Tag Archives: drugs


for the mill. Obtained from various web locations.

Concerning Premature death associated with bipolar disorder



Evidence of premature death for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder comes from a study published in Psychiatric Services (abstract available). This study adds to previous warnings discussing risk factors contributing to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. The authors reviewed 17 published studies (between 1959 and 2007) involving more than 330,000 people.

October 20, 2008

Antipsychotic meds and heart disease



An NIMH study (n=1125) comparing antipsychotic medications and cardiac heart disease found the “risk for CHD differed significantly among the medications.” Risk, marked by elevated cholesterol, was highest for those taking olanzapine (Zyprexa, Zydis) and quetiapine (Seroquel). A decreased risk was noted for those taking risperidone (Risperdal) and ziprasidone (Geodon). Cardiovascular disease is a contributing factor to the shorter life span of people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

January 16, 2009

Sudden death associated with anti-psychotic drugs

Researchers from Vanderbilt University say the rate of sudden cardiac death is twice as high (29 versus 14 per 10,000) for people taking anti-psychotic medication than for those who aren’t. Based on analysis of 15 years of Medicaid data from Tennessee, authors of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/360/3/225) conclude that despite expectations that they differed, first and second generation anti-psychotic drugs have similar, dose-related risks.

March 29, 2007

Medication choices for treating bipolar

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study (N=366) appearing in the on-line New England Journal of Medicine reports that, as an adjunct to mood stabilizers, anti-depressants added no more benefit than a placebo to people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Work was conducted by a consortium of medical schools in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD), sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health.




Premature Mortality From General Medical Illnesses Among Persons With Bipolar Disorder: A Review

Babak Roshanaei-Moghaddam, M.D. and Wayne Katon, M.D.

The authors are affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle. Send correspondence to Dr. Katon at Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Services, BB-1661 University Hospital, Box 356560, Seattle, WA 98195 (e-mail: wkaton@u.washington.edu).

OBJECTIVE: Despite recent evidence that patients with bipolar disorder are at increased risk of premature mortality resulting from general medical disorders, there has been no systematic review of published studies. The authors reviewed the literature to determine whether there is evidence of increased risk of mortality from general medical causes among patients with bipolar spectrum disorders. METHODS: MEDLINE was searched from 1959 to 2007 with a focus on bipolar disorder and medical mortality. Published studies in English with more than 100 patients were included. RESULTS: Seventeen studies were identified involving 331,000 patients with bipolar disorder, affective psychosis, affective disorder severe enough to require inpatient psychiatric care or treatment with lithium, or schizoaffective disorder (that is, bipolar spectrum disorders) meeting the inclusion criteria. Compared with age- and sex-matched control samples without mental illness in the general population, mortality ratios for death from natural causes and from specific general medical conditions, such as cardiovascular, respiratory, cerebrovascular, and endocrine disorders, were significantly higher among patients with bipolar spectrum disorders in most studies. This finding was more consistent in larger studies with more than 2,500 patients with bipolar spectrum disorders. Cumulatively, cardiovascular disorder appeared to be the most consistent cause of excess mortality in larger studies. CONCLUSIONS: The available evidence suggests that bipolar spectrum disorders are associated with increased premature mortality secondary to general medical illnesses. Unhealthy lifestyle, biological factors, adverse pharmacologic effects, and disparities in health care are possible underlying causes for this excess mortality.

JournalWatch: http://general-medicine.jwatch.org/cgi/content/full/2009/114/1

Antipsychotic Drugs and Sudden Cardiac Death

Both typical and atypical agents doubled risk for sudden cardiac death.

The latest evidence linking antipsychotic drugs to sudden cardiac death is provided by a retrospective cohort study based on data from Tennessee Medicaid. Vanderbilt University researchers identified 93,000 adults (age range, 30–74) who used antipsychotic drugs between 1990 and 2005; about half used typical agents (most commonly haloperidol or thioridazine), and half used atypical agents (most commonly clozapine, quetiapine, olanzapine, or risperidone). These patients were matched by age and sex with 186,000 controls.

The rate of sudden cardiac death was twofold higher among current users of antipsychotic drugs than among nonusers (about 29 vs. 14 sudden deaths per 10,000 person-years). This significant doubling of risk was noted with both typical and atypical agents. These findings were strengthened by several additional analyses: A dose-response pattern was noted; risk for former (i.e., noncurrent) antipsychotic drug users was similar to that of nonusers; and findings from a propensity analysis (which minimizes the influence of potentially confounding factors) mirrored those of the initial analysis.

