Antidepressant prescribing soars

More than 31 million prescriptions for drugs such as Prozac were issued in 2006 - a 6% rise on the year before.

The figures come as two studies showed “startling” benefits of country walks in people with depression.

Mind, the charity that reported the findings, said GPs should consider “ecotherapy” as a valid alternative.

The National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence issued guidance in 2004 recommending that antidepressants should not be used as first-line therapy for mild to moderate depression.

Instead patients should be offered guided self-help and psychological therapies in the first instance.

But figures from the Information Centre indicate the number of prescriptions for antidepressants are still on the rise.

In particular prescriptions for a group of drugs known as SSRIs, which include Prozac, rose by 10% last year from 14.7m to 16.2m.

There have been fears that the drugs are linked to suicidal thoughts and self-harm in some cases.

In 2003, experts said SSRI antidepressants should not be given to teenagers after experts’ concerns they made some patients suicidal.

However, Prozac is still recommended for under-18s, as it is thought that the benefits of taking this particular drug outweigh any potential risk, but only for those with severe depression.


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Are you using Anemia drugs? A warning if you are!

by Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

A major health alert has been issued on a class of drugs that treats anemia. The drugs, known as erythropoiesis stimulating agents, cause fatal cancers and heart problems.

In an earlier study that involved 1,432 patients, 222 suffered heart problems, some of which were fatal.

America’s drugs watchdog, the Food and Drug Administration, has issued a federal alert about the drugs, and will review their continued availability at a meeting next month. In the meantime, the FDA is advising doctors to keep dosages low.

These drugs are big business. In 2002, the latest year when figures are available, global sales had reached $8.1bn (£4.2bn), an increase of 18 per cent on the previous year.

The drugs are routinely given to patients who are anemic following chronic renal failure, cancer, chemotherapy treatment, or HIV and AIDS.

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Vitamin D and Cancer

by Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

One of our customers sent me an interesting news item on Vitamin D which talks about the link which Vitamin D has with Cancer prevention. I was pretty happy to get it because it strongly reinforces what I have been saying about how dangerous it is to avoid the sun like the authorities would have you do.

Part of the article focuses on the difficulty of getting enough sun if you live in the upper latitudes. There is no doubt that this can be a problem for those folk living in the extreme northern latitudes. However, don’t underestimate just how much benefit even a small amount of direct exposure to the sun can have on your production of Vitamin D!

You would have to take mega doses of Vitamin D to come even close as to what you get when you expose yourself to the sun…and mega doses of any Vitamin is not healthy.

However, having said that…if you live in the high latitudes and you don’t spend much time outdoors then you would be advised to take an additional Vitamin D supplement in moderate amounts.

Here is the article:


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FDA expands antidepressant warning to young adults

WASHINGTON (AP) — Young adults beginning treatment with any antidepressant should be warned about an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior associated with the drugs, health officials said Wednesday.

The Food and Drug Administration proposed labeling changes that would expand a so-called “black box” warning now on all antidepressants. It would broaden the severe warning’s current language, which applies only to children and adolescents, to include adults 18-24 during the first month or two of treatment with the drugs, the FDA said.

Eli Lilly and Co., the maker of Prozac, Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer Inc. and other pharmaceutical companies said they would comply with the FDA’s request.

“We believe this step will help ensure that the millions of people with depression who are young adults age 24 and under and their families can make informed treatment decisions while minimizing the fear and stigma associated with depression,” Eli Lilly said in a statement.

Pfizer spokeswoman Shreya Prudlo said the company would update its label, which she said already calls for close monitoring of patients when they begin taking Zoloft. She added, however, “There is no established causal link between Zoloft and suicide in adults, young adults or children.”


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Busting modern medical myths

By Martin Hutchinson

In the early days of medicine, physicians might diagnose patients using bumps on their head, or dispense a couple of leeches to draw off “ill humours”.

Yet a medieval doctor might give a more confident response than his modern equivalent if a patient asked for the evidence to support their treatment.

These days, it seems many of our “tried and tested” approaches to disease are nothing of the kind.

Researchers writing recently in the British Journal of Surgery concluded the practice of daubing patients with a disinfectant skin gel prior to operations made little or no difference to the rate of infections they suffered afterwards. Simple soap and water was just as effective.

However, despite this, it’s more than likely that, in future, waking up after your operation in many British hospitals, you’ll have that tell-tale orange stain around your wound. You’ll have been given a treatment that doesn’t work.

This isn’t a single example. Many techniques in common use today don’t have cast-iron evidence that they do any good. In some cases, firm evidence suggests the opposite is true.

‘Surprisingly low’


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Mercury in vaccines. Is it safe?

by Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

Well, some people seem to think so, or, are there vested interests applying influence? A bill which would have lowered the amount of mercury in vaccines in the state of Arkansas and provide greater awareness of the mercury content of vaccines to pregnant women didn’t make it past a Senate committee last week.

The committee obviously managed to convince themselves that the mercury posed no dangers. I find this pretty amazing. In fact, I find it amazing that anyone can still support the use of mercury in vaccines when there is so much evidence suggesting the dangers that mercury pose to human health.

Even more amazing when you consider that mercury is not needed to make a vaccine. I really wonder what sort of unfeeling ‘robots’ direct the companies who continue to use mercury as a preservative in vaccine.

Below is an article about this on the Arkansas New Bureau

Committee rejects bill to reduce mercury in vaccinations

Tuesday, Mar 27, 2007

By John Lyon Arkansas News Bureau

LITTLE ROCK - A bill to reduce mercury levels in vaccinations and require written consent before children or pregnant women could receive vaccinations containing mercury failed to get out of a Senate committee Monday.


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Prevent Cancer, Use Olive Oil

Science Daily � If you want to avoid developing cancer, then you might want to add eating more olive oil to your list of New Year’s resolutions. In a study to be published in the January 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists from five European countries describe how the anti-cancer effects of olive oil may account for the significant difference in cancer rates among Northern and Southern Europeans.

The authors drew this conclusion based on the outcomes of volunteers from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, and Spain, who consumed 25 milliliters (a little less than a quarter cup) of olive oil every day for three weeks. During this time, the researchers examined urine samples of the subjects for specific compounds known to be waste by-products of oxidative damage to cells, a precursor to cancer. At the beginning of the trial, the presence of these waste by-products was much higher in Northern European subjects than their Southern European counterparts. By the end of three weeks, however, the presence of this compound in Northern European subjects was substantially reduced.


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