Links, Including a Fascinating Article on the Placebo Response

September 6, 2009 at 5:33 am | Posted in In the News, Links | Leave a comment

Check out this article in Wired magazine, via Furious Seasons. It will give you a whole new perspective on that highly effective treatment, the sugar pill.

Also, an article from Then New York Times on the marketing of Lexapro, an antidepressant with benefits that seem dubious at best.

Still on the topic of the Big Pharma hijinks, I invite you to enjoy this video via PharmedOut, a watchdog site with a wealth of chilling information about the games that pharmaceutical companies play. In the clip, a former rep for the atypical antipsychotic Zyprexa explains how he was trained to sell a drug that is extremely harmful to some patients’ health.

Zyprexa is often used to treat bipolar disorder in patients who can’t tolerate or don’t respond to mood stabilizers. Full disclosure: I’ve taken it, and for me it’s like drinking water: no benefit, no side effects. Now, if it were like coffee, I’d be on it still.

I find it interesting that psychiatric drugs seem to come up again and again in these discussions of off-label abuses. Perhaps that’s because psychiatric diagnosis are notoriously subjective, and its treatment is, to put it gently, an art rather than a science. Many people can’t tolerate the side effects of first-line medications like lithium, so they’re condemned, as I was, to a seemingly eternal process of trying and recoiling from drug after drug after drug. If you’re resistant to most mood stabilizers, as I am, then at some point you will try every atypical antipsychotics and antidepressant approved by the FDA. And God help you is the only drug that works results in extrapyramidal effects or extreme weight gain (or loss, in my case). Overall, I am med-positive in the sense that I’d be dead or hospitalized without them; however, I’ve never had the naivete to think that pharmaceutical companies are my friends.

OK, back to the links.

I was touched by this post from Coming Out Crazy, which uses social isolation as a springboard to describe the healing power of friendship and community. So true, and yet so hard for manic depressives to achieve. I will write a post soon on this problem, since I think it’s an often-ignored and exquisitely painful part of the disease. (It occurred to me as I tapped out that last sentence that I never seem to get back to the topics that I promise to blog. Don’t you worry. One of these days when I feel low on material I’ll go back and fulfill each and every promise. No, really.)

That’s it for now. I spent a good hour this morning searching for images to illustrate the latest ad in my fall campaign. Here it is:

Reminders of wildflowers and religious practices, both free.

Reminders of wildflowers and religious practices, both free.

More later, I hope. I have do have another topic for today; it’s based on a conversation I had with a friend yesterday that spun off from the subject of self-absorption and chronic illness.

Love to all.

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