January 31, 2009 at 7:54 pm (Music, Song of the Week)
Tags: aguilera, christina aguilera, colossal success, epic fail, soar, soar lyrics, Song of the Week
Because I’ve been feeling like “Epic Fail” lately (I’m trying to convince myself that I’m really “Colossal Success”), here’s a great song by Christina Aguilera called “Soar” that I think is incredibly inspirational.
Read the rest of this entry »
January 30, 2009 at 9:37 am (Personal)
It's so easy to get my mood sinking faster than the Titanic. Just tell me that a girl I worked with at the newspaper in college now writes for Forbes, my former college paper editor-in-chief has been able to meet Oprah and interview the White House press secretary, and that another one of my former classmates has interned at the New York Times.
It's not like I'm sitting here wishing I were as successful as they are. I'm having my own fail Friday. I'm pretty bummed; I don't want to do anything right now.
Btw — just in case you're wondering, I had a rant posted on here a few days ago that I took down because it sounded like total self-pity and I didn't like it. I might take this down too but venting for now makes me feel better.
January 30, 2009 at 9:31 am (Failblog)
Tags: fail, Failblog, Photos, pictures
Today, I feel like posting a picture of myself with Epic Fail written across it but I guess you’ll just have to settle for a fail pic in honor of Philly beating the Dallas Cowboys.
Hi-Five Fail from failblog.org
January 27, 2009 at 7:35 am (Celebrities, Mental Health/Illness)
Tags: DID, Dissociative, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Showtime
I don’t have much familiarity with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) but Showtime has a new show called United States of Tara in which the main character (Tara) has three alter egos: Buck (thinks she’s a guy), T (think she’s a 15-year-old), and Alice (turns Betty Crocker when she feels like she’s a bad mother). Then Tara is… Tara trying to be a normal wife and mother. I watched a truncated episode of the pilot and the show seems interesting. I just hope that the husband of 17 years doesn’t suddenly ditch Tara for her cuter, younger, and non-DID sister Charmaine. (I sigh because I see it coming anyway.)
I don’t personally know anyone with DID. Does anyone want to check out the pilot and tell me what they think? It’s 30 minutes. I’m curious to see if someone gets the impression that it’s a mixture of poking fun at DID and showing a realistic aspect of what life must be like with the disorder.
Update: Apparently, Showtime takes DID pretty seriously.
January 26, 2009 at 5:24 pm (Medicine/Meds, News, Pharma)
Tags: big pharma, desvenlafaxine, drugs, Effexor, Lipitor, medication, meds, merger, Pfizer, Pharma, pharmaceuticals, pipeline, Pristiq, psych drugs, psych meds, venlafaxine, Wyeth
The New York Times puts it this way:
The deal, if completed, would not only create a pharmaceutical behemoth but would be a rarity in the current financial tumult: a big acquisition that is not a desperate merger of two banks orchestrated by the government. [emphasis mine]
Funny the writers decided to add that. A year ago, that clause would have never been considered yet alone thought of.
Pfizer isn’t doing badly; in fact, despite the credit crunch, they’ve been able to snag $22.5 billion in loans since they also have $26 billion cash on hand. The NYTimes also reports that this merger would be the biggest since AT&T and BellSouth merged back in March 2006. But of course, with mergers always come layoffs. And what a time to have layoffs. Pfizer today announced that they’ll be cutting 8,000 jobs.
But as I said in a previous post, Pfizer’s biggest challenge is get some pipeline products out to market soon since some of the patents on their big names (ie, Lipitor) are expiring soon. Don’t hold me to this but I think Wyeth has a bit more sitting in their pipeline, hence why the merger would make sense. But I hope Wyeth can produce a new blockbuster drug for Pfizer otherwise Pfizer’s really going to be hurting for money. Especially since Wyeth’s best-selling drug, Effexor, is now generic and Pristiq isn’t completely cutting it.
January 26, 2009 at 9:06 am (Advice/Tips)
Tags: 1993 ESPY speech, giving up, jim valvano, jimmy valvano, jimmyv, persistence, soulful sepulcher, valvano
Stephany’s post over at soulful sepulcher reminded me of this 1993 ESPY Speech by Jim Valvano in which he reminds his audience: “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” My husband made me watch it a few weeks ago and it’s pretty inspiring. Skip to 1 minute in to get past the clapping. The rest of it is close to 10 minutes but it’s worth every minute.