Comment: This study provides additional evidence that both typical and atypical antipsychotic drugs elevate risk for sudden cardiac death. A plausible mechanism exists: Antipsychotic drugs block repolarizing potassium currents and can prolong the QT interval. In a strongly worded editorial, the writers advocate sharp reductions in use of these agents for off-label indications (e.g., behavior control in dementia patients) and suggest that patients undergo electrocardiography before and shortly after starting these drugs (to detect QT prolongation).

Allan S. Brett, MD

Published in Journal Watch General Medicine January 14, 2009


Ray WA et al. Atypical antipsychotic drugs and the risk of sudden cardiac death. N Engl J Med 2009 Jan 15; 360:225.


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Filed under CS/X movement, Links: Recovery, Mental health recovery, wellness and systems change

Not thinking right and I know it…

No poetry this post, sorry. Tune in next time, soon.

Yes I take drugs.

I take 4 different psych meds, not high dosages and I’m unable to notice any annoying side-effects. There have been several times in my mentally-ill life that I have been med free and doing fine, thank-you. The last few years I have needed, or seemed to need, some chemical support to stay operational. This doesn’t count the insulins I need to survive type 1 diabetes.

Late last week I got 2 calls in one day telling me I was “not selected” for jobs I interviewed for, both were jobs I’m very well qualified for, thought I did great in both interviews. The clincher on one was when they said they found someone who was more experienced in a particular area. It just so happens that, no ego here, I am probably the very most experienced and qualified in this specific area in the state. Made me feel like a loser. Made me feel paranoid about my mental-health rep and the possibility that people I had listed as references who are so very supportive to my face may actually be undermining my job search. “Objection!”…” But Judge, this goes directly to the subjects state of mind!”… “Okay then, I’ll allow it…”

A few days back (…4?…5?) I ran out of 2 of the most important psych meds. One helps me sleep (among other things) and the other is an SSRI. Now, I know all about abrupt SSRI withdrawal, personal and observational data gained at some difficulty. But, thing is, I have been broke. Can’t afford even the co-pays. Also, 2 days back I ran out of one of my insulins; again, can’t have what ya can’t pay for. My sleep has been very odd- it;s like I’m sleeping but can’t tell if I’m awake or dreaming. I sweat very heavily (yeah,too much info, sorry).

I have been getting more and more “weird”. I have thoughts and perceptions I know aren’t right. It has become harder to carry on even simple conversations with family members because I have to keep editing myself, trying not to say something too strange or something that might worry my wife or younger son (who still lives at home).

I haven’t brought my lack of meds up at all. I know we don’t have money. I have feared that my wife would call my mother or some other family member. I am so sick of begging, being dependent. It reinforces my feeling of being a pathetic loser. BTW- I know that this is also probably an example of not thinking right.

I haven’t called anyone who might be helpful- well, I called someone but they weren’t answering and so I stopped trying. I have become more and more paranoid that people will find out how worthless, pathetic and crazy I am. I have become increasingly afraid to talk to anyone.

Friday, 4 days ago?, I was already losing it but the day went to hell way beyond what I could handle. But I tried to handle it anyway. I did everything wrong, at least in the eyes of the people around me, especially my wife. Her car broke down (I’m no mechanic) and she took my car to work, swapping it back later in the day. The bank account was overdrawn and I ended up using the last of my unemployment money to get the balance back to zero.

Thing is: I was so shocked to find the account overdrawn. I knew exactly what was in the account and the day before I talked to my wife about not using the “apparent” balance showing on the account- it was just ghost money that would soon be gone. She made 2 relatively small payments- for gas and $20 cash (perfectly legit uses for money)- and added to the two $35 overdraft fees put us a hundred bucks in the hole. I saw in our future a black hole of overdraft fees that would continue to pile up until we couldn’t do anything about it. (This is not an unreasonable fear in itself- it’s happened before.)

Comedy break:

During the day she wrote another hundred dollars in checks to cover important medical co-pays she needed to get her insurance set up with a new provider. I talked our son into getting a $100 cash advance to cover the upcoming overdraft.

She got a ride home from work after suggesting that we get a “drink” on the way when I picked her up.

She got home from a co-worker. She indicated she still wanted to go get a drink.

We’re still on Friday. Instead of taking her to get a drink I took my son to his bank to get cash and then went to our bank to deposit cash. I went home. My wife was half asleep but I could tell she was mad. Why had I prioritized going to the bank (before it closed)? Why had I spent all our cash covering the bank overdraft?

So, I made it worse. I went out and found a mechanic neighbor who said they would help me diagnose the problem with her car. We found that things were much worse than I could fix on my own (or without money to invest in a real mechanic).

By the time I got back I knew I was in the doghouse and in the very back of said animal abode.

