Monday, January 28, 2008

Florida Medicaid To Review Antipsychotics & ADHD

 

Florida Medicaid To Review Antipsychotics & ADHD

adhd2.jpg

The move comes amid growing scrutiny. The taxpayer bill for these meds jumped from $9 million seven years ago to nearly $30 million in 2006. Florida Medicaid records reportedly show the number of children - some just months old - who were prescribed the drugs went from 9,364 seven years ago to 18,137 in 2006. And even as drugmakers were being told to issue warnings about risks, a Florida Legislature-directed program partly funded by drugmakers was recommending the meds as treatment for ADHD, although FDA approval is lacking.

As a result, the Florida attorney general is considering whether to file a lawsuit. Now, the state's Agency for Health Care Administration is responding to concerns that the meds are being used inappropriately for treating ADHD, in particular, and will review coverage. The AHCA's own guidelines, by the way, state that "antipsychotics should not be used primarily to target ADHD symptoms, should not be used to promote weight gain, and should not be used as sedatives for children…and the use of antipsychotics in children under the age of six is generally not recommended."

Yet, a recent report by the University of South Florida found the most common diagnosis for antipsychotic treatment for youngsters in Florida's Medicaid program between July and December 2005 was for ADHD -and 54 percent involved children 5 years of age and younger, while 49 percent involved kids between ages 6 and 12 (please see table 5). And so nearly 40 percent of all antipsychotic scrips for youngsters were written for ADHD during that same period.

"We recognize that it may be necessary to review our long-standing guidelines in order to keep pace with evolving pharmacy science. AHCA secretary (Andrew) Agwunobi has requested the creation of a workgroup, under the Medical Care Advisory Committee, that will bring together experts in the field to determine if changes to our current policies are appropriate," an AHCA spokesman writes Pharmalot. "The group's findings will be presented to the Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic (P&T) Committee at their next meeting for their review and recommendations."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Eli Lilly settles 900 more claims over Antipsychotic Zyprexa

Indianapolis Star
Eli Lilly settles 900 more claims over Zyprexa
January 24, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS -- Eli Lilly and Co. has settled another 900 personal-injury claims against its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, including five set to go to court next month, thus avoiding what would have been the first trial in the U.S. The Indianapolis drug maker confirmed the settlement Wednesday but declined to reveal the amount. With the latest agreements, Lilly has settled more than 25,000 claims, leaving about 1,100 unsettled. Many of the plaintiffs have claimed Lilly underplayed the drug's side effects, including weight gain and elevated blood sugar. Lilly has set aside $1.2 billion to pay claims.
 

 
More on Zyprexa below...
 
 
Video - St. Petersburg Times reporter on Zyprexa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuK1t474ei4
 

 
St. Petersburg Times
Zyprexa in court
December 16, 2007 
Individual claims: Over the past two years, Eli Lilly has paid $1.2-billion to settle lawsuits from some 30,000 people, most of whom claim Zyprexa caused them to develop diabetes. Hundreds more cases are pending.  
 
State claims: Nine states have sued Eli Lilly claiming the company promoted Zyprexa for off-label uses and downplayed its risks. Each state wants to be reimbursed hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid dollars paid for Zyprexa.  
 
Florida has not sued and won't comment, though Eli Lilly has said that it received a subpoena in 2005 from the state's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, seeking documents related to the sales, marketing and promotional practices of Zyprexa.  


Daytona Beach News Journal
January 10, 2008  
Florida undecided as states sue over costly drug program  

 "Our office is aware of concerns with antipsychotics in Florida's Medicaid program but we cannot acknowledge nor provide any information pertaining to ongoing criminal investigations," said Sandi Copes, a spokeswoman with the Florida Attorney General's office.  Florida Medicaid records show the number of children -- some just months old -- who were prescribed the drugs went from 9,364 seven years ago to 18,137 in 2006. No records for privately insured patients are available.  "The situation is out of control," said David Cohen, a professor at Florida International University who has been studying the use of antipsychotics since 1983. While no long-term studies have been done on the effects the drugs have on children, there is evidence children on the drugs face greater risks of diabetes, hyperglycemia and extreme weight gain, Cohen said.  Parent, Richard Davis, said he watched in horror as his daughter Ciara, then 6, gained 40 pounds, developed breasts and had uncontrollable tongue and facial movements. "Those drugs were killing her," Davis said. Over his objections, he said Ciara was given antipsychotics by her mother and while in foster care. A court-appointed guardian also noted the effects in an August 2003 report, describing a visit in which Ciara "never once kept her tongue in her mouth."  Ciara, now 11, was taken off the drugs after about a year, her father said, and she quickly dropped the added weight.

Editorial:  Drugs for children? Prescriptions of anti-psychotics troubling
January 16, 2008
 ... And a state struggling to keep up with rapid changes that have pushed Medicaid costs for powerful anti-psychotic drugs from $9 million seven years ago to almost $30 million in 2006.   Something doesn't add up. Do all these children need the drugs they're being prescribed?  ... the trend is disturbing. Other states are already pushing hard for answers, and Florida should join in.   The drugs in question are known as atypical anti-psychotics and include Risperdal, Abilify, Geodon and Seroquel ... Twenty-six states are exploring legal action against drug companies for unfair trade practices or consumer-protection violations (Florida is one of them; the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit served drug manufacturer Eli Lilly with a request in 2005 for information regarding its marketing of the drug Zyprexa.) Other states are being more aggressive; several have actually filed suit seeking to reclaim some of the millions spent on these drugs.


