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Tuesday 11 June 2024

Antidepressant Drugs. Record Prescriptions, but only 1 in 6 will have withdrawal symptoms!

The Lancet Psychiatry journal published a study on 5th June 2024. It found that only one in six people who stop taking antidepressants will experience withdrawal symptoms. The GP magazine, Pulse, thought that this was a good outcome.

            "This is a much lower proportion than other studies have suggested, with previous estimates that over half of patients experience symptoms".

The research found that one in three patients reported at least one withdrawal symptom such as dizziness, headache or nausea. But as 1 in 6 patients experienced the same when they stopped taking a placebo drug, it suggested that ‘approximately half of all symptoms experienced … might be due to negative expectations (the "nocebo effect”) or non-specific symptoms which may occur at any time in the general population’.

So the report concluded that about 15%, of patients experienced one or more withdrawal symptoms as a direct result of stopping antidepressants, with around 3% experiencing ‘severe symptoms’.

Pulse said that this was the first ‘meta-analysis’ on the incidence of antidepressant discontinuation symptoms, analysing 79 randomised trials, which included data from over 21,000 patients, of which 72% were women. 

So, conventional medicine now believes that the 'withdrawal symptoms' were not as bad as was previously thought, certainly after the 'nocebo effect' was used to eliminate about 50% of reported symptoms. But never mind, let's accept this, and apply it to the number of people who are taking antidepressant drugs.

According to the BMJ in 2019, the NHS prescribed a record number of antidepressants in 2018, and that the number of prescriptions for antidepressants in England had almost doubled during the previous decade.

            "Data from NHS Digital show that 70.9 million prescriptions for antidepressants were given out in 2018, compared with 36 million in 2008".

  • Therefore, in 2008, 6 million people in England alone suffered from antidepressant withdrawal symptoms; and over 1 million experienced 'severe symptoms'.
  • In 2018, nearly 12 million (11,816,333) people suffered from antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, with over 2 million experiencing 'severe symptoms'.

So this is presumably acceptable then? At least it seems to be acceptable to the Conventional Medical Establishment which seems quite willing to continue prescribing an ever-increasing numbers of these drugs.

The Pulse article also told us that the number of people suffering withdrawal symptoms was steadily increasing, year-on-year; and since then we have been told that as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic the number of people who are taking antidepressant drugs (around the world) has risen even more rapidly,  by 25%.

Perhaps I should calculate a new more up-to-date figure, but these numbers are almost meaningless once we realise that each single person within that total number are individuals, someone who is suffering as a direct result of taking pharmaceutical drugs. If the medical fraternity is pleased about this we can rest assured that the 12 million +++ patients are certainly not pleased.

There is a solution at hand, but it is a solution that will likely be ignored. In 2010 Dana Ullman (a leading homeopath) published article in Huffington Post, "Homeopathy. A Healthier Way to Treat Depression" in which he compared the safety and effectiveness of homeopathy alongside the dangers of pharmaceutical drug treatment. It surely is a must read for anyone with mental health problems!

In this same article Ullmann refers to a study that showed antidepressant drugs were ineffective, essentially useless. This is a direct quote from that article.

            "In early 2010, major media reported on a significant review of research testing antidepressant medications. What is unique about this review of research is that the researchers evaluated studies that were submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), though the researchers discovered that many studies submitted to the FDA were unpublished (they found that the unpublished research consistently showed negative results of antidepressants)".

            "This meta-analysis of antidepressant medications found only modest benefits over placebo treatment in published research, but when unpublished trial data is included, the benefit falls below accepted criteria for clinical significance".

So the 12 million +++ have suffered the serious side effects of antidepressant drugs, including links to suicide and violence, plus the (now discounted) withdrawal symptoms that result - all for nothing!

This is exactly what patients get from conventional medicine: a lot of problems, adverse reactions: but not many positive outcomes!

Monday 10 June 2024

A new 'double selective' Antibiotic? Is this good news? Or a belated recognition of the patient harm caused by the 'old' antibiotics?

Most people, if asked to identify a pharmaceutical drug that was "safe and effective", would point to antibiotics. So is this announcement more good news for antibiotic drugs?

            "A new antibiotic uses a never-before-seen mechanism to deliver a direct hit on tough-to-treat infections while leaving beneficial microbes alone. The strategy could lead to a new class of antibiotics that attack dangerous bacteria in a powerful new way, overcoming current drug resistance while sparing the gut microbiome".

This is how it is presented in this Medscape article, New-Era Double Selective Antibiotic Spares Microbiome. But hold on, what is this about "sparing the gut microbiome"? What is the gut microbiome?

