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  #1  
Old 04-27-2010, 05:25 PM
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Default Rx warning and rant

Ill start with the heartfelt warning first, so that it is not discounted by the rant to follow

If you or a loved one are taking prescription medications for anything, ALWAYS have a detailed conversation with your MD before quitting. Too many people quit medications cold turkey or just stop refilling prescriptions (EDIT: because they don't know not too). With many of the popularly advertised drugs on the market, this can have harmful, permanent and even fatal side-effects. MD's and pharmacists don't always relay this information, and even when they do, it is easy to forget. Just please make it S.O.P. to talk to your prescribing physician about how to go off of a particular medication (doing some of your own research doesn't hurt, either). In particular (simply because I know more about these drugs), anti-depressants (SSRI's AND SNRI's), anti-psychotics (including Abilify - which is now prescribed as a booster for anti-depressants...see rant below) and anti-anxiety meds (especially ESPECIALLY benzodiazapines which include: xanax, clonopin, valium and several others). In the case of benzos, if the patient does not go on a (long) weening process to get off the medication, serious long-term mental health consequences can occur. Modern anti-depressants do not cure depression - they only manage symptoms for so long as they are taken (if that). So when you go off, the depression comes back. If you go off cold turkey, it frequently comes back worse than it was to begin with. Same with anti-psychotics. When depressive symptoms, in particular, come back in force there can be a much higher incidence of suicidal ideation.

DISCLAIMER: Drugs are sometimes necessary for treatment and certainly have life-saving potential. I am not here to say "never use prescription drugs." I AM saying understand what you are getting into - weight the pros and cons. Because there are always cons, no matter what the drug industry wants you to think.

Ok, ranting.

Here is the thing about Big Pharm. They might make something that will help you. But that is NOT what they care about. They care about turning $$$'s. Actually helping you is a secondary concern (that, of course, helps them market more drugs). Don't forget, they use the exact same strategy as the crackdealer on the corner (i.e. "try some for free, c'mon...it'll make you feel better") - they just have corporate dollars and legitimacy to extend their reach beyond the streetcorner. Why am I ranting?

Because it occurred to me that I actually feel sorry for the insurance companies sometimes. Here's why. I mentioned Abilify before. You see this advertised on TV as something that might (emphasize might) help your depression when your standard anti-depressants aren't enough. Abilify, though, was developed as a second-generation (or atypical) antipsychotic. And it is pretty effective for its originally intended use (reduces primary symptoms of psychosis [hallucinations and delusions] with far fewer and less debilitating side-effects than first-generations anti-psychotics). Here's the thing, though. It is ridiculously expensive and 3rd party systems (insurance) make people with schizophrenia jump through hoops to obtain medication (much cheaper to put them on 1st generation meds). Not to mention that as a group, people with schizophrenia find it hard to hold down a job - meaning worse or no insurance and not much money. Which means few people can afford atypical antipsychotics like Abilify. Which means not much Abilify gets sold for its intended market (just checked - Abilify is also used for Biploar I - which has the same job-loss considerations as the psychotic disorders). Which means that Bristol-Myers needs to go find another market for Abilify...oh, hey...here's a study (that we funded) that shows that Abilify + anit-depressant is more effective for treating depression than anti-depressant alone. Boom. Now Bristol-Myers can market Abilify as an anti-depressant booster (which is how you see it advertised on TV...not for Schizophrenia or Bipolar I) and can make lots of money. Why? Because depressed people can hold down jobs better than schizophrenics or manics. Therefore 3rd party will pick up the tab more readily. But wait...it only works as a booster, not as a standalone anti-depressant. So now 3rd party is paying for TWO drugs instead of one. Which means everyone's premium goes up so that Bristol-Meyers and its stockholders can make their numbers.

All of that is beside the fact that an increasing body of research (as discussed in other threads) demonstrates that anti-depressants do no better for treating depression than placebo.

Again. This is not to say that sometimes pills are necessary (i.e. for the most part, schizophrenia and Bipolar I do, in fact, require drugs - for ever - for treatment). But not for everything and not without risk. The drug companies care about the bottom line - not you. They make it worth while for managed care to push their product (NOT saying that all MD's are corrupt). Be your own advocate when it comes to medicine...don't just pop some pill because you saw a commercial on TV that told you to ask your doctor about it.

/rant off
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:59 PM
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Whenever I see that Abilify commercial, which begins with, "Sometimes your anti-depressant isn't enough to treat your depression," I think to myself, "If your anti-depressant isn't working, maybe you shouldn't be taking it."

I generally have a non-medical model perspective, which is to say I would choose drugs as the last resort rather than the first choice. Moreover, my experience with psychology as a profession has been with academics, mostly, and my brother who has a counseling degree. Since most psychologists and counselors can't prescribe drugs, they tend to view drugs as a last resort as well (and take a much more cynical view of big pharma and the medical model).

That's all to say that I agree with your rant, Ivhon. It's incredibly important to remember that big drug companies have to make money, and the best way they can make money is by patenting drug recipes that no one has come up with. This can be a great thing--there is a market incentive to treat or cure diseases, which would be a win-win.

