This is old news, but I found it interesting enough to put up here because of my obsession with celebrities (although I haven’t been keeping up with them recently).
BrandweekNRX posted about the FTC investigating pharmaceutical companies paying stars “undisclosed” amounts of money to endorse medication. BrandweekNRX has the entire list, but here are some of my favorites:
- Alonzo Mourning of basketball team Miami Heart – Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J’s) Procrit for anemia
- Sally Field, an outspoken activist for osteoporosis awareness – Roche Therapeutics’ Boniva
- Holly Marie Combs of Charmed – Ortho contraceptives for J&J’s subsidiary, Ortho McNeil
- Terry Bradshaw, my beloved football commentator – GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Paxil
- Lorraine Bracco of The Sopranos – Pfizer’s Zoloft
Canada.com reports that a Canadian mental health survey found that more than 75 percent of people diagnosed with clinical anxiety or depression experience a severe relapse during the winter months, namely December and January.
“Among the symptoms those people reported, more than half said they experienced ‘feelings of worthlessness,’ ‘inappropriate guilt’ and difficulty thinking or concentrating during the winter holiday season.”
The survey also found that decreased daylight hours and increased debt during the holiday season contribute to stress among those with chronic mental illness. At least the article didn’t say there was a spike in suicides…
Lorraine Bracco, known as Dr. Melfi on The Sopranos, has written a book about her struggle with clinical depression. She notes the difference between how she functioned before her depression hit and after. She cites Zoloft as the antidepressant that helped her overcome the hump and a mental realization that she needed to get help. She no longer uses antidepressants but she feels that the antidepressant got her to a place where she could find herself again, “I found my joie de vivre, my spirit, my voice.”
And finally, it’s time to be pissed off at Eli Lilly. Documents obtained by a mental health lawyer, given to The New York Times, show that Lilly execs tried to downplay the risk of obesity and hyperglycemia in Zyprexa. The two side effects can lead to a significantly increased risk for diabetes. Lilly material even included statements to sales reps telling them to downplay those risks when pitching the atypical antipsychotic to doctors. Zyprexa, Lilly’s best-selling drug, has been sold to 2 million people and has raked in $4.2 billion worldwide. The drug is primarily prescribed for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Of course, Lilly execs, aware that the side effects would keep patients away from the drug, downplayed the risks and even went so far as to say, “There is no scientific evidence establishing that Zyprexa causes diabetes.”
Lawsuits speaks differently, however. Lilly has agreed to pay $750 million to 8,000 people who claim that Zyprexa has caused them to develop diabetes or other medical problems. According to the Times, “thousands more suits against the company are pending.”
Continue reading “Loose Screws Mental Health News”