Relentless and Tragic Marketing: Psychiatric Drugs from Before the Cradle to the Grave

by John Breeding, PhD and Amy Philo

Working with others, we strive to alleviate distress and to support and enhance the personal growth, transformation, individuation, self-determination, and clear and expanded awareness of individuals. Necessity dictates that we also spend a lot of time challenging aspects of the mental health profession that do the opposite—creating more distress, suppressing growth and transformation, violating self-determination, and dulling and blinding awareness. We call it psychiatric oppression, the systematic, institutionalized mistreatment of those judged as “mentally ill.” This essay focuses especially on the ever expanding encroachment of psychiatric oppression to more and more of the population, and to individuals who are less and less in need of actual help. This encroachment takes the form of mass marketing for psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. One key aspect of oppression theory is the claim to virtue. For psychiatric oppression that claim is the notion that mentally ill people need their treatment; its growing extension is the concept of prevention, that potentially mentally ill people need treatment as well!

The Regressive Progression: Treatment to Prevention

“An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure.” Like all great aphorisms, this one, often associated with Ben Franklin, holds wisdom and is partly true, based on assumption. In this case, one must assume the role of victim of unnecessary malady that necessitates a cure…and that there is a felt connection or empathic relatedness to the one who suffers malady. Where these assumptions are not met, the aphorism is false. To wit, for the giant corporation of Halliburton and its government and military operations group, or for the mercenary army of Blackwater, going to war is worth a great deal more than diplomacy.

Continue reading “Relentless and Tragic Marketing: Psychiatric Drugs from Before the Cradle to the Grave”

What the Media Doesn’t Say about Antidepressants & Pregnancy

In reality, you cannot separate the need for the baby to be healthy and to survive from the mother’s mental state. How many mothers honestly do not worry that something could go wrong with their babies or do not feel responsible for protecting their children? How many women who lost children can go on day by day not feeling anything about that loss? Which antidepressant are you supposed to take to help with depression if you’re dealing with loss after your baby dies from an antidepressant?

Unlike Vogue Magazine or TIME, for some reason ABC has decided to promote more misinformation that will no doubt prove deadly for far too many babies, and possibly mothers too. Read on to find out more…

You may have read a couple of posts I recently wrote (see: here – AMA Review: Antidepressants Pose Significant Risk of Serious Harm to Babies and here – ABC Story on ACOG Release Refers Readers to momsandmeds.com and CHAADA) after I was contacted for a possible story on TV by an ABC producer regarding the ACOG / APA guidelines on antidepressants and pregnancy.

As I wrote in those articles, I had sent numerous emails to the producer with various studies and analyses including not only the conflicts of interest (the conflicts document was so extensive that it took up about 20 pages or so in Word and I didn’t even look up all the names) among the researchers either writing or cited in the report, but also a comparison of the difference between the ABC article they published, and the actual report issued by the ACOG and APA.

I don’t expect that I’ll be hearing much back from them, but the reason I am writing this is not because I really wanted to be on TV (far from it) but because it just makes me horrified that the media can take something that says there is evidence of harm to babies (to quote the ACOG release, “[T]he 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.”) and twist it around by quoting “experts” with fancy titles who are willing to say that “the jury is still out” on whether antidepressants can hurt babies. The proposition is that it’s the depression that causes the birth defects, not the drugs.

The ACOG report clearly says that there is evidence of harm – but unfortunately when you watch the videos put out or read the articles on the ABCnews.com website you won’t know that unless you look further.

Just think about cases in which mothers who lose babies to antidepressants or have babies with severe birth defects linked to antidepressants go on to have more children off of antidepressants, without further problems in the babies. Julie Edgington is one example (out of 5 children, only one baby had problems and it was the one exposed to Paxil, Manie, her 4th), Kelly S., who lost her baby to a Paxil heart defect, is another. I was myself told that I shouldn’t have more kids because I would risk severe PPD. I had nothing of the sort. Toby is one of the healthiest kids I’ve seen. I know I am not the best example because I wasn’t actually depressed during pregnancy (was never depressed except for when I was taking Zoloft while nursing), but it just goes to show that there is no conscience regarding the harm coming to babies from these drugs. I was told to stay on Zoloft if I ever did want to have another baby. I am so thankful that Toby is drug-free and healthy.

I honestly do not know how these people can live with themselves.

A great example of what the public sees if they are not up on the latest information, but just passively receiving news bytes, is the ABC piece that just came out which covers Heather Armstrong’s story and states that there is no convincing proof that antidepressants cause harm to the baby. In it Heather tells ABC that she went off her meds during her last pregnancy but experienced panic attacks, and then later, suicidal thoughts after her baby was born, so she decided to stay on it during this recent pregnancy.

1) Of course when you go off antidepressants you can experience panic attacks or even suicidal thoughts – it’s called withdrawal. Been there, done that. For me the withdrawal was way worse than being on the drug at a stable dose, but once I got off of the drug and had time for it to clear out of my system I felt so much better.

Even if you were suicidally depressed before ever taking antidepressants, that does not mean that antidepressants will cure the suicidal thoughts, nor does it mean that you cannot find safe and effective alternatives (link to postpartum nutrition / orthomolecular medicine article). (See also: Preventing & Treating Emotional Problems and a post about counseling and self help.)

Perhaps Prozac really helped Heather feel better mentally but that does not justify what could have happened to the baby. During her last pregnancy she says that she had panic attacks. I think I’ll take panic attacks over my baby dying. It wasn’t even until after her baby was born that she says she had suicidal thoughts. So, were those a result of a drug withdrawal, or did she have a hormonal imbalance after birth of estrogen or thyroid that so many women have? I can’t claim to know what caused Heather Armstrong’s depression after her birth of her first child, but I can guarantee that it was not a Prozac deficiency and that there are safe treatments available. However it still makes no sense to me why having PPD would lead someone to consciously decide to take drugs during a subsequent pregnancy. If you had PPD before, then by all means if you are going to take drugs for PPD, do so after the baby is born and don’t do it while nursing. The time it takes you to get your placebo effect should be well worth it considering the peace of mind and increased safety for the baby.

In my opinion the reason women do this sort of thing stems from the misinformation fed to them by their doctors or other people in the public doing the off label marketing spin. Off-label marketing, or promoting psychiatric drugs to pregnant women (no psychiatric drug is FDA approved for pregnancy), by the way, is currently illegal, but the drug companies usually find ways to get others to do it for them. That’s more than I can say for Pfizer’s criminal behavior with the illegal marketing of Geodon and Lyrica.

2) Just because Heather Armstrong’s baby was born without complications (and she had an unmedicated birth if I am not mistaken) does not mean that the drugs are safe. Nor does it mean that whatever drug she is feeding her daughter in her breast milk is safe for the baby. I am so thankful that her daughter is ok so far, because no baby deserves to suffer from these drugs and I truly hope that she continues to be ok.

But this does not excuse pushing drugs on the entire country with misleading information from conflicted “researchers.”

