|The FDA has finally, finally, decided to BAN the electric shock devices (ESDs) used at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, a residential school for people with autism and other developmental or mental disabilities.|
ESDs are devices that administer skin shocks in a form of “aversion therapy” for agitation and behavioral “issues.” School staff could trigger a shock to a child by using a remote control. This isn’t the electroconvulsive shock machine (currently in use) but a skin device machine that zapped children with electric current when they misbehaved.
The FDA has finally realized (after 20 years) that these devices “present substantial psychological and physical risks and, in fact, can worsen underlying symptoms—while leading to heightened anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
According to William Maisel, director of the FDA device center’s Office of Product Evaluation and Quality, “Since ESDs were first marketed more than 20 years ago, we have gained a better understanding of the danger these devices present to public health.”
So we ask you, if it took the FDA 20 YEARS to figure out that torturing troubled kids with electric shocks to the skin was a bad idea, do we really want to leave it up to the FDA to figure out that the electroshock machine, still in use after all these decades, which administers up to 460 volts of electricity to the brain to produce a grand mal seizure, and which is currently being administered to children, the vulnerable and the elderly, is also an obviously bad idea?
Sign the petition to ban electroshock here.
|Psychiatry has always given the impression that cures were the rule, rather than the exception. However, the psychiatric industry itself admits it has no capacity to cure.|
Psychotropic drugging is big business — a high-income partnership between psychiatry and drug companies that has created an $80 billion industry in psychotropic drugs.
Psychiatrists tell us that the way to fix unwanted behavior is by altering brain chemistry with a pill. But unlike a mainstream medical drug like insulin, psychotropic medications have no measurable target illness to correct, and can upset the very delicate balance of chemical processes the body needs to run smoothly. Nevertheless, psychiatrists and drug companies have used these drugs to create a huge and lucrative market niche. And they’ve done this by naming more and more unwanted behaviors as “medical disorders” requiring psychiatric medication.
Thus there is a continuing need to find or create new patients to which to market new drugs, and a continuing rush to market for the latest drugs regardless of their harmful side effects.
The Risk of Side Effects
In a study of 68,730 individuals it was found that psychotropic drugs (SSRIs, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines) are independently associated with a significantly increased risk of hip fractures and other major osteoporotic fractures.
Lead author Dr. James Bolton at the University of Manitoba says, “So physicians need to think about fracture risk as they are prescribing these medications, especially in patients who are vulnerable to fracture.”
Psychiatric Marketing Campaigns
Almost a third of drugs cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pose safety risks that are identified only after their approval. Thus we say “rush to market”; you can find hidden drug marketing campaigns practically everywhere.
Many of these marketing campaigns come from industry?funded front groups operated by psychiatrists but posing as compassionate patient support groups. Of all these programs, one of the most successful is the benevolent?sounding mental health screening campaign; it uses broad?based psychiatric screening questionnaires to diagnose common life situations such as sadness, nervousness and occasional loneliness.
Currently running is the “suicide prevention” campaign. But statistics show that there is no teenage suicide epidemic; and participants in these programs are more likely to consider suicide a solution to a problem after the screening program than before the program.
With a long and well-documented history of failure, psychiatrists and their drugs are under attack by government safety warnings, legislation, and tens of thousands of lawsuits.
Interestingly, underlying most psychiatric problems is an undiscovered and untreated physical illness. And when that is cured, so is the “mental problem.” But because of the powerful hold psychiatrists and drug companies exert over the rest of the medical field, this is rarely told to patients. To protect yourself and those you love, insist on a full and accurate consent: an accounting of all risks and benefits of the treatment recommended, of other treatments and of not doing anything at all.
United Nations Promoting Sustainable Development
Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015
“Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development“
Sustainable: Of, relating to, or being a method or lifestyle for using resources so that the resources can be maintained and continued, and are not depleted or permanently damaged.
[from Old French sustenir (French: soutenir), from Latin sustineo, sustinere, from sub– (under) + teneo (hold, uphold, possess, guard, maintain)]
The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals
The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and their 169 associated targets adopted in 2015 and accepted by all Member States seek to realize the human rights of all and balance economic, social and environmental factors towards peace and prosperity for all.
To this end we examine some of the existing factors which block or inhibit the realization of these goals, and which must be eliminated so that the goals can be achieved in practice.
SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Target 6.3: By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.
