Tag Archives | Medication

Herpes Medication Produces “Walking Corpse Syndrome”

pillsVia New Scientist, the bizarre, unintended side effect of a cold sore medication suggests that it may be possible to engineer a drug that induces the living-dead mental state:

Pharmacologists have discovered a mechanism that triggers Cotard’s syndrome – the mysterious condition that leaves people feeling like they, or parts of their body, no longer exist. With the ability to switch the so-called walking corpse syndrome on and off comes the prospect of new insights into consciousness.

Acyclovir – also known by the brand name Zovirax – is a common drug used to treat cold sores and other herpes infections. However, about 1 per cent of people who take the drug orally or intravenously experience some psychiatric side effects, including Cotard’s. These occur mainly in people who have renal failure.

One woman with renal failure began using acyclovir to treat shingles. She ran into a hospital screaming. After an hour of dialysis, she started to talk: she said the reason she was so anxious was that she had a strong feeling she was dead.

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Former DSM Chairman Says The Psychiatric Manual Is Attempting To Turn Eccentricity Into An Illness

eccentricity into an illnessVia Wired, Allen Frances, chairman of the task force behind the previous edition of psychiatrists’ widely-used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, is vocally critical of the new DSM, arguing that it is part of a push toward over-medication:

Nature takes the long view, mankind the short. Nature picks diversity; we pick standardization. We are homogenizing our crops and homogenizing our people. And Big Pharma seems intent on pursuing a parallel attempt to create its own brand of human monoculture.

With an assist from an overly ambitious psychiatry, all human difference is being transmuted into chemical imbalance meant to be treated with a handy pill. Turning difference into illness was among the great strokes of marketing genius accomplished in our time.

Human diversity has its purposes or it would not have survived the evolutionary rat race. Human difference was never meant to be reducible to an exhaustive list of diagnoses drawn carelessly from a psychiatric manual.

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One In Five Teenage Boys Is Now Diagnosed With ADHD

The New York Times on mentally-imbalanced becoming the new normal:

Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The figures showed that an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 had received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis at some point in their lives, a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 53 percent rise in the past decade. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.

Even more teenagers are likely to be prescribed medication in the near future because the American Psychiatric Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D.

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Death By Side Effect

Picture: DEA (PD)

Carl Pettit writes at the Good Men Project:

I’ve noticed over the years how commercials have become longer and louder, and how the number of ads for prescription drugs have steadily increased. The latter is probably due, at least in part, to the baby boomers hitting retirement age.

The advertisements that have caught my attention this time around are for underarm testosterone treatments. I’d never seen testosterone ads on television before, but these promos seem to be running all the time, although, for obvious reasons, I didn’t catch any when I watched The View (not my normal fodder) this morning, which was a refreshing change.

Men with low or no testosterone should consult their doctors, and take part in testosterone treatment if needed, yet I’m exceedingly distrustful of national ad campaigns plugging the benefits of topical testosterone without educating the public about the specific reasons a man should take testosterone in the first place.

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Prescribing Mood Drugs For The Symptoms Of Childhood Poverty

New York Times on the growing trend of doping up poor kids suffering from academic and social issues, since it’s apparent we’re not going to improve their surroundings:

When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall. Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.

“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians.

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Indian Police Still Using Truth Serum

Critics say the results are more truth-y than truthful. The Guardian writes:

It is the sort of scene that belongs in a film noir, not a 21st-century democracy: an uncooperative suspect being injected with a dose of “truth serum” in an attempt to elicit a confession. But some detectives in India still swear by so-called narcoanalysis despite India’s highest court ruling that it was not only unreliable but also “cruel, inhuman and degrading”.

The technique is back in the news after officers from India’s Central Bureau of Investigation asked a judge for permission to administer sodium pentothal to a high-profile Indian politician and his financial adviser embroiled in a corruption case.

There are no official figures for the number of suspects who have been subjected to narcoanalysis, but VH Patel, deputy director at the Directorate of Forensic Sciences in Gujarat, western India, [said] he had personally conducted narcoanalysis in nearly 100 cases.

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Anatomy Of The Adderall Drought Of 2012

adderall_largeVia Motherboard, Kelly Bourdet on the inevitable mass shortages of the drug necessary to function in modern life. Will the empty pharmacy shelf be the 21st century equivalent to the gasoline scares of the 1970s?

For many people with ADHD, Adderall is what best manages their symptoms. At the same time, a drug that reduces appetite, increases wakefulness, induces feelings of euphoria (side effects, or, rather, effects of Adderall) — all through flooding your brain’s reward system—has vast potential for abuse. Amphetamine salts, used in Adderall, are classified by the U.S. Government as a Class II Narcotic, the same as cocaine and Oxycontin.

To prevent hoarding of materials and their potential for theft and illicit use, the Drug Enforcement Agency sets quotas for the chemical precursors to drugs like Adderall. But with the number of prescriptions for Adderall jumping 13 percent in the past year, pharmaceutical companies claim that the quotas are no longer sufficient for supplying Americans with their Adderall.

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Medical Marijuana Is Now A $1.7 Billion Market

MMS

Medical Marijuana shop in Denver, Colorado. Photo: O'Dea (CC)

The medical marijuana market has had a significant growth this year. With seven states who have opened shop and five more states planned to approve medical marijuana outlets this year, cannabis could save many states’ economies. Medical News Today reports:

Medical marijuana is now a serious $1.7 billion dollar market, according to a new report released this week by an independent financial analysis firm that specializes in new and unique markets. Currently, 24.8 million people are eligible to receive a recommendation and purchase marijuana legally under state laws, and approximately 730,000 people actually do.

Ted Rose, editor of the new State of the Medical Marijuana Market 2011 report, comments:

“Medical marijuana markets are rapidly growing across the country and will reach $1.7 billion this year. We undertook this effort because we noticed a dearth of reliable market information about this politically charged business.

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FDA Approves First New Lupus Drug In 56 Years

Lupus Varrucosus

Lupus Varrucosus

Via Modern Medicine:

Benlysta (belimumab) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat lupus, the first medication sanctioned for the condition in the United States since 1955.

The injected drug targets B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) protein, which is believed to play a role in abnormal B cells thought to characterize lupus, the agency said in a news release. Lupus disproportionally affects women, usually aged 15 to 44.

As many as 1.5 million people in the United States have the disease, although estimates vary widely, the FDA said. Black women have a three times higher incidence of the disease than Caucasian women.

The safety and effectiveness of Benlysta were established in a pair of clinical studies involving 1,684 people. Those treated with Benlysta had fewer symptoms than those who took a placebo, and the results suggested that those who took the drug also were less likely to have severe lupus flares, the agency said.

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