The March 15-21, 2019 issue of the St. Louis Business Journal noted a $10.5 million Army grant to the Washington University in St. Louis Medical School to study the epilepsy drug Zonisamide to see if it could prevent hearing loss from loud noises. This seemed like such an imaginative stretch that we decided to look into it in more detail.
The justification given is that Zonisamide is conjectured to protect hearing loss when given ahead of exposure to loud noises. We wondered how this came about. We also note that other epilepsy drugs are psych-related, so we wondered if there was a psych drug connection here as well.
In a rat study, researchers proposed using a substance that blocks calcium channels to see if it could prevent hearing loss against loud noises. Zonisamide also blocks calcium channels. Gee, maybe Zonisamide can prevent hearing loss.
Zonisamide is the generic name used in the United States for a seizure drug whose common brand name is Zonegran. It was first used in Japan in the early 1970’s to treat so-called psychiatric disorders, and has been used off-label by psychiatrists in the U.S. as a mood stabilizer. The FDA approved it for seizures in 2000, although it is totally unknown as to how it works to prevent seizures. The FDA notes that taking this drug may increase the risk of depression, psychosis and suicidal thoughts or actions.
Using Zonisamide during pregnancy may present a significant risk to the fetus due to the possibility of birth defects.
Zonisamide was first studied in Japan in the 1970’s during exploratory research on drugs for psychiatric disorders. The drug alters the concentration of dopamine in the brain, but is apparently dosage dependent — that is, different dosages can increase or decrease dopamine concentrations, leading to unpredictable results.
Zonisamide is metabolized in the liver by Cytochrome P450 enzymes, so its side effects can be magnified in those persons with a genetic lack of these enzymes.
Typically we see that the psychiatric research community makes a guess about re-purposing some old drug so it can be re-used for a new patient population, guesses how it might work in the rat brain, then guesses how it might work in the human brain, each time asking for more funding to make further guesses, eventually leading to the FDA approving a new use for an old drug even though they still don’t know how it “works.”
While medicine has advanced on a scientific path to major discoveries and cures, psychiatry has never evolved scientifically and is no closer to understanding or curing mental problems, thus must continually seek to find new uses for old treatments.
While medicine has nurtured an enviable record of achievements and general popular acceptance, the public still links psychiatry to snake pits, straitjackets, and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Psychiatry continues to foster that valid impression with its development of such brutal treatments as ECT, psychosurgery, the chemical straitjacket caused by antipsychotic drugs, and its long record of treatment failures including Zonisamide as a mood stabilizer.
In over 40 years, “biological psychiatry” has yet to validate a single psychiatric condition/diagnosis as an abnormality/disease, or as anything neurological, biological, chemically imbalanced or genetic.
The drugs prescribed for psychiatric conditions, such as using Zonisamide as a mood stabilizer, only exacerbate the conditions they are supposed to treat. And when these drugs are used for other non-psychiatric conditions, they continue having the same adverse reactions, such as depression and suicide when Zonisamide is used for epilepsy. It will have the same adverse reactions if it is ever used for hearing loss. And they will still not know how it “works.”
We suggest that funding only be provided for workable medical treatments that dramatically improve and cure health and mental health problems. For more information, download and read the CCHR booklet “Psychiatric Hoax – The Subversion of Medicine – Report and recommendations on psychiatry’s destructive impact on health care.”