January 25, 2009 at 9:12 am (Personal)
Tags: fun, quiz, quizzes
I don't normally post quiz results on my blog but I found one of these quizzes via Musings of a Housewife and decided to take the test for fun. When I read the result (after answering only two questions), I was shocked—and creeped out—to read how accurately it described me. It's so accurate that I'm debating on creating flyers and distributing them to friends, family, and acquaintances. (Well, maybe not but I thought about it.)
Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else?
You Are a Marilyn!
You are a Marilyn — "I am affectionate and skeptical."
Marilyns are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.
How to Get Along with Me
- Be direct and clear
- Listen to me carefully
- Don't judge me for my anxiety
- Work things through with me
- Reassure me that everything is OK between us
- Laugh and make jokes with me
- Gently push me toward new experiences
- Try not to overreact to my overreacting.
What I Like About Being a Marilyn
- being committed and faithful to family and friends
- being responsible and hardworking
- being compassionate toward others
- having intellect and wit
- being a nonconformist
- confronting danger bravely
- being direct and assertive
What's Hard About Being a Marilyn
- the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind
- procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself
- fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of
- exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger
- wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right
- being too critical of myself when I haven't lived up to my expectations
Marilyns as Children Often
- are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn
- are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger
- form a team of "us against them" with a best friend or parent
- look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel
- are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent
Marilyns as Parents
- are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty
- are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence
- worry more than most that their children will get hurt
- sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries
Are you Jackie, Marilyn, or someone else?
January 25, 2009 at 5:04 am (Quotes)
Tags: George Sheehan, happiness, quotation, quotations, quote, Quotes
"Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do
with struggling and enduring and accomplishing." — George Sheehan
January 24, 2009 at 10:22 am (Music, Song of the Week)
Tags: flight of the conchords, Hiphopopotamus, Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros, lyrics, Music, Rhymenoceros, silly, Song of the Week
I've been feeling silly all week so I've been watching this video over and over and over. Flight of the Conchords is a two-man group that makes comedic music. The band has a show on HBO based on the premise that they're a crappy music group from New Zealand trying to make it in the Big Apple. Whenever the band has a planned performance, they're terrible but when they break out into random song during each episode, it's usually pretty good (and funny). Flight of the Conchords isn't for everybody but some of their songs never fail to amuse me. (One of my other favorites is Leggy Blonde with a random thong song thrown toward the end.) The song of the week, Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros, is basically the guys rapping about absolute nonsense. I've posted the lyrics below the video.
Read the rest of this entry »
January 23, 2009 at 3:57 pm (Medicine/Meds, Pharma)
Tags: big pharma, Pfizer, Pharma, pharmaceuticals, Wyeth
Is Wyeth being hurt by the failing economy? I’m not so sure but Pfizer may be buying up Wyeth for up to $60 million. According to news reports, this could help the pharmaceutical giant by bringing in some of Wyeth’s brand name products while many of Pfizer’s own manufactures (think Lipitor) go generic. However, it could also be a drawback as one of Wyeth’s biggest sellers—our favorite antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine)—has gone generic. Also, Pfizer doesn’t have the best track record of buying up other companies and turning them into blockbuster gold. Should be interesting to see what happens in the next few years if the deal does go through.
January 23, 2009 at 9:39 am (Failblog, Humor, Photos)
Tags: edit, editing, icanhascheezburger, icanhascheezburger.com, kitteh, lolcat
A deviant this Friday because I’m an editor. I fail at posting fail pics on Fail Fridays today.
“If you don’t like my changes” from icanhascheezeburger.com
January 21, 2009 at 10:20 pm (Personal)
After yesterday, I’m having a media hangover and Obama overload. I’ll be posting stuff tomorrow.
January 20, 2009 at 8:57 am (Celebrities, Depression, Self-Injury, Suicide)
Tags: celeb, Celebrities, celebrity sensitivity, depressed, Depression, Lily Allen, mental health, mental illness, miscarriage, self-harm, Self-Injury, Suicide, therapist, therapy
For those of us not hip-to-the-jive, Lily Allen is a British pop singer who allegedly attempted suicide when she was a teen. Celebrity blog Pop Crunch reports:
The 24-year-old singer was committed after she was left so distraught by the breakdown of her first romance that she tried to “slit her wrists,” the 24-year-old singing star’s half-sister has revealed to a British tabloid.