Here is what you will probably not see on ABC any time soon:

(I hope ABC will prove me wrong, but so far no such luck)

Craniosynostosis caused by Antidepressant Exposure
Craniosynostosis before / after surgery (caused by antidepressant exposure)
Omphalocele caused by antidepressant exposure
Omphalocele caused by antidepressant exposure
Anencephaly (lack of forebrain) caused by antidepressant exposure - 100% fatal
Anencephaly (lack of forebrain) caused by antidepressant exposure - 100% fatal

Look at these devastating photos and ask yourself if it is really worth it to expose your baby to something that can cause a birth defect like this, when there is no taking back the exposure. I lived through suicidal and homicidal thoughts for four months because of Zoloft and I would not want to live through that again, but I would rather go through it (drug-induced or not) a hundred more times rather than have to live through losing a baby or having a baby born with a severe birth defect.

Everyone is bound to go through sad times, depression, grief and despair at some point in their lives but that does not mean that the entire human population suffers from serotonin deficiencies (when in reality serotonin excess is what leads to problems in the first place) or “chemical imbalances.”

I enjoy occasionally drinking wine or mixed drinks, but that doesn’t mean that because I feel relaxed while drinking alcohol, that I should drink when pregnant or that I suffer from an alcohol imbalance.

Women deserve to know the truth about what can happen with these drugs. They deserve to get the truth about what is causing their emotional problems (not some sales tactic like attributing it to an unproven, unprovable chemical imbalance) and how to safely deal with them with “alternative” medicine, orthomolecular medicine, proven hormone therapy, counseling, etc. They deserve support and understanding and compassion. They do not deserve to be fed deadly lies. But mostly, their babies deserve for the mothers to know.

ABC quotes doctors who say you cannot separate the health of the child from the health of the pregnant mother. This is an illogical catch phrase that they use in order to try and make us feel guilty for insisting on drug free options because some women obviously already take antidepressants and find it impossible to stop (again, this is caused by horrific withdrawal and the drug companies seem fine with that). Try and think about what this really means. They are saying that the mother’s mental health cannot be ignored during pregnancy because doing so hurts the baby. They are saying depression is more dangerous than drugs to the baby. Aside from the fact that this is clearly untrue, and that antidepressants do not reduce birth defects, but rather, increase them, think about whether you have ever been sad during pregnancy. Does feeling sad during pregnancy or being depressed cause PPHN, cardiac defects, the lack of a forebrain, and stillbirth? Or do toxic drugs with mystery chemicals that dangerously elevate serotonin and affect the organ development of babies cause these problems?

Something most people don’t know is that Fen-phen which was taken off the market for heart and lung-related deaths is actually a serotonergic drug which was a chemical mirror image of an SSRI. As I have said repeatedly and will say again, when you have drugs leading to heart problems and PPH in adults, how could they possibly not hurt babies the same way or worse?

Even after considering the fact that antidepressants actually cause depression and suicide, and work about as well as a placebo, this catch phrase makes about as much sense to me as saying that a mom who is addicted to crack, or drinks 5 coffees a day, or smokes, or is an alcoholic, should be told to keep doing those things if it eases her anxiety or fatigue while pregnant. Or about as much sense as telling women to go take Thalidomide because we’re not really sure that Thalidomide causes problems and it was probably actually the morning sickness causing the birth defects and not the Thalidomide. The jury is still out on whether swallowing RAID or drinking bleach while pregnant is bad for your baby. Perhaps working in a nuclear plant or handling plutonium should be considered safe for pregnant women too.

In reality, you cannot separate the need for the baby to be healthy and to survive from the mother’s mental state. How many mothers honestly do not worry that something could go wrong with their babies or do not feel responsible for protecting their children? How many women who lost children can go on day by day not feeling anything about that loss? Which antidepressant are you supposed to take to help with depression if you’re dealing with loss after your baby dies from an antidepressant?

Stop lying to women about what are confirmed, known risks.

If the jury were still out, the FDA would not be issuing warnings like:

“Infants born to mothers who took SSRIs 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.”

See: PPHN Paxil baby Sarah Hart here. Sarah survived, but Matthew did not.
Face to Face:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/madnapfacetoface/

See more FDA MedWatch Data here: http://www.cchrint.org/psychdrugdangers/MothersAct.html

I can only hope that every person responsible for off-label marketing will be held accountable in some way. I am no expert in FDA  or criminal law, but when you essentially have money laundering taking place – drug companies giving donations to organizations, who then promote drugs through their own organizations via blogs, press releases, and speeches, it would seem that either the drug companies, or the individuals doing the marketing should be held to account for the off label promotions.


Warnings/Studies Showing Risks Associated with Antidepressants and Pregnant Women or New Mothers:

There is ample evidence to support the risks associated with placing pregnant women or new mothers on antidepressant drugs:

  • September 7, 2005: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration issued an information sheet to health professionals warning that SSRI antidepressant use—especially Paxil—in early pregnancy could cause congenital [defect at birth] heart abnormalities in newborns.[i]
  • September 27, 2005: The FDA and GlaxoSmithKline issued a warning that pregnant women taking Paxil or other antidepressants during their first trimester of pregnancy, placed their newborns at increased risk of major congenital and cardiovascular [heart] malformations at birth.[ii]
  • February 9, 2006: The New England Journal of Medicine found that mothers who took SSRI antidepressants in the second half of their pregnancies were 6 times more likely to give birth to infants with a lung disorder called persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN). The condition occurs when a newborn’s circulation system does not adapt to breathing outside the womb and causes high pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs making them unable to get enough oxygen into their bloodstream and can be fatal. Between 10% and 20% of infants with PPHN would die even if they receive treatment.[iii]
  • March 10, 2006: Based on the New England Journal of Medicine study, Health Canada issued a warning that SSRI antidepressants and other newer antidepressants when taken by pregnant women placed newborns at risk of developing the rare lung condition; persistent pulmonary hypertension or PPHN.[iv]
  • April 7, 2006: A Canadian study from the University of Ottawa published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found pregnant women who used SSRI antidepressants were more likely to have premature and low birth weight babies.[v]
  • June 2006: An Archives of General Psychiatry study found women who take antidepressants during pregnancy at risk of giving birth to children with respiratory problems.[vi]
  • July 19, 2006: The FDA warned of the risk of a fatal lung condition in newborns whose mothers took SSRIs during pregnancy. The agency added it was seeking more information about persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns from the drugs. It asked drug makers to list the potential risk on their drug labels.[vii]
  • November 2006: The journal Epidemiology published a study entitled “Maternal Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Congenital Malformations.” Researchers did the study from Aarhus University. It found that pregnant women who take SSRI antidepressants are more likely to have babies with birth defects than mothers who don’t take these drugs.[viii]
  • August 2007: The American Journal of Psychiatry published a study that determined that antidepressant use during pregnancy was associated with premature births.[ix]
  • September 18, 2007: A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine of nearly 500,000 women by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found that nearly 50% of women taking a prescription drug that could cause birth defects did not receive warnings to avoid pregnancy.
  • Moreover, experts say the seriousness of a life-threatening lung disorder found six times more often in infants born to mothers who take antidepressants during pregnancy is not being adequately conveyed to women while they are considering whether to use the drugs.[x]
  • The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) states: “Like many other drugs, paroxetine [chemical name for the antidepressant Paxil] is secreted in human milk, and caution should be exercised when Paxil…is administered to a nursing woman.”

