Zoloft Found Safe, Effective in Children
August 26, 2003 2:42 PM   Subscribe

Zoloft Found Safe, Effective in Children The study was funded by Pfizer Inc., which makes Zoloft. Visit The International Coalition For Drug Awareness to find out what SSRI Meds can really do to your kids...
posted by Wicker (53 comments total)
Visit The International Coalition For Drug Awareness to find out what SSRI Meds can really do to your kids...

Yes, they clearly have no agenda. As someone who's currently taking an SSRI, and thanks the good lord for it, I find the fear mongering on the ICDA site laughable.
posted by pardonyou? at 3:01 PM on August 26, 2003

posted by Akuinnen at 3:02 PM on August 26, 2003


According to sources on Google ICDA is a Scientology front.
posted by Akuinnen at 3:08 PM on August 26, 2003

I'm a manic-depressive with many personality flaws. I took Prozac during the 7th and 8th grades, and stopped taking it the summer of 8th grade.

Did it "change my personality?" If you count failing all my classes, writing 50 pages longhand one night about some paranoid delusion and forgetting that I'd even written it until years after the meds stopped, and flirting with suspension and expulsion seven times in a year "a change in personality," yes.

On the plus side, I felt up the breasts of two twin girls (in seperate incidents) who later dropped out of high school and now do television commercials for a brand of hair dye.

Moral of the story: Though both the sites above have their own agendas, I'd recommend keeping mind-altering substances of all kinds out of the hands of children unless they're completely unable to funcion in society.
posted by Veritron at 3:15 PM on August 26, 2003

Isn't Pfizer a Zoloft front. Just to clear things up I didn't know that and I am not with the Scientology camp. A family member asked me to research Effexor. I found the good the bad and the ugly. She checked herself into a hospital suffering many of the same side effect....
posted by Wicker at 3:18 PM on August 26, 2003

Umm... I think Pfizer *makes* Prozac or Zoloft or one of those SSRIs. So, yeah, they do have a vested interest in a study such as the one in the first link.
posted by Veritron at 3:20 PM on August 26, 2003

I did a clinical trial of my behavioral modification plan "Shut the Fuck Up or I'll Slap You" on children earlier this year. The results were stunning! 99.9% of subjects exhibited less depression, more attention, and increased intelligence. Where are MY millions Pfizer?
posted by zekinskia at 3:20 PM on August 26, 2003

I'm bipolar. I took zoloft for almost a year and felt really great. Too great, but at least I was functioning well till it pooped out. The only problem with ssris is that bipolars shouldn't take them without a mood stabilizer to go with them. Which is probably what happened with Veritron. This is why in my opinion only psychiatrists, not family docs, should prescribe them.

Yes, these drugs are powerful, but they are lifesaving in many circumstances. Scientology has an agenda, and is against any sort of psychiatric medication. They are known to try to post to bipolar forums to try to push their agendas, and usually by deception.

Anyone who was on this forum back in early 2002 has proof of how well proper medications work.
posted by konolia at 3:35 PM on August 26, 2003

Wicker, effexor is a drug I would tend to avoid, mostly because it is notorious for being hard to wean off of. I've never been on it, but I know people who have. There are tons of other meds I would try first.
posted by konolia at 3:37 PM on August 26, 2003

You do realize that most drug studies are funded by companies with a financial interest in the drugs, right? It's not a perfect system, but the papers are reviewed and the results are publicly available; unless you have a bright idea for how else to fund such studies (or are willing to spend the millions yourself), I don't see the point in focusing on this aspect. Either the drug is effective or it's not; who paid for the study is not that big an issue.
posted by languagehat at 3:42 PM on August 26, 2003

who paid for the study is not that big an issue.

yeah. right.
posted by quonsar at 4:02 PM on August 26, 2003

I don't mean it's not a serious issue in terms of public policy, and as I said, it's not ideal, but in terms of this post (Hey, Pfizer funded it! [therefore it must be bullshit]) I think it's being exaggerated. But hey, if you want to spend the quonsar fortune on comparative studies, be my guest!
posted by languagehat at 4:07 PM on August 26, 2003

Unless you have a bright idea for how else to fund such studies...

Hmm. What does the "F" in FDA stand for?