“Aged 18, she tried to slit her wrists when her first relationship ended and she ended up in The Priory rehab clinic for four weeks,” Sarah Owen, 29, who shares the same mother with Lily said in an interview with Grazia Magazine this week.
“I had a big gang of friends but Lily was more of a loner. She had no-one to talk to about getting her first period or breaking up with her first boyfriend.
“Would it have been different if we’d been closer? Probably,” Sarah says.
As you can tell, Sarah was a caring big sister, really looking out for her little Lily. However, it seems like the incident was only a shadow of mental health struggles to come as she became famous. Lily has publicly said that she sees a therapist for depression ranging from constant attacks in the media to a miscarriage. An excerpt from Billboard magazine notes:
And does she ever worry the attention might push her down the self-destructive path that’s been trod by Spears and Winehouse?
“No,” she says. “I know myself well enough. As soon as I feel remotely depressed I’m checked into a clinic and having intensive therapy. I’ve seen enough people fall apart to know that’s not going to happen to me.”
It’s about time we had some smart celebrities who know when to check themselves before they wreck themselves.
January 20, 2009 at 8:13 am (Blogs, Depression)
Tags: blog, dads, depressed, Depression, education, encouragement, new baby, postpartum, Postpartum Dads, Postpartum Dads Project, PPD, resource
A blog that I'd recommend, especially for both moms and dads of new children, is Postpartum Dads Project. I think the idea is very cool and long overdue. The goal is to be a resource and place of encouragement and education for fathers who have wives going through postpartum depression or are experiencing depression themselves. As the tagline says, "Because PPD is a WHOLE family thing." Katherine Stone over at Postpartum Progress has a small write-up about it.
January 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Schizophrenia, Statistics)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, disorders, mental health, mental illness, mental illnesses, relatives, Schizophrenia, schizophrenic, Seroquel, Zyprexa
According to researchers at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may have common genetic causes. Researchers studied 9 million Swedish people during a 30-year period and discovered that "relatives of people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder had an increased risk of both disorders." The study may also suggest that "the two conditions may simply be different manifestations of the same disease."
The article from Reuters also points out that Seroquel and Zyprexa are used to treat both disorders, which may lead people in the psychiatric industry to further investigate the link between the two illnesses. Here are some interesting discoveries from the study:
* First-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or offspring) of people with either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were at increased risk for both of these conditions.
* If a sibling had schizophrenia, full siblings were nine times more likely than the general population to have schizophrenia and four times more likely to have bipolar disorder.
* If a sibling had bipolar disorder, they were eight times more likely to have bipolar disorder and four times more likely to have schizophrenia.
* Half siblings who shared the same mother were 3.6 times more likely to have schizophrenia if their half sibling had schizophrenia and 4.5 times more likely to have bipolar disorder if their half sibling had bipolar disorder. Half siblings who shared the same father had a 2.7-fold increase in schizophrenia risk and a 2.4-fold increase in bipolar disorder.
* Adopted children with a biological parent with one of the disorders had a significant increase in risk for the other.
Creepy. My father's schizophrenia didn't begin to manifest itself until he was in his 40s. The same is true for my two other aunts as well. It may be silly but I live in fear that I may have the same problem. I'll eventually get a psychiatric advance directive in place just in case that day ever comes. After seeing three family members with debilitating schizophrenia/paranoia, sometimes it gets to the point where the benefits of being drugged up outweigh the risks.
Mood rating: 6
January 19, 2009 at 12:54 pm (Depression, Mental Health/Illness, News, Statistics, Suicide)
Tags: Adolf Merckle, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN, commit suicide, Depression, downturn, economic, economy, employment, kill, Kirk Stephenson, National Institutes of Health, NIH, psychological, psychology, public health, recession, Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, Statistics, stats, Steven Good, suicidal, Suicide, suicide statistics, suicides, wealth
CNN has a story looking into whether suicides increase as the economy falls into a recession and investors begin to lose thousands of dollars in the stock market. According to a chart by the NIH & Bureau of Labor Statistics, there seems to be a correlation. Here are the latest high-profile suicides that seem to have been prompted by the economic downturn:
- Steven Good, a chairman and CEO of Sheldon Good & Co., a major U.S. real estate auction company, may have shot himself, according to police.