How Psychiatry Obstructs Target 6.3
Pharmaceuticals are increasingly prevalent in our drinking water. Here are some quotes from PBS Nova:
“In 1999, Christian Daughton, an environmental chemist from the Environmental Protection Agency, wrote a paper along with Thomas Ternes of ESWE-Institute for Water Research and Water Technology in Germany that called attention to the persistence of pharmaceuticals in the freshwater cycle.”
“One study found several pharmaceuticals in treated tap water, including … meprobamate (an antianxiety medication).”
Here is another quote:
“In 2017, a study published by Rio de Janeiro State University found that both treated wastewater and untreated wastewater had the same concentration of psychoactive drugs. Traditional treatment methods aren’t getting the job done.”
“…researchers have identified traces of pharmaceutical drugs in the drinking water supplies of some 40 million Americans. … And antidepressants … can ‘alter the behavior and reproductive functions of fish and mollusks.'”
And one more recent quote:
“Psychoactive drugs – including antidepressants – are altering the reproductive behaviour, anxiety levels, and anti-predator responses of fish in the wild, according to Australia’s Monash University.”
Google reports about 818,000 results when searching for the phrase “psychotropic drugs in the water supply.” It’s obviously a serious and current consideration, since there can be horrific side effects from psychiatric drugs.
And if people are experiencing mental or physical ill effects for no apparent reason, it is that much more difficult to diagnose and treat the symptoms. When was the last time you were given a blood test to see if there were traces of psychiatric drugs in your body?
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s MedWatch program for Adverse Event Reporting cannot help protect consumers from the risk of drug side effects if no one is reporting side effects because they cannot attribute them to any specific drug, particularly if they are only ingesting the drug in their drinking water.
Recognize that the real problem is that psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose life’s problems as an “illness”, and stigmatize unwanted behavior or study problems as “diseases,” then compound the abuse by fraudulently prescribing harmful and addictive mind-altering psychiatric drugs which can then make their way into the water supply.
Psychiatric fraud and abuse must be eradicated so that SDG 6 can occur.
|The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally approved the new antipsychotic drug lumateperone (Caplyta, from Intra-Cellular Therapies, Inc) on December 23, 2019 for treatment of schizophrenia in adults, in spite of previously canceling its review because of mixed results in testing, which were blamed on positive responses to placebos.|
As with other antipsychotics, lumateperone includes a boxed warning that elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis are at an increased risk for death.
Also as with other antipsychotics, the mechanism of action is unknown — they’re just guessing about how it is supposed to “work.” It plays Russian Roulette with serotonin, dopamine and glutamate (another neurotransmitter) in the brain.
It has all the usual possible side effects – neuroleptic malignant syndrome, tardive dyskinesia, hyperglycemia, diabetes, weight gain, sedation, increased risk of falls, seizures, infertility, etc. Newborns exposed to antipsychotic drugs during the third trimester of pregnancy may suffer withdrawal symptoms.
Since cytochrome P450 enzymes such as CYP3A4 are involved in its metabolism in the liver, a person’s genetic abnormality with these can lead to the drug or its metabolites reaching a toxic level in hours or days, correlating with the onset of severe side effects. One is also ill-advised to drink grapefruit juice with this drug because it strongly inhibits the CYP3A4 enzyme, again increasing the risk of serious adverse reactions.
Of course, psychiatrists attribute any attempts at suicide to the underlying diagnosis and not to the drugs.
Speaking of the Underlying Diagnosis
Today, psychiatry clings tenaciously to antipsychotics as the treatment for “schizophrenia,” despite their proven risks and studies which show that when patients stop taking these drugs, they improve.
The late Professor Thomas Szasz stated that “schizophrenia is defined so vaguely that, in actuality, it is a term often applied to almost any kind of behavior of which the speaker disapproves.”
These are normal people with medical, disciplinary, educational, ethical or spiritual problems that can and must be resolved without recourse to drugs. Deceiving and drugging is not the practice of medicine. It is criminal.
Any medical doctor who takes the time to conduct a thorough physical examination of a child or adult exhibiting signs of what a psychiatrist calls Schizophrenia can find undiagnosed, untreated physical conditions. Any person labeled with so-called Schizophrenia needs to receive a thorough physical examination by a competent medical—not psychiatric—doctor to first determine what underlying physical condition is causing the manifestation.
Any person falsely diagnosed as mentally disordered which results in treatment that harms them should file a complaint with the police and professional licensing bodies and have this investigated. They should seek legal advice about filing a civil suit against any offending psychiatrist and his or her hospital, associations and teaching institutions seeking compensation.
