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“Repurposing” Psychotropic Drugs to Treat Physical Ills Puts Patients in Danger

psychiatric drugs

CCHR, a 50-year mental health industry watchdog says its research into toxic psychiatric drug effects has expanded again into how they are currently being dangerously repurposed during CV19.

CCHR, mental health industry watchdog says its research into psychiatric drug effects has expanded into how they are being dangerously repurposed during CV19.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, May 12, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Psychotropic drugs with debilitating, potentially lethal toxic side effects are being repurposed for treating physical conditions, like viruses. Still in their testing stage, The New York Times reported that the antipsychotic, chlorpromazine (Thorazine)—known as a “chemical lobotomy”—is one of two antipsychotics being considered. The other is haloperidol (Haldol). The SSRI fluoxetine antidepressants, Prozac and Luvox, are also both being studied. Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a 50-year mental health watchdog group, announced it is now expanding its research to include how psychotropic drugs are being repurposed. They are concerned about profits being put above patients’ lives, given the toxic effects of some of the drugs considered for repurposing.

Chlorpromazine was Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved in 1954, promising to “revolutionize the treatment of mental disease.”[1] But the drug was so sedating, it gave rise to the term “Thorazine shuffle.”[2] By the 1990s, 100,000 Americans had died from its side effect, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome.[3] Thorazine and other antipsychotics also cause tardive dyskinesia (TD), which irreversibly damages the nervous system, marked by uncontrolled muscle movements in the face (chewing, lip smacking, frowning, tongue movement, blinking or eye movement).[4] Today, up to 30% of those taking older or atypical (new) antipsychotics long-term can develop TD.[5]

When drug patents ran out and the adverse effects were so widespread, newer (atypical) antipsychotics were approved in the 1990s. By 2003, The New York Times warned that even these antipsychotics were as bad as those they replaced. They can cause obesity, diabetes, stroke, cardiac events, respiratory problems, delusional thinking and psychosis, and brain atrophy (shrinkage).[6] Despite this, today over 1 million Americans ages 0-17 are prescribed antipsychotics.[7]

On the opposite side of the spectrum, CCHR points to the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that reports patients treated with another antipsychotic, clozapine, are highly vulnerable to influenza or its complications if they catch it, including pneumonia. The risk is so high that patients taking it are strongly advised to have the flu-vaccination. Clozapine can cause severe neutropenia, a condition causing insufficient white blood cell to fights infection, which can be fatal.[8]

CCHR says the repurposing of SSRI antidepressants is even riskier. The list of antidepressant adverse reactions is lengthy: suicidality, mania, psychosis, depression, hallucinations, abnormal dreams, abnormal thinking, depersonalization, paranoid reaction, delusions, confusion and violent behavior to name a few.[9] SSRIs can cause life-threatening serotonin syndrome which has been documented in all age groups.[10] The U.S. Toxic Exposure Surveillance System consistently reports tens of thousands of exposures to SSRIs, many of which involve serotonin syndrome manifested by agitation; slow, continuous, horizontal eye movements; akathisia (movement disorder); tremor; and muscle rigidity.[11]

Repurposing drugs serves a lucrative multi-billion dollar psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry that has lost money when drug patents run out and don’t want to bear the costs of developing new drugs. Instead, they repurpose existing ones for new indications and, potentially, new patents. According to Harry Tracy, whose newsletter NeuroPerspective tracks developments in drug treatments for psychiatric problems: “In general the larger companies have walked away from psychiatry.” Further, “There are a few companies who have maintained efforts in the area but 70% tells you it’s been a pretty remarkable departure.”[12]

Today, 11 U.S. labs are running clinical trials to test the theory that MDMA, better known as the street drug, ecstasy, can help treat post-traumatic stress disorder.[13] Yet, the National Institute of Drug Abuse warns that the drug causes involuntary jaw clenching, illogical or disorganized thoughts, panic attacks and in severe cases, a loss of consciousness and seizures.[14] MDMA is also addictive, can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature, and can dangerously increase heart rate.[15]

None of these drugs have historically solved, nor or are they currently solving, any mental dilemma or disorder. A National Institutes of Health’ Biological Sciences Curriculum Study confirmed that scientists did not know the causes of any mental illnesses.[16] Thomas Insel, former director of the NIMH criticized the American Psychiatric Association’s latest version of its Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders saying it was more like a “dictionary,” based on a consensus vote and “not any objective laboratory measure.”[17]

CCHR says today’s Federal and State legislators are unlikely to be briefed on the repurposing of mind-altering drugs, which spells only profits for the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry while potentially delivering more harm instead of legitimate help to people suffering.

CCHR reiterated that consumers should use the group’s online psychiatric drugs side effects search engine to become better informed.

CCHR is the mental health watchdog responsible for more than 180 laws that now protect patients from damaging practices. DONATE to support its work here: www.cchrint.org/cchrint-donate/

References:

[1] Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill (Perseus Publishing, 2002), pp. 152-153.

[2] https://www.cchrint.org/2014/12/23/how-big-pharma-made-antipsychotics-everyday-drugs/

[3] Op. Cit., Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill, p. 208, citing Estimates of incidence rates for NMS vary from 0.2% to 1.4%. At a rate of 0.8%, that would mean approx. 24,000 cases annually from the 1960s to the 1980s (with 3 million Americans on the drugs), with total deaths of 5,280 (24,000 x 22% mortality rate) annually. Over a 22-year period, that would lead to more than 100,000 deaths. At 4%, the number would be 20,000.

[4] https://www.rxlist.com/thorazine-side-effects-drug-center.htm#professional

[5] “Tardive dyskinesia: What you need to know,” Medical News Today, 29 Nov. 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320175

[6] Erica Goode, “Leading Drugs for Psychosis Come Under New Scrutiny,” The New York Times, 20 May 2003, https://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/20/us/leading-drugs-for-psychosis-come-under-new-scrutiny.html; https://www.fightforkids.org/psychdrug-side-effects/antipsychotic-drugs

[7] https://www.fightforkids.org/psychdrug-side-effects/antipsychotic-drugs

[8] https://www.biospace.com/article/releases/mayne-pharma-launches-clozapine-tablets-in-the-united-states/

[9] https://www.cchrint.org/2017/02/27/experts-expose-troubling-facts-about-the-psycho-pharma-industry/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3865832/

[11] https://www.uptodate.com/contents/serotonin-syndrome-serotonin-toxicity

[12] “Why ‘big pharma’ stopped searching for the next Prozac,” The Guardian, 27. Jan 2016,
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/27/prozac-next-psychiatric-wonder-drug-research-medicine-mental-illness

[13] “Shroom-Therapy Startup Edges Toward FDA Approval: The feds have designated Compass Pathways’ experimental psilocybin treatment for depression a ‘breakthrough therapy,’” Bloomberg Businessweek, 6 Jan. 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-07/psychedelic-mushroom-therapy-startup-edges-toward-fda-approval

[14] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/mdma-ecstasy-abuse/what-are-effects-mdma

[15] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297064#fast-facts-on-mdma

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK20369/

[17] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml

Amber Rauscher
Citizens Commission on Human Rights
+1 323-467-4242
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