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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

STOP PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS


Psychotropic drugs are responsible for over half a million deaths every year in older patients and offer only minimal benefits, according to a leading Cochrane researcher.
Professor Peter Gøtzsche, who helped found the Cochrane Collaboration and heads up the organisation’s Nordic centre, claims in a debate carried by this week’s BMJ that the majority of prescriptions for psychotropic drugs could simply be stopped with causing any harm.

Using Danish data, he claims that nearly 3,700 deaths a year among those aged 65 and older in Denmark are caused by antipsychotics, benzodiazepines – or similar drugs – and antidepressants, meaning they could be responsible for nearly 540,000 deaths each year across the USA and Europe.

Yet, he argues, the clinical trial evidence for their benefits is flawed and shows only minimal clinical benefits  - while ADHD drugs offer only short-term relief that is off-set by long-term harms.

Professor Gøtzsche writes: ‘Given their lack of benefit, I estimate we could stop almost all psychotropic drugs without causing harm –by dropping all antidepressants, ADHD drugs, and dementia drugs (as the small effects are probably the result of unblinding bias) and using only a fraction of the antipsychotics and benzodiazepines we currently use.’

People should stop taking antidepressants as their benefits are exaggerated and they would be healthier in the long-term without them, a leading scientist has said.
Prof Peter Gotzsche, director of a Danish research centre said patients could stop taking millions of psychiatric drugs without coming to any harm.
He said that drugs given to patients with depression, attention deficit and dementia were responsible for the deaths of more than half a million people aged 65 and over each year in the Western world.
He said trials on several drugs, including fluoxetine, better known as Prozac, had shown that after a few days, they had little impact beyond a placebo effect.
Prof Gotzsche said death rates of those taking such drugs were frequently under-reported, highlighting a study by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in which he had estimated there to have been 15 times more suicides among people taking antidepressants than claimed.
In an opinion piece, he said conservative estimates from a number of trials suggested that antidepressants increased death rates by 2 per cent, while antipsychotic drugs, sometimes given to patients with dementia, and benzodiazepines, sometimes prescribed as sleeping pills, were each found to increase death rates by 1 per cent.
Prof Gotzsche, who is director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, calculated that three classes of drugs - antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and similar drugs, and antidepressants - were responsible for 3,693 deaths every year in Denmark.
He said when scaled up, this was equal to 539,000 deaths in the United States and European Union combined.
"Given their lack of benefit, I estimate we could stop almost all psychotropic drugs without causing harm - by dropping all antidepressants, ADHD drugs, and dementia drugs,” he said.
The professor said just a fraction of antipsychotic drugs and benzodiazepines which are now prescribed ought to be handed out.
"This would lead to healthier and more long lived populations. Because psychotropic drugs are immensely harmful when used long-term, they should almost exclusively be used in acute situations and always with a firm plan for tapering off, which can be difficult for many patients."
He also suggested widespread withdrawal clinics were needed to help those who have become dependent on such medication.




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