           " The gut microbiome refers to all the microorganisms living in the digestive system. The microbiome is individual to each person and is important to digestive health as well as to overall health. Studies of the gut microbiome are ongoing, but it’s becoming clear that certain types of bacteria, yeast, and other fungi are more or less beneficial for overall health. People may be able to affect their microbiome with diet and other lifestyle factors".

So it certainly does seem important to 'spare' the microorganisms of the gut microbiome. But wait, does that mean that all previous antibiotic drugs attacked it, harmed it? Rather than being 'good news' is this an admission that hitherto antibiotics have actually harmed something that was "important to digestive health as well as to overall health"?

Over 9 years ago, in 2015, I wrote a blog, "Antibiotics. Not as safe as we have been told?", which outlined just how harmful antibiotics drugs were to our health, outlining some of the known/accepted, and the suspected adverse reactions to antibiotics. 

  • The blog touched on the fact that conventional medicine was aware of the harm antibiotics caused, as early as 1953 (4 years after their introduction).
  • It talked about antibacterial resistance.
  • It outlined how antibiotics were particularly harmful to the health of children.
  • And antibiotics were discussed as the possible or known causes of a variety of diseases, such as obesity, irritable bowel disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, liver disease, diabetes, asthma and eczema, heart disease, mental health, and HIV/Aids.
  • All these diseases have risen to epidemic levels during the last 70 years, no doubt in large part to antibiotic drugs that have compromised our gut microbiome.
  • And I asked this important question - did the conventional medical establishment know about the patient harm that was being caused by antibiotic drugs?

Clearly they did, and the development of this new 'double selective' antibiotic is proof of this. Why else would it have been developed, presumably at massive cost?

Yet during the last 9 years, the list of iatrogenic diseases now known to be/thought to be caused by antibiotic drugs have increased to many that seem to have little or no connection with the gut, like Parkinson's Disease

Suddenly, conventional medicine seems to have realised that killing microbes is not a path to health! Hence the new drug. As usual it is hailed as a breakthrough - but the 'bad' news underlying the 'good' news is being ignored, or censored - presumably for 'commercial' reasons!

The new 'double selective' antibiotics may, or may not be safer and more effective than the 'old' antibiotics (that is, those that are prescribed, and still being taken in huge quantities today). But we can be sure that if conventional medicine continues to operate with the secrecy, and lack of transparency, we have witnessed for the last 70 years, we will probably not be aware of this for yet another 70 years!

Natural medical therapies have known about the harm caused by antibiotics for a very long time. They do not believe in the 'germ' theory of illness. They do not set out to attack or kill anything! And this is why natural medicine focuses instead on supporting and strengthening our immune system - in the knowledge that it is our natural immunity that best protects us all from illness and disease.

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Pembrolizumab (keytruda): another "safe and effective wonder drug"! So what is causing the cancer epidemic?

I am reporting on news of yet another pharmaceutical "wonder drug" This drug is called Pembrolizumab, it "melts away" tumours, and "triples the chance of survival for the 10-15% of patients with the right genetic make-up". It was reported in the Guardian on 3 June 2024, and (as usual) on several other mainstream news sources.

It is the usual reporting by the mainstream media, anxious to let us know that the pharmaceutical industry (a major source of funding for them) is winning its battle against disease, and cancer in particular. Such reports provides the industry with free advertising and promotion, worth £$millions. All the reports appear to have an identical source - no doubt a 'press release' from the drug company. They describe the drug, also known Keytroda, as:

            "A 'gamechanger' immunotherapy drug that 'melts away' tumours dramatically increases the chances of curing some bowel cancers and may even replace the need for surgery, doctors have said".

All the articles make all the usual pharmaceutical claims for a new "wonder drug". Click on the links to read them for yourself. But one claim, by the trial's chief investigator, and consultant medical oncologist, is worth repeating here - the drug is "safe and effective". Of course it is! All pharmaceutical drugs are - until they are found not to be.

            Our results indicate that pembrolizumab is a safe and highly effective treatment to improve outcomes in patients with high-risk bowel cancers, increasing the chances of curing the disease at an early stage”.

I make my usual sceptical observation, which is based on the performance of past "wonder drugs" - let us wait and see. 

Another article that appears in the same Guardian webpage today seems to indicate how well conventional medicine is doing in the treatment of cancer. "Cancer rates among under-50's in the UK have risen 24% since 1995, figures show". Cancer was once considered a disease of older age. It is no longer so. The article demonstrates that the increase is "sharper than in any age group" and we are told (by experts!) that the increases "likely linked to obesity levels, junk food and inactivity".

What these medical 'experts' must also know, but choose not to tell us, is that cancer is also known to be caused by many, if not most, pharmaceutical drugs. But this, of course, is not mentioned. 

It is on this basis that I predict that pembrolizumab (keytruda) will prove to be neither safe or effective, and indeed may well be withdrawn in a number of years time because of this.

Watch this space for updates!