No one denies that people can have difficult problems in their lives, that at times they can be mentally unstable, subject to unreasonable depression, anxiety or panic. Mental health care is therefore both valid and necessary. However, the emphasis must be on workable mental healing methods that improve and strengthen individuals and thereby society by restoring people to personal strength, ability, competence, confidence, stability, responsibility and spiritual well–being. Psychiatric drugs and psychiatric treatments are not workable.
For more information, click here to download and read the full CCHR report “Schizophrenia—Psychiatry’s For Profit ‘Disease’“.
An attacker killed eight students and injured two others with a cleaver (NOT a gun) at an elementary school in Chaoyangpo village of Enshi city in the Hubei province of central China on September 3, 2019.
“China tightly restricts private gun ownership, making knives and homemade explosives the most common weapons in violent crimes.”
The attacker was released in June, 2018, after serving more than eight years in jail for attempted murder. We aren’t sure about China, but in the U.S. prison inmates are regularly dosed with dangerous psychiatric drugs known to cause violence and suicide.
As of this writing, the case is still under investigation and no motive has been found for the attacks. Not much additional information is available, so speculation abounds. Our own speculation is that the attacker was most probably given psychiatric drugs while incarcerated, drugs which are known to cause violence and suicide.
We do know that China’s Ministry of Public Security uses psychiatric involuntary commitment to remove dissidents from society.
“Given the enormous increases in psychiatric drug sales in China, there is little doubt that the pharmaceutical industry has landed a lucrative market, driven by a psychiatric community willing to deliberately politicize psychiatric labeling.”
Under China’s current system of compulsory mental health treatment, people can be sent to asylums for treatment against their will by blood relatives or spouses, and forcibly given harmful psychiatric drugs.
It has also been well documented that psychiatric torture occurs inside Chinese prisons, often conducted with the goal of securing a confession, even though the Chinese government has officially made obtaining confessions through the use of torture illegal.
Let’s just aim for the right target and get the actual data, shall we? At least in the U.S. we can contact our government officials and urge them to hold legislative hearings to fully investigate the correlation between psychiatric drugs, violence, and suicide. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, representing the U.S. government’s interest in protecting citizens from harmful drugs, already says that antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior; children and adolescents who are started on antidepressants should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, agitation, irritability, or unusual changes in behavior. And keep those meat cleavers away from kids on Prozac.
Kratom is an increasingly popular drug of abuse and readily available on the “recreational” drug market. Between 3 million and 5 million people in the U.S. use kratom, and reported poisonings from people taking it have soared.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned against using Mitragyna Speciosa, commonly known as kratom, a tree in the coffee family which grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. The concern is that kratom leaves, which affect the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, appear to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence.
There are no FDA-approved uses for kratom because there is no scientific evidence to support its medical use, and the FDA urges consumers to report any adverse reactions to the FDA’s MedWatch program.
Because kratom is still legal in the U.S., it has become a go-to drug for individuals with chronic pain, promoted anecdotally by some psychiatrists both to mitigate pain and to ease withdrawal from other opioids.
Some other psychiatrists are convinced of kratom’s mental health benefits as a potential therapeutic agent.
Similar to the dose-dependent characteristics of any drug, in relatively small amounts kratom acts as a stimulant; in relatively larger amounts it causes sedation; and when overdosed it can cause death.
Kratom’s psychoactive compounds, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, are opioid-receptor agonists, which means they are chemicals that bind to the same receptors in the brain to which opioids bind, thus acting in the brain similar to other opioids like morphine and codeine.
Side effects of taking (or withdrawing from) kratom may include dependence, nausea, vomiting, aggression, hallucinations, delusions, psychosis, seizures, thyroid problems, increased risk of suicide, trouble breathing, brain swelling, seizures, liver damage, or death.
In spite of the American Kratom Association’s lobbying efforts to promote this harmful substance, and its repeated references to the American Psychiatric Association for support, we find that there is sufficient reason to be highly skeptical.
Click here for more information about kratom.
The FDA approved the first drug treatment for post-partum depression (PPD) on March 19, 2019. Psychiatrists call this “peripartum depression”, which means depressive symptoms during pregnancy or after childbirth. While there is no actual diagnostic test for this, the current revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) labels this with various alternative wordings of “depressive disorder” or “bipolar disorder” or “anxiety disorder” or “stress disorder,” sometimes with the specifier “with peripartum onset“, depending on the circumstances.
