Between 2004 and 2008 the Centers for Disease Control reported an 89 percent increase in the number of emergency room visits nationwide related to the non-medical use of Xanax and other drugs in its class. According to drug site which reviews the FDA’s adverse events data base, people using Xanax reported more than 11,000 adverse events between 2004 and march of this year. They include 83 deaths, 107 completed suicides and 100 comas. “It’s so much easier to take people off heroin. I’d rather take 100 people off heroin than one person of Xanax because I know they’ll have a year of withdrawal,” says addiction specialist Dr. Jerry Callaway.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has notified health care providers that the Pregnancy section of drug labels for the entire class of antipsychotic drugs has been updated. The new drug labels include additional and consistent information regarding the potential risk for abnormal muscle movements (extrapyramidal signs [EPS]) and withdrawal symptoms among newborns whose mothers received the drugs in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Just as David Cameron launches his campaign to boost national happiness, along comes grim news for the 12 million Britons taking happy pills. London-based researchers have just announced that antidepressants raise the risk of fatal heart attacks. This research is only the latest wake-up call for a nation hooked on happy pills. Might we finally heed the warnings and shake ourselves out of our pharmaceutical stupor?
It is high time we did: a small mountain of studies shows that antidepressant drugs are largely ineffective. But more than that, they can ruin lives by creating chronic dependency and a grinding hopelessness that sometimes leads to self-neglect and death.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the U.K.’s largest drugmaker, failed to properly warn consumers that its antidepressant drug Paxil could cause birth defects, a lawyer for the family of an injured teenager told jurors. Glaxo officials had research from the 1980s showing Paxil caused deaths among the offspring of animal test subjects and didn’t provide clear warnings about those deaths, Kimberly Baden, a lawyer for Anna Blyth and her family, told a Philadelphia jury. Baden said the drug caused a narrowing of the aorta leading from the heart of Anna, now 14 years old.
Philip Robinson was 25 when he went to his GP with mild depression. The pills he was prescribed changed his life, turning him into a ‘zombie-like’ addict — just one of the 1.5 million Britons whose lives have been ruined by prescription drugs. Here, with extraordinary candour, he reveals how he battled to get his life back.