Either the drug is effective or it's not; who paid for the study is not that big an issue.

languagehat, you're on my short list of mefi smarties, (really!) but this conflict of interest issue is pretty basic. I'll leave it to the researchers among us to educate you about the very interpretive world of clinical research.
posted by squirrel at 4:09 PM on August 26, 2003

I got perscribed Prozac by a psychiatrist, not a family doctor. I was on 20 mg (or whatever units they were) for six months, then dropped down to 10 mg for six months. That's not much at all, and I was completely unaware how insane I really was during that time until I skimmed that 50 page missive.
posted by Veritron at 4:32 PM on August 26, 2003

Yes, Pfizer paid for the study. But if you read it, the details are very much there and up for anyone to debunk them. So rather than attacking the company who funded the study-- which yes, is at first glance suspicious-- attack instead the actual foundation and scientific aspects of the study. That would be much more useful and demonstrate, if they exist, any flaws in the actual study itself.

Oh, and zekinskia-- Best. Comment. Ever.
posted by xmutex at 4:40 PM on August 26, 2003

Money for studies is often hard to come by (the "F" in FDA sure doesn't stand for funding). The fact that the study was paid for by Pfizer is important and should be taken into consideration, but it does not mean the study should be dismissed out of hand. The backers, the experience and reputations of the scientists carrying out the study, the statistical methods used, and the repeatability of the study are all important. This was peer-reviewed and published in a well-respected journal, which I think should somewhat ease the skepticism inspired by having Pfizer's name attached to it.

Also, the Ten Commandments bear is freaky.
posted by stefanie at 4:41 PM on August 26, 2003

What does the "F" in FDA stand for?

posted by birdherder at 4:45 PM on August 26, 2003

Zoloft Found Safe, Effective in Children

because after all, there are so many depressed children in the world.
posted by quonsar at 5:13 PM on August 26, 2003

I got perscribed Prozac by a psychiatrist, not a family doctor

Did he know you were bipolar? If not, he obviously wasn't following up on you like he should. If he did know, he needs to lose his license.

I hope you are doing well now.
posted by konolia at 5:25 PM on August 26, 2003

That would be much more useful and demonstrate, if they exist, any flaws in the actual study itself.

I see your point, xmutex... but some people consider such a dubious funding model as a flaw of the non-starter variety: the structural flaw of dubious funding precludes the need to analyze further.

Birdherder, you made me laugh out loud. Next time I'll make my point directly and can the rhetorical queries. I meant that the feds should pay.
posted by squirrel at 5:27 PM on August 26, 2003

Hi, I'm a mental patient. Please partake of my expert medical advice. And do ignore that from people who have degrees from schools and have amazingly avoided incarceration.
posted by paleocon at 6:30 PM on August 26, 2003

Wow Paleocon, that was just a little over the top, doncha think? The fact is, studies or no studies, the people who take the drugs are the only ones who can reliably report how the drugs work for *them*. These experiences and anecdotal reports are important because they happen outside of the controlled environment...and show how the drugs are actually being prescribed and used. There are lots of recorded cases of prozac and psychosis. It's on the package insert as a warning, for goodness sake. But, the studies proving psychosis was a potential side effect weren't started until after enough anecdotal evidence demanded it.

There really was no call for your snarky attack on the people sharing their experiences.
posted by dejah420 at 6:44 PM on August 26, 2003

Paleocon, that is rude and patronizing.

My doctor is always interested in what the bipolar forum I frequent has to say, especially on some of the newer meds. We aren't raving lunatics.

As a matter, go google Kay Redfield Jamison. Eminent researcher and nationally known expert on bipolar. One of the authors of the main textbook on the disease.