PsychSearch.net
 
Documented State Lawsuits: http://www.psychsearch.net/lawsuits.html
 
Antipsychotics - Florida Medicaid Rules: http://www.psychsearch.net/atypicals.html
 

Eli Lilly settles 900 more claims over Zyprexa

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008801240416

Indianapolis Star

Eli Lilly settles 900 more claims over Zyprexa

January 24, 2008INDIANAPOLIS -- Eli Lilly and Co. has settled another 900 personal-injury claims against its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, includingfive set to go to court next month, thus avoiding what would have beenthe first trial in the U.S. The Indianapolis drug maker confirmed thesettlement Wednesday but declined to reveal the amount. With the latestagreements, Lilly has settled more than 25,000 claims, leaving about1,100 unsettled. Many of the plaintiffs have claimed Lilly underplayedthe drug's side effects, including weight gain and elevated blood sugar.Lilly has set aside $1.2 billion to pay claims.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Publican bias in trials of ADDs

PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 16 -- Publication bias may have cast the benefit of antidepressant medications in a better light than deserved, researchers said.

A third of FDA-registered antidepressant trials were never published, found Erick H. Turner, M.D., of the Oregon Health and Science University and Portland VA Medical Center, and colleagues in a meta-analysis.

Tampa Tribune - Lobotomies

You can still watch the PBS documentary, "The Lobotomist". PBS  says it will be available today online: http://tinyurl.com/yq68td   
 
The documentary describes how psychiatric drugs were originally marketed - chemical lobotomies! 
 
 

The Tampa Tribune
January 21, 2008
By KURT LOFT
Lobotomy: Proceeding Without Caution
 
 
Psychiatrist Walter Freeman, holding mallet, performs an “ice pick” lobotomy at George Washington University
 
TAMPA - Howard Dully was 12 years old when his stepmother opted for the lobotomy.

Dully assumed the procedure was routine and that she knew best how to cure his "mental illness." But she came close to turning the youngster into a vegetable.

"I didn't realize how barbaric it was until later in my life," Dully said by telephone from his home in San Jose, Calif. "As a kid, it didn't really matter to me."

The 59-year-old Duffy works as a bus driving instructor. Last year, he published a book called "My Lobotomy," which traces what happened that day in 1960 and the impact it continues to have on his life. The story unfolds tonight on an "American Experience" television documentary.

Dully was one of an estimated 30,000 people in the United States who had documented lobotomies in the two decades after World War II. A now-discredited form of psychosurgery, the lobotomy at one time was heralded as a medical breakthrough in the treatment of mental disorders. By any credible scientific standard, lobotomies are crude and horrific, experts say, and often did irreparable damage to the patient's brain.

"I had to deal with a lot of anger about what was done to me," Dully said. "It channeled into rebellion over the years. But I realized anger wasn't going to do any good because I didn't have enough information about what happened to me until much later in my life."

Dully's anger over his stepmother's decision boiled over to the man who performed the procedure, an American psychiatrist named Walter Freeman. He performed nearly 3,000 lobotomies on people suffering from dementia, depression or other mental conditions - many of whom had never been diagnosed for their problems.

Freeman was 28 years old when he arrived in 1924 at St. Elizabeth's in Washington, D.C., a hospital for the mentally ill. Appalled by what he saw, he dedicated himself to improving the lives of such people. He embarked on a bold experiment to identify and alter the part of the brain he believed caused mental instability.

Freeman began exploring lobotomy techniques in 1936 after reading about a treatment for depression being done in Portugal. Freeman expanded on the idea by drilling holes into the skull, then turned to a more "efficient" technique using long pins resembling ice picks. He conducted his first "ice pick" lobotomy in 1946, separating the thalamus from the frontal lobe of a frantic, suicidal woman. As he predicted, she became docile - but unresponsive.

As Freeman conducted more lobotomies, he advertised his dramatic results, promoting his technique as a 10-minute medical marvel. Nearly all his procedures included press coverage and before-and-after photo ops. In 1952, he made headlines by performing 25 lobotomies in a single day. Freeman soon enjoyed celebrity.

"He had a kind of perverse need to shock people," Elliot Valenstein, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan, said in the documentary.

Dully's stepmother read about Freeman and scheduled a consultation about the boy's personality, which she called "unruly and defiant." After examining the boy, Freeman suggested a transorbital lobotomy. Dully was brought to Freeman's office on Dec. 16.

After rendering the child unconscious with electroshock therapy, Freeman inserted a stainless-steel ice pick underneath the upper lid of each eye, then tapped it with a rubber mallet until it broke through the socket wall. He then wiggled the rod back and forth to cut connections to the frontal lobe of the brain. 

More: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jan/21/lobotomy-proceeding-without-caution/ 

 

Antidepressants behind 52 percent of all suicides

Antidepressants behind 52 percent of all suicides among women in Sweden: http://www.transworldnews.com/NewsStory.aspx?id=33878&cat=10
 

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Drugs and kids

 
The below letters are in response to the article entitled States Sue Over Costly Drug Program - Florida Undecided: http://tinyurl.com/2t76sr
 
 
Daytona Beach News Journal
Letters to the Editor for Jan. 20, 2008

Drugging not way to go

As a former remedial teacher in private schools in Florida, I think all criticism leveled against psychiatric programs escalating and expanding the drugging of babies, toddlers, kids and teens is justified This is not the way to go. I worked with grammar school kids who had difficulty in class. I had great success using a variety of techniques, including the great Maria Montessori techniques for teaching.

Then, I had a cousin who couldn't sleep. He was in his late 20s. He had other physical problems, not yet determined. This had been going on for quite a while, and though he was suffering, he was living with it. His family physician prescribed antidepressants. A week, or less, later, he was found dead in his room (in bed).

Babies and kids, just like all of us, have moods. Kids have trouble learning, just like all of us. Kids -- especially boys -- are active. This is a good thing, not "bad." Moods are not "wrong," they are not "illness" or "disorders." Moods are responses and indicators of something, be it school, other kids, teachers, possible physical illnesses, etc. To determine the problem and solve it is the correct action. Drugging the kid so he doesn't feel that emotion is like playing God. It's arrogant and wrong and has backfired and will backfire.

We're losing our new generation to psychiatry's critical view of the world: "Kids should be seen, not heard"; "Religion is just a crutch"; "We should control all emotions and behaviors." These are dangerous views, and we should not be supporting them with unthinking agreement or with our tax money. I cringe to think that my tax dollars are going to drug foster kids, prisoners and soldiers. And yet that's precisely where they are going!

JOANNE CALI, Southborough, Mass.

Must examine behavior

The drugs in most cases create side effects that are worse than what the child was first medicated for. These drugs also create a dependency. We have children who will grow into adults with a dependency on drugs.

Many times the root of the child's behavior is not investigated. A sugar high from an improper diet? Lack of parental skills? Other classroom children creating a problem for the child? Medication is not the answer for a child's behavior until all areas of the child's life have been explored.

Florida needs to join the other states in the lawsuits against use of anti-psychotic drugs in children. We have a world in which whatever makes the money is more important than the human.

CAROL J. BEECHER, R.N., Monticello, Ind. 

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"The Lobotomist" (scheduled to air Jan. 21 at 9 p.m. on PBS stations)

 
 
Walter J. Freeman performs a lobotomy in 1949

'Lobotomist' Serves as a Warning

Documentary Shows Damage Done When Medicine Goes Awry

 
 
By Sandra G. Boodman Post Staff Writer
January 15, 2008

One of the most horrifying medical treatments of the 20th century was carried out not clandestinely, but with the approval of the medical establishment, the media and the public. Known as the transorbital or "ice pick" lobotomy, the crude and destructive brain-scrambling operation performed on thousands of psychiatric patients between the 1930s and 1960s was touted as a cure for mental illness.

Its prosaic name comes from the instrument initially used to perform it: an ice pick plucked from the kitchen drawer of the procedure's tireless proselytizer, Walter J. Freeman, who pioneered the operation in 1936 while at George Washington University Hospital.

The story of how Freeman sold his procedure to credulous colleagues, assiduously courted the press and convinced desperate families that sticking an ice pick through a patient's upper eye sockets and twirling it like a swizzle stick through brain matter would cure psychosis, depression or troublesome behavior is the ultimate in cautionary medical tales.

More:

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Drugged Nation Is Not Healthy

A Publication of the Tampa Tribune
A Drugged Nation Is Not Healthy
By DR. DOMENICK J. MAGLIO
January 16, 2008

Most Americans are too busy in their daily lives to face the obvious: we are a society dependent on drugs. We fought only half the war on drugs. "Just Say No" should have targeted not only street drugs but all detrimental drugs including prescription ones.

There is little ethical or moral difference between a drug pusher in the school yard seducing kids into buying the latest feel good drug and the pharmacological/medical industry dispensing antipsychotic medication to children as young as toddlers. Both the street drug or the prescription drug will lead the child down the same path of chemical dependency that ends in being a taker from rather than a giver to society.  
 

According to the national Teen Drug Survey released Dec. 11 by the White House, teenagers are turning from street drugs to prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin. The study conducted by the University of Michigan Institute on Social Research, found a modest decrease in marijuana and other street drugs and an increase in prescription drugs. John Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said, "71 percent of young people have reported their source of supply is their parent's or friend's medicine cabinet." Theo Milonopoulos, "Survey Finds Teens Smoking Less Pot, But Popping More Pills," Tampa Tribune, Dec. 12, pg. 13.

It is a deplorable commentary on our nation that the Center of Medicare and Medicaid says 21 percent of nursing home patients, who do not have a psychosis diagnosis are prescribed antipsychotic, off label, medication. Lucette Lagnado, "Nursing Homes Quiet Elderly with Antipsychotic Drugs," Tampa Tribune, Dec. 7. To give humans of any age medication to induce docility is inhumane. When children are given off label psychotic medication it is more tragic as their lives are ahead rather than behind them.

Although children naturally fluctuate in their mood from laughing to crying, they are being prescribed off-label antipsychotic medication as toddlers. Before the 1990s it was generally accepted in the mental health profession to be illogical and unethical to label a child with a bi-polar disorder. Certainly drugging a child with an antipsychotic medication was considered going against the Hippocratic principle of doing no harm. Assisting nursing homes to control the elderly and parents to control their children is not any better than caging the elderly and children for control.

