£5 billion of taxpayer’s money for antidepressants that ‘don’t work’

Since 2000, the cost to the National Health Service (NHS) for antidepressants prescribed in England alone, has just gone over £5 billion.

That’s right. Despite a continual stream of media coverage concerning the dangers of the drugs, over £5 billion has been paid for antidepressants which have been shrouded in controversy for decades and have been consistently linked to acts of senseless violence as well as suicides and murder-suicides.

In 2016, 64.7 million prescription items for antidepressants were dispensed in England, nearly triple that of the 22 million dispensed in 2000. Prescribed for everything from learning and behavioural problems, bedwetting, premenstrual tension, juvenile delinquency, aggression, criminality, drug addiction and smoking, to handling the fears and problems of the elderly, antidepressants are among the most widely prescribed not just in England but on Earth.

There is obvious commercial success for the pharmaceutical companies, but the clever psychiatric propaganda has meant the drugs continue to be prescribed despite the list of fatalities. We continue to hear of young people who have taken their own lives where the antidepressant link was in full view. We continue to hear of adults taking their own lives. Then there are thousands of inquests at Coroner’s Courts around the country which consistently hear about the details of people who took their own lives while taking or withdrawing from antidepressants.

It’s not as though prescribers aren’t aware of the problem either. A major review published in 2008 by Professor Irving Kirsch concluded antidepressants ‘don’t work’, and that they are ‘no better than placebo.’ Add in a study published in the British Medical Journal titled Efficacy of antidepressants in adults which concluded the drugs didn’t reduce depression. One of the authors went so far as to say, “The bottom line is that we really don’t have any good evidence that these drugs work.”

There have been 160 drug regulatory agency warnings from 11 countries, including the UK. These include the following (note that some warnings cite more than one side effect, so the list below may not be equal to the total number of warnings):

  • 38 warnings on antidepressants causing suicide/risk/attempts
  • 34 warnings on antidepressants causing heart problems
  • 23 warnings on antidepressants causing Serotonin Syndrome
  • 18 warnings on antidepressants causing birth defects or complications
  • 13 warnings on antidepressants causing hostility, violence or aggression
  • 11 warnings on antidepressants causing withdrawal symptoms (including infant withdrawal symptoms)
  • 10 warnings on antidepressants causing self-harm
  • 7 warnings on antidepressants causing anxiety
  • 7 warnings on antidepressants causing mania or psychosis
  • 6 warnings on antidepressants causing death
  • 6 warnings on antidepressants causing hallucinations or delusionals
  • 6 warnings on antidepressants causing involuntary movements
  • 5 warnings on antidepressants causing sexual dysfunction
  • 1 warnings on antidepressants causing depression
  • 1 warning on antidepressants causing homicidal ideation

Put all of this together, and it demonstrates a modern-day marketing coup by pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists. It may represent good business through the drug sales, but it’s bad medicine.

It once again leads to the issue of informed consent. If people were fully informed, and were aware of the potentially dangerous effects of antidepressants, including aggression, violence, suicidal thoughts and suicidal behaviour, would they still agree to take them?

Further reading: Antidepressants – the facts about the effects


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