(USA TODAY) Use of antidepressant drugs has soared nearly 400% since 1988, making the medication the most frequently used by people ages 18-44, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.
Eleven percent of Americans ages 12 years and older took antidepressants during the 2005-08 study period, the authors write. They add that though the majority of antidepressants were taken to treat depression, the drugs also can be used for anxiety disorders and other conditions.
The data are from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which included information from 12,637 participants about prescription-drug use, antidepressant use, length of use, severity of depressive symptoms and contact with a health professional.
Mental-health professionals not associated with the survey cited several reasons as possible explanations for the spike:
•The struggling economy and the record number of layoffs and home foreclosures. “These drugs can be very helpful for people who need them,” says Elaine Ducharme, a psychologist and public educator in Connecticut for the American Psychological Association. “People should expect to be depressed after a layoff. They should not be put on a drug, though, unless they have an acute problem.”
•Ad campaigns waged by pharmaceutical companies citing benefits of the drugs.
•Families who might be reimbursed by health insurance companies for a prescription but may delay getting therapy from a mental-health professional because of the cost of treatment.
In fact, less than one-third of Americans taking one antidepressant and less than one-half of those taking multiple antidepressants have seen a mental-health professional in the past year, the report shows.
“Unfortunately, some families are looking for a quick fix, but a pill is never going to get to the root of the problem,” says David Palmiter, a psychologist and author of Working Parents, Thriving Families: 10 Strategies That Make a Difference.
Ducharme agrees. “That is the thing that bothers me the most,” she says. “These drugs can be dangerous, and there needs to be follow-up care.”
The survey also found that nearly one in four women ages 40 to 59 are taking antidepressants. Women are more likely to take antidepressants; however, among those taking antidepressants, men were more likely than women to have seen a mental-health professional in the past year.
The survey found that about one in 25 teens take the medication.
(BUSINESS INSIDER) Outselling even common drugs to treat high blood pressure and acid reflux, antipsychotic medications are the single top-selling prescription drug in the United States.
Once reserved for hard-core, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest type of mental illnesses, to treat hallucinations, delusions or major thought disorders; today, the drugs are handed out to unruly kids and absent-minded elderly.
A recent story in Al Jazeera by James Ridgeway of Mother Jones illuminates the efforts by major pharmaceutical companies to get doctors prescribing medicines like Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Abilify to patients for whom the drugs were never intended.
Focusing on psychiatrists because they rely on subjective diagnoses, the drug reps have been so successful that they’ve changed the criteria for mental illness and disability payments. Ridgeway quotes former New England Journal of Medicine editor Marcia Angell.
“[T]he tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007 – from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling – a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children.” Under the tutelage of Big Pharma, we are “simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one.” Fugh-Berman agrees: In the age of aggressive drug marketing, she says, “Psychiatric diagnoses have expanded to include many perfectly normal people.”
Particularly vulnerable because medication decisions are often out of their hands, the old and the young suffer most.
For kids: the number diagnosed with bi-polar disorder rose 40-fold between 1994 and 2003 and one in five comes away from a psychiatrist with a prescription for an antipsychotic.
Dosing the elderly at nursing homes has become so common that sales reps have coined the term “five at five” — meaning 5 milligrams of Zyprexa at 5 pm to sedate difficult residents.
For all their nefarious wrangling, in 2009, Lily agreed to pay $1.4 billion, including a $515 million criminal fine. The largest settlement ever in a health care case and the largest criminal fine on any corporation in the U.S.
That year, Lilly sold $1.8 billion of Zyprexa alone.
(NaturalNews) The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) recently published a study in the journal PLoS One highlighting the worst prescription drug offenders that cause patients to become violent. Among the top-ten most dangerous are the antidepressants Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine).
Concerns about the extreme negative side effects of many popular antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs have been on the rise, as these drugs not only cause severe health problems to users, but also pose a significant threat to society. The ISMP report indicates that, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System, many popular drugs are linked even to homicides.
Most of the drugs in the top ten most dangerous are antidepressants, but also included are an insomnia medication, an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug, a malaria drug and an anti-smoking medication.
As reported in Time, the top ten list is as follows:
10. Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) – An antidepressant that affects serotonin and noradrenaline. The drug is 7.9 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.
9. Venlafaxine (Effexor) – An antidepressant that treats anxiety disorders. The drug is 8.3 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.
8. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) – A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug that is 8.4 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.
7. Triazolam (Halcion) – A benzodiazepine drug for insomnia that is 8.7 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.
6. Atomoxetine (Strattera) – An ADHD drug that is 9 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.
5. Mefoquine (Lariam) – A malaria drug that is 9.5 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.
4. Amphetamines – This general class of ADHD drug is 9.6 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.
3. Paroxetine (Paxil) – An SSRI antidepressant drug that is 10.3 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs. It is also linked to severe withdrawal symptoms and birth defects.
2. Fluoxetine (Prozac) – A popular SSRI antidepressant drug that is 10.9 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.
1. Varenicline (Chantix) – An anti-smoking drug that is a shocking 18 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.
Sources for this story include: