By Jefferey Jaxen
Two new bombshell studies may be signaling a paradigm shift for many in understanding that pharmaceutical drugs are more dangerous than previously revealed.
Recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is a study titled Anticholinergic Drug Exposure and the Risk of Dementia. The study showed a nearly 50% increased odds of dementia in people taking antidepressants, antiparkinson drugs, antipsychotic drugs, bladder antimuscarinics, and antiepileptic drugs.
The risk was correlated with the equivalent to an older adult taking a strong anticholinergic medication daily for at least three years.
Meanwhile, another study recently published found people prescribed antidepressants were 2.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than depressed people taking placebo pills. The research, published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, combined the results of 14 studies involving nearly 32,000 people taking a variety of antidepressants.
The Daily Mail reports:
“Last month, the Royal College of Psychiatrists acknowledged for the first time that coming off the pills can cause severe side effects lasting months – with the worst-hit suffering nausea, anxiety and insomnia.
And two weeks ago, the European Medicines Agency issued guidance suggesting the most common pills – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs – can cause long-term loss of sexual function.”
The mainstream admission of increased harms and increased suicide risk from antidepressants has been known by many for sometime now. Yet their research and warnings have ofter been glossed over, marginalized or even attacked.
The highly publicized 2015 reanalysis [iii of SmithKline Beecham’s 2001 Study 329 illustrates the necessity of making primary trial data and protocols available. Study 329s objective was to compare the efficacy and safety of paroxetine and imipramine with a placebo in the treatment of adolescents with major depression. The reanalysis, under the restoring invisible and abandoned trials (RIAT) initiative, found that neither drug showed efficacy. In addition, both drugs displayed an increase in harm. Far from an isolated incident, Study 329 was corroborated a year later in 2016 by the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology which looked at 185 meta-analyses of antidepressant studies with industry involvement. The researchers found that one-third of the studies were written by pharmaceutical industry employees and concluded:
“There is a massive production of meta-analyses of antidepressants for depression authored by or linked to the industry, and they almost never report any caveats about antidepressants in their abstracts.”
In some countries, including the United States, about 10% of the entire population is in treatment with depression pills. This is a tragedy. These drugs do not have relevant effects on depression; they increase the risk of suicide and violence; and they make it more difficult for patients to live normal lives. They should therefore be avoided. We have been fooled by the drug industry, corrupt doctors on industry payroll, and by our drug regulators.”
Drugs have potential benefits and harms. For a company who makes the drugs, their job from a marketing standpoint is to inflate the potential benefits and minimize the idea of harms. For decades, oversight by regulatory agencies has been limited at best with conflicts of interest often permeating their recommendations and approvals. As new studies continue to cast pharmaceutical drugs in a well-deserved light of limited effectiveness and array of various harms, what course of action with the public and the medical community take?