The diagnosis is totally subjective, and is a justification for making money for prescribing an antidepressant. Psychiatrists do not typically perform any clinical tests to find out if there is a real medical reason for the symptoms, such as thyroid problems or vitamin deficiencies. Research suggests that rapid changes in hormones and thyroid levels during and after delivery have a strong effect on moods, yet this is mostly ignored by the psychiatric industry since it is easier and more profitable to prescribe a psychotropic drug.
The drug is Zulresso (generic brexanolone), an intravenous infusion administered continuously over 60 hours (2.5 days) and requiring constant monitoring. There is a risk of serious harm due to a sudden loss of consciousness during the treatment, the appearance of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, or hypoxia (loss of oxygen in the blood). The drug passes into breast milk, but there is no data on the safety of brexanolone while breastfeeding. The cost has currently been set at $34,000 per course of treatment.
Sage Therapeutics says that this neurosteroid, a derivative of allopregnanolone, affects GABAA (Type-A gamma-Aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, although the actual mechanism of action of this drug with respect to PPD (or any other condition) is unknown.
Many people think that post-partum depression is a mental illness. However, this is very misleading for a mother who has experienced the trauma of just giving birth. To have them think the emotional roller coaster they may be experiencing is the result of a “chemical imbalance in the brain,” requiring mind-altering medication, is false and potentially very harmful.
This does not mean that serious emotional difficulties do not exist. But it does mean that psychiatrists and psychologists have used such difficulties to their advantage, promoting powerful drugs as a “solution” for vulnerable individuals. This has been for the sake of profit, often at the expense of people’s lives.
Quite apart from such drugs causing harm, they are also unnecessary. Any competent medical doctor who takes the time to conduct a thorough physical examination of someone exhibiting signs of what psychiatrists say are “mental disorders,” including post-partum depression, can find undiagnosed, untreated physical conditions.
Instead, psychiatrists prefer to tell young mothers that their condition is an “illness,” requiring “medication,” potentially endangering the life of the mother and her child.
Women may experience drastic drops in hormone levels after the birth of a child that can deliver a major shock to the woman’s body. Nutritional and mineral depletion or deficiencies as well as a lack of sleep while caring for a baby can also cause the symptoms psychiatrists say are a “mental disorder.” It can be treated nutritionally.
For more information, download and read the CCHR booklet “The Drugging of ‘Post Partum Depression’ – Clearing up Misconceptions About ‘Chemical Imbalances,’ Antidepressant Drugs and Non-Drug Solutions“.
A new rule by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) went into effect on 12/26/2018 that reclassifies certain uses of ECT machines from Class III (high risk) to Class II (moderate risk).
The new rule is somewhat complicated, and has some “ifs, ands and buts” that require some explanation. Here is the actual rule:
Practically speaking, Class III means that a device presents a high risk of illness or injury to the patient and requires a premarket approval or product development protocol. A PMA is documentation which demonstrates the safety and effectiveness of the device before it can be sold and used. A PDP is documentation which demonstrates the clinical evaluation of a device and the development of necessary information for marketing approval; it may not involve actual clinical testing.
Practically speaking, Class II means that a device presents a moderate risk of illness or injury to the patient, and may require special labeling. Powered wheelchairs, x-ray machines and condoms fall under this category. Special labeling for ECT machines includes warnings that “ECT device use may be associated with: Disorientation, confusion, and memory problems” and “When used as intended this device provides short-term relief of symptoms. The long-term safety and effectiveness of ECT treatment has not been demonstrated.”
While the FDA acknowledges that the individuals for whom ECT therapy may be prescribed are at significant risk for complications, they are effectively ignoring these complications at the urging of the psychiatric industry, and doing so with a lot of psychobabble and pseudoscience, and the expectation that putting warning labels on the devices is protection enough.
Here are some facts which the FDA does not want you to know
In the forty years that the ECT device manufacturers have had the device on the market they have never conducted a clinical trial to support its safety and efficacy from which they have profited.
The procedure administers up to 460 volts of electricity through the brain causing a grand mal seizure.
Adverse effects from ECT include: irregular heartbeat; heart attack; stroke; cognition and memory impairment [sometimes permanent]; dental or oral trauma and physical trauma; manic symptoms; prolonged seizures; worsening of psychiatric symptoms and death.
Based on a 0.3% death rate found with ECT administered in Texas, an estimated 300 people receiving ECT may die each year in the U.S. and 3,000 worldwide.
