It’s bad enough that antidepressants don’t work. But the fact that Big Pharma has known all along has now been proven. It took a Freedom of Information Act request to get the data, but now that we have it, there is no way that the mass use of antidepressants can possibly be justified, especially in light of the massive amount of harm they do.
Irving Kirsch of Harvard Medical School has studied the placebo effect for over 30 years. He requested the data for studies that had not been published. When those results were added in, almost no benefit could be shown for antidepressants.
How Psychiatry Tries to Squirm Out of the Truth
The argument used against Kirsch’s discovery is revealing. Psychiatrists are claiming that he’s ignoring real-life results. Dr. Michael Thase, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, has been a consultant to Big Pharma corporations. He says that Kirsch is “confusing the results of studies versus what goes on in practice.” He states that the analysis of studies overlooks benefits in individual patients. Aside from the fact that this alone flies in the face of their vaunted claims to evidence-based medicine, the tale gets even worse.
Thase acknowledges that most depressed people get better only through the placebo effect, but says that he isn’t troubled by it. He is advocating the use of useless drugs, along with all their adverse effects, on millions of people!
So, how can psychiatrists claim that their practices are evidence-based medicine? They point to the published studies to demonstrate that what they’re doing is based on evidence. Then, when it’s proven that those studies are the tip of an iceberg, the bulk of which show results that lie below the threshold of efficacy, they claim that … Well, those studies really don’t matter, because we just know it works.
Can we finally put to rest any claims from psychiatry that what they do is based on evidence, especially the so-called gold standard of placebo-controlled double blind studies … Please?
How the FDA Slides Around the Truth
Dr. Walter Brown, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Brown University’s School of Medicine, acknowledges that the theory behind modern antidepressants, that they alleviate an imbalance in serotonin, is probably wrong. The FDA’s requirement is inadequate. It only expects that a drug company provide two trials that show benefit over a placebo. That they may have many others showing the opposite is ignored! Brown’s humorous response to that point is, “That’s not the way I’d do it if I were king.”
Dr. Tom Laughren, the FDA’s Director of Psychiatric Products, defends this policy:
Getting that finding of a positive study by chance if there isn’t really an effect is really very low. That’s basic statistics and that’s the way clinical trials are interpreted.
In effect, Laughren is trying to convince us that two clinical trials designed and produced by a drug company are more meaningful than tens or even hundreds of others they’ve produced that can’t come up with the same results. Can he also explain why we should trust the FDA?
The Truth About Some of the Harm Done by Antidepressants
Here are a few adverse effects of SSRI and SNRI antidepressants, as recorded by Medscape:
- Abnormal sensations
- Toxic epidermal necrolysis (skin death, potentially deadly)
- Abnormal bleeding
- Hyponatremia (low sodium, potentially deadly)
So, the FDA, Laughren, and apparently most psychiatrists have no problem with prescribing drugs that offer no benefit, though they can destroy or end life. They’ve been getting away with this travesty for decades. Isn’t it long past time they were stopped?