- Adolf Merckle, a 74-year-old German billionaire who was ranked the 94th richest person in the world by Forbes magazine, killed himself by walking in front of a train. According to the CNN article, “in recent months his empire had been near collapse.”
- Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, a 65-year-old French investor, killed himself after losing $1.4 billion in the Ponzi scheme that Bernard Madoff ran.
- Kirk Stephenson, 47-year-old English financier and COO of Olivant Ltd., jumped in front of a train in September (the real climax in the economic collapse).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates more than 32,000 people commit suicide each year but public health experts expect an increase upwards to an additional 1200 suicides because of the economic climate. Here are a few more stats that are worth reading:
- Calls to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline went from 412,768 in 2007 up to 540,041 in 2008.
- Unemployed people are two to four times more likely to kill themselves than those who are employed.
I have to admit, I found that following paragraph interesting:
So what about these wealthy and powerful men who have recently killed themselves? Mental health experts say it’s impossible to say why they did it, but they say that people who kill themselves have an underlying psychological issue, such as depression or bipolar disorder, so it’s not only about the money.
So I pose a question: Do all those who commit suicide have a mental illness? Or is it possible to kill oneself without being mentally ill?
January 19, 2009 at 9:10 am (Personal)
I'm on Twitter. Twitter updates are in the left-hand column.
January 18, 2009 at 3:04 pm (Christian, Depression, Personal, Suicide)
Tags: depressed, Depression, distract, distraction, God, prayer, sad, sadness, suicidal, Suicide
I babysat the 21-month-old son of a friend on Thursday. He's an adorable, sweet little kid. Very affable and social. With the addition of a new brother, he's been craving the attention that he used to have as an only child so he's always happy when someone takes the time to sit and play with him.
His mother had to go to court to contest a traffic ticket and she took the baby with her so I offered my (free) babysitting services. I'm not a babysitter and I normally don't offer to babysit kids alone because I'm not very good with them and most young children don't like me much. However, I've really grown to love my friend's son—we'll call him Danny—and felt like I could take care of him without too many problems.
We were upstairs on the second floor in his bedroom and I talked to his mother about a few logistics before she left. Finally, she kissed Danny goodbye and headed down the stairs. Since Danny's only 21 months, he needs to be carried down the stairs. When he saw his mother disappear, he began crying (much to my surprise and much to my dismay). My first thought was, Oh great. Now, he's crying for his mommy. This isn't going to be as easy as I thought.
I tried to sit down with him on my lap in the bedroom but he was extremely fidgety and got up and began running to the edge of the steps. Fearful of a fall (remember I don't have much babysitting experience!), I grabbed him, picked him up, and shut the door to the bedroom. Realizing this meant mommy wasn't coming back right away, he cried even harder. Now I was really at a loss of what to do.
I saw a little toy helicopter that he had been playing with earlier. The helicopter made noises and I tried to hand it to him and pressed all sorts of buttons to amuse him. He wasn't fazed. Danny kept right on crying.
Suddenly feeling desperate, my next thought was, I can't have this kid crying until his mother comes back. She's going to think I hurt the poor child. I searched around the room and found a teddy bear and handed it to him. He wasn't interested in that either. Finally, my eyes fell upon a toy set up like a two-level parking lot with a car ramp that twisted around to the ground. Several small cars sat on top of the lot. Remembering Danny loved to pick up cars and hand them to people one by one, I tried the tactic as a last-ditch effort.
I picked up the first car and held it open in the palm of my hand. He kept crying but looked down at it. I grabbed a second car. His crying began to die down and he began to look at the two cars with curiosity. I snatched another car. He stopped crying and simply looked at me with a blank stare, wondering what I'd do next. I picked up another car and held them flat out on my hands for a few moments, letting him take in the number of growing vehicles. Finally, he gave me a little smile. I started rolling a car up and down his belly and he began giggling.
Problem solved. We stayed busy until his mother came home. I expected him to run and cling to his mother after she got home but he gave her a quick glance and wanted me to keep playing with him because he was having so much fun. That was pretty satisfying and felt like my first solo babysitting gig had been a success.