And a classic Type 1 Bipolar herself.
posted by konolia at 6:46 PM on August 26, 2003

Speaking as someone who was very seriously depressed as a child, I'm glad that these drugs weren't around, or at least it hadn't occurred to anyone to prescribe them to kids. Being seriously depressed was an agonizing experience but its causes were within me, and I'm very glad I learned to deal with it while I had the growing and flexible brain of a child. If the problem had been masked with drugs -- assuming, that is, that they would have worked -- then I never would have learned to deal with it: I never would have developed the strength and inner resources and the self-knowledge that enabled me to cope with, understand and eventually overcome a tendency to depression., and would probably be an immeasurably weaker, needier and more helpless person than I became. Thank god these fucking drugs weren't around.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:48 PM on August 26, 2003

Thank you, xmutex and stephanie. And xmutex, can I ask how you pronounce xmutex? I just can't stand not knowing how to pronounce things...
posted by languagehat at 7:50 PM on August 26, 2003

[ZMYOO-teks], I'll wager. What about XQUZYPHYR? (/derail)
posted by squirrel at 8:03 PM on August 26, 2003

damn, i have to agree with zekinskia. that was beautiful *sniffle*
posted by shadow45 at 8:07 PM on August 26, 2003

thank you all for the discussion. George_Spiggott I agree %110. I wore all black for two years. Happy to say I now wear all colors of the rainbow. Lucky for me my parents never ran across a drug pushing doctor.
posted by Wicker at 8:14 PM on August 26, 2003

We just had a "Are anti-depressants safe?" thread on the 9th. Lots of good stuff in there.
posted by skallas at 8:23 PM on August 26, 2003

>and would probably be an immeasurably weaker, needier and more helpless person than I became

How do you know that? You only experience one life and "whatever doesnt kill us makes us stronger" rhetoric isn't convincing and you really have no "control" to test against. Who's to say people without major depression aren't just as well off in those terms or that everyone faces the same experiences more or less and the outcome is a lot more dependant on just whether one had to deal with depression.
posted by skallas at 8:27 PM on August 26, 2003

"Research" by a drug company of its own drug should be taken with a grain of salt. Seek independent research to find out more about any drug.

The fact that there's a link to lawyers "specializing" in that type of litigation isn't unusual on it's own, except in this case it is featured quite prominently on the ICDA site. hmmmm, how convenient

For every company with healthy returns, there's a bloody line up of litigation "specialists" and "victims".

For every rock star, there's a line up of women wanting their babies also.

Call it the new gold rush of this century.

I don't think SSRI's should be taken solely. Taking them should include psychological or psychiatric therapy. Finding the right SSRI and doseage is as important as the right therapist [this includes the right GP [general practitioner] ]. People spend more time researching buying a pair of shoes than they do for a doctor.

As for coming off of SSRI's, again, quitting anything cold turkey is a big mountain climb. When it's your mind, a specialist should advise. It's up to the individual to get the right information.

Now, what about the many millions[?] that SSRI's have helped?

As for the Canadan [yep, sp., should be Canadian] Catholic Women's Group. How simple to get them on board eh? What experts. They do have a point, however, but I believe that the consumer should get all their facts before taking any drugs. They all have side effects. Hell, the acid [LSD] dealer gives everyone caution, "yo, watch it, this is heavy shit", I'm sure.

Have you seen the disclaimer the Pill has and what it isn't reponsible for? Talk about covering your bases. It just screams "can't sue me, can't sue me, so there."

languagehat, who paid for the study IS a big issue. Can't find a link yet, but have you heard of the Dr. Nancy Olivera and the Toronto General Hospital issue? In short, a big drug company finances the hospital to do research on a kids' drug for a certain condition. Dr. Olivera heading up the study stands up and says what the drug company doesn't want to hear. Bad news. Big shit storm ensues. Her colleagues ostracize her. Much later, she's forgiven, but the stain remains. Just a good 'ole girl she wasn't going to be.

Zekinskia, you've been watching too much "Trailer Park Boys"! That was brill!
posted by alicesshoe at 8:30 PM on August 26, 2003

George-spiggot, I'm glad you are doing okay. Glad that you weren't a statistic. You are blessed to be alive.

There are lots of bereaved parents out there who lost a child to depression. Some committed suicide. Some self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. Some simply didn't fulfill their potential.

You cannot extrapolate your solution to everyone else. Biochemical brain diseases do not respond to the power of positive thinking. Not all depression is biochemical-but the kind that is can kill you. A friend on my forum just lost another friend to suicide a couple of days ago. So, not to be rude, but spare me the bootstrap speech.
posted by konolia at 8:35 PM on August 26, 2003

Happy to say I now wear all colors of the rainbow

So do I. Doesn't mean I feel good all the time.
posted by konolia at 8:39 PM on August 26, 2003

Zoloft Found Safe, Effective in Children

A side effect common to SSRIs is reduced libido--now, tell the truth,
is that what you want for your kids?


