.

The FDA has convened an advisory panel to decide on what next steps to take. For now, the labels of the 11 drugs studied must be updated to warn of the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. In addition to prescribing the drugs more carefully, the FDA said, doctors should make sure that patients and their families know to be alert for the warning signs of suicide and to contact a doctor immediately if those signs occur.

Warning signs include increased depression, withdrawal from loved ones, giving away prized possessions, a preoccupation with death, talking or thinking about self-injury, and overt suicidal thoughts. These symptoms can emerge within one week of beginning an anticonvulsant and can last for months.

The FDA reviewed nearly 200 clinical studies on 11 anticonvulsant drugs, including a total of 43,892 participants – 27,863 of whom received drugs and 16,029 who received a placebo. While the absolute risk of suicide for those taking anticonvulsants was low, at 0.43 percent, this was nearly twice the risk experienced by those on a placebo (0.22 percent). This means that for every 1,000 people taking anticonvulsants, 2.1 would experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors who would not otherwise have done so.

Four suicides occurred among participants taking anticonvulsants during the studies, while none occurred among those taking placebos.

The FDA noted that while all patients taking anticonvulsants experienced a heightened risk of suicidal thoughts, the risk was greater among those being treated for epilepsy than those being treated for other conditions.

The review of the epilepsy drugs was launched in 2005, partially in response to criticism of the FDA’s handling of the painkiller Vioxx, which was withdrawn from the market in 2004 after studies found that it increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In addition, New York attorney Andrew Finkelstein petitioned the FDA in 2004 to warn doctors about the suicidal risks of Pfizer’s anticonvulsant Neurontin (also sold generically as gabapentin).

“All I asked them to do is tell everybody that they’re investigating this and in the meantime to take caution,” Finkelstein said in response to the recent warning. “How many lives could have been saved had they done what I asked them to do four years ago?”

Finkelstein said that he became aware of the risk in 2003 when a client reported that he began considering suicide within weeks of beginning treatment with Neurontin, and then tried to take his life a few months later. The lawyer took out a commercial on national cable television asking if anyone had experienced similar effects, and received more than 20,000 responses. Finkel stein and colleagues launched an investigation, uncovering more than 300 suicides and 500 other suicide attempts among those taking the drug.

A total of nearly 1,000 lawsuits have since been filed against Pfizer, almost 300 of them by Finkelstein’s firm, alleging that the company unnecessarily exposed patients to increased suicide risk from its marketing of Neurontin. Among the accusations are that Pfizer illegally marketed Neurontin for then-unapproved uses, such as treatment for bipolar disease or migraines.

In 2004, a division of the company pleaded guilty to two felonies relating to its off-label marketing of the drug.

The current FDA warning is expected to worsen Pfizer’s position in the lawsuits, which could end up costing it hundreds of millions of dollars in liability fees, Finkelstein said. In addition, sales of all the drugs may very well drop.

An estimated 2.7 million people suffer from epilepsy in the United States alone, and many of those take anticonvulsant drugs. In response to the FDA warning, Peter Bergin, president of the New Zealand League Against Epilepsy, warned these patients that stopping the drugs abruptly also carries risks.

“If a patient taking an anti-epileptic drug does feel suicidal or depressed, then they should speak with their doctor,” Bergin said. “We need to stress that patients should not stop their anti-epileptic drugs of their own accord, since there is a risk that a person will develop a series of seizures in rapid succession if they do so, and this can sometimes result in serious injury or even death.”

 

     
 

Filed under: "mood stabilizers", epilepsy drugs, Neruontin, suicide

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