The Unbearable Lightness of Being

June, 5, 2012 | 11 Comments


  1. Wishing you and your team every success with Rxisk.
    SSRIs’ have produced the ultimate conundrum.

    If the patient comes off the ssri and is suicidal then clearly the ssri prevented the suicide.

    If the patient comes off the ssri and is not suicidal then clearly the ssri cleared up the difficulties.

    If the patient comes off the ssri and is dead, then clearly the patient was destined to do it anyway.

    Whichever way you look at it ssris’ have a lot to answer for and my wee tuppenceworth is that SSRI = Suicide Sometimes Randomly Interferes ‘with life as you knew it!’

    Good luck.

  2. The FDA is unmoved by report of 50,000 suicides? According to the US NIMH, there are about 33,900 US suicides per year.

    Of course, US suicide reporting is as terrible as adverse event reporting, so 33,900 may well be inexact.

    Currently, the FDA’s needle is moved by publicity and big, fat lawsuits. Otherwise, patient safety be damned.

    One wonders if the religion of the free market is not behind this negligence — buyer beware! If enough bodies pile up, consumers will stop consuming, no regulatory intervention needed. As long as consumers besiege doctors for psychiatric medication, all is assumed to be well in the pharmaceutical market, crooked research notwithstanding.

    The world is definitely ready for a new model of gathering post-marketing adverse event data.

  3. It’s well established that SSRIs can cause sexual dysfunction, diminished sexual desire, delayed sexual arousal, and muted or absent orgasm. Some reports indicate that as many as 73% of patients on some of these medications can suffer from one or more of these effects. This has major implications for the stability of relationships, attachment, seeking a partner and other important societal issues. In 2004, the director of the National Institutes of Health was called to testify before Congress and justify the amount of money that was being spent on sex research. The Traditional Values Coalition accused the institutes of paying for ”smarmy projects” and studies of ”bizarre sexual practices with little or no bearing on public health.” The group asked Representative Billy Tauzin, a Louisiana Republican who was chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to investigate. Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the NIH director at the time, said the battle against disease must include behavioral and social factors, not just biological ones. As for studies of sexual dysfunction, he wrote, ”it has an enormous impact on the stability of families and is a major cause of divorce.”
    A major problem with sexual dysfunction as a result of SSRIs is that it’s grossly underreported; there’s reluctance on the part of patients and their doctors to discuss the topic. In a study done by psychiatrists in Spain, 344 patients taking SSRIs who came in for an office visit were asked the general question: “Have you noticed anything since your last visit?” Fourteen percent of these patients reported sexual dysfunction. In the very same office visit, researchers asked specific questions about sexual dysfunction. Almost 60% of these patients reported a sexual problem. This suggests that the rate is 3 times the spontaneous report or greater. All the SSRIs, including the serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), have negative effects on sexual functioning.
    A drug holiday can be tried, but unfortunately you can often see SSRI withdrawal symptoms after a couple of days of not taking a short-acting SSRI.
    The issue of absent ejaculation is important in ways that are not the apparent ones. The contents of seminal fluid has been examined and found to contain dopamine and norepinephrine, associated with romantic love; oxytocin and vasopressin, associated with attachment; testosterone and estrogen, associated with lust; and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), associated with regular cycling. The same researchers also did a separate study and found out that it actually does have regular antidepressant qualities. Those women who were directly exposed to it were less depressed than those who used condoms.
    Dopamine and norepinephrine are very important in generalized arousal, so it’s very important specifically in sexual arousal as well. Unfortunately, SSRIs have negative effects on both dopamine and norepinephrine function.
    While often placed well down the list of adverse effects of SSRIs (after all, not having sex isn’t going to kill you, is it?) there is actually little doubt that, once considered in its proper context, it can be a devastating impairment.

    • Antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction, a very common adverse effect, is a red warning flag that these drugs are hormonal disruptors.

      A medication that has such far-reaching effects must be destructive to other body systems as well, which we can see in increased risk of diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular events, osteoporosis, etc.

      When a doctor prescribes an antidepressant and fails to advise the patient of potential sexual dysfunction, the doctor is making the decision that the patient’s sex life is not important to the patient’s mental health — a decision no doctor is qualified to make.

      What’s more, sometimes sexual dysfunction does not resolve after the antidepressant is discontinued, and the patient will never re-experience healthy sex.