Just like I'd distracted Danny from the sadness of his mother's disappearance, I'm finding that a lot of people in my life have been trying to distract me from the sadness and emotional pain that have been plaguing me lately.
Read the rest of this entry »
January 18, 2009 at 8:57 am (Personal)
I was looking through my inbox and happened to click on the Spam link only to notice a bunch of legitimate emails were thrown in there! I'm sorry if you emailed me and I haven't gotten back to you. I didn't even know you sent me an email! I have about 50-something emails to sift through so I'll be pretty slow in getting back everyone. Special apologies go out to those who emailed me around September through December. (Tells you how much I check my Spam box, right?)
Again, my sincerest apologies. I'll try to be more diligent in checking that out in the future. (sigh) Gmail does too good of a job sometimes.
January 18, 2009 at 5:03 am (Quotes)
Tags: Louis L'Amour, quotation, quotations, quote, Quotes
"The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for." — Louis L'Amour
January 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm (Failblog, Humor, Photos)
Tags: epic fail, fail, Failblog, failblog.com, icanhascheezeburger, Photos, pictures
Susan over at If You’re Going Through Hell Keep Going posts some of the best lolcat pics from icanhascheezburger.com and Liz Spikol at The Trouble with Spikol is addicted to Cute Overload. I too love the sites but in an effort to be an individual—and because it’s my favorite spinoff of icanhascheezeburger—I’ll be starting an irregular feature called Fail Fridays where I post some of my favorite pictures from FailBlog.org showing the goofs, mistakes, and stupidity of other people. (They also post videos but I’m too lazy to do fiddle with youtube here so pics are all you’ll get. Note: I’m drawn to misspellings.)
Champagne fail from failblog.org
January 16, 2009 at 11:35 am (Uncategorized)
Tags: Abilify, Aripiprazole, Clozapine, Clozaril, FDA, Geodon, Olanzapine, Olanzapine-Fluoxetine, patient info, patient information, Patient Safety Info, Patient Safety Information, quetiapine, Risperdal, Risperidone, Seroquel, Symbyax, Ziprasidone, Zyprexa
These documents are all in PDF form. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them. Download Adobe Acrobat here.
If you prefer, you can view the Patient Safety Information in HTML at the official Food & Drug Administration website.
January 16, 2009 at 8:18 am (Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, News)
Tags: Abilify, Adverse Effects, Antipsychotics, atypical antipsychotics, atypicals, cardiac arrest, Clozaril, drugs, FDA, Health Day, heart attack, heart failure, medication, meds, myocardial infarction, New England Journal of Medicine, New York Times, patient information, Patient Safety Information, psych drugs, psych medications, psych meds, psychotropics, Risperdal, Saphris, Seroquel, side effects, U.S News & World Report, Zyprexa
The New York Times has reported that a recent study found atypical antipsychotics, which include the friendly family of Clozaril, Abilify, Risperdal, Zyprexa, and Seroquel (maybe Saphris soon), can increase a patient’s risk of dying from cardiac arrest twofold.
The study published in The New England Journal of Medicine also concluded that the risk of death from the psychotropic medications isn’t high. However, an editorial also published in the same issue “urged doctors to limit their prescribing of antipsychotic drugs, especially to children and elderly patients, who can be highly susceptible to the drugs’ side effects.”
A U.S. News & World Report article linked to the FDA’s atypical antipsychotics page for further patient information. If you’re on an atypical, I’d recommend reading each word in the patient safety info that applies to you. Proofreaders like me shouldn’t be the only ones tortured with reading all the fine print. *winks*
January 16, 2009 at 5:20 am (Bipolar Disorder, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, News)
Tags: antipsychotic, atypical antipsychotic, case, criminal charges, Dawdy, Eli Lilly, Furious Seasons, government, illegal, lawsuit, misdemeanor, off-label, off-label marketing, Olanzapine, payout, Philip Dawdy, settlement, settlements, U.S. government, whistleblower, Zyprexa
Yes, you read that right. Eli Lilly has reached a settlement for $1.42 billion with the U.S. government over the illegal off-label marketing of Zyprexa. The company also pleaded guilty to criminal misdemeanor charges. Basically this is how I see it:
U.S. Gov’t: Eli Lilly, you did a bad, bad thing by doing illegal things. Pay a fine, please, and then you can go.
Eli Lilly: Okayyyy. [reluctantly hands over $1.42 billion to the government]
U.S. Gov’t: [slaps Eli Lilly on the hand] Now, don’t you ever, ever do this again!
It’s a record settlement for a whistleblowing case. According to Philip Dawdy at Furious Seasons, Eli Lilly has paid over $2.7 billion in settlement payouts so far. (With certainly more to come.)
January 15, 2009 at 5:35 pm (Christian, News)
Tags: crash, FAA, God, God's grace, jet, miracle, New York Times, NYTimes, plane, survivors, US Airways
Praise the Lord! Seriously. God is so merciful. Tragedy averted. A lot of people were spared grief, heartache, and—of course—depression.
From The New York Times:
A US Airways jetliner with 148 passengers and 5 crew members plunged into the icy Hudson River on Thursday afternoon five minutes after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, and a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration said everyone on board escaped safely.
Moments after the plane, a twin jet Airbus A320 bound for Charlotte, N.C., landed on the river near the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel, at least a half-dozen small craft rushed to aircraft to rescue the freezing passengers and crew.
I’m sure more details will be released in the following hours, days, and weeks but I’m so happy to hear that everyone on board the plane was okay. Here’s my favorite quote from the Times article:
“The plane was totally intact,” Mr. Duckworth said. “Everybody thought it was a sea plane. I kept trying to tell them no.”
“Actually it looked like everybody was really calm, like on the subway platform when it’s really, really crowded, and everyone’s standing shoulder to shoulder,” he said. “Everyone was standing right up against each other on the wings.”
January 15, 2009 at 8:30 am (Medicine/Meds, News, Suicide)
Tags: Accolate, allergy, allergy medication, anxiety, asthma, AstraZeneca, clinical trials, Cornerstone Therapeutics, data, Depression, drug, drugs, FDA, inhaler, investigation, medication, medications.com, meds, Merck, montelukast, mood changes, night terrors, nightmares, paroniria, patient information, patient safety, Patient Safety Information, patients, PR, prescribing information, press release, safety information, safety review, Singulair, suicidal, suicidal actions, suicidal attempts, suicidal behavior, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, terrors, zafirlukast, zileuton, Zyflo
On Tuesday, the FDA announced that an investigation into Merck’s clinical trial data did not discover a link between Singulair (montelukast) and suicidal behavior. The investigation, which began 9 months ago, was prompted by a number of reported suicides, especially that of 15-year-old Cody Miller who took the drug and appeared to have no history of mood or behavioral problems. (It is worth noting here that Singulair “is the top-selling drug for people under 17 years old” and Merck’s biggest seller with annual sales of close to $4.5 billion.)
In attempt to assess Merck’s data better, the FDA also investigated AstraZeneca’s Accolate (zafirlukast) and Cornerstone Therapeutics’s Zyflo (zileuton). Although the FDA did imply that “the data were inadequate to draw a firm conclusion” and said that the clinical trials were not set up to observe any psychiatric behavior. Here are the data the FDA discovered during their review of these trials:
Singulair: 41 placebo-controlled trials that included 9,929 patients
- Reports of suicidal thoughts: 1 (treated with Singulair)
- Attempted suicides: None reported
- Completed suicides: None reported
Accolate: 45 placebo-controlled trials that included 7,540 patients
- Reports of suicidal thoughts: 1 (placebo group)
- Attempted suicides: 1 (placebo group)
- Completed suicides: None reported
Zyflo: 11 placebo-controlled trials (number of patients unknown)
- Reports of suicidal thoughts: None reported
- Attempted suicides: None reported
- Completed suicides: None reported
Forgive me for being cynical but the data sounds fishy. I can’t pinpoint why but it does. The suicide numbers and patient involvement data seem to deviate some from the numbers listed in Merck’s PR issued last March. (I’m seeing 11,000+ patients vs. 9,929 patients.) Regardless of the clinical trial data, it appears that the FDA as of yet have not reviewed post-marketing data.
Scott Korn, a senior safety surveillance executive for Merck said in an article for Reuters:
“‘At the time we did not believe, and we still don’t think a link has been established’ between Singulair and the suicides.”