It also means, however, that these companies have to try really hard to find things to treat. I'm sure that if you follow the schedule of when a drug can go generic, you'll also find, suddenly that the drug company has developed a new treatment! What a kwinkydink!
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:03 PM
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I'm just wondering, what prompted this thread?
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:06 PM
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Personally I don't actually take any drugs at all, but I always find it rather puzzling to hear all those drug commericals list side-effects that are far worse than the ailments themselves. "Anti-itch cream--may cause seizures and anal leakage," not to mention anti-depressants that "may cause thoughts of suicide"... But, then, I'm basically an ignoramous when it comes to drugs, I confess.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:32 PM
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I'm just wondering, what prompted this thread?
Ivhon's prescription ran out.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:38 PM
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I rmemeber linking a study a few months back that showed that most anti-depressants have no greater overall effect than a simple placibo.

If I wasnt so fucking tired, I'd try and find it.

EDIT: Look at all those stupid mistakes...screw it, I'm not fixing htem.
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:31 PM
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@ Muttley - Your brother and I would get along, I think. Case in point about the renewed patent. Some years ago, I was on Wellbutrin for depression (didn't work) when lo and behold, I find that Zyban - for quitting smoking - is the exact same stuff. Guess what...I didn't even begin to cut back on smoking. To your jab on prescriptions running out I have been presciption free for many many years now

@ Joke

Several things built up to this rant.

1. I have some experience with the way prescribing anti-depressants work. Literally, it is nothing more than spinning a wheel to find one that works for a given patient. Now, when there are incentives to prescribe certain new drugs, usually that means that the pdoc (psychiatrist) will prescribe the flavor-of-the-month pill (the cynic in me says, "the pill that gives him the most free lunches"). Also, given that pretty much all antidepressants currently on the market do one of two things, it seems like there is some redundancy in continuing to prescribe different drugs that do the same thing when the first one doesn't work. For example, in my own case, I was prescribed 4 different SSRI's. None of them worked - go figure, because they all do the same thing. I, of course, was never told that they were all the same class of drug, or I would have quit after the first one didn't work. But hey...Big Pharm gets paid whether I get better or not, just so long as Im taking one pill or another.

2. I have a close friend who quit Clonopin cold turkey 5 years ago. He was on a VERY low dosage - nonetheless he is still struggling with the repercussions. The first 2 months he was quite literally out of his mind. Nobody told him to ween. Nobody told him there were side-effects even. It was prescribed for mild depressive and anxious symptoms - not enough to carry a full diagnosis. In my own case, I was never told the risks of SSRI medication, nor the risks of quitting cold turkey. In all fairness, those risks were not fully understood at the time...but then that kindof bespeaks another problem, doesn't it?

3. I saw an Abilify ad this morning.

4. I did a group presentation on psychotic disorders last week. The person who did the drug segment is doing practicum working with that population. The costs and 3rd party concerns with the disease come from her contribution to that presentation.

5. Because I saw the Abilify commercial this morning, I brought up the above rant to my therapist (who sometimes serves as a limited-capacity mentor). She mentioned that two of her clients in the last week went off anti-depressants/anti-anxiety meds cold turkey. Both had severe relapses in symptoms, one was suicidal.

So thats what was on my mind
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:56 PM
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Wait for it...

Yeah, pretty much could not agree more with everything Ivhon just posted. Anti-depressants/drug cocktails are a scam. They don't work. Period. What is more, they end up in the long run doing more harm than good, especially as a part of a drug mix.
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Uno View Post
Personally I don't actually take any drugs at all, but I always find it rather puzzling to hear all those drug commericals list side-effects that are far worse than the ailments themselves. "Anti-itch cream--may cause seizures and anal leakage," not to mention anti-depressants that "may cause thoughts of suicide"... But, then, I'm basically an ignoramous when it comes to drugs, I confess.
I love the ones that are like "Do you have gas? Then ask your doctor about Gastrex. Side effects may include: nausea, headaches, diarrhea, or death."
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:15 PM
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I love the ones that are like "Do you have gas? Then ask your doctor about Gastrex. Side effects may include: nausea, headaches, diarrhea, or death."
Must be some wicked gas, eh?
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:23 PM
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Must be some wicked gas, eh?
Bela fire, possibly?
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:40 PM
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Bela fire, possibly?
Might could ask ST
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:59 PM
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Um, I feel that you're only covering off one side of things here.

I know people who are severely clinically depressed AND bi-polar, and I can tell you first hand that the drug cocktail they take - and it is a cocktail - works wonders for them. My friend was suicidal. She wanted to kill herself she was so sad, so tired, so done with hurting everyone around her with her mental illness. She committed herself voluntarily and her doctor inside the institution was able to help her with a system that made her mental illness manageable, in conjunction with therapy and other coping mechanisms like exercise and healthy eating. But make NO mistake, those other pieces would not have totally solved the problem.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the dangers and illusions of the big drug companies are as they you say they are - BUT, I think that by implying that drugs are not helpful to anyone bu the company that sells them is disingenuous.
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:08 PM
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I started being really leery about side effects when I was young. My genetic pool, such as it is, likes to get the freaky ones on the list. Like that little passage that says 'may inhibit sleep' (Wow. My insomnia alone never got me past four days awake before).

