Friday, February 29, 2008

The FDA - A Step in the Right Direction

While it seems that anything the FDA does is based upon an imperfect system, there is a new effort being launched by the FDA to oversee the side-effects of prescription drugs. I believe (but this is unverified) that they might be making a data base of these side-effects available for consumer use, which would be incredibly beneficial.

So, pros:
a) A database with side-effect listed (yay!) so we don't all have to read ten pages of fine print when a drug is prescribed to us.
b) More oversite on prescription drugs so that things like the
Zyprexa debacle aren't repeated.

a) In usual FDA fashion, the new effort (called "Safety First") might be unwilling to pull a drug they have already approved.
b) They could get in cahoots with various drug manufacturers.

I say that this is a change for the better. The Pros are something new and the Cons are cons that have been around since the FDA's inception. What do you think?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Great Links About Psychiatry

Here are some great links that I'd love to post about, but others have already done so:

Psychwatch reports on A BBC Documentary created to show the history of psychiatry in history and how it's affected democracy.

ScientologyAgainstDrugs posts a great article on ADHD. Very thought provoking!

Psychwatch reports on a psychiatrist having an affair with a mentally ill patient

Indystar reports Eli Lilly settling 900 more claims against Zyprexa, with 1100 still to go.

Psychdata reports Another Drug Company is Being Sued (My goodness! Are all the drug companies so messed up? You'd think they'd learn not to make stupid and deceptive marketing campaigns, but I suppose they're just chasing that buck.)

A Hilarious fake drug campaign is going on in Toronto for a "drug" called "Obay". LOL!

When it Comes to Depression - Does Anyone Really Know What They Are Talking About?

I started reading up on the condition that psychiatrists call depression and it was frankly, depressing.

I started my hunt by looking at my trusty Encarta dictionary, which said:
Depression - psychiatric disorder: a psychiatric disorder showing symptoms such as persistent feelings of hopelessness, dejection, poor concentration, lack of energy, inability to sleep, and, sometimes, suicidal tendencies.

Okay, that sounds pretty severe, right?

So, I started delving more into it and looked up depression on the Internet. It seems that some of the symptoms of depression are:

Sleeping too much, sleeping too little or a change in sleeping patterns; feeling irritable, sad or tense; loss of energy; decreased interest in things; restlessness or feeling slowed down; feeling worthless, hopeless or guilty; weight loss or weight gain... really sounds as if they are covering every possible ground here. "Hey, you lose some weight, you might be depressed! Oh, wait, you gained weight? Well, you could be depressed!"
I mean, half of the symptoms above could be explained by lack of sleep alone (haven't you ever felt irritable, exhausted, restless and uninterested when you don't have enough sleep?).

It seemed that trying to find symptoms that made depression easy to figure out was impossible, so I searched more into depression and conversely, into happiness, and this is what I found:

a) There is no consistent definition of depression out there. It's more like, if you're not happy, your depressed, and only your doctor can delineate when that happens.

b) Even a few weeks of sadness can be considered depression! What's with that craziness? If your mom died, are you supposed to be "okay" with it in a couple of weeks? I don't know how long it would take me to bounce back - but it certainly wouldn't be weeks.

c) Reading up on depression and how to "get happy" is actually depressing. If a person is just moderately happy and wants to attain higher states of happiness, and they read up on it, it seems as if everyone on planet earth falls short of the standards of happiness now required.

d) For some reason or another you are supposed to "live with depression". That's more depressing than being diagnosed with depression. No one should have to "live with" anything in their life.

I think I can officially say that there seems to be no finite information on depression available. This makes me wonder, if doctors and psychiatrists don’t understand this condition, how could they possible come up with a plausible cure for it?

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Polls Are In

You voted on the question, "Would You Give Your Child Ritalin". The polls are in and it is a resounding, 100%, unanimous, "NO"! Thanks for voting, everyone!

Ritalin - Overprescribed?

This article talks about Dr Gwynedd Lloyd and her new book Critical New Perspectives On ADHD. Dr. Lloyd basically says that many children in Scotland are being mis-diagnosed as having "ADHD" when really they are just poorly parented and badly behaved.
On the use of Ritalin, Dr Lloyd said: "This kind of medication for children as young as six is crazy. Their brains are still developing and yet they are being given mind-altering drugs."
Kudos to you, Dr. Lloyd!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Woops - Lawyer Spills the Beans on Secret Eli Lilly Court Case

I read this news article and had to laugh. It seems that Eli Lilly was marketing a drug called Zyprexa improperly. Zyprexa has serious side effects, such as diabetes, hypoglycemia and more and is only approved to treat people with schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder (like they need diabetes on top of all that?). Some documents from Eli Lilly revealed that they were pushing doctors to prescribe the drug for other disorders like age related dementia and mild bi-polar. Because of this, Eli Lilly will have to pay federal and state governments more than 1 billion dollars. This fine is in addition to the 1.2 billion dollars Eli Lilly has already paid in lawsuits from people who say they developed diabetes because of Zyprexa (which apparently is not a rare side effect of Zyprexa).
All this information and more was leaked to the New York Times in an email screw up by one of Eli Lilly's lawyers. He was trying to send an internal document to another lawyer, but ended up
sending it to a press agent with the same last name. Woops!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Ritalin Poll

I put up a poll to find out if you would give your child Ritalin. I'd love to know your answers, so please check it out.