In the same article, Sanford Berstein analyst Tim Anderson had this to say about the possibility of the FDA finding a link:
“If the… safety review leads to a stern warning about behavioral changes in the Singulair label, this could frighten users of the drug or their parents and give Merck’s competitors ammunition to attack the brand.”
The Washington Post has Dr. David Weldon, director of the Allergy and Pulmonary Lab Services at Scott & White in College Station, Texas, on record saying that he had not “seen any increase in psychiatric problems with the drug but that some patients had complained of nightmares after starting on Singulair.” (Note: It appears that the closest conflict of interest Weldon would have here is that he served as a consultant and is honoraria for AstraZeneca.)
Dr. Rauno Joks, head of the SUNY Downstate division of allergy and immunology, made an interesting point in the Washington Post article:
“The physician really needs to review whether there are symptoms that have developed since patients started taking the medication, if there’s an underlying depression that was there before medication started.
Also, seasonal allergies in and of themselves can cause fatigue and lethargy, which makes it harder to assess, because those are some of the symptoms you have with depression.”
The FDA says they’ve completed analyses of submitted clinical trial data but their “safety review will continue” for several more months before they come to a concrete conclusion. For customer testimonials, check out medications.com that has over 2,300 people reporting side effects and askapatient.com that has an average 2.3 rating from 524 reviewers. The most commonly reported mood-related side effect on both of the sites is irritability.
January 15, 2009 at 7:38 am (Loose Screws Mental Health News)
Tags: loose screws, Loose Screws Mental Health News, mental health, mental health news, mental illness, News
For the past 2+ years, I've had a feature called Loose Screws Mental Health News (LSMHN) in which I compiled various news and events relating to mental health and provided my take on it. Since I'm working on a professional website where I hope to do something similar (under a different title, different name, and much less snarkiness), I'm discontinuing the publication of it here.
While I still intend to comment on some of these stories (like an upcoming post on how the FDA refutes the Singulair-suicide link), they'll likely be limited to one post at a time.
Update as of 2/16/09: It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind.
January 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Christian, Depression, Fear, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Personal, Suicide)
Tags: Antidepressants, anxiety, Bible, biblical, Biblical counseling, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Blame It on the Brain, CCEF, Christ, Christ-centered, Christian, Christian counseling, Christian Counseling Education Foundation, Competent to Counsel, counseling, counseling method, Depression, diagnosis, disorders, drug, Ed Welch, Elijah, faith, fatigue, Fear, Freud, Freudian, God, Institute for Nouthetic Studies, integrational counseling, irritability, Jay Adams, Jesus Christ, Jung, Jungian, medication, meds, mental illness, mixed-mood, mixed-mood episodes, nouthetic counseling, Nouthetic counselors, panic attacks, paroxetine, Paxil, problems, psych meds, psychiatric medication, psychiatry, psychology, psychotropics, PTSD, Scriptural, Scriptural principles, scripture, Seroxat, sin, Suicide
Last night, I spent some time on the phone with my husband’s friend’s sister (aka my former pastor’s sister). We’ll call her Natalie.
Natalie was very sweet and kind, really encouraging and strengthening me by sharing her testimony of faith in God. She suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, which has led her to take Paxil (on and off) for the past 7 years. She says the drug has helped her tremendously and who am I to knock the drug (knowing what I know about Paxil/Seroxat) when she has seen the wonders that it has worked in her life?
I briefly explained my story of depression, history of suicide, and diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Although she couldn’t fully relate, she was very sympathetic and understanding. In fact, our conversation was so fruitful, I ended up taking notes!
We briefly touched on the issue of Nouthetic counseling (NC). She has undergone the course and simply needs to be certified. The counselor I currently see is associated with the Christian Counseling Education Foundation (CCEF), which has roots in NC and was founded by the man—Jay Adams—who developed the method. However, CCEF is now known for what is called biblical counseling. The organization has since moved away from pure Nouthetic methods and become more a bit more varied, taking bits and pieces of psychology (and perhaps psychiatry) that line up with the Bible. Adams, disagreeing with the organization’s approach, founded the Institute for Nouthetic Studies and uses the Bible as the sole counseling textbook. According to the wiki entry on Nouthetic counseling, Adams developed the word Nouthetic based on the “New Testament Greek word noutheteō (νουθετέω), which can be variously translated as ‘admonish,’ ‘warn,’ ‘correct,’ ‘exhort,’ or ‘instruct.'”