Selected SSRI Antidepressant Studies/Warnings on Suicide Since 2001:

  • March 22, 2004: The FDA warned that SSRIs could cause “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia [severe restlessness], hypomania [abnormal excitement] and mania [psychosis characterized by exalted feelings, delusions of grandeur].”
  • February 18, 2005: A study conducted at the Ottawa Health Research Institute and published in the British Medical Journal determined that adults taking SSRI antidepressants were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as patients given placebo.[xi]
  • June 30, 2005: The FDA issued a Public Health Advisory entitled “Suicidality in Adults Being Treated with Antidepressant Medications,” that there could be an increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults taking antidepressants. It recommended that physicians monitor adults who took antidepressants for suicidal tendencies.[xii]
  • August 4, 2005: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration published an Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin reporting evidence supporting an association between SSRI use and “new onset of suicidality” in adults.[xiii]

[i] “Information for health professionals concerning the use of SSRI antidepressants in pregnant women,” Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration,” 7 Sept. 2005.[ii] “Important Prescribing Information,” Letter to healthcare professionals by GlaxoSmithKline, Sept. 2005; Miranda Hitti, “New Study Links Paxil to Twice as Many Birth Defects as Other Antidepressants,” WebMD Medical News, 27 Sept. 2005.[iii] Christina D. Chambers, Ph.D., M.P.H., Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, M.D., Dr.P.H., Linda J. Van Marter, M.D., M.P.H., Martha M. Werler, Sc.D., Carol Louik, Sc.D., Kenneth Lyons Jones, M.D., and Allen A. Mitchell, M.D., “Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn,” New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 354, 2006, pp. 579-587.

 

[iv] Health Canada Advisory, “Newer antidepressants linked to serious lung disorder in newborns,” 10 Mar. 2006.

[v] Andre Pickard, “Prozac-type drugs increase birth risks, study finds,” Globe and Mail, 4 June 2006.

[vi] Tim F. Oberlander, M.D., FRCPC; William Warburton, Ph.D.; Shaila Misri, M.D., FRCPC; Jaafar Aghajanian, B.Sc.; Clyde Hertzman, M.Sc., M.D., FRCPC, “Neonatal Outcomes After Prenatal Exposure to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Antidepressants and Maternal Depression Using Population-Based Linked Health Data, Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 63, 2006, pp. 898-906.

[vii] “Antidepressants should list new risks: FDA,” Reuters, 19 July 2006.

[viii] Wogelius, Pia, Nørgaard, Mette, Gislum, Mette, Pedersen, Lars, Munk, Estrid, et.al. “Maternal Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Congenital Malformations,” Epidemiology, Vol. 17, No. 6, Nov. 2006.

[ix] Rita Suri, M.D., Lori Altshuler, M.D., Gerhard Hellemann, Ph.D., Vivien K. Burt, M.D., Ph.D., Ana Aquino, B.S., Jim Mintz, Ph.D., “Effects of Antenatal Depression and Antidepressant Treatment on Gestational Age at Birth and Risk of Preterm Birth,” American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 164, Aug. 2007, pp. 1206-1213.

[x] Evelyn Pringle, “Women not warned about SSRI-related lung birth defect,” Countercurrents.org, 2 October 2007.

[xi] “Drugs Raise Risk of Suicide; Analysis of Data Adds to Concerns on Antidepressants,” The Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2005.

[xii] “Suicidality in Adults Being Treated with Antidepressant Medications,” FDA Public Health Advisory, 30 June 2004.

[xiii] “Suicidality with SSRIs: adults and children,” The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin, Vol 24, No. 4, Aug. 2005, p. 14.

TIME Magazine Retracts False Statement about Amy Philo (yes, that’s me)

***
UPDATE:

Today, July 12, TIME made the correction online. It still has the part that implies I had PPD, which is something that other reporters have said before even though I have never said I had PPD. I had anxiety, normal for the situation. Later I had Zoloft-induced psychosis. I call it PPZ.

I don’t think that part is as important as the timing of the dangerous thoughts and hallucinations so I am letting that part go. However I find it strange that psychiatrists have managed to label reasonable fear and protectiveness as part of a mental illness.

The corrected version states, “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.” The bottom of the article also states,  “The original version of this article stated that after Amy Philo’s newborn suffered an accidental choking incident, Ms. Philo’s preoccupation with his safety included fear of hurting her baby herself. However, Ms. Philo notes that that particular feeling did not intrude until later, after she began taking antidepressant medications.”

Since the incorrect version will be in print I would appreciate it if people could spread the word about the online version and the correction.

***

Here’s the ORIGINAL blog entry titled “Time Magazine to Retract False Statement about Amy Philo…” published last night:

First of all, I would just like to preface this post with a statement that I do not feel that the false statement written about me was a malicious statement or reckless mistake by the reporter. I think it was an honest mistake, and perhaps one that anyone could make. I had hoped to just wait for the correction and post the TIME article, “The Melancholy of Motherhood” on this blog as soon as it was fixed. But in order to set the record straight and hopefully minimize potential rumors and misunderstandings, I decided I needed to write about it here as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the magazine has already gone to print, and will be sitting in millions of doctor’s offices, spas, libraries, and living rooms within days. However, according to Catherine Elton, who wrote the article, the online version was supposed to be corrected last night. It’s not fixed yet so I am assuming for now that the editor is just not checking email on the weekend. The issue is the July 20 issue, so you may not have yet seen the article but it is available online.

Overall I was pleased that TIME chose to pay attention to some of the most important problems with The MOTHERS Act and I thought that Catherine Elton did a nice job on this.

However, the false statement written about me was that I had fears that I might hurt Isaac, and then I got put on Zoloft.

“…[I]ncreased 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. In 2004, shortly after her first son was born, he choked on his vomit and needed emergency treatment. Her son recovered, but after the incident, Philo became preoccupied with his safety and even feared hurting him herself — a common symptom of PPD.

This could not be further from the truth. As I have written about and spoken about for the past four years (on YouTube, radio shows, TV interviews and even to members of the U.S. Senate), I was prescribed Zoloft mainly because I had a panic attack… as my doctor said, for Post Partum Anxiety, to “prevent” PPD because I was considered “at risk.” I was never “diagnosed” with PPD before going to the hospital at 10 days postpartum (the doctor there wasn’t sure what my diagnosis was, but he thought I might have PPD with psychotic features, rather than a reaction to Zoloft. Nor did he think my problems could have been related to reasonable anxiety in the face of witnessing my child almost die – if you read my story you might remember the peachy retort I was fortunate enough to hear from that same doctor,  “Your baby didn’t almost die.” Instead I was labeled paranoid and told to take my meds if I wanted to go home.).