Our society has become more than drug tolerant, we have become a drugged society. Drug advertisements dominate women's magazines and television commercials. You have to wait an hour just to have a prescription filled. Recreational drugs of Hollywood celebrities to "roids" of sports idols, to sexual stimulants for anyone, psychotic drugs for the elderly and for children to control behavior indicate drugs have permeated every segment of our society. Using chemicals for daily life is epidemic.

Drugs may temporarily relieve a particular problem. The side effects to a person taking the drugs may be denied but are evident to those around us. The number of people unable to exist without mind-altering medication is destroying our power to be a vital, independent people. A large number of people dependent on drugs eventually become dependent on the government "safety net." This leads to a sick and declining society. We must reject the celebrity's lifestyle, advertising and the pharmaceutical/medical experts or sacrifice our own and our children's bodies, minds and spirits to the long-term adverse impact of drugs.

The joys of life are best experienced in a conscious state. Life's ups and downs can be painful at times although they always provide us an opportunity to learn how to better handle the next challenge of life. Problems never cease, healthy people just get better at solving them.

Americans have established a reputation as an ingenious people who can overcome life's obstacles. We cannot surrender our character as a people who perseveres until we get the job done. If we as a society continue down the drugged path when the going gets tough, we will forget the advantages, assets and wisdom left to us by our ancestors.

Restoring our national vigor requires the discipline to say "no" to any unnecessary drugs.

 

Wall Street Journal: Antidepressants under scrutiny over efficacy

Antidepressants Under Scrutiny Over Efficacy
Sweeping Overview Suggests
Suppression of Negative Data
Has Distorted View of Drugs
By DAVID ARMSTRONG and KEITH J. WINSTEIN
January 17, 2008; Page D1

The effectiveness of a dozen popular antidepressants has been exaggerated by selective publication of favorable results, according to a review of unpublished data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration.

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
 
A review of research submitted to the FDA:
 Of 74 studies reviewed, 38 were judged to be positive by the FDA. All but one were published, researchers said.
 Most of the studies found to have negative or questionable results were not published, researchers found.
Source: The New England Journal of Medicine

As a result, doctors and patients are getting a distorted view of how well blockbuster antidepressants like Wyeth's Effexor and Pfizer Inc.'s Zoloft really work, researchers asserted in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

Since the overwhelming amount of published data on the drugs show they are effective, doctors unaware of the unpublished data are making inappropriate prescribing decisions that aren't in the best interest of their patients, according to researchers led by Erick Turner, a psychiatrist at Oregon Health & Science University. Sales of antidepressants total about $21 billion a year, according to IMS Health.

Wyeth and Pfizer declined to comment on the study results. Both companies said they had committed to disclose all study results, although not necessarily in medical journals. GlaxoSmithKline PLC, maker of Wellbutrin and Paxil, said it has posted the results of more than 3,000 trials involving 82 medications on its Web site, and also has filed information on 1,060 continuing trials at a federal government Web site.

Schering-Plough Corp., whose Organon Corp. unit markets Remeron, and Eli Lilly & Co., which makes Prozac, said their study results were indeed published -- not individually, but as part of larger medical articles that combined data from more than one study at a time. The New England Journal study counted a clinical trial as published only if it was the sole subject of an article. "Lilly has a policy that we disclose and publish all the results from our clinical trials, regardless of the outcomes from them," a Lilly spokeswoman said.

Pharmaceutical companies are under no obligation to publish the studies they sponsor and submit to the FDA, nor are the researchers they hire to do the work. The researchers publishing in the New England Journal were able to identify unpublished studies by obtaining and comparing documents filed by the companies with the FDA against databases of medical publications.

"There is no effort on the part of the FDA to withhold or to not post drug review documents," an FDA representative said. For newer drugs, information is posted online "as soon as possible." Older documents aren't always available online and efforts to add those files to the Web are slowed by "a lack of resources," the agency said, acknowledging that there is a backlog in complying with records requests.

A total of 74 studies involving a dozen antidepressants and 12,564 patients were registered with the FDA from 1987 through 2004. The FDA considered 38 of the studies to be positive. All but one of those studies was published, the researchers said.

The other 36 were found to have negative or questionable results by the FDA. Most of those studies -- 22 out of 36 -- weren't published, the researchers found. Of the 14 that were published, the researchers said at least 11 of those studies mischaracterized the results and presented a negative study as positive.

More here:  http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB120051950205895415-lMyQjAxMDI4MDEwNzUxMTc5Wj.html

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Shrink Surrenders License

 Bangor: Doctor relinquishes medical license

By Meg Haskell
Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

After complaints about his professional conduct, longtime Bangor psychiatrist Takeo Kawamura has voluntarily surrendered his license to practice medicine in Maine, according to the state's Board of Licensure in Medicine. Kawamura's loss of licensure took effect on Jan. 8 and is permanent.

The complaints include an allegation that Kawamura mismanaged one patient's medications and failed to competently treat another patient who ultimately committed suicide.

In a public document obtained from the medical licensing board, Kawamura neither admitted nor denied allegations of incompetence and professional misconduct. But he conceded that the board had sufficient evidence to "reasonably conclude" he failed to adequately monitor the medical care and medications of two patients, behavior that "could amount to incompetence and unprofessional conduct, and constitutes grounds for discipline of his Maine license."