NC was developed back in the ’70s as a response to the popularity of psychology/psychiatry. Many Christians reject some of the teachings of such popular psychologists as Freud, Jung, Adler, Maslow, etc. Adams’ highly successful book, Competent to Counsel, criticizes the psychology industry and counters its teaching with a Nouthetic approach.
But NC has its Christian critics.
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January 13, 2009 at 8:39 am (Celebrities, Depression, Humor, Suicide)
Tags: attempted suicide, Celebrities, celebrity, celebrity sensitivity, Depression, Humor, Owen Wilson, Rolex, Suicide
Wow. If this isn’t a blatant advertisement for Rolex watches, I don’t know what is:
After a frightening suicide attempt in 2007, Rolex watches and benefits appeared to play an essential role in actor Owen Wilson’s recovery. On August 29, 2007, Time magazine reported: “speculation about his drug use, depression over his May break-up from Hudson and a recent fight with a friend have peppered the coverage of Wilson’s hospitalization. A People magazine cover story out Friday quotes a friend as saying: “Owen was very despondent. He slit his wrists. He almost did not make it.” It was a dark period in Wilson life, and Rolex played a key role in helping Owen regain his bearings and his success.
Although Owen Wilson has worn a Rolex GMT Master in the popular films Wedding Crashers and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, he chooses to wear a Rolex Submariner in his everyday life. It is not surprising that he would make such a choice. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner originally was designed for diving and known for their resistance to water. The first Submariner was introduced to the public in 1954 at the Swiss Watch Fair. Copied by other watchmakers, the Rolex Submariner is recognized as a classic, and one of the most widely recognized luxury products in the world. The Rolex Submariner is part of Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual Professional line. After returning home from the hospital, Owen was captured by a photographer walking on the beach, wearing his Rolex Submariner. Later, he was seen riding his mountain bike in Santa Monica with the Rolex Submariner on his wrist. Obviously, the quality of a Rolex watch helped Owen realize and appreciate the quality of his own life.
If I had known that the answer to overcoming suicide was this easy, I could have avoided myself years of trouble.
January 12, 2009 at 2:28 pm (Medicine/Meds, News)
Tags: clinical trials, conflicts of interest, FDA, financial conflicts, financial disclosure, Food & Drug Administration, National Institutes of Mental Health, New York Times, NIH, NYT
According to a NYTimes article, government investigators have reported that the FDA doesn’t seem to care much about the financial disclosure of doctors who participated in clinical trials of medication and diagnostic devices. Then get this:
Moreover, the investigators say, agency officials told them that trying to protect patients from such conflicts was not worth the effort. (Despite the fact that the FDA’s rules require it.)
The article goes on to say that in 42 percent of clinical trials, the FDA did not receive financial disclosure forms that might report conflicts of interest and never followed up on them. In 31 percent of the trials in which the forms were received, “agency reviewers did not document that they looked at the information.” And then, in 20 percent of the cases in which doctors disclosed significant financial conflicts—”neither the FDA nor the sponsoring companies took any action to deal with the conflicts.”
Apparently, the NIH has been investigated for the same thing and government investigators came to the same conclusion as in the FDA case.
January 12, 2009 at 10:49 am (Bipolar Disorder, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Personal, Pregnancy, Suicide)
Tags: Adverse Effects, blurry vision, drug, fatigue, Lamictal, lamotrigine, medication, meds, placebo, Pregnancy, pregnant, psych drugs, psych meds, psychiatric mediation, psychiatric meds, psychotropic meds, psychotropics, side effects, withdrawal
My husband and I are talking about expanding our family. While that sounds all well and good, I just have one issue:
For most women, they think, “Well, I want a kid” and the most they have to do is probably get off birth control. Just finish off their contraceptives, maybe feel a little nauseous, and move forward with their plans.
(sigh) Not me. If I want to do this right, it might be a good 6 months or so before I can consider trying.
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January 4, 2009 at 5:00 am (Quotes)
Tags: past, quotation, quotations, quote, Quotes, unknown
"Our past is not our potential." — Unknown