From days 3-6 postpartum, it’s true that I was very worried about Isaac’s safety. During the time between his life-threatening choking incident at Children’s hospital and the time I was placed on Zoloft I was having trouble sleeping and did have extreme anxiety, which seemed to be getting somewhat better over time, but I was simultaneously overjoyed with my baby and motherhood. I couldn’t have been more protective and more in love with my baby, while at the same time very concerned about keeping him safe. I think they call that being a mom.

I told Catherine Elton about how I was worried about Isaac, but I never stated that I was worried I might hurt him before Zoloft, only after Zoloft was started. I realize that some women have thoughts of hurting their children before going on medication. But I never did. I was very much in the mindset of protector and very traumatized by our close call.

Before I was put on Zoloft, I wanted him in the same room as me at all times. I was afraid to let him out of my sight. I was worried that he might choke on formula, turn blue again or stop breathing. At one point my husband took him downstairs when I was lying in bed, and when I realized that Isaac was not in the room I freaked out, went downstairs, and found him in my mother-in-law’s arms, and started crying as I asked if I could please have my baby back.

When Isaac nearly choked to death at the age of three days, it was only minutes after our arrival at the hospital. He was trying to cry and vomit but couldn’t make a sound. The relief I felt when the partially digested formula finally came out and he finally started crying and breathing was tremendous, but at the same time I was in a state of horrible trauma from nearly losing him, and I knew that if I hadn’t insisted on calling 911 and brought him in, he would have died in his bassinet while we slept, or if we were awake, we wouldn’t have been able to save him ourselves.

The only reason we took him in to Children’s was because I happened to notice him in his bassinet before going to bed, and the skin around his mouth was blue. This alarmed me so I picked him up, and found that he was cold and seemed to have shallow breathing, and his hands and feet were also cold and looked blue. I could not wake him up. I told Joel about it but because Joel saw him breathing he didn’t see why I was worried. I asked my mother-in-law what she thought and she said that she thought something didn’t seem right and it would be better to be safe than sorry. I called 911. They arrived at our house within minutes, but couldn’t determine what might be wrong with him but said he needed to be taken to a hospital. They told us to go back to Children’s which was a 30 minute drive, so he could not be taken by ambulance. They would have had to take him to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids which they did not recommend, so they had us drive him to Minneapolis. On the way to the hospital in the car I had a flashlight on him (it was very dark) occasionally just to check his breathing. So you can imagine that when he started choking and turning red and purple and could not cry, and this happened literally within 2-3 minutes after we got to Children’s Hospital, I was a total mess.

Sending a social worker in to talk to a mother (whose baby is hooked up to IVs, breathing and heart monitors in a bed at Children’s) because she has been crying all night is not the best way to put her at ease. Telling a mother to let it go, and just let others feed her baby formula while she sleeps is not the best plan for a mother who has just witnessed her baby almost die from choking on formula.

Putting a mother on a drug to “prevent” PPD because her baby almost died is not even a compassionate thing to do. But modern medicine tells women that any time they have fears or anxiety, that they are “at risk” or that this is a symptom of a disease called PPD. Rather than supporting women in their new roles as protectors and supporting their spirits and physical bodies through tremendous changes and physical exhaustion, we are told we are mentally ill. This is the most sexist, disrespectful and dishonorable possible attitude and it does absolutely nothing to help women or their families. Instead, it puts them in danger, because of the fact that these medications are extraordinarily hazardous and toxic.

I agree with Catherine Elton’s article when she concludes, “Ensuring the proper support of mothers, however — whether that means treating depression or caring for women in their new roles — would require an effort much more ambitious than a single law.” Proper support of mothers would require an ambitious effort indeed. Perhaps some laws – definitely not The MOTHERS Act – but perhaps some laws need to be passed to prevent the wholesale drugging of our most vulnerable. Perhaps people need to rethink their attitudes and learn how to support women as new mothers. It’s a big change that can turn your life upside down. It can be wonderful and scary and exhausting all at the same time. It would indeed take far more than a law to teach people how to do this, and how to stop labeling women mentally ill any time they show emotions. It would take more than a law to put a stop to the drugging of women for “clinical depression” while covering up their real problems whether physical, financial, medical, nutritional, hormonal, emotional, relational, or situational.

Why do I care so much that someone thinks I had thoughts of hurting Isaac before the medication? Because it’s not true. Zoloft did not add to an instability (because I was not unstable), it turned me from a sane but loving mother who wanted nothing more than to protect her baby, into my own worst nightmare. The moment that I hallucinated throwing Isaac down the stairs (after being on Zoloft for 3 days) was almost the scariest moment of my life up to that point. The scariest moment prior to that was watching Isaac nearly die in the hospital several days earlier. But as soon as I was afraid I might actually hurt him, I was so intensely afraid for him that I wanted to kill myself. I thought that was the only way to protect him. It wasn’t out of guilt that I wanted to die. There was guilt, and I didn’t know how I could look in the mirror. I hated myself. But mostly I saw no way out, no way for him to be safe with me around.

As many more days and weeks on Zoloft took their toll and Zoloft-induced psychotic feelings set in, and the thoughts of suicide were overpowered with constant thoughts of homicide, I was less and less bothered by the thoughts of killing my son, then later my husband, mother, cats, neighbors, and then committing suicide.

In essence these drugs can take away your feelings about everything, and give you overwhelming, nonsensical, violent urges. There is no motive for them but they are persistent and frightening.

It’s eerie to me that people chalk this up to Post Partum Depression. We have been so programmed as a society to believe this. I read the PPD bloggers’ stories and while reading so many of them I wonder what it would be like to start out your child’s life like that. It seems mild compared to what I went through. I would trade for that.

Fortunately, although I feel that the first several months of my son’s life outside the womb were almost totally stolen from me, by going off of the Zoloft I got my own soul back. And this is all that I want people to know, because if you’re on drugs that are making you a monster, you can get yours back too.

I wish I could go back in time and not go through what I did. I wish I could somehow reach all these women and help them understand it so they don’t have to go through it too. I wish I could go back and pull the pills from the hands of mothers swallowing them during pregnancy or breastfeeding who would someday lose their babies because of it. But I can’t. I wish I could have started out Toby’s life without people wondering if I was really unstable and about to snap like I did after Isaac was born. I wish I could go through life without knowledge of what it’s like to contemplate killing your baby, or wanting to kill yourself. But all I can do at this point is just tell the truth and hope it helps someone else not have to learn the hard way.

So here is the still-incorrect version of TIME’s article, The Melancholy of Motherhood.

Feel free to link here, to this article, before you link to the TIME article, to help me set the record straight and clear up the misunderstanding that is being sent out all around the country in print, so that people will really understand that it was Zoloft that started me down this road. It’s not as important to me what people think about me as it is that they know the truth before they start swallowing these deadly drugs themselves.

Read the full story here: “Docs blame PPD for the horrors of Zoloft” – http://chaada.org/smf/index.php?topic=15.0

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.

