“I took the medication only as prescribed,” Bobbi said. After her benzodiazepine was stopped abruptly, she suffered multiple disabling neurological symptoms, including seizures, cognitive and visual impairment, difficulty walking, and hand contractures, leaving her unable to work. Bobbi is one of many patients my advocacy organization helped report their harm to the FDA. Our goal was to raise awareness of the adverse effects of benzodiazepines and advocate for stronger warning labels.
Thus, I was pleasantly surprised last September to see the FDA’s drug safety communication announcing an update to the boxed warning for benzodiazepines “to address the serious risks of abuse, addiction, physical dependence, and withdrawal reactions.” Curious, I filed a FOIA request for the FDA’s 175-page report on benzodiazepines. Many of the document’s conclusions raise the same concerns benzodiazepine safety advocates have had for decades.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at present it looks like anaphylaxis cases are occurring at a rate of about 5.5 per 1 million vaccine doses given, though the agency cautioned that figure may change as the vaccination effort continues.
The allergic reactions do not change CDC’s recommendations on who can be vaccinated against Covid-19, with senior officials stressing that the risk of severe illness and death from the disease still outweighs the risk of developing anaphylaxis after vaccination.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) exerts lifelong impairment, including difficulty sustaining employment, poor credit, and suicide risk. To date, however, studies have assessed selected samples, often via self-report. Using mental health data from the entire Swedish population (N = 11.55 million) and a random sample of credit data (N = 189,267), we provide the first study of objective financial outcomes among adults with ADHD, including associations with suicide. Controlling for psychiatric comorbidities, substance use, education, and income, those with ADHD start adulthood with normal credit demand and default rates. However, in middle age, their default rates grow exponentially, yielding poor credit scores and diminished credit access despite high demand. Sympathomimetic prescriptions are unassociated with improved financial behaviors. Last, financial distress is associated with fourfold higher risk of suicide among those with ADHD. For men but not women with ADHD who suicide, outstanding debt increases in the 3 years prior. No such pattern exists for others who suicide.
Here in the US we’ve seen an steady increase in ADHD diagnoses.
And an alarming increase in suicide.
Then my mind wanders to drugs (to drugs, not due to drugs).
To summarize, the psychiatric side effects of methylphenidate are quite similar to those of cocaine and amphetamines, giving more support to the idea that almost all CNS stimulants will produce a similar clinical picture. A person using cocaine can experience nervousness,57,58 restlessness,58 agitation,57 suspiciousness,60 paranoia,61–63 hallucinations and delusions,61,63 impaired cognitive functions,64 delirium,65 violence,57,58,62,65,66 suicide,67 and homicide.67–70
Benadryl causes significant sedation. One study in a driving simulator showed an ordinary adult dose of Benadryl caused worse driving than a blood alcohol level of 0.1 percent (that’s between buzzed-drunk and frat-party drunk). Ordinary doses of Benadryl can also cause urinary retention, dizziness, trouble with coordination, dry mouth, blurry vision, and constipation. Especially in older individuals, diphenhydramine can cause delirium and contribute to long term dementia.
Regardless of the century, physicians throughout the ages have known that real medicines carry risks. Any truly medicinal substance is able to give a little whack to one or more bodily processes. The goal is to whack the body back into normal functioning. That’s basically what medicine is all about – strategically whacking our physiology. But anything capable of whacking (which is to say any real medicine) is capable of harming at least a few of the many patients who would take it. This fact is so non-negotiable that we have a name for doctors who claim to have discovered effective medicines that don’t have any risks: we call them quacks.
Immunotherapy drugs have been regarded as a breakthrough in cancer treatment, but as their use grows, doctors are finding that they pose serious risks. A separate paper found that 30% of patients experienced “interesting, rare, or unexpected side effects,” with a quarter of the reactions described as severe, life-threatening, or requiring hospitalization. Some patients have died…Problems with the pancreas have been particularly unusual, causing patients typically aged 50 years and older to lose insulin production all at once.
After adjusting for the number of medications a person was taking, the researchers found men and women taking opioid painkillers as well as men taking antidepressants were more than twice as likely to have a fall injury as seniors who were not taking those drugs. Women taking antidepressants were 75% more likely to have a fall injury.