Tonight ABC "Primetime Live" Investigation reveals evidence that drug makers suppressed antidepressant info

TONIGHT ABC “PRIMETIME LIVE” INVESTIGATION reveals evidence that drug makers suppressed antidepressant info

Thu, 9 Dec 2004

At least 100 children have committed suicide while on an SSRI antidepressant, hundreds more have attempted suicide.

Tonight at 10:00 PM, ABC Prime Time Live will reveal internal company documents that show how pharmaceutical companies have deliberately deceived the public, prescribing physicians, and parents by concealing. For example, documents demonstrate how GlaxoSmithKline instructed their "detail" (sales) staff to misrepresent the risks of suicide and severe withdrawal symptoms.

Documents such as the ones that will be shown by ABC help us understand why prescribing doctors, patients, and families have known so little about antidepressant drug withdrawal and dependence in children, adolescents, and adults.

The internal company documents to be shown by ABC date as far back as a 1997 safety review of Paxil / Seroxat, and include evidence of the company’s knowledge that the drugs don’t demonstrate a benefit for children while their sales representatives told doctors the drugs were "remarkably effective."

Company concealment of adverse drug effects – and FDA’s silence about false claims and deceptive advertising, which has resulted in additional preventable human casualties–has been hugely profitable; which is why drug manufacturers continue the practice. See: http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/04/09/30.php.

Prime Time Live will let children who became suicidal after being prescribed antidepressant, and parents whose children committed suicide on the drugs tell their harrowing experience.

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen,* a national authority on antidepressants, who teaches at Harvard Medical School and has a private practice at Harvard Square, will be featured as well. Dr. Glenmullen’s latest book has just been released: The Antidepressant Solution: A Step by Step Guide to Safely Overcome Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependency, and "Addiction."

Because antidepressants can make patients violent as well as suicidal, Dr. Glenmullen says that it is very important for patients and physicians to be aware that withdrawal symptoms may occur. The Antidepressant Solution offers physicians guidelines on how to monitor patients and ensure their safety. Dr. Glenmullen has devised a 5-Step tapering program that is tailored to individual needs.

1) evaluating whether a patient is ready to try tapering off an antidepressant; 2) making the initial dosage reduction; 3) monitoring withdrawal symptoms after a dosage reduction; 4) making additional dosage reductions; and 5) finishing the taper. One of the most difficult aspects of tapering antidepressants, according to Dr. Glenmullen, is how widely patients vary in their susceptibility to withdrawal symptoms.

Like his earlier book, Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and Other Antidepressants with Safe, Effective Alternatives, the Antidepressant Solution provides authoritative, balanced information about these drugs’ hazards, explaining to patients and clinicians how the drugs react chemically in the body, and what choices are available. Whereas the earlier book informs readers of the many safe, effective alternatives to using such drugs, the new book provides easy-to-follow instructions on how patients can safely change doses or taper off antidepressants and still be able to go about their daily lives.

Of note: When Prozac Backlash was published, Eli Lilly had its public relations firm orchestrate a covert media campaign in an effort to discredit Dr. Glenmullen. Academic psychiatrists who sent negative comments concealed their financial ties to Lilly – just as they have helped conceal clinical trial evidence. However, despite those underhanded tactics, Prozac Backlash was a best-selling book that helped hundreds of thousands of patients – Dr. Glenmullen’s truth telling has been vindicated by the suppressed evidence that continues to come to public light.

Dr. Glenmullen has recently joined the board of directors of The Alliance for Human Research Protection.

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
212-595-8974