Warning! Drug Company Buries Unfavorable Antidepressant Drug Studies
Drugmaker AstraZeneca “buried” unfavorable studies on its antipsychotic drug Seroquel, according to an internal e-mail. The e-mail was made public due to litigation over the medicine.
The drugmaker did not publicize results of at least three clinical trials of Seroquel and engaged in “cherry picking” of data from one of those studies for use in a presentation, an AstraZeneca official said in the December 1999 e-mail. The company faces about 9,000 lawsuits claiming it failed to properly warn users that Seroquel can cause diabetes and other health problems.
Seroquel, which generated sales of $4.45 billion in 2008, is the company’s second-biggest seller after the ulcer treatment Nexium. AstraZeneca has denied wrongdoing, and is vowing to fight the lawsuits in court.
Bloomberg.com February 27, 2009
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
The link between Seroquel and diabetes has been on the FDA’s radar for nearly a decade. It was the year 2000 when they first asked AstraZeneca to share data on new-onset diabetes and related illnesses in people taking the drug.
At that time, AstraZeneca reported 12 new cases of diabetes and 5 cases of related illnesses, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, but internal company documents revealed there were actually 27 cases of diabetes and 2 of hyperglycemia.
Now more than 15,000 people have sued AstraZeneca on the count they withheld information on the connection between Seroquel and diabetes, along with also promoting the drug, which is approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, for unapproved uses.
Only as a result of these lawsuits was a 1999 internal e-mail unsealed, in which an AstraZeneca official said the company failed to publicize results of at least three clinical trials of Seroquel and also engaged in “cherry picking” of data from one of those studies for use in a presentation.
This is all part of an ongoing battle. Back in 2006 similar lawsuits were already underway against AstraZeneca, again claiming they downplayed the diabetes risks and hid important safety information from the FDA.
While untold numbers of patients may have suffered serious side effects from taking Seroquel, the drug remained AstraZeneca’s second-biggest seller in 2008 (after Nexium), and they enjoyed sales of $4.45 billion last year as a result.
“Cherry Picking” is Common in Drug Company Data
Make no mistake about it; AstraZeneca is far from the only drug company that has downplayed the risks of its prized products. The practice is also very common among many other drug categories, including antidepressants.
If there’s one thing drugmakers excel at, it’s doing an excellent job of publicizing the things they want you to know, while keeping very quiet about the rest. Dr. James Gordon, a world-renowned expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression, anxiety and psychological trauma, expands in reference to antidepressants:
“The problem is that the drug companies did not publish the unfavorable studies about antidepressants, especially the newest class, the SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) like Prozac or Paxil.
And so what you have is drug companies only publishing positive studies, doctors only reading about positive studies, patients believing the drug companies and, of course, their doctors -- and it’s kind of like the Emperor’s New Clothes. Everybody’s been kind of wrapped up in an illusion when in fact over the last couple of years people have been taking a new look at all the unpublished studies.”
More Psychiatric Drug Risks You Might Not Have Heard Of
An increased risk of diabetes is far from the only side effect of taking these mind-altering drugs.
People taking antipsychotic drugs are nearly twice as likely to have a stroke as those not on the treatment. The risk is even higher -- about 3.5 times -- for men and women with dementia. The drugs also increase your risk of potentially fatal blood clots.
Sadly, children are among the most innocent victims in all of this, as they’re being prescribed these dangerous and sometimes deadly antipsychotic drugs at alarming rates.
So please think long and hard before opting to take any prescription drug, even if the drug maker claims it’s safe. As appears to be the case with Seroquel, often the real dangers have been quietly swept under the carpet leaving those who took the drug to fend for themselves.
And the fact of the matter is, nearly everything that drugs are supposed to do can be achieved using safe, natural means, such as eating healthy and addressing your emotional traumas, with no side effects other than good health in return.
Practical Options to Dangerous Drugs
Instead of subjecting yourself to the serious side effects of mind-altering drugs, you can try the following natural treatments. These options are safe, inexpensive and best of all remarkably effective.
1. Optimize your diet, including taking an animal-based source of omega-3 fat, such as krill oil, daily. I have seen large numbers of patients spontaneously take themselves off antidepressants once they optimized their diet and omega-3 levels.
2. Address the underlying emotional challenges. To do this, I suggest using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). For serious problems such as depression, it would be prudent to contact a health care professional who is trained in the technique. You can use Gary Craig's list of EFT Practitioner Referrals to do this.
3. Get plenty of sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is very common and has been implicated in both psychiatric and neurological disorders.
4. Exercise. It is one of the best remedies for depression, and studies have found it can cut your depressive symptoms nearly in half.
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