The next day she was still mad. I was beginning to really lose it. My brain was definitely not functioning well. Being incapable of reasonable conversation, made the relationship problems worse. I was even more afraid to tell that I had no meds and was experiencing alternate reality that was more and more scary.

I didn’t go to Friends Meeting- I was too agoraphobic at this point. I didn’t wantto have to talk to anyone if possible.

Comedy break:

The saga continues: So, over the course of the weekend I got weirder and weirder. Tried to stay inconspicuous. Not a complete success.

This morning: cried from 8 am to 10. Then walked around the neighborhood trying to find cans and bottles that I could take to Safeway and get some oatmeal and toilet paper (I judged these to be the most important things I could get). Cried from 12 to 1pm, until got a call from my wife at work. She asked me what was wrong. “nothing”. She said she was going to call my mother and get money to buy meds. I begged her not to do this. She hung up. I cried some more. She called back and said that she would go to the pharmacy and write hot checks to cover the meds. I sobbed until she arrived with a bag of drugs. I had shit in my head that I will not share with you, kind strangers, but just know that it was very bad.

Now I have taken pills, even ones I don’t usually take (some sedatives). My wife has some difficulty being around me when I’m “not right”. I have stayed mostly in our room and either just kept my eyes closed or read a stupid crime novel.

Why did all this happen? How come I let it get so far? Why can’t I call on people when I need help? (Wait: I can answer that last one- Most people don’t want to hear from you when you are “not right”. They want to have you feel better, right now. When you don’t get better right away they get nervous, impatient and can’t wait to hang up. Also, I am not good on the phone. I can’t usually talk comfortably to people I can’t see.)

Comedy break:

Madness, feeling like you can’t think right, feeling pathetic/ worthless and suicidal- these are not good ways to be. I don’t go out of my way to feel like this. In fact I have put an extraordinary amount of time and thought into making sure I don’t go there. But sometimes, the best laid plans….

I know I’m not alone. I spend a lot of time with people who walk the edge. I know that slipping is common and that isolating is a very common response to the slippery slope.

Later this week I will be teaching 3rd through 5th graders at a conference in Corvallis, as part of a children’s program designed to allow parents to attend and give children a pint-sized dose of the conference topic: That of God in Everyone (It’s a Quaker conference- North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

The main result of this engagement that relates to issues at hand is that I will have to postpone the monthly radio show till next week- a full week after the Full Moon. So:

Mad Liberation by Moonlight is postponed until Friday 7/25, I think.

More pictures:

Ouch, Spidey, that lookedlike it hurt…

What is it with me and comic book characters today?

BTW- this following false Advertisement was done by a woman who is “sick of the pink, flowery, sound of music” shtick that goes with feminine hygiene products.

Good luck, stay safe, do as I say, not as I do, please be as happy as the circumstances will allow, if not more so. Until next time…(soon)…

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UK study/ SSRIs

Millions of prescriptions for SSRIs are written up in the UK each year, but a major study says they’re no better than placebo. What now for the citizens of Prozac Nation?


“Perhaps the next time half a million people gather for a protest march on the White House green,” wrote Elizabeth Wurtzel in her bestselling book Prozac Nation, “it will not be for abortion rights or gay liberation, but because we’re all so bummed out.”

From the West Virginia Gazette

West Virginia disability rights groups are fuming after the owners
of a pre-Civil War mental hospital in Weston renamed the property the
"Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum."

article here-


Looks like Andrew is drawing on the sidewalks again

My son Andrew, who lives in the SF area, likes to draw on the sidewalk. These and other illustrations of his well-spent time are on his blog- listed to the right- Better Bees Than Bears. Click for larger picture.

Mad Liberation By MoonLight

KBOO Radio 90.7 FM
1- 2 a.m. Late Friday night
(yes, I know that it is technically Saturday morning- relax, it’s just a radio show)
June 20th, 2008

Dedicated to Everyone
who has ever been given a psychiatric label, to anyone who experiences mental health challenges and to anybody who has the misfortune (or good fortune) of being awake at that hour.

You can participate!

Call in at (503) 231-8187
Please call in! Set your alarm!

Friday nights from 1 am to 2 am usually following the full-moon, will be a segment on KBOO radio (90.7 on your fm dial, to the left of NPR), also streamed on the internet on their website, http://www.kboo.fm/index.php will be time for of Mad Lib by Moonlight. The program is part of the usual Friday night show, The Outside World.

Moon Shots

Since this Friday is Mad Liberation by Moonlight, these pictures are to help stimulate your memory so that you stay up at night to listen. Click to make larger.

Found here:


Mental Health and the ADA-

This is a packet I put together for a training I gave to State of Oregon Human Resource managers.

Click for doc.


BTW: Here’s how the frogs are doing:

Also, check out new recording on the music page…

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