Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Antidepressant affair: Paulina Porizkova Super Model Speaks Up in Support of Women Coping with Antidepressants and Anxiety

Paulina Porizkova Ending a Midlife Affair with Meds lexapro
Super model Paulina Porizkova explained in the Huffington Post her two years of being medicated for anxiety with Lexapro in a story: Ending a Midlife Affair with Meds.

One quote really struck me and made me think about the effects of antidepressants on the the family and loved ones of the person taking anti depressants.

"I used to joke to my friends that after 24 years with my husband, we were, sexually speaking, a finely tuned precision engine. But now it felt as though I was being touched through a barrier, or, in this instance, a thick and cumbersome rug. After a while, it seemed like being intimate was just too much work for too little pay".

The sexual dysfunctio­n attributab­le to antidepres­sants are under reported by Big Pharma and patients are not clearly warned of the impact of this side effect. Prescribin­g medication­s like Effexor that have a 60% chance of erasing a woman's libido is simply irresponsi­ble without full disclosure.

How can an antidepres­sant that wipes out intimacy help a woman who is in a positive healthy relationsh­ip when neither partner is informed of the likelihood that after the female partner is medicated her desire for sex and intimacy will disappear? How should the male partner feel about the loss of his partner's intimacy. Frustration, suspicion of another lover and loss of self esteem due to his beloved partner's rejection are the likely result.

Does he have a right to be warned at the beginning of his partner's antidepres­sant prescripti­on of his pending loss? Should he be prescribed antidepres­sant medication to counter the emotional devastatio­n of this rejections?

Paulina Porizkova's doctor should be commended for presenting antidepressants to her as a temporary measure to reduce her anxiety while she engaged in talk therapy to resolve her problems. Most doctors would have just written the prescriptions for antidepressant indefinitely after a 10 minute sessions in three month intervals without a question about what the patient's real feelings are and what the real issues are that are causing the patient's unhappiness because this produces the most profitable medical insurance reimbursement. Women who can't advocate for themselves are likely to be victims of this practice.

Paulina Porizkova served women well by explaining how women can avoid the emotional price of a lifetime of antidepressants because they are unwilling or unable to take charge of their lives and advocate for themselves.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Helping Big Pharma Execs Beat Wall Street Expectations... by Treating Mom with Antidepressants

mothers little helper
I just read Helping Kids Beat Depression... by Treating Mom published in the Wall Street Journal. Author Melind Beck sounds convincing, but the basis for her story is flawed.

Beck claims that one in eight women will have an episode of major depression. Where does this "statistic" come from? It is the number of prescriptions of antidepressants written for women. A large proportion of these prescription are written by primary care physicians who have no or limited mental health training. These primary care diagnoses are flawed and should not be included in the compilation of "depressed" people Then there are psychiatrist like Daniel Levin who was interviewed by the New York Times for the recent story Talk doesn’t pay so psychiatry turns instead to drug therapy and admitted that he just prescribes medication because it is profitable. Diagnoses of depression by psychiatrists like Daniel Levin need to be excluded, because he does not engage in diagnosis beyond his bank account.

Finally we have psychiatrists that practice both talk therapy and prescribe medication. These are the only reliable statistics, but such numbers are not published because it does not serve Big Pharma to increase the number of antidepressant medications prescribed.

Beck's conclusion, "we have an epidemic of depression" that can only be extinguished with a firehose of antidepressants. If the premise of Beck's story were accepted and more antidepressants were prescribed to women resulting in one in seven women taking antidepressant medication instead of one in eight, Beck would announce that the "epidemic of depression" had worsened and we need more antidepressants.

I'm sorry, I can't accept another woman's argument such as Beck's that tries to quantify the normal sadness we experience that would respond to compassion, understanding, love and consideration with a murky unqualified gross diagnosis of depression based on the number of antidepressant prescriptions. Women need women like Melinda Beck to be compassionate rather than promote the myth of a depression epidemic and the necessity for women to be inoculated with antidepressants.

Beck's story would better be categorized as pharmaceutical advertising.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The susceptability of women to advertising leading to dependancy on antidepressant medication

Freud's nephew Edward Bernays one of the most effective PR people ever to promote products rode the coattails of women's suffrage with a campaign to get women to smoke.

Marketing and PR agencies continue Bernays unhealthy legacy promoting antidepressants to women. 12% of all women as compared to only 5% of all men take antidepressants. If you want to know why, just look at the Pristiq television advertisement. It is targeted directly at normal healthy young women to make them feel overwhelmed and dissatisfied.

Pristiq is the successor to an almost identical product Effexor an SNRI antidepressant. The reason for introducing essentially the same drug is Effexor will soon lose its patent protection and the manufacturer Pfizer/Wyeth wants fat profits from a slightly modified drug. It is targeted at women who feel overwhelmed and anxious about their busy stressful lives. Rather than having an outlet for these women to be heard and a chance to learn how to cope with life's challenges they are encouraged to take a pill. Pfizer/Wyeth assault normal healthy women with these direct to consumer advertisements DTC hoping to find a woman temporarily overwhelmed that is receptive to their "take a pill be happy, take a pill be a good person, take a pill be a good mother" message. At the same time, Pfizer/Wyeth has an army of drug sales representatives calling on doctors and psychiatrists promoting Effexor and Pristiq as if they are wonder drugs. Pfizer/Wyeth to invite psychiatrists to promotional events, where they pay psychiatrists to promote Effexor and Pristiq in posh 5 star hotels, in expensive restaurants and at top shelf entertainment events.

This is such a dirty trick. Do a little googling on Effexor and what you will find out is:

Effexor's manufacturer Wyeth paid psychiatrists and researchers to promote the drug even when the promotion proved contrary to unfavorable side effects that were observed in patients who were taking Effexor.

Psychiatrists and researchers were paid to write favorable opinions about Effexor.

Wyeth released only the favorable studies about Effexor and did not release the unfavorable studies. When the FDA was forced to release the data using the freedom of information act, Effexor and other similar drugs proved to be only slightly more effective than plecibos .

The side effects of this drug are significant. Firstly it is addictive. Once on it you can't get off it without withdrawal. It looks to me that Wyeth is employing the same strategy used by cigarette manufacturers. Most of the time patients only learn about their addiction when they try to kick the habit.

The fatigue that accompanies the drug often time results an accompanying prescription for a stimulant "speed" to compensate for this. The drug companies win twice here.

Nightmares, sweating, loss of cognitive and memory capabilities are all commonly experienced side effects.

Many women become frigid when they take Effexor. How does the interruption of a normal sex drive and the disharmony that it causes in a relationship make a patient happy?

Finally, there is no proven "cause and effect" relationship between taking Effexor/Pristiq and a measurable physiological change that correlates to an improvement in a person's mood. You will note the advertisement says, "it is believed to work..." because they can't say what the drug does because they don't know. Essentially the patient is signing up to playing Russian Roulette with her brain chemistry.

The patient's family and friends should give them a going away party before they start taking this medication as the family and friends will remain the family and friends of the patient before the patient took the medication, while the patient often becomes someone else unknown to their family and friends.

It is a shame that women are not given the care and shown the kindness to understand their unhappiness and anxiety. They are drugged into tolerating the intolerable. If they get off these medications, they still need to learn how to cope with the issues that caused their discomfort.

Women are more easily manipulated into taking unhealthy, unproven medication to enrich the pharmaceutical companies. Its about time that society as a whole got behind protecting them from this like we have from domestic violence and the inequities of breast cancer research.