Lost on the Sea of Medicine

Sea of Medicine

Modern Myths: Doctors and patients lost on the Sea of Medicine, an illustration for a story by Dr. David Healy.

“The clinics were different now to what they had been… The woman with burning hands, the mother with the autistic baby or the asexual son, were in the same place as her — no-one wanted to know them. Was there any way to unite all these people, each marooned on their own island, this new Archipelago of the Shipwrecked?”

Read Dr. David Healy’s full story: “Crusoe, we say, Was Rescued“.

The Miracle of the Chemical Cure

The Miracle of the Chemical Cure

Modern Myths: A trip back to the founding of the Church of Psycho-pharmacology, an illustration for a story by Dr. David Healy.

In 1957, interested in the fuss surrounding the new tranquilizers, she [Crusoe] dropped in to a World Congress of Psychiatry Meeting being held that year in Zurich. There was an extraordinary buzz — the excitement surrounding the discovery of chlorpromazine was growing not fading. It really did seem like a cure for schizophrenia or the harbinger of a cure that would arrive any day now.

The meeting was full of chatter about the next wonder drug about to appear and what it all meant…

It was openly accepted that the new College had been created by Sandoz, who had convened the Supper in Zurich. One delegate even joked that Sandoz’s boss, Rothlin, the President of the College, was the head of a new religion – a Pope. Rothlin though was a businessman – well maybe that’s what Pope’s were. Not someone anyone thought was likely to have had LSD himself.

Sandoz and other companies bankrolled the meeting, paid for the delegates to be there, paid for the delegates to be there, and put on the coaches that took them from Rome to Castel Gandolfo.”

Read Dr. David Healy’s full story: “Castel Gandolfo“.

Is There Life After Meds?

Is There Life After Meds?

After 20 years on antidepressants, is it possible to become drug-free? Psychiatric drug withdrawal symptoms — like burning feet, akathisia and emotional hypersensitivity — are daunting, but recovery is possible as shown by this story of one woman’s path (Katie B-T) to redemption.

“After 20 years on antidepressants, I decided I wanted to taper off. It was important for me to see what life was like without them and if I could claim more of my sexuality. I had no idea what I was in store for….

“I started SSRI’s when I was 12 years old. I haven’t gotten to try out and experiment with what I like and don’t like in relationships with the new feedback my body gives me. Some of my interpersonal dynamics related to my sexuality never got worked out because I didn’t know they existed. Now I have support to explore these concerns in therapy, playing catch-up, but knowing that I won’t have to go through life missing out on this important part of myself.”

Read the full story by Katie B-T on RxISK.org: Girl on a Hot Tin Roof

I Don’t Belong In a Nursing Home

Teresa Pocock: I don't belong in a nursing home

I Don’t Belong in a Nursing Home. I have places to go. Things to do. People to meet.

Please sign Teresa Pocock’s petition

With the stroke of a pen, Teresa Pocock’s human right to decide where she lives was wrongly taken away.

In a heart-breaking move, Teresa, my sister-in-law who has Down syndrome, was forced against her will into an old-age nursing home, by the Toronto Central CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) and two of my siblings. Four days later, she was rescued by my 91-year old father who was “adamant” he did not want his daughter living in a nursing home. But then the nursing home called the police, in a shockingly callous and bizarre effort to force her back.

Teresa is demanding an apology from these two institutions, the CCAC and the Rekai Centre. This is a sorry mess. Her records show that the crisis list was manipulated to get Teresa to the very top, and placed in the nursing home. Her profile contained false information which made her appear to need 24/7 care. See the presentation I made with Teresa, to the Ontario Government’s Select Committee:

Teresa’s story: Crisis, Capacity and Courage

On July 22, 2014, the Ontario Government’s Select Committee published their final report. It states: “Long-term care homes are pressured to accommodate young and middle-aged people with developmental disabilities without any medical need for this type of care or any training to support this group of clients.”

By signing this petition you can help Teresa get an apology for the harm done to her. Teresa is asking the CCAC to apologize for wrongly taking away her human right to decide where she lives. Teresa is asking the Rekai Centre to apologize for calling the police in a completely unnecessary, intimidating and callous attempt to force her back into their institution.

Over three months ago we filed a 12-page complaint with the Ontario Ministry of Health. We have only heard they are “inspecting” the matter.

We need a full apology from both institutions because this is not just about one person — it’s about standing up for and protecting the human rights of all people with disabilities.