In a complaint received by the board in March 2006, a female patient alleged she suffered side effects from her medication because of Kawamura's failure to adequately monitor the amount of medication in her blood. According to the public document, Kawamura asserted he had treated the patient appropriately.

In March 2007, the board received information about another patient who had committed suicide while under Kawamura's care. After its review of the case, the board initiated a complaint alleging incompetence. Kawamura denied providing incompetent care to the patient, according to the public document.

In the consent agreement signed Jan. 8, Kawamura agreed to surrender his license permanently in order to resolve the complaints without further board proceedings.

In 2006, Kawamura signed another consent decree that required him to take a board-approved course in medical ethics each calendar year and to obtain ongoing therapeutic counseling himself. He also was required to discontinue treating family members unless they were in joint therapy.

Kawamura is a 1958 graduate of Chiba University in Japan and had been licensed in Maine since 1962. He served as the chief of psychiatry at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and as the head of outpatient services at Acadia Hospital in Bangor.

Kawamura's office was closed Monday because of the snowstorm. An answering service operator said Kawamura had "resigned" but had no further information. The call was not immediately returned. Kawamura's home phone number is unpublished.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Video - Psych Busted - Canada

Description:

A Newfoundland doctor who sexually assaulted and peddled highly addictive drugs to several of his patients was sentenced Monday to seven years. Dr. Sean Buckingham was convicted last month of five counts of sexual assault, six counts of trafficking painkillers such as OxyContin and Lorazepam, and one count of assault. Buckingham remained silent as he was sentenced and as he was led out of court. Defence lawyer Randy Piercey declined comment. During Buckingham's two-month trial, a jury heard patients testify in explicit detail how he provided them drugs in exchange for money and sexual favours over a two-year span. Buckingham was convicted in that case of sexual assault, but found not guilty of sexual assault causing bodily harm and sexual assault with a weapon. He was also acquitted of two counts of trafficking OxyContin and two other counts of sexual assault. Buckingham was arrested at his home on May 26, 2005, after an extensive two-year police investigation. Buckingham initially faced 23 charges, but during the trial Justice Adams directed the jury to acquit Buckingham on five of them. The order came after the Crown agreed that evidence before the court didn't support those charges. 



 

 Video: http://www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?main=broadcast&bcid=1421&cpvid=1

 

Video - Psych Busted - Canada

Video: http://www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?main=broadcast&bcid=1421&cpvid=1

 

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ice Picks ito the Brain -1960, San Jose, California

Let's not forget psychiatry's history.   
 http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2239724,00.html

He was bad, so they put an ice pick in his brain...

At the age of 12, Howard Dully was given a lobotomy, one of thousands performed by the notorious Dr Walter Freeman in the 1940s and 1950s. Now Dully has written a forceful account of his survival and sheds light on the man who subjected him to one of the most brutal surgical procedures in medical history

Elizabeth Day

Sunday January 13, 2008

Observer                                                                                                                                                                                        (Below - Dr. Freeman performing a Lobotomy)

When Howard Dully met the man who was to change his life for ever, he was not sure what to make of him. He was 11 at the time and paid little attention to the mysterious adult world that surrounded him, to the decisions taken without his knowledge or to the profound impact that Dr Walter Freeman would have on his pre-adolescent existence. Instead, with a child's eye, he noticed the small physical quirks - the round-rimmed glasses, the dapper suit, the well-trimmed goatee. 'It made him look a little like a beatnik,' Dully says. 'He was warm, personable and easy to get along with. Was I fearful? No. I had no idea what he was going to do with me.'    

Friday, January 11, 2008

Looney Alabama Psychiatrist Running for President - Ridiculed

 
 
The Huffington Post
2008-01-11-200712142007091820070918roadkill.gif
January 11, 2008
Be afraid, be very afraid: Alabama psychiatrist... Dr. Hugh Cort declared his intention to stay in the race, with an ad showing him standing in front of the U.S. Capitol, pledging to thwart what he calls Osama bin Laden's "American Hiroshima" plot to detonate nuclear weapons in U.S. cities. In amateurish special effects, the Capitol becomes a mushroom cloud. We at Roadkill don't know whether we should be more frightened of being vaporized by bin Laden or a paranoid psychiatrist with his finger on the nuclear trigger 
++


Birmingham News (Alabama)
Psychiatrist has his eye on White House
By: CHARLES J. DEAN  

"Hugh Cort? Can't say I know him," said Mike Hubbard, chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.  
 
"Oh yeah. I remember now," Hubbard said. "He introduced himself when (Dick) Cheney was in Birmingham in April for the (Jeff) Session's fundraiser. I remember he told me he was running for president and I asked, president of what? He said `president' and I said, again, president of what When he said the United States, I guess I must have looked a little odd and said, `America?' Is he really doing that?"  
 
A lifelong Republican, Cort's only other try for public office was a failed race for the GOP nomination to a seat in the Alabama Legislature last year. He finished fourth in a five-way race.
 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
 
This guy's freaking us all out 
 
As much as other speakers tried to spread the good news, presidential contender Hugh Cort's tack is to spread the bad news. Basically, his outreach is based on an effort to scare the hell out of voters. A psychiatrist from Birmingham, Ala., ... He painted a picture of an "American Hiroshima"  ... being planned by Osama bin Laden. 

