Recieved: 2000/04/07 18:26
Subject: [K-list] Antidepressant expose'
On 2000/04/07 18:26, Ckress posted thus to the K-list:
I've just finished reading "Prozac Backlash" by Joseph Glenmullen, M.D. -- an
expose' of the booming antidepressant industry which currently is raking in
more than $4 billion a year from the American sales of Prozac, Zoloft and
Paxil alone. The book focuses on these and other SSRI drugs (Luvox, Celexa)
as well as Wellbutrin, Effexor, Serzone and Remeron.
There is no current way of measuring serotonin levels in the brain, and even
if there were, the prevailing concept of a brain "chemical imbalance" which
is supposed to be corrected by SSRI or other drugs is pure speculation which
has never been scientifically proven. The author compares it to saying that
someone whose headache has been relieved by aspirin has an aspirin
deficiency. He says, "The truth of the matter is: No one has anything but
the vaguest idea of the chemical effects of these drugs on the living human
The pharmaceutical industry is engaging in every bit as much a profit-driven,
damn-the-health-consequences cover-up as the tobacco companies. They use
their political clout and $$$ to suppress research results and censor
mainstream media coverage of the facts so even most doctors are in the dark
about the real nature of the drugs they are prescribing by the ton.
At the turn of century, Glenmullen says that medicine promoted then-legal
cocaine elixirs for everything from depression to shyness. These were
followed by prescription amphetamines, barbiturates, narcotics and
tranquilizers, "all hailed as miracle cures" in their day until their
dangerous side effects became widely evident. Each of these drugs was
initially "aggressively marketed with claims that they are revolutionary
breakthroughs, remarkable scientific advances over their predecessors."
Modern drug advocates and pharmaceutical companies insist that SSRIs are
non-addictive -- the same thing which was said about cocaine and amphetamines
when they were prescription antidepressants. Cocaine resembles the Prozac
group in that it is primarily a reuptake inhibitor. According to the author,
cocaine, amphetamines, diet pills (like Redux), the illegal drug Ecstasy, and
the SSRI's and other antidepressant group are all related because they target
brain cells and boost the levels of neurotransmitters. Redux, which was
taken off the market after numerous deaths, is closely related to Prozac and
the other SSRI's: they all elevate serotonin. Redux was promoted as a weight
loss drug, since high brain levels of serotonin are known to reduce appetite.
(This same effect has been found in all the SSRI antidepressants, although
long term use strangely has the opposite effect of causing weight gain!)
Glenmullen says "the term 'antidepressant' is virtually meaningless and
seriously misleading." These drugs are nothing more than prescription
stimulants. By current protocols used by drug manufacturers, the author says
that almost any stimulating drug would pass as an antidepressant, including
caffeine pills and nicotine. Patients who are former amphetamine or cocaine
addicts have reported that the effects of their SSRI antidepressant
medication feels like "mild versions" of street drugs. (In fact, the most
popular illegal use of these prescription drugs is snorting or intravenously
shooting up powdered quantities of Prozac or Wellbutrin.)
The author quotes another doctor/author, Lester Grinspoon, whose 1975 book
"The Speed Culture" seems prophetic. Wrote Grinspoon, "Drug companies will
probably continue to produce increasingly sophisticated and disguised
amphetamines, and these 'new' drugs undoubtedly will be greeted with initial
enthusiasm by the medical establishment until it is recognized that any drug
with amphetamine-like central nervous system stimulating properties almost
invariably is just as toxic, potentially addictive, and therapeutically
limited as Benzedrine or Dexedrine. Only the medical jargon describing the
alleged 'diseases' has become more sophisticated."
The required FDA clinical tests for antidepressants can be as short as 4
weeks, although typically the studies last 6-8 weeks... yet many drug side
effects do not show up until much longer, especially for drugs used
continuously for months or years! Once a drug has been FDA approved, only
about 1% of serious side effects are ever reported and even then, the FDA
only has a staff of 5 doctors and 1 epidemiologist to review the more than
3,000 drugs already on the market.
The author says that in addition to common SSRI side effects such as feeling
nervous, jittery, having trouble sleeping, mental fuzziness, memory loss,
etc., there are potentially serious long term effects. These include extreme
withdrawal syndromes (which effect up to 50% of patients); sexual dysfunction
(effecting 60% of patients); neurological disorders and brain damage; and
suicidal and violent behavior reactions.
There has been concern that the emotional blunting and apathy reported by
some patients on SSRIs may be the result of damage to their frontal lobes - a
chemical lobotomy. Neuroleptic drugs which have a similar effect on brain
chemistry have long been suspected of causing cognitive deficits and
impairment of intellectual functioning. Studies of monkey brains after 4
days of exposure to Redux showed widespread destruction of the branches of
serotonin cells. There is a concern that SSRI type drugs may increase the
incidence of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Cocaine and amphetamines boost all three of the brain's "feel good"
neurotransmitters: serotonin, adrenaline and dopamine. (Nicotine also
increases dopamine brain levels.) SSRI's only increase the serotonin. But
raising brain levels of serotonin DECREASES dopamine levels. Many of the
adverse effects of the SSRIs are direct results of the drop in dopamine. The
most serious of these are similar to Parkinson's disease, which is also a
result of brain dopamine deficiencies. The same kind of drug induced
neurotoxic effects has been long known with the major antipsychotic drugs as
"tardive dyskinesia." The patient develops tics, muscle spasms, and
abnormal, repetitive movements of the mouth, tongue, jaw and sometimes
jerking movements of the limbs. These "tics" can lead to swinging or
flailing of the arms, twisting or writhing of the hands, and other
uncontrollable bodily movements. This can be a seriously disabling condition
and may become worse after medication is discontinued. In about half the
cases, the tics and strange movements slowly disappear after stopping the
drugs; in the rest, the damage is permanent. In severe cases, there is loss
of motor control as well as agitation and muscle spasms.
(For those with active Kundalini, the tardive dsykinesia symptoms of brain
damage can resemble kriyas which occur during meditation or during sleep.
According to Glenmullen, td symptoms usually disappear during sleep -- the
opposite of kriyas. And Peter Breggin says that td is worse when the patient
tries to perform physical tasks, while kriyas usually do not cause
interference with normal activities, like trying to walk or pick up objects.)
Some of the well known withdrawal symptoms from nicotine are the result of a
sudden plummet in dopamine: extreme irritation, rage attacks, anxiety,
feeling generally spastic, memory lapses and mental fuzziness, etc. These
are also known side effects of SSRIs. Wellbutrin (also known as Zyban) is
one of the few antidepressants which help smokers quit because it isn't a
SSRI; instead, it raises brain levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a mental and
sexual stimulant. Historically, drugs that raise dopamine tend to be more
stimulating and more addicting than drugs than only raise adrenaline or
serotonin. Ritalin falls into this category (given to children!). While all
the antidepressants are known to have withdrawal effects, Wellbutrin has
proven to be one of the most difficult from which to wean patients!
Glenmullen backs up his information in the "Notes" section at the end of his
book: 35 pages of references to research published in scientific and medical
journals. If anyone is interested in more info on this subject, I recommend
Peter Breggin's book, "Toxic Psychiatry." There is additional info in an
article about the dangers of these kinds of medications in Shared
Transformation (back issue #9) which is still available on our site at
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