Thursday, 21 October 2010

The shame of Benzodiazepine drugs

We should not be fooled into thinking the dangers of Conventional Medical drugs are short-term. 

No more is this so than the disastrous Benzodiazepine drugs, still being used, apparently, for conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, agitation, seizures, and muscle spasms.  

The Oldham Evening Chronicle (http://www.oldham-chronicle.co.uk/news-features/8/news-headlines/48255/doctors-ignored-drugs-warnings) recently entered this long-standing debate, and reminded me of the havoc they have caused, and are still causing those who took them (presumably as 'safe' and 'effective' drug) several decades ago!

An Oldham campaigner, Barry Haslam, who runs the 'Beat the Benzos' group, and was left brain damaged after 10 years addicted to Ativan, has recently uncovered a 30-year-old document revealing doctor's fears about the number of people addicted to benzodiazepine drugs. The medical profession ignored these warnings - presumably the drug companies were too busy counting their profits! Certainly, between 1967 and 1978 the number of long-term repeat prescriptions doubled every year, with 50% of these given without a consultation.

The information he obtained, through a Freedom of Information request showed that the Medical Research Council met in 1981 to debate the addiction, and withdrawal problems of the drug. It is not known yet what happened after this meeting. Presumably not much that would have benefitted patients at that time, or subsequently.

Mr Haslam is reported as saying:

     “It is a scandal that the medical profession ignored a report showing half the people in the study were brain damaged. 


     “The report may have gone into medical journals but nothing seems to have happened after that.

     “It is incredible that this was being discussed 30 years ago. 
Well, nothing much seems to change in the world of ConMed - just the drugs! But it is quite incredible that a drug that has caused for much harm, for so long, is still being given to patients today.