Please sign Teresa Pocock’s petition demanding an apology from the CCAC and Rekai Centre at Change.org.

Thank you.

I Love My Human Rights

Teresa Pocock: I Love My Human Rights

Teresa Pocock: I love my human rights. Please don’t take them away just because I have Down syndrome.

Please sign Teresa Pocock’s petition demanding an apology from the CCAC and Rekai Centre at Change.org.

Human Rights Should Never Be Disabled

Teresa Pocock:Human Rights Should Never Be Disabled

Teresa Pocock is my 49-year old sister-in-law. She has Down syndrome and she is now living with Franke James and myself.

Forced into a Nursing Home at age 49

On November 27, 2013, at the age of 49, Teresa was forced into a nursing home against her wishes and against the wishes of her father. Four days later, Teresa’s father went to the nursing home, and as her Senior Power of Attorney signed the paperwork to have her discharged, and Teresa returned home.

Police Were Called to Force Teresa’s Return

But the police were called to force Teresa’s return to the nursing home. Luckily the police decided that Teresa was safe living with us.

Petition for an Apology

On World Down Syndrome Day, March 21st, we launched a petition asking the CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) and the Rekai Center to apologize for the harm they caused Teresa. Specifically Teresa is asking the CCAC to apologize for improperly taking away her human right to decide where she lives. She is asking the Rekai Centre to apologize for calling the police to force her back into their long-term care home.

Watch Teresa’s petition video:

CCAC Apologizes

On March 23, 2014, CCAC CEO responded to the petition and offered her apology. Teresa called it “beautiful”. See: Toronto Central CCAC Apologizes to Teresa

Rekai Centre Ignores Teresa’s Request

However, the Rekai Centre has still not apologized. The Rekai Centre CEO, Mary Hoare, has not responded in any way to Teresa’s petition. Are they trying to ignore Teresa? Hoping that the problem will just go away?

Teresa’s human rights should never have been disabled.

That is why we need more people to sign her petition, and demand an apology from the Rekai Centre.

Please sign: Teresa’s Petition at Change.org.

To learn more about Teresa, please visit: www.teresapocock.com

No Sex Please! (We’re on Antidepressants)

No Sex Please! (We're on antidepressants)

Antidepressants = Sexual Side Effects

One pill makes you smaller.1
One pill makes you stall.2
And the ones your doctor gives you
Make you feel nothing at all.3
Just numbness4 and dumbness5 in bed.
Remember what your lover said,
“Lose your meds. Save our bed.
Save our bed.”

Antidepressant (SSRI) Sexual Side Effects:

  1. Erectile Dysfunction
  2. Anorgasmia
  3. Diminished Libido
  4. Genital Numbness
  5. Pleasureless Orgasm

Post Antidepressant (SSRI) Sexual Side Effects:
Symptoms of sexual dysfunction may persist years after quitting SSRIs, resulting in the complete loss of genital sensation.

SSRI Meds linked to Sexual Dysfunction: Lexapro, Cipralex, Cipramil, Paxil, Seroxat, Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft.

For more information of SSRI and Sexual Dysfunction see these stories by Dr. David Healy and the team at RxISK.org

Illustration: No Sex Please! (We’re on antidepressants). Based on 17th Century Kama Sutra and Ragamala paintings. © 2014 created by Billiam James.

The Heart of Medicine

Heart of Medicine

The heart of medicine… Is it the caring concern of one person for another? It is detached statistical analysis? Is it motivated by love? Or driven by greed?

Read Dr. David Healy’s parable about about a sister and a brother, and the winter and summer of medicine… The Snow Queen

Illustration: The Heart of Medicine, © 2013 created by Billiam James. Based on original painting on Sacred Heart of Jesus with Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Louis Gonzaga, circa 1770, José de Páez, Mexico, 1727-1790

Fear of Falling: A True Story about Osteoporosis Meds


When your doctor spends more time looking at your charts, than looking at you… You might wonder about their recommendations, especially if it’s medicated prevention strategy based on a statistical probability, like the way the health care system treats osteoporosis.

For example, if your bone-density is falls within certain guidelines, your doctor will automatically prescribe medication (in order to reduce his/her liability) for the rest of your life. Theoretically this will reduce your risk ofhaving a fracture, but the meds certainly come with a host of bad side effects, which may outweigh the benefits…

Here’s a story about one woman who decided not to surrender to her doctor’s fears.

My first bone-density scan… and now I have a label: Osteoporosis.

