Vraylar to the Vrescue

We are now seeing TV ads for Vraylar (generic cariprazine) for “manic or mixed episodes of bipolar I disorder.” An atypical antipsychotic, it alters levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Vraylar was first approved by the FDA to treat schizophrenia in 2015. It can be compared to the antipsychotic risperidone, which is now available as a generic and thus not as expensive as the newer drug Vraylar. They say cariprazine is “less risky” than risperidone, but we think it was approved because it is more expensive.

Hungarian drugmaker Gedeon Richter, the developer of the drug, licensed it to the Dublin pharmaceutical company Allergan and receives royalties on its sales. It cost about $400 million to develop, and its projected income at the time was $300 million per year. Allergan’s Vraylar revenue for 2017 was $287.8 million. A month’s supply for one person costs approximately $1,050 (depending on dosage.)

The exact way Vraylar is supposed to work is totally unknown. It is another example of the debunked medical model of psychiatry which fraudulently supposes that messing with the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain can help. The prevailing psychiatric theory is that mental disorders result from a chemical imbalance in the brain; however, there is no biological or other evidence to prove this.

Basically, psychiatrists gave it in clinical trials to a bunch of people with mental disturbances and performed extensive statistical analyses to “prove” that symptoms of mental distress were less severe while taking the drug than while taking a placebo; while at the same time recording, but discounting, all the adverse reactions.

The most common side effects during clinical tests were uncontrolled movements of the face and body (tardive dyskinesia), muscle stiffness, indigestion, vomiting, sleepiness, and restlessness (akathisia). Other possible side effects are stroke, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, falls, seizures, agitation, anxiety — basically most of the adverse reactions we’ve come to associate with similar psychotropic drugs. This particular formulation stays in the body for weeks even after you stop taking it, so that side effects may occur long after you start or stop taking it.

During clinical trials, 12% of the patients who received Vraylar for a diagnosis of bipolar I discontinued treatment due to an adverse reaction. They say that the drug is not habit-forming, but it has withdrawal symptoms. The trials did not run long enough to actually test for physical addiction, although withdrawal symptoms were reported in newborns whose mothers were exposed to it during the third trimester of pregnancy. Also, the drug carries a black box warning that elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis are at an increased risk of death, just like any other atypical antipsychotic.

“Bipolar I disorder” used to be called “manic-depressive”. All it means is that a person roller-coasters — sometimes being up and other times being down. Bipolar disorder is characterized by unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to function. Its symptoms are severe mood swings from one extreme of overly high or irritable (mania) to sad and hopeless (depression), then back again. In the 1800s, bipolar was known as manic depression, a term invented by German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin. In 1953, another German psychiatrist, Karl Kleist coined the term “bipolar.” There is no objective clinical medical test for the condition.

Psychiatric treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar is complicated by high rates of relapse, indicating that the treatments do not really work. The failures to adequately treat bipolar apparently caused the psychiatric industry to split up the diagnosis into bipolar I and bipolar II, where bipolar II means that the individual has not experienced a full manic episode, just an elevated state of irritable mood that is less severe than a full manic episode. It’s splitting a hair that is completely irrelevant to anything except which drug to prescribe.

An estrogen imbalance, hypoglycemia (abnormal decrease in blood sugar), allergies, caffeine sensitivity, thyroid problems, vitamin B deficiencies, stress, and excessive copper in the body can all cause the symptoms fraudulently labeled as  “bipolar disorder.”

“Schizophrenia,” “bipolar,” and all other psychiatric labels have only one purpose: to make psychiatry millions in insurance reimbursement, government funds and profits from drug sales. If you are told that a psychiatric condition is due to a brain-biochemical imbalance, ask to see the test results.

The global bipolar drug market is growing, possibly due to increasing stress in life. For information about how stress can cause someone to roller-coaster, see our blog here. Click here for more information about bipolar, and here for more information about schizophrenia.

Are You Schizophrenic?

The May, 2017 Scientific American magazine has a lengthy article on schizophrenia, bemoaning the lack of scientific progress trying to find out what it is and how to treat it. The article says, “Gene studies were supposed to reveal the disorder’s roots. That didn’t happen.”

Most people consider that psychiatry’s main function is to treat patients with severe, even life–threatening mental conditions. The most pronounced is that condition first called dementia praecox by German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin in the late 1800’s, and labeled “schizophrenia” by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1908.

Robert Whitaker, author of Mad in America, says the patients that Kraepelin diagnosed with dementia praecox were actually suffering from a virus, encephalitis lethargica (brain inflammation causing lethargy) which was unknown to doctors at the time.

Psychiatry never revisited Kraepelin’s material to see that schizophrenia was simply an undiagnosed and untreated physical problem. “Schizophrenia was a concept too vital to the profession’s claim of medical legitimacy. The physical symptoms of the disease were quietly dropped. What remained, as the foremost distinguishing features, were the mental symptoms: hallucinations, delusions, and bizarre thoughts,” says Whitaker. Psychiatrists remain committed to calling “schizophrenia” a mental disease despite, after a century of research, the complete absence of objective proof that it exists as a physical brain abnormality.

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.

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.” Lily Tomlin once said, “Why is it that when we talk to God we’re said to be praying, but when God talks to us we’re schizophrenic?”

The DSM-5 lists nine entries for various forms of this so-called disorder:
— “Schizophrenia”
— “Schizophreniform disorder”
— “Other specified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder”
— “Unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder”
— “Schizoaffective disorder”
— “Schizoaffective disorder, Bipolar type”
— “Schizoaffective disorder, Depressive type”
— “Schizoid personality disorder”
— “Schizotypal personality disorder”

There is abundant evidence that real physical illness, with real pathology, can seriously affect an individual’s mental state and behavior. Psychiatry completely ignores this weight of scientific evidence, preferring to assign all blame to supposed “chemical imbalances in the brain” or genetic factors that have never been proven to exist, and limits all practice to brutal treatments that have done nothing but permanently damage the brain and the individual.

Since psychiatrists do not really know what schizophrenia is, and cannot predict nor cure the symptoms associated with these diagnoses, they instead have pushed to “pre-treat” people with antipsychotic drugs who might exhibit such symptoms sometime in the future; meanwhile spending untold millions of dollars and years of effort searching for genetic targets to create new drugs — instead of conducting valid clinical tests for known medical issues and treating those. If we include well-known medical issues, infections, hormonal issues, nutritional issues, fevers, environmental pains, and drug reactions, there must be over a hundred ways to go crazy and be diagnosed as schizophrenic — all of these treatable by standard medical protocols.

Click here for more information on schizophrenia and to download booklets on various medical causes for these symptoms.