Want a baby? Congress to see if you’re mentally fit.

http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=93766#


WND Exclusive


YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK

Mental health screening targets moms-to-be

Questionnaire will be used to determine ‘depression’ in patients


Posted: April 02, 2009
11:50 pm Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A bill that would subject pregnant women to mental health screenings – and possibly medications that would follow any diagnosis of “depression” – has returned and already is more than halfway through Congress, a concerned family group is warning.

WND reported a year ago when the plan was proposed to allow the government to order tests on mothers for baby blues. The proposal later died.

However, officials with United Nonprofits and Individuals for Truth and Ethics say the bill is back, and it already has been approved by the U.S. House and assigned to a Senate committee under the designation S.324.

It’s named the “Melanie Blocker Stokes Mother’s Act” after a pharmaceutical sales manager who killed herself by jumping out of a window after receiving four cocktails of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and antipsychotic drugs and electroshock therapy following the birth of her child.

UNITE leaders cite other examples of situations they say could re-occur should the bill become law.

2005: A 30-year-old Indiana mother taking anti-depressants ends up facing charges she murdered her two sons, ages 2 and 9.

2001: Andrea Yates is accused of drowning five children, ages 6 months to 7 years in the family bathtub. She had been taking anti-depressants Effexor and Remeron.

2004: Emiri Padron stabbed herself in the chest after smothering her baby daughter. Zoloft was found in her apartment.

New Jersey already has implemented a plan similar to the new federal legislation, and it currently screens new moms for conditions that could be treated chemically. Lisa Bazler, a former therapist, told WND the federal plan is essentially the same as the 2008 proposal, which specified the government “shall” educate women concerning postpartum depression “before such women leave their birthing centers” as well as “screen new mothers for postpartum conditions.”

The newest plan makes some changes in the wording, ordering that officials are “encouraged” to do research on postpartum conditions and that “activities … shall include conducting and supporting” research, development of better screening and “information and education programs for health care professionals and the public.”

Bazler told WND the key is the wording that provides no informed consent for those who are being “studied” and “treated.”

“The vagueness of the language this year means that they will probably do even more than we can imagine – there is no specificity to lock them into any sort of exact program,” she warned. “They can do with it what they want.

“What is being done currently, if you look under the hood and at the legislative history of the bill and all the front groups pushing it, is a movement towards universal mental health screening – including mandatory screening of women as they do in New Jersey – and preventive drugging during pregnancy or postpartum,” she said.

UNITED has a link to a YouTube video that shows one family’s encounter with Effexor, an anti-depressant. The video also is embedded here:

An organization called Able Child has launched an online campaign to allow those interested to e-mail Congress with their concerns.

“Tell them you strongly oppose the MOTHERS Act,” said Patricia Weathers and Sheila Matthews of Able Child on the website.

According to Bazler, the bill would impose “a highly subjective questionnaire” on mothers about their moods, generating diagnoses that could include depression.

“These labels almost ALWAYS lead to an antidepressant drug prescription, and antidepressants are known to cause SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS including suicide, homicide, and infant death,” she wrote.

New Jersey’s “first-of-its-kind” law requires doctors to “educate expectant mothers and their families” about postpartum depression and to screen the mothers for the condition.

UNITE founder Amy Philo has described her own experience with Zoloft.

“I had a hallucination where I was walking past the stairs, and I was carrying my son to the bassinet,” Philo said. “I looked over and visualized a ghost of me standing on the stairs and throwing him over. That’s when I thought I was really about to snap.”

She sought a change in her prescription and ended up locked up in a hospital.

“There was no counseling or anything. I was locked up like a prisoner, and I was there from Saturday to Monday.” Finally, she quit taking her prescription completely. “That’s when I finally got better.”

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Government to test moms for baby blues?


MOTHERS Act and DBSA – pHARMa Front Group – Who cares about money?

FRONT GROUP FINANCIAL INFORMATION: DBSA

This research was conducted by Evelyn Pringle… I hope you can note the inserted comments from her and look below to read my comments, which I’ll leave off the article portion and put in the comment box.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

2005 Annual Report

http://www.dbsalliance.org/pdfs/05annualreport.pdf

Sue Bergeson, President, DBSA

ALLIANCE LEAGUE ($500,000 AND ABOVE)

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

LEADERSHIP CIRCLE ($150,000-$499,999)

Abbott Laboratories
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Cyberonics, Inc.
Eli Lilly and Company Foundation
Pfizer Inc


FOUNDERS CLUB ($10,000-149,999)

Forest Laboratories
GlaxoSmithKline
Janssen Pharmaceutica Products
Neuronetics, Inc.
Shire Pharmaceuticals Group


ADVOCATE COUNCIL ($5,000-9,999)

Dr. and Mrs. Edward M. Scolnick


PLATINUM ($1,000-4,999)

Merck & Co. Inc.
Lori L. Altshuler, M.D.
Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.
A. John Rush, M.D.
Mr. Robert C. Schwartz


GOLD ($500-999)

Dr. and Mrs. Mark S. Bauer
Gregory Simon, M.D.


SILVER ($150-499)

Johnson and Johnson
Joseph Biederman, M.D.

Linda L. Carpenter, M.D.
Dr. Ron C. Melzer
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
Charles O’Brien, M.D.


MATCHING GIFT COMPANIES

GlaxoSmithKline
Merck & Co. Inc
Pfizer Foundation

EMPLOYEE GIVING

Abbott Laboratories

======================

2006

Drug company money to Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance in 2006

(Evelyn’s note:

The 2006 Annual Report for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance shows that AstraZeneca gave the group more than $500,000 in 2006. Companies that gave between $150,000 and $499,000 included Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Forest Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Pfizer, and Shire Pharmaceuticals each gave between $10,000 and $149,000.)

2006 Annual Report

http://www.dbsalliance.org/pdfs/2006AnnualReport.pdf

=======================

2007

Depression and Bipolar Alliance

Annual Report

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/DocServer/FINAL_AnnualReport07.pdf?docID=2761

This list reflects donations received through December 31, 2007.

LEADERSHIP CIRCLE ($150,000-$499,999)

AstraZeneca
Pfizer Inc
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

FOUNDERS CLUB ($10,000-149,999)

Abbott Laboratories
Cyberonics, Inc.
Elli Lilly and Company
Forest Laboratories
GlaxoSmithKline
National Association of State
Mental Health Program Directors
Organon, Inc.
Otsuka American Pharmaceutical, Inc

PLATINUM ($1,000-4,999)

Abbott Laboratories Employee Giving Campaign

GOLD ($500-999)

Lori L Altshuler, MD
David Dunner, MD
Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD
A. J. Rush, MD
Martha Sajatovic, MD
Gregory Simon, MD, MPH
TAP
Dr. James Walker

SILVER ($150-499)

Dr. and Mrs. Paul Berkowitz
Joseph Biederman, MD
Dr. Judith A. A. Cook
Dr. and Mrs. Alan Harris
Dr. Roger W. Helfrich
Nada l. Stotland, MD

CONTRIBUTORS TO THE REBECCA LYNN CUTLER LEGACY OF LIFE FOUNDATION

Abbott Laboratories
AstraZeneca
Eli Lilly and Company
Janssen
Organon, Inc.
Pfizer Inc
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

EMPLOYEE GIVING COMPANIES

Abbott Laboratories
Eli Lilly and Company
GlaxoSmithKline
Merck Partnership for Giving
Pfizer Foundation

2007 at a Glance: How We Met Our Mission

(Among other things listed are):

Promoted Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research & Care Act at invitation of Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.)