Claims that ECT is safe and effective are not supported by clinical science and its use remains a theoretical practice with no conclusive mechanism determined to prove how ECT works. We have repeatedly suggested that psychiatrists stick their finger into an electric wall socket to see how well that works. So far, we have no takers.
ECT is not a cure. There is a high failure (relapse) rate within six months of receiving ECT, requiring more electroshock that creates more damage. Called “continuation” and “maintenance ECT,” antidepressants and/or other psychotropic drugs continue to be administered — the very drugs said to have failed, “requiring” ECT. A person might as well smack their thumb with a hammer, since this will take their mind off their mental troubles with less permanent damage than smacking their brain with electricity. (We’re not actually recommending this! Please do not try this at home!)
We do, however, recommend that a person consult a competent, non-psychiatric medical doctor for a thorough physical examination to determine whether an underlying, undiagnosed and untreated physical problem is causing the mental condition.
Pregnant women are electroshocked as late as their third trimester, despite adverse events that include miscarriage, premature labor, stillbirth, fetal heart problems and malformations.
In some countries children aged six and younger (U.S., Australia, and Canada) are electroshocked, damaging their developing brain and body. Psychiatrists are continually pushing the boundaries on whom they can shock. One of the current efforts is called external Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation (eTNS), where an electric current is sent into the brains of children as young as 7 years old.
A 2017 published review of more than 90 ECT studies since 2009 showed they remain “methodologically flawed” and “Given the well-documented high risk of persistent memory dysfunction, the cost-benefit analysis for ECT remains so poor that its use cannot be scientifically, or ethically, justified.”
In 2005 and again in 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned against electroshocking children, and reported: “In addition to inappropriate use of medication, children with psychosocial disabilities in institutions around the world are subjected to other severe forms of inappropriate treatment such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, also known as electric shock therapy). WHO has stated that there are no indications for the use of ECT on minors, and hence this should be prohibited. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has remarked that ECT without anaesthesia, muscle relaxant or oxygenation amounts to torture. However, monitoring efforts worldwide continue to uncover instances of ECT being administered to children and adolescents.”
The FDA and state and federal legislators must put patient protection above the financial interests of companies that have failed to conduct clinical trials and provide a PMA for 40 years.
Write your state and federal legislators and tell them to ban ECT. For more information go to http://www.cchrstl.org/ect.shtml.
Shock and Awe is a tactic based on the use of overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force to paralyze an enemy.
Now the psychiatric industry is introducing electrical “stimulation” of children’s brains as a socially acceptable gradient to just plain shocking them into good behavior.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved on April 19, 2019 a medical device for so-called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The prescription-only device, called the Monarch external Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation (eTNS) System from NeuroSigma, is for patients ages 7 to 12 years old who are not currently taking prescription ADHD drugs. It was originally developed at the University of California, Los Angeles, to reduce epileptic seizures. Research continues on using eTNS for epilepsy, depression, migraine, PTSD, and ADHD.
This device delivers an electric current to the brain (through the V1 branch of the 5th cranial nerve) with an electrode taped to the forehead. It costs about $900 to start, with additional costs for more of the electrode patches which are only used once each. It is not currently reimbursed by insurance.
While the exact mechanism of how eTNS is supposed to work is not known, one physical effect is apparently to increase blood flow in certain areas of the brain and decrease it in others. They recommend using it daily for up to four weeks before any significant changes are observed; we could not find any information about long-term effects or whether any changes are observed after treatment is stopped. It was clinically tested in 2017 in the U.S. for this FDA approval, paid for by a grant from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, on 62 children for four weeks. The most common side effects observed were drowsiness, an increase in appetite, trouble sleeping, teeth clenching, headache and fatigue.
Results were recorded during clinical testing by asking the child to answer questions on the ADHD Rating Scale (ADHD-RS) such as whether they have difficulty paying attention or regularly interrupt others. Ratings of ADHD symptoms on various rating scales are entirely subjective, as are the diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
A prior feasibility study in 2015 was performed with 24 children for 8 weeks, using the ADHD-IV Rating Scale. It did not establish the durability of treatment effects following discontinuation of treatment, either.
To be blunt, ADHD is a fraudulent “disease.” In 1987, ADHD was literally voted into existence by a show of hands of American Psychiatric Association members and included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). Within a year, 500,000 children in America alone were diagnosed with this, and to expand the client base it has also been associated with Asperger syndrome and Autism spectrum disorder.