Actually, my doctor tells me that in those cases of loss of interest, wellbutrin is commonly prescribed along with the SSRI, on account it seems to have the opposite effect for some people. It's the cases of grownups I'm talking about here, you understand.
posted by y2karl at 8:47 PM on August 26, 2003

You cannot extrapolate your solution to everyone else.

No, and I didn't.

Biochemical brain diseases do not respond to the power of positive thinking.

I said nothing about the power of positive thinking, either. Oh, and I'm not persuaded that depression is invariably caused by a physiological disorder, but I'm not a neurochemist so I won't actually argue the point.

So, not to be rude, but spare me the bootstrap speech.

Why? Is it improper or offensive to describe one's experience and perspective if it doesn't agree with yours?

I just can't help wondering what percentage of parents have taken the time, be it days, months or years, to actually try to understand, and help their child to understand, what's happening to him or her before taking this step. I have no doubt that some do. But I wonder how many? And conversely, how many, when confronted with two doctors; one who suggests that they examine themselves, their lives, their parenting and their child's experences, and one who offers pills, how many go straight for the second doctor because it's easier? Easier than understanding, easier than possibly even looking in the mirror.

I've no reason to doubt that biological problems are the cause of childhood depression in some cases. But what about when it's not?
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:26 PM on August 26, 2003

SSRI's are also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. I can assure you that examining one's parents' lives doesn't help when you can't stop envisioning something like throwing yourself under a train over and over again.

Sometimes I forget how bad it was, and then I'll remember something insignificant, like how I don't have any good records from high school - because I thought that any music that wasn't relentlessly upbeat would trigger more disturbing thoughts. Or why, since childhood, I've always picked the hotel room bed closer to the door - because it's further from the window.
posted by transona5 at 9:41 PM on August 26, 2003

George: My own parents tried very hard to help me understand the nature of my problem (severe type I bipolar, rapid-cycling) as a teen. They held off on the pills and instead went for therapy with a few different psychologists (I had a tendency to alienate them) for the first two years.

The results were nothing short of devastating to my mid-teen years. Thankfully there were always academics to sink myself into, because after a year not one of my friends was speaking to me.

After the second year of this we went in to a psychiatrist - fully knowing that my symptoms were bipolar in nature, and that I have a very, very strong family history for the disorder, he prescribed Celexa (sp?), a Prozac-alike SSRI for me. 24 hours later I had my first and thankfully only fully blown psychotic episode. Interactive hallucinations of demons flying screaming out of the blood-covered walls to tear open my intestines, later talking to people who weren't there - all while I was shrieking in terror at the top of my lungs. Not an experience I care to repeat, thank you, though the resulting nervous breakdown (I stopped taking the pill after the second dose) resulted in my interest in philosophy, so some good came of it. I'd still be deeply tied to religion if I hadn't been freed to start questioning my beliefs.

Went back to that same doctor, stupidly, he claimed honest mistake and us not being the type of people to sue, let him write out a script for Neurontin. Neurontin was then considered to be a new wonder-drug being pushed on every psychiatrist by Pfizer for just about every ailment, especially bipolar, using doctors of geology and the lock so that the psychiatrists would hear 'doctor so-and-so' out. These tactics, and the drug Gabapentin itself (Neurontin is the brand) are now the subject of a major class-action lawsuit against Pfizer because the drug does nothing.

For three years I was on Neurontin, steadily increasing my dosage until by golly it DID have an effect by simply doping me up to the point where I could no longer think straight. Only last year, with the help of a psychiatrist who was himself a bipolar, have I gotten on any 'real' medication. Not only does Neurontin have no effect outside of simply doping the patient stupid at higher dosages, it costs $150/month (or more) for an average patient's month's supply, and is about as much fun to get off of as heroin (not speaking from experience, but my girl has seen plenty of junkie friends try to quit firsthand).