Promoted MOTHER’s Act at invitation of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

Launched consumer smoking cessation initiative, funded by Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation’s Smoking Cessation Leadership Center

First-ever DBSA Hope Award for lifetime achievement presented to Frederick K.
Goodwin, MD, & Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD

Active in development & promotion of “Depression Is Real” PSA campaign

=======

DBSA 2007 Fall Newsletter “Outreach”

The issue states: “DBSA gratefully acknowledges its Leadership Circle, Organizations that contributed a minimum of $150,000 during 2007.”

ABBOTT LABORATORIES
ASTRAZENECA PHARMACEUTICALS
PFIZER INC
WYETH PHARMACEUTICALS

http://www.dbsalliance.org/pdfs/outreach/Outreach_Fall2007.pdf

Under “Our 2007 Legislative Milestones” it lists:

DBSA was honored to be asked personally by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Representative Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) to help introduce the postpartum legislation in Illinois.

=========

DBSA Spring 2008 Newsletter “Outreach”

The issue states: “DBSA gratefully acknowledges its Leadership Circle, Organizations that contributed a minimum of $150,000 during 2007.”

ABBOTT LABORATORIES
ASTRAZENECA PHARMACEUTICALS
PFIZER INC
WYETH PHARMACEUTICALS

http://www.dbsalliance.org/pdfs/outreach/Outreach_2008Spring.pdf

It also publishes the following message which explains where some of the drug money went:

Speaking Out for New Moms

Six years ago, after giving birth to her first child, a successful 41-year-old sales manager plunged to her death from a Chicago hotel’s 12th floor as firefighters pleaded with her. Melanie Blocker-Stokes took her own life, despite medical help and the support of family and friends.

Melanie’s tragedy soon prompted legislation in both the U.S. House and Senate. If passed, the Melanie-Blocker Stokes Postpartum Depression and Research Act and the MOTHER’s Act will help the families and women afflicted by postpartum depression (PPD) through lifesaving educational programs and screening services.

In January, DBSA sent an Advocacy Alert asking you to write your legislators in support of these PPD bills. Thousands of you sent letters to Congress through our Legislative Action Center (LAC). As time went on, instead of contacting individual legislators, you began to ask specific congressional committees (like the House Committee on Energy and Commerce), to support a vote rather than just a bill.

Unfortunately, rumors and lies began circulating on the Web, as outspoken opponents began asking people not to support these bills. While they called themselves “experts,” none of them had any expertise in mental health or any PPD-related field. They claimed the legislation was just a conspiracy by big pharmaceutical companies to push new moms to take unnecessary medication.

Tell that to the more than 800,000 women who will develop a diagnosable postpartum mood disorder this year! To debunk these myths, on April 8, DBSA sent you another alert marked “Urgent.” Your response has been nothing less than amazing-unprecedented, Web experts tell us! Just nine hours after our alert, you’d sent 1,200 letters to legislators.

In the next two days, you sent 6,300 more. After one month, you’d sent over 15,000 letters speaking out against the PPD rumors! And, for the first time, other groups are proactively joining us.

Organizations and blog sites like Postpartum Support International (PSI), Postpartum Progress, Moms Speak Up, Becoming Me, Beyond Blue and EmpowerHer are linking their readers to our LAC so that even more letters reach Congress.

Did you know that as few as five letters can make a difference in how your legislator votes? Even if you’ve already sent a letter supporting PPD legislation, please send another.

Help us reach the 20,000 mark for letters supporting PPD legislation! Write Congress today at http://www.DBSAlliance.org/Advocacy.

================

Some of the drug money funneled through the DBSA is apparently being spent the same way this year by utilizing the postpartum front groups operating on the internet.

==========

Note from Evelyn:

On March 10, 2009, Katherine Stone’s headline on the Postpartum Progress Blog read:

“It’s Petition Signing Time!  Get Out Your Virtual Pen & Support Women with PPD”

Her blog reports “that Susan Stone over at Perinatal Pro is alerting everyone to the new petition created by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance to support the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act.  She states that last year’s petition generated more than 24,000 signatures.  The petition has been reintroduced this year to try and get this legislation passed once again.”

The blog carries a live link to an advocacy alert page where “you can scroll down, enter your zip code and generate letters of support in a matter of seconds for the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act that will be sent to your local Congresspeople and Senators.”

Ms Stone further advises: “I just sent my letters.  I know you’re thinking “but I already did that last year.”  Well that was then and this is now.  Do it again.”

MOTHERS Act Promotes Pregnancy as Cottage Industry by Evelyn Pringle

Mothers Act Promotes Pregnancy as Cottage Industry

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0812/S00107.htm

Women of childbearing years represent the most lucrative market for the makers of psychiatric drugs. The knowledge that infants were being born with birth defects and suffering a withdrawal syndrome when these drugs were used during pregnancy was hidden for decades. Knowledge of these terrible risks would have caused a major drop in sales to this customer base.

Ever since the warnings about birth defects started trickling out a few years ago, the drug companies apparently have been plotting to find ways to reverse their negative impact. But the most sinister plot ever developed is a bill moving for approval in the US Senate right now called the “Melanie Blocker-Stokes Mother’s Act,” to set up the screening of all pregnant women for mental illness.

The bill is promoted under the ruse of screening for postpartum depression. But a true picture of the target population of this massive drug pushing scheme is evident in the propaganda submitted to support the passage of the original bill in the US House of Representatives and the programs already in place in various states.

The legislation was first introduced in the House in January 2007 by Illinois Democrat Bobby Rush. Under “Background and Need for Legislation,” House Report 110-375 states in part:

 

“Depression is twice as common in women as it is in men, with its peak incidence during the primary reproductive years–ages 25 to 45. Because women are more likely to experience depression during these years, they are especially vulnerable to developing depression during pregnancy and after childbirth.”

In February 2007, the “Postpartum Mood Disorders Prevention Act,” was introduced in Illinois. The orchestrated attempts to pass this bill included planting reports in the media with claims that pregnant women are at risk for a whole list of mental disorders. For instance, on March 1, 2007 an article in the Naperville Sun stated:

 

“New moms face increased risks for not only postpartum depression, but also bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and other disorders, according to one of the largest studies of psychiatric illness after childbirth.”

The websites set up by the industry-backed front groups supporting the Mother’s Act have links to programs that claim new mothers need to be screened for “postpartum” depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and eating disorders.

When extending the drug-net to all pregnant women, the groups omit the term “postpartum” and claim women need to be screened for “perinatal” (which means both before and following birth) disorders. In December 2007, Illinois enacted “The Perinatal Mental Health Disorders Prevention and Treatment Act,” with the stated purpose “to increase awareness and to promote early detection and treatment of perinatal depression.”