  4. Today I want to add to the discussion from another recently encountered positive contribution of Feedback I am receiving from colleagues and clients that I’ve been emailing with links to the *trilogy* for introducing this web site has caused me to realize that while the scientific revelations about ourselves as a species are important to us for our own survival, it is the *spirit* behind this endeavor that is cause for celebration. The one basic human quality that is disappearing as Pharmageddon approaches, or is waning because of it, is the one that makes us truly human. Caring about each other and creating community from the innately human capacity for compassion is the *missing link*—the inspiration for refocusing on why we want to survive in the first place.

    One close friend, a nursing colleague said that while she totally appreciates and even looks forward to hearing my latest lecture on the most recent *underground* discoveries in our field, she was deeply moved by Dr. Healy’s writing via her recent introduction —- (by me, of course). Phoning me to thank me for sharing, she cut the conversation short with this :” Just wanted to let you know this is truly ground breaking stuff. I’m about to pour myself a glass of pinot noir and read it …several more times…” click

    That’s a rap!

  5. Dear David, I’ve just found and am reading your posts at the moment. I wonder if you’ve come across The Good Regulator theorem? There’s a neat article here, :
    Every Good Doctor Must Represent the Patient:The Malfunction of Evidence-Based Medicine by Daniel L. Scholten
    The theorem itself can be found at and the authors urge us to have a go at the maths – set theory- as it’s only logic. But apart from how nice and honourable it would be to be able to ‘do the math’, the theorem states that a good regulator must fit the system – a good doctor must fit his patient; results of RTC trials are like a key to fit all padlocks made by taking the average of all locks and making an average key to fit . Patients are like locks in that they can all be subtly but significantly different.
    If the science is not based on good maths, it will never reach the truth.
    I hope you’ve come across the theorem already, or will check it out if not. I’m sure it will give your arguments all the more force.
    best wishes
    Jane Lord [ researcher for a Carmarthen based Circle of Support for a young woman now in the hands of the system.]

  6. There has been another shooting in Hyvinkää Finland, when a man of 18 stood on a roof and took potshots at passersby, killing at least 2. All the talk in the press is about tightening up gun laws. It is barely mentioned that he was taking SSRIs. For me the penny dropped, and the list on Rxisk of all these untowards events really helped that penny fall hard. If it was an ‘illegal substance’, like miaw miaw or whatever, one death is enough to get the public and governments all agitating to get it banned or legislated against, but with a prescribable medication like SSRIs which has lead to so much death and descruction there’s no proper discussion. Given kirchner’s analysis of FDA data and there seeming ineffectiveness, there needs to be a public outcry to ban these drugs full stop.

  7. Everything that you are saying here, Dr. Healy, is so true in relation to vaccine injuries. For example, look at all these accounts of adverse reactions to the vaccine Gardasil:

    Then see how the CDC writes these off as coincidence:

    Parents have for years tried to get our government interested in studying their vaccine injured children/teenagers, to no avail. Our govt agencies simply say, “Well, some people who didn’t just get that vaccine have those health problems to.” They crunch a few numbers and say there is no statistical significance. They say that the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) is unreliable (which is because the system is inadequate – the vast majority of reports are ignored and not studied or verified). They say that there is “no evidence” but that is because they have not even defined what evidence would prove a vaccine injury, how to identify a vaccine injury.

    Let’s pretend, for the sake of argument, that the vaccine program is in an ideal state right now – the best of all possible worlds, for the greater good for most people. Even if we had reason to believe that were the case, shouldn’t we be trying to understand better why and how vaccines cause serious adverse reactions in some people? As another Dr. Healy said – the late Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the NIH: “What we’re seeing in the bulk of the population: vaccines are safe. But there may be this susceptible group. The fact that there is concern, that you don’t want to know that susceptible group is a real disappointment to me. If you know that susceptible group, you can save those children. If you turn your back on the notion that there is a susceptible group… what can I say?”

    • The vaccines raise complex issues of their own. Challenge-dechallenge etc is not possible. We have to find ways to study the risks which undoubtedly exist. Allied to the question of risks inherent in the treatments, your formulation of the issues raises the risks inherent in company behavior, and what can be done to manage these. (I am distantly related to Bernardine H).

      • Thanks so much for your response. Amazing that you are distantly related to Dr. B. Healy.

        Although I don’t fully understand what is involved in a formal challenge-dechallenge study, I do know that many parents have reported repeated reactions in their babies/children. Babies are re-challenged with every round of vaccines, and sometimes show a pattern of escalating reactions with some degree of recovery between rounds.

        And, challenge/rechallenge/dechallenge/no challenge studies could be done with animals.

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