I actually mutantied when prescribed something that said I should 'avoid sunlight' while taking. Got something else instead for that interlude. Watching all these commercials for... just stuff. That people don't need, and have a list of warning and symptoms a mile wide, and certain people aren't ever supposed to so much as touch the pill...

What in the heck is wrong with people that they delude themselves into believing they need this crap?
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:28 PM
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Um, I feel that you're only covering off one side of things here.

I know people who are severely clinically depressed AND bi-polar, and I can tell you first hand that the drug cocktail they take - and it is a cocktail - works wonders for them. My friend was suicidal. She wanted to kill herself she was so sad, so tired, so done with hurting everyone around her with her mental illness. She committed herself voluntarily and her doctor inside the institution was able to help her with a system that made her mental illness manageable, in conjunction with therapy and other coping mechanisms like exercise and healthy eating. But make NO mistake, those other pieces would not have totally solved the problem.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the dangers and illusions of the big drug companies are as they you say they are - BUT, I think that by implying that drugs are not helpful to anyone bu the company that sells them is disingenuous.
Ishara, there are a good number of studies that have shown giving a person a sugar pill will have the same effect.

Granted, in cases like bi-polar and other SEVERE issues, some of the medications do work.
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:32 PM
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Maybe in cases where people with a general malaise are misdiagnosed as being Depressed...

I am shocked at the misinformation re: depression and mental illness in this thread and it's less than 10 posts long!
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:39 PM
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Maybe in cases where people with a general malaise are misdiagnosed as being Depressed...

I am shocked at the misinformation re: depression and mental illness in this thread and it's less than 10 posts long!
Misdiagnosis and misinformation my goddamn ass. You could try asking my mother just how "successful" anti-depressants are. After all she's been on them for twenty some odd years. Though you'd first have to visit her at her nursing home where she's essentially a non-functioning human being because of her mental state. At the ripe old age of 59 too. But hey, you keep telling yourself they work. You can also keep telling yourself that they don't do more harm than good. You could ask my friend Megan about that, yanno, if she were still alive and hadn't killed her self three weeks ago in part due to the fact that she was on a noxious drug cocktail of anti-depressants and sleep aids that doctors proscribed to her in tandem. Worked wonders for her. I mean, its not like she's got anything to be depressed about now, right? What a bunch of goddamn bullshit.
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:40 PM
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Maybe in cases where people with a general malaise are misdiagnosed as being Depressed...

I am shocked at the misinformation re: depression and mental illness in this thread and it's less than 10 posts long!
I think the big problem with that is that both are wrongly diagnosed so often in present day society (at least in the US). Something like 1 in 5 Americans are on some sort of anti-depressants when it should probably be 1 in 20 or even 1 in 50.
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"We caught them in an alley on skid row in downtown Philly and brought them down with Uzi's and dogs. I beat the shit out of one of the guys for resisting arrest. After that, I went home, fried up some tofu with strawberry preserves and melon sticky rice, laid down on the couch with my snuggie and ate rose petals in sweet daisy wine sauce and watched Mamma Mia on DVD and then cried myself to sleep."

Theoryland: Just Some Crazy In A Pot
  #19  
Old 04-27-2010, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinistrum View Post
Misdiagnosis and misinformation my goddamn ass. You could try asking my mother just how "successful" anti-depressants are. After all she's been on them for twenty some odd years. Though you'd first have to visit her at her nursing home where she's essentially a non-functioning human being because of her mental state. At the ripe old age of 59 too. But hey, you keep telling yourself they work. You can also keep telling yourself that they don't do more harm than good. You could ask my friend Megan about that, yanno, if she were still alive and hadn't killed her self three weeks ago in part due to the fact that she was on a noxious drug cocktail of anti-depressants and sleep aids that doctors proscribed to her in tandem. Worked wonders for her. I mean, its not like she's got anything to be depressed about now, right? What a bunch of goddamn bullshit.
Not to be a dick but why not we all have a nice adult conversation?

Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal.
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Bonded to Brita

"We caught them in an alley on skid row in downtown Philly and brought them down with Uzi's and dogs. I beat the shit out of one of the guys for resisting arrest. After that, I went home, fried up some tofu with strawberry preserves and melon sticky rice, laid down on the couch with my snuggie and ate rose petals in sweet daisy wine sauce and watched Mamma Mia on DVD and then cried myself to sleep."

Theoryland: Just Some Crazy In A Pot
  #20  
Old 04-27-2010, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davian93 View Post
Not to be a dick but why not we all have a nice adult conversation?
You maybe haven't been keeping up on current events but we're posting at Theoryland, pal!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davian93 View Post
Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal.
This.
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