But here again, the mention of “depression” only is deceiving because the websites of hospitals in Illinois show they are screening for the entire gamut of disorders mentioned above. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove offers “Perinatal Depression Support Services.”

“Any woman who is thinking about becoming pregnant, is pregnant, or had a baby within the past year can be affected by depression or other mood disorders,” their website says.

“Mental health screening under the guise of identifying individuals who are impaired from some supposed mental disturbance is typically simply another front for pharmaceutical marketing,” according to Dr Bose Revenel, co-author with psychologist John Rosemond of the new book, “The Diseasing of America’s Children.”

“Most are funded or the initiative is provided via pharmaceutical companies and medications are typically promoted as a supposed ‘solution,’” he says.

“The problem here is that, among other things, the drugs promoted have been shown to have potentially serious side effects and their effectiveness compared to placebo only trivial,” Dr Revenel reports.

“Furthermore,” he says, “the campaign ignores safe and potentially effective interventions such as dietary and nutritional changes and supplements as well as cognitive therapy – all of which are completely free of potential adverse effects, with effectiveness that rivals or exceeds that of the drugs.”

“If the screening only picked up women likely to benefit from treatment, then maybe it would be justified,” says Dr David Healy, a leading expert on psychiatric drugs from the UK and author of “The Creation of Psychopharmacology.”

“But screening will pick up a quarter or a third or more of all pregnant women and will lead to many of these being treated who do not need treatment,” he warns. “Over 25% of women might be diagnosed where very few of those are likely to need treatment.”

Although no psychotropic drug has FDA approval for use during pregnancy, the recommended treatment for all these so-called “disorders” consists of the newest most expensive antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants. The common practice is to prescribe three or four different drugs at a time for years on end.

The antipsychotics that will benefit as a result of the Mother’s Act include Seroquel by AstraZeneca, Risperdal marketed by Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson, Geodon by Pfizer, Abilify from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis’ Clozaril, and Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa.

Lilly also sells two antidepressants, Prozac and Cymbalta, and Symbyax, a combination of Zyprexa and Prozac. The other SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and SNRI (selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants include GlaxoSmithKline’s Paxil and Wellbutrin, Pfizer’s Zoloft, Celexa and Lexapro from Forest Labs, Luvox by Solvay, and Wyeth’s Effexor.

Pregnancy as a cottage industry

New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez is the lead sponsor of the Mother’s Act in the Senate. New Jersey is home to a long list of drug companies. The bill was first introduced in May 2007, but was stuck in committee until Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced an $11 billion omnibus package called “Advancing America’s Priorities Act.” Senator Reid tried to get the Act passed on July 22, 2008 by slipping it in the omnibus, but failed.

The Act is supported by a drug-funded coalition bent on turning pregnancy into a cottage industry. On September 25, 2008, Susan Dowd Stone, a member of “Postpartum Support International (PSI),” self-described as the “bill’s lead organizational sponsor,” issued a Legislation Update, obviously to pump out propaganda through the internet.

“Hundreds of thousands of women across the country suffer at the hands of postpartum depression every year, and they deserve better than the ideological games being played with legislation intended to bring them relief,” Senator Menendez declares in the Update.

“This is a cause I am committed to seeing through, and I will continue to stand up on behalf of mothers suffering from this condition until the blockade is cleared,” he vows.

“We will again await its inevitable passage at the next Congressional session when reason may more strongly prevail,” Ms Stone writes in the Update.

A gal named Katherine Stone runs the “Postpartum Progress” blog, described as the “most widely-read blog in the United States on these illnesses.” She serves on PSI’s board of directors as the public relations outreach chairwoman.

Her blog provides links to the “Top Women’s PPMD Treatment Programs & Specialists.” Dr Shari Lusskin is listed as a “top” specialist. She is an advisory council member for PSI. On her website under “Pregnancy-related Mood Disorders,” the standard talking point about “pregnancy related mood disorders” being prevalent is restated as follows:

 

“Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Eating Disorders may also develop or worsen during pregnancy and postpartum. Women with Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, or Schizoaffective Disorder are particularly vulnerable during pregnancy and postpartum.”

A May 28, 2005 presentation brochure shows Dr Lusskin is a paid speaker for Glaxo, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Wyeth.

The postpartum blogs are also used to sell books written by the “experts” and promote drug company funded conferences. For instance, on May 13, 2008, Postpartum Progress put out an ad for a June 25, 2008 conference at the University of Minnesota, titled, “Motherhood, Mood Disorders & Anxiety: Before & After Pregnancy.” The listed sponsors included AstraZeneca and the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), the most notorious industry backed front group on the planet.

Eli Lilly is logically the top giver to NAMI and many other front groups because it has the most drugs to peddle. Several class action lawsuits currently filed against Lilly specifically allege that Lilly funneled money to NAMI to aid in the off-label marketing of Zyprexa.

Between 2003 and 2005, Lilly donated $3 million to NAMI, according to the May 28, 2006 Philadelphia Inquirer. Lilly’s disclosure records show NAMI groups received more than $700,000 from the company in the first quarter of 2008. NAMI’s 2007 Annual Report lists Abbott Labs, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers, Eli Lilly, Forest Labs, Glaxo, Janssen, Pfizer, Wyeth and Solvay as “Corporate Partners.”

The NAMI website reports that the “National Depression Screening Day” and the “Stop a Suicide Today” campaign are endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association and are conducted in partnership with the American Association of Suicidology, Suicide Prevention Action Network USA, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and Mental Health America.

In 2006, the pharmaceutical industry accounted for about 30% of the American Psychiatric Association’s $62.5 million in financing, according to the July 12, 2008 New York Times. Lilly’s first quarter grant report for 2007 shows Lilly provided the APA with two grants worth over $412,000. The Suicide Prevention Action Network received $10,000 from Lilly in the first quarter of 2007.

Mental Health America’s annual report shows the group received over $1 million from Bristol-Myers, Lilly and Wyeth in 2006. Janssen and Pfizer gave between $500,000 and $1,000,000, and AstraZeneca and Forest Labs donated between $100,000 and $499,000. Glaxo gave the group between $50,000 and $100,000 in 2006.

Other funding sources listed on the MHA website include three treatment centers for eating disorders with links to their websites. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders estimates that the average cost of private inpatient treatment is $30,000 or more a month, according to an April 27, 2006 report by Women’s enews.

On May 21, 2008, the president of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (“DBSA”), Sue Bergeson, posted a message on Bipolarconnect.com, saying Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s office had called to say they were having “a hard time making headway” with the Mother’s Act. She informed readers that “more than 800,000 women will develop a diagnosable postpartum mood disorder this year! And this number doesn’t include the 7.5% of women who will develop major depression during pregnancy.”

At the end of the article, Ms Bergeson provided a link and urged people to take “30 seconds” to send a letter to their Senators.

The 2006 Annual Report of DBSA shows AstraZeneca gave the group more than $500,000 in 2006. Companies that donated between $150,000 and $499,000 include Abbott, Bristol-Myers and Wyeth. Forest Labs, Glaxo, Janssen, Pfizer, and Shire Pharmaceuticals each gave between $10,000 and $149,000. Lilly is listed in the section titled, “Matching Gift Companies,” in the report.