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Drugs Offer No Benefit in Curbing Aggression, Study Finds

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/04/health/04aggression.html?_r=2&ex=13571
89200&en=85a222f5763e8290&ei=5089&partner=rssyahoo&emc=rss&oref=slogin&o
ref=slogin

Drugs Offer No Benefit in Curbing Aggression, Study Finds By BENEDICT
CAREY
Published: January 4, 2008
The drugs most widely used to manage aggressive outbursts in
intellectually disabled people are no more effective than placebos for
most patients and may be less so, researchers report.

The finding, being published Friday, sharply challenges standard medical
practice in mental health clinics and nursing homes in the United States
and around the world.
In recent years, many doctors have begun to use the so-called
antipsychotic drugs, which were developed to treat schizophrenia, as
all-purpose tranquilizers to settle threatening behavior -- in children
with attention-deficit problems, college students with depression, older
people with Alzheimer's disease and intellectually handicapped people.

The new study tracked 86 adults with low I.Q.'s in community housing in
England, Wales and Australia over more than a month of treatment.
It found a 79 percent reduction in aggressive behavior among those
taking dummy pills, compared with a reduction of 65 percent or less in
those taking antipsychotic drugs.
The researchers focused on two drugs, Risperdal by Janssen, and an older
drug, Haldol, but said the findings almost certainly applied to all
similar medications. Such drugs account for more than $10 billion in
annual sales, and research suggests that at least half of all
prescriptions are for unapproved "off label" uses -- often to treat
aggression or irritation.

The authors said the results were quite likely to intensify calls for a
government review of British treatment standards for such patients, and
perhaps to prompt more careful study of treatment for aggressive
behavior in patients with a wide variety of diagnoses.
Other experts said the findings were also almost certain to inflame a
continuing debate over the widening use of antipsychotic drugs.
Patient advocates and some psychiatrists say the medications are
overused.

Previous studies of the drugs' effect on aggressive outbursts have been
mixed, with some showing little benefit and others a strong calming
influence. But the drugs have serious side effects, including rapid
weight gain and tremors, and doctors have had little rigorous evidence
to guide practice.
"This is a very significant finding by some very prominent
psychiatrists" -- one that directly challenges the status quo, said
Johnny L. Matson, a professor of psychology at Louisiana State
University in Baton Rouge, co-author of an editorial with the study in
the journal Lancet.

While it is unclear how much the study by itself will alter prescribing
habits, "the message to doctors should be, think twice about
prescribing, go with lower doses and monitor side effects very
carefully," Dr. Matson continued, adding:
"Or just don't do it. We know that behavioral treatments can work very
well with many patients."

Other experts disagreed, saying the new study was not in line with
previous research or their own experience. Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson
subsidiary, said that Risperdal only promotes approved uses, which in
this country include the treatment of irritability associated with
autism in children.
In the study, Dr. Peter J. Tyrer, a professor of psychiatry at Imperial
College London, led a research team who assigned 86 people from ages 18
to 65 to one of three groups: one that received Risperdal; one that
received another antipsychotic, the generic form of Haldol; and one that
was given a placebo pill. Caregivers tracked the participants' behavior.
Many people with very low I.Q.'s are quick to anger and lash out at
others, bang their heads or fists into the wall in frustration, or singe
the air with obscenities when annoyed.

After a month, people in all three groups had settled down, losing their
temper less often and causing less damage when they did. Yet
unexpectedly, those in the placebo group improved the most,
significantly more so than those on medication.
In an interview, Dr. Tyrer said there was no reason to believe that any
other antipsychotic drug used for aggression, like Zyprexa from Eli
Lilly or Seroquel from AstraZeneca, would be more effective. Being in
the study, with all the extra attention it brought, was itself what
apparently made the difference, he said.

"These people tend to get so little company normally," Dr. Tyrer said.
"They're neglected, they tend to be pushed into the background, and this
extra attention has a much bigger effect on them that it would on a
person of more normal intelligence level."
The study authors, who included researchers from the University of Wales
and the University of Birmingham in Britain and the University of
Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, wrote that their results "should not
be interpreted as an indication that antipsychotic drugs have no place
in the treatment of some aspects of behavior disturbance."

But the routine prescription of the drugs for aggression, they
concluded, "should no longer be regarded as a satisfactory form of
care."

Massachusetts Takes Wrong Turn On Mental Health Screening

Massachusetts Takes Wrong Turn On Mental Health Screening
12/30/07
By Tony Zizza .
Mr. Zizza is a freelance writer who lives in Atlanta, GA. He writes
frequently about psychiatry and children's issues. Zizza can be reached
via email: tz777@comcast.net

For the entire article see here:
http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voices.php/2007/12/30/massa
chusetts_takes_wrong_turn_on_mental
A recent news article by Carey Goldberg in the Boston Globe newspaper
ought to have Massachusetts parents fuming mad. In fact, parents
nationwide need to be on the alert as well. The long and stretched out
arms of psychiatry are poised to put a choke-hold on your children.

