The FDA seems to have lost its charter. In addition to refusing to take on pretend natural diet drugs, they now STIFLE criticsm that may hurt a drugs reputation. It looks like they were lying about the real reasons for stuff “slippping the the cracks”. Previously it was, .Poor us we’re underpaid and understaffed".
Prozac makes about 1-3% of its users commit suicide or homicide in its first few days of use.
Acepomitophen and Ibuprofen can cause liver failure.
However, nothing will be done about it because it would, as you say, hurt the drug companies.
But can we blame the FDA for not testing them enough? I don’t think that on the labels for either drug there are warnings that they can cause stomach and liver problems (though I don’t have a bottle of either in front of me here…).
But can we blame the FDA for not testing them enough? I don’t think that on the labels for either drug there are warnings that they can cause stomach and liver problems (though I don’t have a bottle of either in front of me here…).[/quote]
I have bottles of both handy, and they do have health warnings (both mention liver) and directions for proper use. I think the drug makers have done their bit. They can’t compensate for people being stupid and not reading the instructions. Nor should they have to.
Prozac is an anti-depressant. Even if 3-5% have sucidal thoughts after taking it, how many were having them before they took it? Eduardo X is right to note the side effects of other drugs, but really, all drugs have side effects. The real question is which is worse, the side effects or the disease and/or symptoms the prompted the drug usage in the first place. Chemotherapy has some absolutely gut wrenching side effects, but verses being dead of cancer, many opt for it. “Nothing” is being done about it (except for warnings, recommended dosages, etc…) not because it would hurt drug companies (although, yes, it would hurt them too), but because it would hurt consumers and patients taking safe, effective drugs to combat their ailments. Keep in mind that water, if taken in too large of quantity, can kill you too. I guess the government is just trying to protect the big water companies.
And then, to top it off, Eduardo’s link is a link to a company selling a competing product. A herbal product. One that hasn’t had to go through FDA approval. One that hasn’t had to have its effectiveness tested scientifically.
You should say ONE OF, because the main site I got my info from was one describing the legal case where the FDA admitted that most anti-depressants have that side effect, and that they failed to test them extensively enough to catch this.
If there are 10,000,000 on these drugs, then there are 300-500 thousand people with suicidal thoughts, and then I bet 10% of those act on those thoughts meaning 30-50 thousand dead people. That’s quite a bit!
Or to put it another way, while 3-5% of Prozac users may have suicidal/homicidal thoughts while taking it, given that Prozac is given for depression (and suicidal/homicidal thoughts arising from such depression), that’s not a “serious side-effect”, it’s “not effective for everyone.”
In Eduardo’s defense, there seems to be an effect where a tiny percentage of previously non-suicidal patients become suicidal after going on prozac. I’d guess Eduardo was using the estimate of Dr. Healy (sans citation) for that 50k suicide number. Dr. Healy seems to be the most public critic of SSRI type antidepressants.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that there’s no merit to such a claim, rather that virtually every drug has side effects, some minor, some huge. The presence of a side effect, even an effect such as increased suicidal/homicidal thoughts, however, doesn’t negate the usefulness of the drug. It is not, in and of itself, evidence that the FDA has “lost its charter.” It’s a complex cost-benefit anaylsis that should be examineed by people who know what they’re talking about. Idiots online, like me, are almost certainly the last people who should decide these things.
For instance, increased suicidal/homicidal thoughts could be enough of a reason to pull the drug, perhaps it’s nothing. There’s a huge number of factors that Eduardo glosses over. How long to the thoughts occur? How compelling are they? How managable are the thoughts? How often are previously non-suicidal/homicidal patients becoming suicidal/homicidal vs. previously suicidal/homicidal patients? I could go on all day.
Finally, the thought that the FDA is carelessly approving drugs is pretty far out given that the FDA is usually held out as one of the hardest approval agencies in the world. People didn’t start importing drugs because they were cheap, but because they were available.
This was covered pretty thoroughly on NPR. One of the rare (aka 3-5% or whatever) side effects isn’t extra suicidal thoughts. It is the loss of further inhibitions (similar to the effects of alcohol). People who are already depressed and suicidal suddenly discover they don’t feel the normal need for security. Without their brain “needing” to stay alive, they have less reason to not commit suicide.
Remember these drugs are supposed to be taken with doctor supervision as well. If you’re some angst-filled goth who gets them from Canada and really wants to jump, I say go ahead.
I think that “remove inhibitions” thing that shifty mentioned is actually mania. Some people without previous problems with mania have it triggered by taking SSRIs. I think there’s mainly an issue here with Effexor.
Anyhow, I hope the press hype on all this stuff at least convinces some people and physicians that there isn’t an easy fix for depression. I really don’t like the way that SSRIs are being prescribed to teens now. That’s insane. And I think that’s the biggest reason for the suicide warning risk–SSRIs seem to sometimes trigger suicidal thoughts in teens, who did not have them before, even while depressed.
Depression doesn’t imply suicidal thoughts. I’m not entirely sure I believe that you must be clinically depressed to have suicidal thoughts, either (though I won’t argue that a vast majority of people who do have those thoughts are depressed).
It’s not just SSRIs that are over-prescribed. It’s more or less all medicine. There aren’t enough resources (time/cost-benefit) to do medicine right. Doctors who see a bazillion patients in a day have to spend minimal time with each one, and will jump to prescribe pills that are likely to address the problem, even though there might be a more time intensive way (either requiring more doctor time, or patient effort) to address the problem.
Patients just want the quick fix (parents don’t want to raise their kids, they must have ADD and need Ritalin. Fat people don’t want to eat less and exercsise, they want a pill that will help them lose weight. Parents who have a sick kid don’t want to hear that they should just ride it out, they want anti-biotics NOW).
The first time I was treated for depression, it was a joke. The doctor would sit down, ask me how I was doing, I would lie because I just wanted to get out of there, he’d give me a prescription refill and I’d be on my way. Over time, it’s become clear that my depression is mostly seasonal, and the first round of treatment ended in the spring when I said “This is stupid” and stopped going. I’ve since gotten a better handle on the concept, and have been able to find a different doctor and more “two-way” treatment. I don’t blame the original doctor, since I wasn’t really participating in the treatment.
That is absolutely incredulous. This was determined by a general practitioner?
What happened to therapy? When I was suffering from depression in my teens, I first went to see two therapists before any one even began discussing medication. The second therapist I had insisted on combined weekly therapy and prescribed medication (only after a few months of sessions).
I always imagine this was the norm. Do general practitioners not regularly insist on seeing a therapist initially?