Article on Antidepressants

Discussion in 'Economics' started by DataCruncher, Feb 27, 2008.


    I have never taken any SSRIs and I was wondering what people thought of this article from

    1) a perspective of someone who has taken them....what were their effects? did it affect your trading psychology?

    2) what are the prospects for pharmaceutical stocks?
  2. EXCELLENT Article!!!

    I always was skeptical of this class of medications, as I kept reading double- blind study after double-blind study (well designed/modeled studies, by the way), which kept demonstrating that there was a marginal, at best, reduction in depression by those taking SSRIs versus placebos.

    Eli Lilly, manufacturer of Prozac, was among those criticized.

    Antidepressant Studies Unpublished

    Eli Lilly, manufacturer of Prozac, was among those criticized.

    Published: January 17, 2008

    The makers of antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil never published the results of about a third of the drug trials that they conducted to win government approval, misleading doctors and consumers about the drugs’ true effectiveness, a new analysis has found.

    In published trials, about 60 percent of people taking the drugs report significant relief from depression, compared with roughly 40 percent of those on placebo pills. But when the less positive, unpublished trials are included, the advantage shrinks: the drugs outperform placebos, but by a modest margin, concludes the new report, which appears Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

    Previous research had found a similar bias toward reporting positive results for a variety of medications; and many researchers have questioned the reported effectiveness of antidepressants. But the new analysis, reviewing data from 74 trials involving 12 drugs, is the most thorough to date. And it documents a large difference: while 94 percent of the positive studies found their way into print, just 14 percent of those with disappointing or uncertain results did.

    The finding is likely to inflame a continuing debate about how drug trial data is reported. In 2004, after revelations that negative findings from antidepressant trials had not been published, a group of leading journals agreed to stop publishing clinical trials that were not registered in a public database. Trade groups representing the world’s largest drug makers announced that members’ companies would begin to release more data from trials more quickly, on their own database,

    And last year, Congress passed legislation that expanded the type of trials and the depth of information that must be submitted to, a public database operated by the National Library of Medicine. The Food and Drug Administration’s Web site provides limited access to recent reviews of drug trials, but critics say it is very hard to navigate.

    “This is a very important study for two reasons,” said Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen, editor in chief of The New England Journal. “One is that when you prescribe drugs, you want to make sure you’re working with best data possible; you wouldn’t buy a stock if you only knew a third of the truth about it.”

    Second, Dr. Drazen continued, “we need to show respect for the people who enter a trial.”

    “They take some risk to be in the trial, and then the drug company hides the data?” he asked. “That kind of thing gets us pretty passionate about this issue.”

    Alan Goldhammer, deputy vice president for regulatory affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said the new study neglected to mention that industry and government had already taken steps to make clinical trial information more transparent. “This is all based on data from before 2004, and since then we’ve put to rest the myth that companies have anything to hide,” he said.

    In the study, a team of researchers identified all antidepressant trials submitted to the Food and Drug Administration to win approval from 1987 to 2004. The studies involved 12,564 adult patients testing drugs like Prozac from Eli Lilly, Zoloft from Pfizer and Effexor from Wyeth.

    The researchers obtained unpublished data on the more recently approved drugs from the F.D.A.’s Web site. For older drugs, they tracked down hard copies of unpublished studies through colleagues, or using the Freedom of Information Act. They checked all of these studies against databases of published research, and also wrote to the companies that conducted the studies to ask if specific trials had been published.

    They found that 37 of 38 trials that the F.D.A. viewed as having positive results were published in journals. The agency viewed as failed or unconvincing 36 other trials, of which 14 made it into journals.

    But 11 of those 14 journal articles “conveyed a positive outcome” that was not justified by the underlying F.D.A. review, said the new study’s lead author, Dr. Erick H. Turner, a psychiatrist and former F.D.A. reviewer who now works at Oregon Health and Sciences University and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His co-authors included researchers at Kent State University and the University of California, Riverside.

    Dr. Turner said the selective reporting of favorable studies sets up patients for disappointment. “The bottom line for people considering an antidepressant, I think, is that they should be more circumspect about taking it,” he said, “and not be so shocked if it doesn’t work the first time and think something’s wrong with them.”

    For doctors, he said, “They end up asking, ‘How come these drugs seem to work so well in all these studies, and I’m not getting that response?’ ”

    Dr. Thomas P. Laughren, director of the division of psychiatry products at the F.D.A., said the agency had long been aware that favorable studies of drugs were more likely to be published.

    “It’s a problem we’ve been struggling with for years,” he said in an interview. “I have no problem with full access to all trial data; the question for us is how do you fit it all on a package insert,” the information that accompanies many drugs.

    Dr. Donald F. Klein, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Columbia, said drug makers were not the only ones who can be reluctant to publish unconvincing results. Journals, and study authors, too, may drop studies that are underwhelming.

