Articles, Studies & Other Publications
Is your mom on drugs? (PDF–4.25 MB)
Research shows that cognitive impairment can result from overmedication. To what degree is our so-called "epidemic" of Alzheimer's and dementia overmedication? Family members, caregivers, and primary care providers — please consider overmedication first!
Drug Safety Initiative: Potentially Inappropriate Medications in Seniors (PDF–2.29 MB) — a CME guide designed for family physicians, geriatricians, and other healthcare professionals who care for older adults.
More Seniors resources are available on our Web Sites resources page.
“Survey Finds Drugs Often Incorrectly Prescribed” — by Sharon Gray. Nexus (Newfoundland & Labrador Medical Association Newsletter), Spring 2006. “A survey to assess benzodiazepine prescribing patterns of doctors in Maine found that many patients are given long-term prescriptions for this class of drugs, despite established guidelines that recommend they be used for no more than a month.”
"Manufacturing Addiction" (PDF–101 KB) — an excellent article on the overprescription of sleeping pills and benzodiazepines to women in Canada.
“The Diagnosis and Management of Benzodiazepine Dependence” — by Prof. Heather Asthon. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, May 2005 - Volume 18 - Issue 3 - p 249–255. Abstract of excellent paper on overprescription of benzodiazepines, recommendations for short-term prescribing, and safe withdrawal.
“The Hidden Addiction: Adverse Effects of Benzodiazepines and Other Psychiatric Drugs” — by Janet Currie, MSW included in Visions, B.C.’s Mental Health Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, Winter 2004 (PDF–1.22 MB).
“The Effects of Tranquillization: Benzodiazepine Use in Canada” — Health Canada (National Health and Welfare), 1982.
The documentary film Prescription: Suicide? (on Vimeo) takes an intimate look at the personal impact of anti-depressant drugs on children and teenagers. The filmmakers have weaved together six distinct stories of real people and real experiences. They have captured a sense of the arguments in an ongoing controversy that affects millions of Americans in a documentary that ultimately asks the question if these so-called revolutionary medications can be used safely. "This isn't a story about money or big pharmaceutical corporations," says director Robert Manciero, "it's a story about tragedies in individual families like you and me and our kids."
"Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn" — by Christina D. Chambers et al. New England Journal of Medicine Vol. 354:579-587 (February 9, 2006; Number 6). Abstract about a case-control study to assess whether PPHN [persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn] is associated with exposure to SSRIs during late pregnancy.
Conclusions: These data support an association between the maternal use of SSRIs in late pregnancy and PPHN in the offspring; further study of this association is warranted. These findings should be taken into account in decisions as to whether to continue the use of SSRIs during pregnancy.
"Efficacy of Anti-Depressants in Adults" — by Joanna Moncrieff and Irving Kirsch. British Medical Journal 2005; 331:155-157 (16 July). Link to abstract of an article on whether anti-depressants, in particular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, should be first-line treatment for moderate or severe depression.
"The Marketization of Depression: Prescribing SSRI Antidepressants to Women" (PDF–247 KB) by Janet Currie. Women and Health Protection, May 2005.
"Paroxetine (Paxil) and Congenital Malformations" by Megan Williams and Eric Wooltorton. CMAJ November 22, 2005; 173 (11). Article about an unpublished study by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) which has led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada to warn that one SSRI, paroxetine, may increase the risk of major congenital malformations. Drug Safety 24(3):183-197, 2001. Link to abstract of excellent paper on discontinuation of antidepressants and preventative strategies, including tapering.
"Antidepressant Use in Adolescence: We're Asking the Wrong Questions" — Paediatrics and Child Health, the official Journal of the Canadian Paediatric Society, October 2004, Volume 9, No. 8.
"B.C. Taxpayers Paying Millions for High Cost, High Risk, Inappropriately Prescribed Drugs" (PDF–87 KB) by Janet Currie, 2006.
"Effectiveness of Antipsychotic Drugs in Patients with Chronic Schizophrenia" — by Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., et al. Link to abstract of study of the relative effectiveness of second-generation (atypical) antipsychotic drugs as compared with that of older agents. The conclusion:
The majority of patients in each group discontinued their assigned treatment owing to inefficacy or intolerable side effects or for other reasons.
Public Information as a Marketing Tool
This report describes how pharmaceutical companies communicate information about diseases and conditions to the public. It provides an overview of the various methods used, and the impact that public information campaigns have.
Gezonde Scepsis (Healthy Scepticism) prepared this report at the request of the IGZ, the Dutch Public Health Inspectorate. The aim is to demonstrate how pharmaceutical companies use public information campaigns around diseases and conditions as a tool to market their medicines, and the effect that this has on the use of medicines.
To describe how the various methods are practised and which parties are involved in the process, several case studies have been used as examples: restless legs syndrome, heartburn, overactive bladder and flatulence. Additionally, a literature review has been conducted with regard to relevant laws and regulations, and the effects of public information campaigns.
Miscellaneous Articles & Reports
"Hyperthermia and Heat Stroke: Heat-Related Conditions" (PDF–2.45 MB) — by Joseph Rampulla. Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program manual The Health Care of Homeless Persons. Includes a section about medications (including some tricyclic anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and lihium) that affect the body's ability to deal with heat, causing many severe health effects up to and including heart failure.
"Bitter Pills" — review by E. Jane Garland (Clinical Professor Psychiatry, University of British Columbia) of "Medicines out of Control? Antidepressants and the Conspiracy of Goodwill" by Charles Medawar and Anita Hardon. Canadian Medical Association Journal, Nov. 23, 2004.
"Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies" — Public Library of Science Journal, May 2005.