Think I am kidding? Think again. In Carey Goldberg's December 27th
article, ("Mental screening for young to begin: Mass. doctors to offer
questionnaires for children on Medicaid"), we find out that on December
31st, "Annual checkups for the nearly half a million Massachusetts
children on Medicaid will carry a new requirement:
Doctors must offer simple questionnaires to detect warning signs of
possible mental health problems, from autism in toddlers to depression
in teens."

This is scary stuff. Pay close attention to this part again, "from
autism in toddlers to depression in teens." Perhaps I am paranoid, but I
believe a Brave New World is here. Psychiatry just had an incredible
cash cow handed to them on a silver platter through the force of
government. That is, Massachusetts taxpayers fund Medicaid. In turn,
Massachusetts taxpayers are supporting through no choice of their own
the inevitable drugging of children.

Instead, we twist things to try and justify forced drugging and the
destruction of informed consent by throwing around subjective "national
estimates" that Carey Goldberg included in his article that attempt to
show "about 10 percent of children have some sort of significant
psycho-social problem from hyperactivity to anxiety to stress from
living amid domestic violence." Again, it appears children and young
adults in Massachusetts, and nationwide, can no longer experience any
kind of feeling or thought or deep reflection without it being subjected
to a mental health screening or antidepressant psychiatric drug. This
isn't medicine. It's medicine gone mad.

Massachusetts has taken a wrong turn here on mental health screening.
Cute code words and catch phrases don't cut it. Lisa Lambert, executive
director of the Parent/Professional Advocacy League, falsely compares
the screening of children and young adults for mental illness to that of
acting as a "check engine light" for parents to gauge if their children
have any problems. I'm sorry, growing up is a little more complicated
than this. On the other hand, mental health screening sets off alarms
when no alarm needs to be sounded.

It's time for parents all over this country to get in the front seat
when it comes to parenting their children and young adults. I find it
hard to believe a subjective mental health "questionnaire" can serve
somehow as a substitute parent. Something is seriously wrong when
460,000 Massachusetts children and young adults wake up one morning to
find out that they must now submit to a subjective mental health
screening at their next annual checkup.

Criticism of Mass.Child Mental Screening

On Dec. 27, the Boston Globe ran a story about how Massachusetts plans
to do mental screening on children. The new requirement applies to the
460,000 children and young adults covered by state's Medicaid program.


Below are some responses to the article:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/200
7/12/31/screening_brings_labeling_drugs/
Boston Globe
Screening brings labeling, drugs
December 31, 2007
AS A psychiatrist since 1947, I am appalled that mental health screening
is now being required of Massachusetts children on Medicaid ("Mental
screening for young to begin," Page A1, Dec. 27). Such screening greatly
exaggerates the significance of the normal variations in psychological
state.
Normal kids will therefore be labeled "sick" and referred for
"treatment." That labeling is often harmful in itself; once tagged, how
does a kid prove he's not mentally ill?

In some middle-class families, treatment may be individual or family
counseling. Whether it helps or is merely wasteful, it usually causes
relatively little harm. For Medicaid kids, however, treatment will
almost always involve powerful drugs whose serious side effects can
include the stunting of growth. Mental health screening is thus a
harmful invasion of the privacy of Medicaid youngsters.

Dr. NATHANIEL S. LEHRMAN
Roslyn, N.Y.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/200
7/12/31/a_needless_strain_on_health_dollars/
Boston Globe
A needless strain on health dollars
December 31, 2007
WITH ALL of the strain Medicaid has been reported to suffer already -
and health coverage in Massachusetts and in other states in general -
what makes mental health screening a good idea?

An almost automatic $4.5-million hit - if anyone bothered to do the math
- for a written questionnaire? To ask if your toddler has been fussy? If
your teenager has been emotional? Duh.

And this is going to be a yearly thing. Add to that the prescriptions
that will inevitably come, and the doctor followups, oh geesh Wouldn't
that money be better spent on schools? That could be more than 100
teachers' salaries.

COURTENAY DODDS
Exeter, N.H

Friday, January 04, 2008

Shrinks admit on video: No blood, brain tests for mental illness. + Exposé of diagnostic guesswork.

 
American Psychiatric Association (APA) Under Fire Again For Pharma Ties

 

More Damning Evidence Against APA  +  Undercover Footage of Bumbling Psychiatrists

 

Documents obtained by U.S. News and World Report confirm that the American Psychiatric Association failed to fully disclose the substantial pharmaceutical ties of task force members who update and expand psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). DSM conatins subjective checklists of symptoms which are then used to categorize new "mental disorders" and bill insurance companies for their treatment. 

 

Psychiatric watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), says the scandals relating to the DSM—long considered the cash cow of disease mongering—go deeper than conflicts of interest or failure to disclose pharmaceutical ties. The group has released a new video featuring undercover footage of psychiatrists using the DSM to randomly dole out powerful and dangerous drugs to unsuspecting patients.

 

The video, including interviews with experts explaining how the DSM lacks any scientific basis, also contains footage of psychiatrists who attended the annual American Psychiatric Association convention admitting that psychiatry has no physical tests to diagnose psychiatric disorders, no chemical imbalance tests, and no idea how to cure anyone.

