Lawsuits Only Weapon Available Against Giant Big Pharma Pushers
First published July 11, 2006
Kelly O’Meara’s coverage of the adverse effects of psychiatric drugs is virtually unmatched by any other journalist in the US. During her 6-year stint with the Washington Times’ Insight magazine, she wrote more than two dozen investigative articles about the link between SSRIs and the bizarre, violent acts committed by patients taking the drugs, which include the majority of children involved in school shootings in the US.
Her new book, “Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills That Kill,” is about informed consent. “The people need and deserve the whole truth about their psychiatric diagnosis,” Ms O’Meara advises, “and the mind-altering drugs that are prescribed as treatment.”
Experts say the book is a must read for patients considering whether to take psychiatric drugs. The “chemical imbalance in the brain” theory that drug maker’s tell patients they have when marketing the drugs, is debunked in the book by some of the nation’s leading experts, and according to Ms O’Meara, the drug companies themselves have been forced to admit that they do not understand how the drugs work in the human brain during the treatment of an alleged mental illness.
“In fact,” she says, “a test that measures a person’s brain chemicals does not exist.”
“Never in the history of the world has science discovered what the correct brain chemical levels are for any living person,” Ms O’Meara explains, “making it impossible to know if these naturally occurring chemicals are out of balance.”
“If confirmable proof of a chemical imbalance were required prior to filling a prescription for any antidepressants,” she says, “not a single prescription would be written because to date the only known method of determining chemical levels in the brain is during autopsy.”
Even though the atypical antipsychotics are not FDA approved for any use with children, and their package inserts specifically state that their safety and effectiveness with children have not been established, Big Pharma has doctors prescribing them off-label to children of all ages for a long list of so-called mental disorders.
According to a study in the March-April 2006, Ambulatory Pediatrics journal, between 1995 and 2002, the rate of children receiving antipsychotics increased five-fold, to an estimated 2.5 million, or an increase from 8.6 prescriptions for every 1,000 children in the mid-1990s, to nearly 40 in every 1,000 in 2002.
A recent review by USA Today of the FDA’s adverse reporting system from 2000 to 2004, found at least 45 deaths in children under 18 listing atypicals as the “primary suspect.” There were also an additional 1,328 reports of other side effects, including many that were life-threatening.
Other life-long physical adverse effects of these drugs are beginning to emerge in children. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recently found that 19% of newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetic children were being treated with atypical drugs, according to Robert F Kennedy Jr vs the Medical Elite, by Mark Sircus Ac, OMD, on June 22, 2005.
“The most studied adverse effect of the newer generation of antipsychotics,” he notes, “is their association with hyperglycemia, in some cases leading to ketoacidosis, coma, or death.”
“Many of these drugs carry black box warning to alert MD’s about the dangers of diabetes,” according to Mr Sircus.
Psychiatrist, Dr Stefan Kruszewski, also says the atypicals substantially increase the risk of other serious physical illnesses such as heart attack, hypertension, and stroke.
For the past 30 years, Dr Breggin, has served as a medical expert in lawsuits involving psychiatric drugs and has testified in cases involving tardive dyskinesia.
All antipsychotics also now carry a warning about the extremely serious condition of tardive dyskinesia. According to Dr Breggin, the condition is a drug-induced movement disorder that is usually irreversible and there are no adequate treatments for the disorder.
“Tardive dyskinesia often looks so “strange” or “bizarre,” Dr Breggin says, “that it is mistaken for a mental illness rather than a neurological disorder.”
The abnormal movements, he says, can afflict any muscle group of the body and can impair the ability to walk, speak, breathe and swallow.
“It is highly variable in expression and severity,” according to Dr Breggin. One variety involves painful spasms of muscles, he says, that can literally torture the victim, and another involves an agonizing inner agitation that drives people to move their arms or legs, or to pace.
“Some cases,” he advises, “are painful, disfiguring, exhausting and ultimately disabling.”
Dr Breggin has served as an expert in a half dozen tardive dyskinesia cases that resulted in verdicts for the plaintiffs including several cases in which Risperdal caused tardive dyskinesia in children, where the drug was prescribed to control behaviors that were in fact, he says, caused by stimulant ADHD drugs that the child was already taking.
According to Dr Breggin, tardive dyskinesia occurs at a cumulative rate of 4-7% per year in otherwise healthy patients treated with antipsychotics and after only a few years, 20% or more of patients will be afflicted. In older patients, he says, the rate is even higher.
Overall, according to estimates by a 20-year career FDA scientist and researcher, Dr David Graham, the use of atypicals antipsychotics increases the annual death rate in the US by more than 12,000 people a year.
They are approved for a very limited number of psychiatric disorders but once again, drug makers have found way to get doctors to prescribe them off-label for a multitude of unapproved illnesses for age groups that they were never intended..
The off-label prescribing of these drugs is so out of control that according to a July 7, 2006 report by Decision Resources, Inc, a leading research and advisory firm on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, antipsychotics represented the fourth-highest-ranking class of drugs in worldwide sales in 2005, and two of the top ten drugs in sales are atypicals.
But the icing on the cake as to the absurdity of their widespread use, come from a government study published in the September 22, 2005, New England Journal of Medicine, that determined that the new atypicals are only barely more effective than no drugs at all.
Dr Breggin warns that all stimulant drugs can cause “a continuum of stimulation, including agitation and irritability, anger, hostility, disinhibition, hypomania and mania.”
The stimulant or activation syndrome, he advises, was observed decades ago with stimulant drugs such as amphetamines, Adderall, and Dexedrine, and methylphenidates such as Ritalin and Concerta.
In addition, Dr Breggin brings up an all too common situation with children who are recruited by the mental health industry. “As the child’s emotional control breaks down due to medication effects, mood stabilizers may be added,” he explains.
“Eventually, these children end up on four or five psychiatric drugs at once and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder by the age of eight or ten,” he warns.