Battle lines drawn

A number of influential advocacy groups have come out against the Act including the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology; Alliance for Human Research Protection; International Coalition For Drug Awareness; Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, Mindfreedom International, AbleChild, and the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy.

The website, UniteForLife.org is run by Amy Philo, the Texas mother at the forefront of the “Unite for Life” campaign against the Act. Amy’s story provides a poster perfect example of what will happen to hundreds of thousands of women all over the county if the bill is passed.

Amy was labeled mentally ill and told she needed to be on drugs by a nurse making a home visit simply because she got very upset after watching her first-born infant almost choke to death a few days after he was born.

When she followed the nurse’s advice and went to the doctor, the Ob-Gyn would not even take two minutes to listen to Amy talk about what had happened or allow her to explain why she was experiencing such over-whelming fear and anxiety.

Instead of viewing this young mother’s reaction to the near-death of her infant as a normal response, the doctor told her she had a panic attack and sent her home with samples packets of the antidepressant, Zoloft, to prevent postpartum depression, apparently expecting her to get over her traumatic experience by taking a pill.

There were no warning labels on the samples and the doctor did not alert Amy to any of the potential side effects. “He told me Zoloft was perfectly safe for me and the baby and it would make my baby happy too,” she recalls.

Within three days, the Zoloft pushed Amy into a state where she started having thoughts of first killing her baby and later of killing her husband, her mother, herself and even her pets. When Amy confessed to having these thoughts, instead of recognizing the side effects of Zoloft and stopping the drug, the medical professionals upped the dose, locked her up in a mental ward away from her baby, and tried to add Zyprexa, to the mix.

They never told Amy why they wanted her to take Zyprexa, but the sheet they gave her said it was for schizophrenia, she recalls. Amy refused to take it because she wanted to nurse and was afraid the drug would harm the baby.

She finally lied her way out of the hospital by claiming she no longer had the bizarre thoughts because she wanted to be with her baby and family. But in reality, Amy battled the obsession with suicide and homicide for months waiting for Zoloft to work.

“The constant ideas of homicide were followed by thoughts of suicide to protect my son from me,” she says. “I never had thoughts like this in my life before I took Zoloft.”

They also tried to get Amy to take the sleeping pill, Ambien, the anti-anxiety drug, Klonopin, and Celexa, another antidepressant, even though she was nursing. “I always just said no to those,” Amy says.

The Ob-Gyn told Amy that she might have to remain on Zoloft for life and without the drug she was not in control enough to have more children. The pediatrician told her, “what’s really scary is that PPD seems to get worse each time and you have a 90% chance of getting it after your next baby,” she recalls.

She finally quit taking the Zoloft against medical advice and the obsessive thoughts of homicide and suicide stopped and never returned. Amy and her husband have since had a second child with no problem whatsoever without the Zoloft.

She recently obtained copies of her medical records, which show she was labeled with obsessive-compulsive disorder and major depression. Those stigmatizing labels will remain in her records forever with no acknowledgment that Zoloft caused the ordeal.

“Antidepressant-induced mania commonly results in a false diagnosis of a new disorder leading to stigmatization and a possible lifetime of unnecessary, harmful treatment with drugs,” says Dr Peter Breggin, author of the new book, “Medication Madness,” and the man often referred to as the “conscience of psychiatry.”

Drug companies have a big financial incentive to promote these drugs. According to DrugStore.com, a 30-day supply of 20 mg Zyprexa costs $725.93. A 30-day supply of 100 mg Zoloft is $104.84. Klonopin costs $65.93 for 30-days of 2 mg tablets. The price of a 30-day supply of 10 mg Ambien is $145.99, and 20 mg Celexa costs $96.99 for 30-days. Amy’s two-day stay in the mental ward cost her family’s insurance company about $8,000 and an $800 co-payment for Amy and her husband.

The assertion that all these sick women are going without treatment is absurd. More prescriptions are written for psychiatric drugs every year in this country than for antibiotics or diabetes medications. On June 30, 2008, CNN Money reported that, for the “sixth year in a row,” antidepressants were the number one class of drugs prescribed in the US in 2007. CNN cited a report by the pharmacy benefit manager, Medco Health Solutions, that said 16% of women ages 20-44 take antidepressants.

In 2007, the branded atypical antipsychotics generated $15.9 billion in manufacturer sales in the seven major global markets, with $12.3 billion of those sales in the US, according to an April 2008 report by Sandra Chow on the Decision Resources website.

Thousands of infants harmed

In a September 18, 2008 letter to members of Congress urging them to vote against the Mother’s Act, Unite For Life reported that the estimated number of antidepressant-caused infant deaths and injuries over the past four years, based on data from the FDA’s MedWatch, were: 4,360 babies born with serious or life-threatening birth defects; 4,160 babies born with potentially fatal heart defects or heart disease; 2,900 spontaneous abortions; and 3,000 premature births.

The so-called experts supporting the Mother’s Act constantly minimize the risks. However, a study titled, “Acute Neonatal Effects of Cocaine Exposure During Pregnancy,” in the September 2005 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine describes adverse effects for cocaine exposed babies eerily similar to those in babies born to mothers taking antidepressants:

 

“Several central and autonomic nervous system findings, which included hypertonia, jitteriness or tremors, high-pitched cry, difficulty arousing, irritability, excessive suck, and hyperalertness, were noted more frequently on the initial physical examination in the cocaine-exposed cohort. During the hospitalization, the diagnoses of seizures and autonomic instability were more frequently noted in cocaine-exposed infants.”

The warnings and precautions section on current labeling for SSRIs and SNRIs contains the following statement:

 

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. These features are consistent with either a direct toxic effect of SSRIs and SNRIs or, possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome.”

Besides the agony endured by these infants and their families, the additional medical costs are enormous. In 2005, commercial insurers paid an average of $4,247 per day for babies in neonatal intensive care, according to Thomson Healthcare. Direct health care costs for a premature baby average $41,610 or 15 times higher than the $2,830 for a healthy, full-term delivery, a March of Dimes May 2007 report on Preterm Birth estimates.

Advocates of the Mother’s Act claim mental illness poses a greater risk to the mother than drug use to fetus. “The problem with this claim is that there is no consideration for the immense stress a mother has to endure when her baby is sick due to this drug use,” says Kate Gillespie, an attorney who handles birth defect litigation at the Los Angeles based Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman law firm.

“Not to mention the far greater stress that is created by having to constantly deal with life and death health issues, like severe heart defects and respiratory problems, such as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, caused by SSRI medication,” she notes.

Baum Hedlund is currently representing over 200 families whose babies were born with birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to PPHN after the mothers used SSRIs.

 

*************Evelyn Pringle
epringle05@yahoo.com

(Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Scoop Independent News and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government and corporate America)

(Written as part of the SSRI Litigation Round-Up, Sponsored by Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman’s Pharmaceutical Litigation Department www.baumhedlundlaw.com)