Dr. Timothy Scott explains why antidepressant studies are not effective. Dr. Scott mentions a number of ways drug companies can make the studies turn out in favor of their drug. But does it come at a cost to your health? When more than 10% of Americans are on these drugs, it's obviously big business!
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Rena Morgan: Doctor Scott, tell us about some of the tricks that are used in presenting these studies for drugs.
Dr. Timothy Scott: Yeah. There are so many; I have ten in my book, America Fooled. But for example, you would expect that most of the subjects entering the study would go all the way to the end of the study, and if you have a lot of dropouts that the validity of that study is questionable.
TS: In reality, of the forty-seven studies leading to the approval of the first six antidepressants, only four of those studies, four out of forty-seven had as many as seventy percent make it to the end. That tells me you cannot trust whatever results they have.
RM: Well yes. I mean, do the arithmetic, right?
TS: Yeah, do the arithmetic, sure. Another trick is that they do what we call a placebo washout. In other words, they give everyone a placebo, a sugar pill, and those that respond very well, they remove those from the study.
RM: The ones who responded well to the placebo?
TS: Those who responded very well to the placebo.
TS: Why would they do that? Because they know that they are comparing their drug with that placebo. They want people who begin to sense, because these drugs do have effect, they dry out your mouth. So just that effect would be enough. So if you give an antidepressant and it dries out your mouth, you thinking 'ah, I've got the real drug.' But if you also have people who respond very well to the placebo, even a sugar pill, they lower the effectiveness, in effect, of your study. It says that antidepressant may not have worked any better than the placebo.
RM: So how do they juggle those numbers then? TS: So they simply remove people, usually after about two weeks, they remove those subjects that responded very well to the placebo.
RM: This is working for you, we need you to leave.
TS: Basically this drug is working so well, it's a sugar pill, that we can't have you in our study any more. Of course they're not told why they're leaving the study. But they're replaced with other subjects. That's absolutely unfair. Another fact, I think that's one of the most amazing of all and I think that very few people that take these drugs today have any idea that this would be true... these drugs studies are not long term studies.
RM: How long are we talking?
TS: The longest of the 47 studies. The longest of these studies, was an 8 week study. So these studies are very, very, very short and they do not tell us what are some of adverse events we can anticipate after 6 months, or a year, or 5 years or longer? So many of these people are put on these drugs, and many of these people are on these drugs for not just for six weeks or two months or six months. They're on these drugs literally for years!
RM: It sounds more than just deceptive. How many millions of people are on these antidepressants?
TS: One in ten today. One in ten Americans are on these drugs. And so what are the health consequences going to be? They're going to be huge! We already know you have a huge increase in diabetes. With antidepressants its about two to three times as much diabetes in some age groups. With antipsychotics, it's much greater than that. We know that liver damage is very real. We know that weight gain is a common side effect.
RM: Oh yes.
TS: ...of antipsychotics. It's virtually universal. We know that tardive dyskinesia for both antipsychotics and antidepressants develops. That one really concerns me, it's one of my greatest concerns because it's irreversible, it's permanent. We're talking a movement disorder that will disturb a persons life the rest of their life. They can have jerking, they can have tongue thrusting, it can manifest itself in various ways, but it's tardive dyskinesia, meaning, tardive, like tardy, the word tardy, it develops late. It doesn't develop the week you start taking the drug. It develops late, sometimes a year, sometimes ten years. But it can develop at some point in the future after you begin taking the drug. And dyskinesia means movement disorders, they're not good. And so these people are going to have a problem. Very many people taking these drugs today have no idea this is coming. So the health consequences are terrible!
RM: Thank you doctor Scott.
TS: You're welcome.