ADHD actually represents the spontaneous behaviors of normal children. When these behaviors become age-inappropriate, excessive or disruptive, the potential causes are limitless, including: boredom, poor teaching, inconsistent discipline at home, reading difficulty, tiredness, street drugs, nutritional deficiency, toxic overload, bullying, abuse, stress, and many kinds of underlying physical illness.
By making an ADHD diagnosis, we ignore and stop looking for what is really going on with the child. These children need the adults in their lives to give them additional attention and to find and treat the actual causes, rather than shock their brains to see if that “works.”
There are no workable ADHD drugs, either for children or for adults. This new “treatment” is supposed to be appealing because it does not use drugs, but guess what? They don’t know how it is supposed to work, either; and they haven’t tested it long enough to know the consequences of running an electric current into a child’s brain.
Aw shucks, no one denies that children can have difficult problems in their lives. Mental health care is therefore both valid and necessary. However, the emphasis must be on workable mental healing methods that improve and strengthen them by restoring personal strength, ability, competence, confidence, stability, responsibility and spiritual well-being. Psychiatric treatments are not workable; they are designed, with shock and awe, to overwhelm.
Recently there has been a gross increase in the TV ad campaign for Chantix, promoting this deadly drug for smoking cessation.
We’ve written about Chantix before, but we thought a repeat was in order due to this massive ad campaign.
In 2008 the Federal Aviation Administration banned Chantix for pilots and air traffic controllers, and reissued that decision in 2013.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) slapped a “Black Box” warning on Chantix (varenicline tartrate, made by Pfizer) in 2009 after receiving thousands of reports linking the drug to mental health issues, including suicidal thoughts, hostility and agitation.
In 2015, the FDA expanded the warning to note that the drug had also been linked to reduced alcohol tolerance leading to seizures.
However, in 2016 the FDA removed the Black Box warning, after heavy lobbying from Pfizer claiming that additional data showed that the benefits of Chantix outweighed its adverse side effects (oh, and since its sales had significantly dropped.)
But the adverse side effects did not go away; only the Black Box warning went away. One study found that Chantix had more cases of suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and homicidal thoughts than any other drug, by a more than three-fold margin. Pfizer’s prescribing information still warns about new or worsening mental health problems such as changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping Chantix.
We suspect that the recent spate of TV ads is related to the removal of the Black Box warning and the prior drop in sales. Also, the price of Chantix more than doubled between 2013 and 2018. In 2013, Pfizer paid out $273 million to settle a majority of the 2,700 state and federal lawsuits that had been filed over adverse side effects. Now the company is trying to grow the market with clinical studies for smokers age 12 to 19.
What is Chantix?
Chantix is a psychiatric drug — a benzodiazepine-based anti-anxiety drug, also called a minor tranquilizer or sedative hypnotic. Daily use of therapeutic doses of benzodiazepines are associated with physical dependence, and addiction can occur after 14 days of regular use. Typical consequences of withdrawal are anxiety, depression, sweating, cramps, nausea, psychotic reactions and seizures. There is also a “rebound effect” where the individual experiences even worse symptoms than they started with as a result of chemical dependency.
The exact mechanism of action of benzodiazepines is not known, but they affect neurotransmitters in the brain and suppress the activity of nerves, under the unproven theory that excessive activity of nerves may be the cause of anxiety. Chantix was developed to specifically affect nicotinic receptors in the brain, under the theory that this would reduce nicotine craving and block the rewarding effects of smoking. Messing with neurotransmitters in the brain is playing Russian Roulette with your mind.
Benzodiazepines are metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes, so a genetic lack of these enzymes can cause a buildup of harmful toxins and increase the severity of adverse side effects.
Psychiatric “best practices” consider that smoking is an addiction and recommend that psychiatrists assess tobacco use at every patient visit, since tobacco addiction is covered in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) as a “mental illness” under eight separate items, and disorders related to inhalant use have 33 entries. Smoking is not a mental illness and addiction cannot be fixed with psychiatric drugs.
The psychiatric industry considers that smoking cessation therapies are their territory, however this drug masks the real cause of problems in life and debilitates the individual, thus denying one the opportunity for real recovery and hope for the future. Treating substance abuse with drugs is a major policy blunder; contact your state and federal representatives and let them know you disapprove of this trend.
Recognize that the real problem is that psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose life’s problems as an “illness”, and stigmatize unwanted behavior like smoking as a “disease.” Psychiatry’s stigmatizing labels, programs and treatments are harmful junk science; their diagnoses of “mental disorders” are a hoax — unscientific, fraudulent and harmful. All psychiatric treatments, not just psychiatric drugs, are dangerous.