    “If it’s your private data, and you don’t like how it came out, well, we shouldn’t be surprised that some doctors don’t submit those studies,” he said.

    Correction: January 29, 2008

    Because of an editing error, an article on Jan. 17 about a new report on publication of drug company studies of antidepressants referred imprecisely to one of its findings. The report, in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that Eli Lilly had presented one study of its antidepressant Prozac as positive, even though a review of the study by the Food and Drug Administration determined that the drug did not perform as well as a placebo. None of the Prozac studies analyzed in the report went unpublished.
  3. I took antidepressants for two years. It was probably one of the worst decisions in my life, but I felt like crap.

    But you can't imagine what kind of poison this stuff is.

    Everyone reacts differently to this stuff. But there are many people who can't get off them anymore because you will experience withdrawal hell you can't imagine.

    I've been off for several years and I still face some effects of the withdrawal hell.

    But the worst part: You don't get any support by those who prescriped the drugs. "Withdrawal ? Does not exist ! Side-effects ? Nah, that's probably your original illness. Let's raise the dosage!".

    And the pharmaceutical companies making big $$$. Serious side-effects have been known for years now, but the number of prescription increases every year :( Scary. Probably one of the most criminal and corrupt industries world-wide. Hiding "negative" data seems to be quite common. I've read about it several times.

    Some links: - A community with many, many people suffering from the effects of those drugs

    Don't get me wrong. Those drugs _may_ be helpful for some people who really suffer serious depression, etc. But for many people these drugs will cause more harm than good. I lost years of my youth due to these drugs :mad: .

    But now I'm gonna become a successful trader and sue the hell out of them ;)
  4. Currywurst, I'm curious, what specific drugs did you take? I was under the impression that any withdrawal symptoms from SSRIs would last a couple months, not years.
  5. There is another matter to consider when comparing test resuts with control groups. I read somewhere about the issue of using active placebos versus passive placebos. Some pharmaceuticals try to game the system by having control groups use passive placebos in an effort to get a more discernible result from their drug under study.

    If I recall correctly, it goes something like this. All test subjects are given a pill or whatever, and told of possible side effects (i.e., dry mouth, etc.) Then, the subjects are either given the drug in question or a passive placebo that does absolutely nothing. Therefore, among the subjects taking the actual drug who experience the side effect(s), they may feel that they are getting the "real stuff" and can potentially feel better not so much from the ingredients of the pill but from the idea of getting the "real deal." In other words, the actual drug is potentially providing a placebo effect.

    Again, if memory serves, the more valid means of testing is to give the control group an "active" placebo that actively mimics the same potential side effects of the drug under scrutiny without providing its "medicinal" ingredient to better cancel out the true placebo effect. As I recall, some pharmaceuticals don't like that kind of testing.

    I should point out that I read this a fairly long while ago, so I may have gotten some of the facts wrong. Apply grains of salt as required.
  6. Took Remeron (not an SSRI, but working similar: SSRI, SNRI, NaSSA).

    Actually, the withdrawal symptoms can last from a few days to years. It depends on your body, how long you took it, and which dose you took. Some are lucky, some are not. I wasn't.
  7. Currywurst,
    what were you diagnosed with? depression, an anxiety disorder, or something else?
  8. By the way, everyone should read Rearden Metal's thread on this forum on depression.

    Whether you agree with him or not, like him or not, or whatever, he raised ahelluva lot good points in that thread.

    I, personally, think SSRIs are a huge racket and that big pharma has astroturfed the hell out the American Public into thinking they have effective medications, when the reality is they're pushing snake oil (that has incredibly devastasting side effect, by the way).

    If you have an interest in this for any reason, check it out.
  9. Sounds like some kind of scam
  10. maxpi


    The whole medical industry in the US is just fucked... avoiding it at all costs is imperative. I worked for an implant manufacturer, they sold all kinds of product even after it killed lots of people, recently they got immunity from lawsuits. They have the politicos in their pockets, class action lawsuits just fizzle, now they can't be sued at all unless somebody can prove they do more harm than good, not likely that is going to happen ever. The dentists are not allowed to tell you prevention measures, by law..... doctors will tell you a procedure is safe when 1 out of 50 people gets major damage from it... we have the internet, focus on getting nutrition and prevention, use the doctor if you are in a car wreck.....

    I was offered Paxil by a psychologist a few years ago, everybody told me not to do it, I tried it, was weird as hell for a day, decided to look at nutrition. After a few months of taking Omega3, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine, focusing on colon health and taking a super high quality multi vitamin, no more depression and way less obsession, much more trading success as well.... chances of a psychologist/pharma sales rep ever cluing you in to nutritional cures for mental problems is about nil in the US... Doctors, dentists, psychologists, 90% sadistic sons of bitches and their industries are sadistic towards the natural cure industries.....

    Check out sxephil on youtube, sadistic shit talking little punk, studying to be an Md, good example......
    #10     Feb 27, 2008