The point? Sometimes both not going for pills, and going for pills, can be completely @#&*ing stupid. I've lived through pretty nasty extremes of both cases over the first five of the past six years, and the best advice I can give you is to research, research, and research some more. Pay attention to massive bodies of anecdotal evidence, too. When you walk into that appointment you should know more about the drugs you are taking than your doctor. For bipolars in particular there is no excuse not to be so - your disorder gives you inherent IQ advantage.

And above all else, heh, avoid Paxil for the love of God. Lost way, way too many friends to that drug.
posted by Ryvar at 10:06 PM on August 26, 2003

demons flying screaming out of the blood-covered walls to tear open my intestines, later talking to people who weren't there - all while I was shrieking in terror at the top of my lungs

god, i loved the late 60's.
posted by quonsar at 10:23 PM on August 26, 2003

What Ryvar said.

I myself went thru tons of talk therapy as a teenager and it was about as useful as teats on a boar hog. I don't use a therapist now, don't need one, altho I do have one on retainer should that change.

When you need meds, you need meds.
posted by konolia at 4:40 AM on August 27, 2003

A therapist on retainer. Wow.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:43 AM on August 27, 2003

I've suffered from depression for a long time and recently figured out I have Inattentive ADD (at age 32). I have been on and off of SSRI's and they weren't terribly effective for me, and the side effects were troublesome. Now I'm on Wellbutrin and it is wonderful! The depression and ADD are gone. The only side effect I had was insomnia, which my body adjusted to and now I sleep fine. My doctor doesn't even think I need to go off it it during pregnancy. It's bad for people who are prone to seizures, but I'd heartily recommend it for anyone who isn't. (I've got no affiliation with the people that make Wellbutrin, yadda yadda yadda. I'll be glad when the stuff goes generic, though.)
posted by Shoeburyness at 7:10 AM on August 27, 2003

Actually, my doctor tells me that in those cases of loss of interest, wellbutrin is commonly prescribed along with the SSRI, on account it seems to have the opposite effect for some people.

I switched from SSRIs to Wellbutrin and couldn't be happier. Well, I could, I'm still depressed, but I've lost weight and have easy, crazy-intense orgasms!
posted by rainbaby at 7:16 AM on August 27, 2003

squirrel: Thanks for the compliment, but I don't actually need to be educated "about the very interpretive world of clinical research"—I deal with these studies professionally every day. Listen up, everybody who so kindly wants to explain Corruption 101 to me: I was not saying there is no problem with manufacturer-funded drug research; when I said in my first comment "it's not a perfect system," I was nodding to the obvious possibilities for skewing and corruption. But in case you hadn't noticed, nothing in this world is perfect, up to and including our system for choosing a government. You can either take to the hills with your shotgun or work with the world you've got. Yes, it might be better if the government funded such research, but 1) it sure wouldn't be perfect (see the report on the shuttle disaster and NASA screwups), and 2) it ain't gonna happen, not in this era of slash-the-federal-budget and feed-big-business policies. So we have drug studies funded by people with a financial interest in the results. As I and others have said, as long as the studies are available to the public in peer-reviewed journals, you can judge the quality of the results for yourself. And don't forget that to a certain extent the bias is self-canceling, in that competitors fund competing studies, so if A's study introduces a bias towards A and against B, B's does the reverse. As with anything else, you have to use your head and not take "facts" on faith. (Newspapers, anyone?)

I wish people would read with a little more nuance around here. Everything's black or white. It reminds me of my brother: if I say "it was a pretty good movie, but the last fifteen minutes were predictable and some of the dialogue wasn't well written," he translates it into "you hated that movie." You're wrong! No, you're wrong!

Ryvar: That's an appalling story; I'm glad you came through it, and thanks for sharing your experiences.
posted by languagehat at 7:22 AM on August 27, 2003

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Paxil yet.

I took Paxil for about six months. At first it worked very well, but after two months I felt like I was no better off than before I started taking it. It also heavily interefered with my ability to focus on programming.

I'll emphasize one thing: the withdrawl was hell.

And now, about nine months since quitting, I'm not sure I'm back to the way I was before taking Paxil. I almost feel like it made some kind of permament change that has left me worse off than I was before I took it.

