FDA talks, but doctors don’t necessarily listen

Zyprexa 10mg box. Dispensed in Australia

Image via Wikipedia

By Tracy Staton

Poor FDA. It takes flak every time a drug spawns unexpected side effects. But when it tries to warn doctors about those side effects–and offers advice for preventing them–few physicians are listening. As AMedNews reports, researchers looked at 16 drugs that got new label warnings or were mentioned in “Dear Doctor” letters from 1990 to 2010. And they found that doctors’ behavior often changed very little after those cautionary tales were told.

When the FDA recommended that patients using atypical antipsychotics–such as Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa* and AstraZeneca’s Seroquel–be monitored for signs of diabetes, rates of blood-sugar testing in those patients didn’t increase, AMedNews reports. When the agency repeatedly warned against combining the acid-reflux remedy Propulsid with the blood-pressure pill Atacand, prescribing habits didn’t change for 18 months.

Retrieved 02/03/12. Full Story: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/1354421284358d9a

*font change by blogger

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  1. S

     /  02/12/2012

    also, i dont think i was clear, that these drugs were prescribed for alleged ‘bipolar schizo affective disorder’, which was never the right diagnosis. it just fitted with what they wanted to believe. and perhaps as a stark contrast, while also similar to aspects of your story, even when the things that were according to them ‘delusions’ were proved true, rather than accepting the proof, they saw this as ‘resistance to treatment’ and upped the meds.


    • Ah, gees, S. I understand the “true delusions” of which you speak.

      As they say, just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you.

      Now that the US has decreased reimbursement for “talk therapy” and has shifted to psychiatrists treating with drugs we will see more of this.

      I just watched the documentary: “Generation RX”. It speaks to drugging children with psychotropics & then looks at the pharmaceutical industry, give it a look and let us know what you think.


  2. S

     /  02/12/2012

    in response to your first post
    i agree on your ‘the best thing it will do is shut them up and make them more docile’. that’s is both exactly what it did, and i believe what it was prescribed for. the ‘professionals’ wanted quiet, that was all. far easier to drug someone into submissive nothingness than actually help get to the root of their issues. people think this is past, doesn’t happen any more, but it was only last year the meds were finally stopped. actually been discharged completely from the MH services now. dont get me wrong, far from fixed here, but in a far worse place because of them. i guess came to a similar conclusion to you, in that to achieve anything, to actually feel better, get better, gotta stop expecting ‘professionals’ to be the ones to do it. they have caused so many more problems than they have solved. i want no part in the mental health system, and to be honest wish i never had.

    in response to your second post
    now that is a very good question, and one ive come up against a few times myself.
    initially, I did always tell them. as you say, how can they treat you properly if they don’t have all the facts? but actually, i found i got treated far better (and actually taken seriously) when i didn’t disclose. however now its splattered all over my medical records for any professional to see, and even though it’s now ‘a history of’ rather than ‘present’, i still cannot get any dr to take me seriously with anything. doesn’t matter what i go in with, i can guarentee ill walk away having seen a dr who tells me either im imagining it, or its linked to my ‘mental problems’. clearly people with a mental health problem can’t get physically ill in these peoples eyes. or maybe its that if they do, the ‘professionals’ see it as no great loss.
    id like to say i also dont support witholding information from healthcare providers. i speak only of my own experiences, and would hope this attitude is not true for everyone.


    • S, What you report is sad and a medical conundrum.

      Here’s what happened to me last year: I was rushed to the emergency room due to passing out for unknown reasons. I offered what “medications” /drugs I was taking – those for depression. OK. Here I am puking my guts out with huge hives here and there. The medical staff treats me and gets bodily fluids to stay inside…

      Later, I say to the treating physician, “what about these hives” – he is walking away and over his shoulder tells me I have a virus.

      I looked at the nurse and said? What? He looked at me conveying with a shrug of his shoulders that this doc is off. I leave.

      Two months later the same thing happens – I think it’s another viral attack. This time, I arrive at the emergency room unconscious. I later learn I left my home with a blood pressure of 45/next to nothing. I am revived and learn I went into analyphalyxis (sp?), an allergic reaction, due to an unknown allergy.

      My interpretation? Psych meds/ no credibility.

      I solved that problem in a way that you might to: I have a “health care advocate” (not a friend or family member) who comes with me when I go to a doctor’s appointment. Her name is on all my forms and she is able to access all records. Her presence gives all my experiences and medical history credibility.

      It may be a shame that I have to hire someone to fill this role, but it’s money worth spending. Yes, I purchase a human credibility-machine to sit with me – unfortunate for patients to have to do so, but proactive is how the medical game is played.

      Get to know the medical model of mental health care and do what you need to do to get the quality of care that you deserve.


  3. S

     /  02/12/2012

    just wanted to say i been bitten by this one.
    was on quetiapine (seroquel) for many years (evil, horrible, incredibly fuzzy years…)
    reported many side effects to the psychiatrist, and was basically told to ‘deal with it’ because i was going to be taking em for the rest of my life (off ALL meds now, and better than ever was on em!)
    never took bloods, never checked for anything. just prescribe, prescribe, prescribe!
    wound up on seroquel (antipsychotic), carbamazapine (mood stabiliser) and venlafaxine (SNRI antidepressent).
    the seroquel side effect mimicked parkinsons. that was horrific, but they said they couldnt do anything. interestingly, was later prescribed (by a different psych team) procyclidine. a drug MADE to get rid of this exact side effect. works a treat, but was prescribed it 3 years late.
    the venlafaxine was horribly addictive, but no-one said this til after we ran out one weekend, and no-one’d sort any more til the monday. went into full withdrawal. it was agonising, and completely debilitating. all we got was ‘well you shouldnt have run out should you’.
    the combination of the 3 meant frequent random vomiting. no warning, just sudden projectile vomiting. again, they said nothing they could do. started vomiting blood, went to a&e, wouldnt take me seriously because of the meds (guess they saw it and thought ‘oh, mental case, lets not bother’). eventually got prescribed omeprazole to stop this, but the omeprazole made me so ill that in the end decided F it. just went without and put up with the vomiting and blood. not to mention being so completely braindead wound up outta work, in all sorts of trouble, and couldnt do ANYthing but sit and stare blankly into space. the professionals were perfectly happy with all of this.
    later was prescribed clarithromycin (an antibiotic). took it without thinking (it was damn hard TO think on the chemical cosh), later discovered that there is a KNOWN drug interaction with quetiapine and clarithromycin, and oh holy **** is it a BAD combo. lose ya marbles completely overnight.
    anyways, just wanted to share the rubbish that can go on with this stuff.
    thanks for writing about it, and trying to increase awareness.


    • Thank you, S. for sharing your story.

      The hype for women to take Seroquel for depression is frightening. It is, as you state, a powerful drug. The best thing it will do is shut them up and make then more docile as the 1950s housewives.


    • S, in reading your story, it reminds me of something:

      If a person is on psych meds and they go to the ER, should they tell? It often leads to “the mental case, lets not bother’” attitude as you so well put it. On the other hand, how can one be treated properly if that information is not disclosed?

      A psychiatric catch 22.

      Should patients withhold information, or risk not being believed?

      Note: I do not support withholding information from health care providers.



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