The primary care physician kept me waiting for 40 minutes after the time of the scheduled appointment. When she came into the office she sat down in front of a monitor and said nothing while she brought up my records. Then she spun the monitor around so I could see it. Displayed on the computer screen was my risk of osteoporotic spinal fracture – 12.4% – and hip fracture – 2.4%.

I was flustered and did not think to ask exactly how this risk is calculated and what it represents.

While I accept that I am at a higher risk of fracture than a young adult woman, I still feel my risk of fracture is not great and I don’t appreciate being made to feel fearful of my risk – or at least unduly fearful. I do not want to compromise other quality of life factors because of some very small risk of spinal or hip fractures.

She went into the risk of death from hip fractures. Yes, I am aware that a hip fracture is often the beginning of a downward spiral to death but this just doesn’t seem like the place where I am now in my life, while the risk of stomach upsets, oesophagus damage, and/or general malaise from a biphosponate seems much more immediate to say nothing of an increase in a risk of fractures in the extremities from this class of drug.

Read the full story on RxISK.org: Fragile Doctors

Illustration: Fear of Falling, © 2013 created by Billiam James

What’s at Stake?

What's at Stake with Humira?

Drug companies maximize the sales of new drugs by hyping their benefits while downplaying significant risks. In 2010 the European Medicines Agency began releasing patient-level data from the clinical trials used to approve new medicines in Europe – a development hailed by American, and European researchers and researchers around the world as a major step towards drug safety.

This process has been shut down by a lawsuit taken by two American corporations – AbbVie, makers of Humira, the number one selling medication in the world with projected sales of $10 billion in 2013; and InterMune, whose pulmonary-fibrosis drug Esbriet has recently been approved in Europe at a cost of over $40,000 per year.

Sign the petition here: Let us see Drug Data! Drug hazards are not “trade secrets”!

Read Dr. David Healy’s post here: Letter to Stacy London

The posters are being translated into many languages including French, Dutch, Hindi, Kannada, Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, and German as part of RxISK‘s world-wide campaign for open data on pharmaceutical research and drug safety trials.



Yes, “death” is a possible side effect

Yes, "death" is a possible side effect

Humira is a monoclonal antibody – one of the new biological agents that acts on the immune system. Its side effects can be so nasty it has a black box warning on it.

Despite this, it’s on its way to becoming the best-selling drug of all time. You don’t get to be a best-seller on this scale without pushing the marketing envelope way beyond those who are seriously enough ill to warrant taking risks with a dangerous drug. Without running a marketing campaign that is to old-style drug marketing as a HumVie is to one of the smaller European cars.

The company have already been warned by the FDA for promoting Humira for milder conditions and misleading about its safety. The marketing includes many emotive messages – with images suggesting children are repelled by a single patch of psoriasis.

See more at: Stacy London: What not to Take by Dr David Healy


Humira: Half-Truths

“There are many of us with bad Rheumatoid Arthritis or Crohn’s Disease who would gladly take these risks, especially if the drug produced a real benefit. We might be much less inclined to do for milder conditions. But in all cases the trade-off should be ours.

Ideally we should be helped by our doctors and pharmacists, but doctors and pharmacists who truly know what the problems can be. When AbbVie hide their clinical trial data, they make anyone who was involved in a clinical trial of their drug or a doctor prescribing it or pharmacist dispensing it into a potential accomplice to injury and perhaps homicide because the missing data is used to argue that ‘we’ve done trials and look there is no risk’.”

See full post: Lets do the AbbVie again by Dr. David Healy

Diabetes Type 2: Sweet Lies


“High blood sugars won’t kill rapidly like diabetes does. Very severely raised blood sugars over a prolonged period can raise the risk of heart attacks or strokes just as very high blood pressure or cholesterol levels can in some people. Very severely raised blood sugars can lead to thirst, hunger and infections but very few people with type 2 diabetes experience this. For most people type 2 diabetes is a disease of numbers not of symptoms. For most people there is no good evidence that treating these numbers with the latest diabetes drug improves health.”

See Full Article: Great White Lies by Dr. Dee Mangin

And you thought high blood-sugar was dangerous…


And you thought high blood-sugar was dangerous… Meds for Diabetes Type 2: Reduce your blood-sugar levels and life expectancy. There have been over 83,000 Heart Attack Deaths from Avandia.

For more info see Dr. David Healy’s post: Swimming with Great Whites? If you’ve got “Diabetes” look away now.