This is why I'm hesitant to ever try another drug of this class, which is a shame because for a few weeks after starting on the Paxil it seemed to do some great things for me.
posted by joquarky at 7:55 AM on August 27, 2003

i took prozac for several months but i didn't notice any change. so i stopped taking it, and didn't notice any change after i stopped. hardly the "life changer" drug for me.

i've also taken effexor (i'm actually coming off it as i type - this sunday will be the last day i take effexor) and had some success. Coming off effexor has actually been easier than the side effects when i started taking effexor, so my case doesn't seem to confirm the "effexor is hard to quit" bit. In addition, since we're talking about SSRI's, it should be noted that effexor is not an SSRI (Seratonin reuptake inhibitor, not sure what the other S is). Effexor affects seratonin production, yes, but it also affects the two other chemicals that regulate mood/energy: neophedrine & dopamine. I've found that i do not respond to any seratonin related drugs, but have profound reactions to drugs that regulate neophedrine & dopamine.

i've also taken welbutrin and lexapro at some point.

do i think that these drugs actually work? yes. but the "science" of brain chemistry is hardly known, and any of these drugs is more of a gamble than a cure. I'd recommend it only if it is the last resort.
posted by escher at 8:49 AM on August 27, 2003

Several people already mentioned Paxil. Why does no one read the thread?
posted by agregoli at 8:50 AM on August 27, 2003

A therapist on retainer. Wow.

I don't actually pay him on standby-we have a deal whereby I go see him if I have an issue or problem to work out. He's also a bipolar. I subscribe to the theory that it takes one to know one.

Back talking about SSRIs- it IS true that they change one's brain chemistry. I think that is why people with latent bipolar who are triggered into mania or hypomania by the meds usually have to continue treatment of some sort.

Please understand that I don't advocate these meds be taken like candy-but if they are needed and monitored appropriately-like any other drug-they are quite useful.
posted by konolia at 10:05 AM on August 27, 2003

I'm torn about the idea of medicating children for depression, not because I wasn't depressed as a child (it hit when I was 8, I still have my school notebooks with my confused attempts to make sense out of what was happening to me scribbled in the margins in the form of drawings of horses in elaborate cages), but because the depression, the interiority, the preoccupation with feeling became intimately bound up with who I was and who I became, and because I found a way out in reading. And I got pretty tired of the intense and intensely introverted happiness I found in books being pathologized, and of being strong-armed into going to other kid's birthday parties, and the overwhelming expectations of sociability.

Of course, as an adult, I now know how disconcerting a withdrawn, silent child is to the adults who are charged with taking care of her (my 14 year old niece is just the same, and everyone worries about her, and yes, she's on an SSRI). But if there had been Zoloft back in the 1960s, I probably would have been prescribed it, and would perhaps have lost what became most precious to me and which became part of my core self--the inner world of books and reading and music. Today I cheerfully down my pills because I have to function in what people blithely call the "real world", and because I'm a better person for doing so. But speaking for myself, I'm glad that I wasn't medicated back then (until I stumbled upon pot when I was 14, but that's another story....)
posted by jokeefe at 11:52 AM on August 27, 2003

Jokeefe, that's the eternal razor I dance on. To be medicated enough to function without being either suicidal or a royal pain in the neck-and at the same time be medicated enough to do the creative stuff I do(I'm a songwriter among other things.)
The problem with treatment is that , a lot of time, to treat the bad things, you have to say farewell to the wonderful things. What a choice.
posted by konolia at 12:08 PM on August 27, 2003

Anyone who was on this forum back in early 2002 has proof of how well proper medications work.

posted by kaibutsu at 1:07 PM on August 27, 2003

Thanks to those who have shared their stories. Many of you seem very knowledgable--in both the book sense and in the experiential sense. Those of you who have a deeper understanding of bipolar, could you please post some resources? I have a potential case in my circle of friends, and he appears to be in deep denial, though he clearly suffers. Thanks again.
posted by squirrel at 1:10 PM on August 27, 2003


The best resource on the Internet as far as I am concerned. Forum, chat, and articles (TONS of articles) and resources.
posted by konolia at 1:23 PM on August 27, 2003

Kaibutsu, I had in mind something a little more personal than that.
posted by konolia at 1:37 PM on August 27, 2003

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