 

 

Massachusetts' Mandatory Mental Screening - Boston Globe out to Lunch

Massachusetts' Mandatory Mental Health Screening

The State of Massachusetts is embarking on what strikes me as an excessive social experiment. As of Jan. 1 annual checkups for about 500,000 kids and teens on the state's Medicaid program will have to include a mental health screening, regardless of whether there's a reason to suspect mental health issues in the patient or not, reports the Boston Globe. Doctors are required to do this with each patient, although parents and children are not legally required to comply. But then most people are utterly in thrall to doctors and I doubt many would tell their doctor to back off.

The paper also has an enthusiastic editorial supporting the program. That's kind of bizarre since the paper has been one of the best at reporting on just how screwed up mental health care for kids is and how dangerous some of the treatments are. Perhaps the paper's editorialists should re-read the paper's series on the Rebecca Riley case and the bipolar child paradigm.

One of the symptom checklists on the paper's website contains a stunning array of non-symptom symptoms: teases others, refuses to share, is fidgety, acts younger than others, daydreams too much, is afraid of new situations. And so on. Many of these symptoms are hardly indicative of abnormal behavior or psychology

Could someone please let me know what is the objective standard for daydreaming?

I object to this mandatory screening for a number of reasons:

More here,

Another Florida Psych Exposed

 
 
Health Dept. after convicted Fort Myers doctor's license
News Press (Fort Myers)  
January 02, 2008 
 
The Florida Department of Health is trying to take away the medical license of a Fort Myers doctor who was sentenced to over two years in prison for handing out drugs to patients without physical examinations.

The Department of Health filed an administrative complaint against Cecilio Pizarro for giving out prescriptions for Xanax, methadone, Oxycontin, Dilaudid and Valium.

In some cases, Pizarro allegedly agreed to administer the drugs in exchange for sexual intercourse.

According to the complaint, Pizarro also prescribed pain killers to a detective with the Fort Myers Police Department in exchange for sexual intercourse.

Pizarro was indicted by a grand jury March 14 for two counts of knowingly and willfully distributing controlled substances. Pizarro pled guilty to both counts and was sentenced to 27 months in prison Sept. 25.  
 
 

Thursday, January 03, 2008

First Person: Find drug-free solutions for youth

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/344638_firstperson24.html

Last updated December 23, 2007 3:49 p.m. PT

First Person: Find drug-free solutions for youth

MARILYN REDMOND
GUEST COLUMNIST

Robert A. Hawkins, 19, opened fire with a rife at a busy Omaha shopping mall, killing eight people before taking his own life. Looking back we had the tragedy at Virginia Tech caused by Cho Seung-Hui. And the first of this series of heartbreaking disasters was Columbine. What groups these events is not addressed widely. Sadly, these results of drugged youth are a deadly price to others.

In the Columbine incident great attention was paid in the media, without the real cause. That the students were on drugs was not widely shared. One survivor of Columbine, Mark Taylor, in his testimony before the FDA on Sept. 13, 2004, stated, "As Americans we should have the right to feel safe and if you were doing your job we would be safe. Why are we worrying about terrorists in other countries when the pharmaceutical companies have proven to be our biggest terrorists by releasing these drugs on an unsuspecting public?"

A publication of The New York Times called "Insight on the News" on June 28, 1999, had this lead story -- " Guns and Doses: The Common Link on the High School Shootings May Be Psychotropic Drugs Like Ritalin." One story is about David, who was compelled by school officials to receive the drug to handle his "hyperactivity." "David would complain. He didn't like the feel of his body when he took the pills," his mother said. Finally one day, her son collapsed before school and told her, "I just can't take them anymore, they're torturing me."

Another often-used drug is Prozac; the company was charged with, among other things, failing to disclose the dangers of Prozac in causing violence and suicide. Last year, Prozac earned $2 billion for Eli Lilly.

In Omaha the shooting reached beyond the schools, and the nine victims ranged in age from 24 to 66. The killer, Hawkins, had been a ward of the state. These children become prey for drugging, according to many administrators and spokespersons. Overdrugging of youth, including those in the foster care system, has grown into a huge national problem with no signs of slowing. Some of the drugs prescribed to children and teens are known to cause suicidal tendencies, yet they continue to be prescribed. Some children have reported they were given up to 18 different drugs at one time.

It is time to be more open to alternative choices. Antidepressant-induced manic behaviors like fire starting, violence and aberrant behavior are the result of looking for a quick fix while sustaining high profits for drug companies. Emotional growth stops when taking drugs. A pill does not assist in dealing with life. Let's support our youth in dealing with their problems utilizing effective, natural drug-free solutions.

Marilyn Redmond of Edgewood is a holistic health counselor.

Florida Psych Exposed

 
Health Dept. after convicted Fort Myers doctor's license
News Press (Fort Myers)  
January 02, 2008 
 
The Florida Department of Health is trying to take away the medical license of a Fort Myers doctor who was sentenced to over two years in prison for handing out drugs to patients without physical examinations.

The Department of Health filed an administrative complaint against Cecilio Pizarro for giving out prescriptions for Xanax, methadone, Oxycontin, Dilaudid and Valium.

In some cases, Pizarro allegedly agreed to administer the drugs in exchange for sexual intercourse.

According to the complaint, Pizarro also prescribed pain killers to a detective with the Fort Myers Police Department in exchange for sexual intercourse.

Pizarro was indicted by a grand jury March 14 for two counts of knowingly and willfully distributing controlled substances. Pizarro pled guilty to both counts and was sentenced to 27 months in prison Sept. 25.