Dr. Grace Jackson Comments on Detoxing from Antidepressants & Pregnancy Exposure, Damage to DNA/Eggs
Recently we posed a question to MADNAP Co-Founder Psychiatrist Dr. Grace Jackson regarding how long antidepressants like Effexor remain in the body to damage it and a baby during pregnancy.
Here is her reply:
In my new book, Drug Induced Dementia – A Perfect Crime, (Amazon link) one of the points I tried to make in Appendix B is that most doctors have not been trained to appreciate that there are probably at least three discrete phases of drug withdrawal.
a) Acute withdrawal period
– How long it takes the drug to clear the bloodstream – and how long it takes the drug to clear the BRAIN TISSUE itself
In some cases, the elimination time for the blood vs. the brain tissue is NOT equal. This is known as “dissociation” but most doctors know nothing about this fact…
Also, we do not have good data on all drugs… Usually, this comes from research experiments using MRS [magnetic resonance spectroscopy] and fluorinated molecules.
b) Intermediate withdrawal period
– This refers to the length of time it takes for receptor physiology and receptor > 2nd messenger/3rd messenger events to “re-equilibrate.”
c) Long term withdrawal period
– This refers to the length of time it takes for GENE EXPRESSION to return to pre-drug status; and for protein expression >>> “cell-cell” communication and wiring to change.
When you are talking about miscarriages, rather than PPHN, all bets are off.
The reason for this is that UNLIKE sperm, which are made, secreted, and replaced for many decades, ALL of a woman’s eggs are present at BIRTH.
That means all of a woman’s eggs are being exposed to all chemicals throughout the mother’s lifespan, even before pregnancy… As I have written and lectured about in the past, all of the psychiatric drugs – with the exception of the stimulants so far, are being studied as adjuvant [add on] treatments for various cancers. The reasons why these drugs are effective in slowing tumor growth [etc.] is because they interrupt cell division and/or cell growth.
So, if you reason this through, it is extremely risky to expose any developing fetus to chemotherapy [thalidomide, for example, is now used as a chemotherapy for myeloma]. If any mother had been taking Effexor for years prior to conceiving, I know of no way to protect the new fetus from potential birth defects arising from the years of egg exposure to the Effexor during the past.
Unfortuately, I know of no one who is studying this question in any seriousness, because it is a question that is not generally posed.
I would suggest that it would be unlikely to find Effexor in the blood or brain 3 months after stopping Effexor, but this would not necessarily mean that 8 years of Effexor usage in the past would not still be capable of producing lasting effects.
We do not know how long term [or even short term] might be damaging eggs.
We also do not know how long term exposure to Effexor in the past might exert a lasting detrimental effect upon the mother’s ability to make serotonin. The fetus depends upon the mother for all of its serotonin for the first weeks of gestation [sorry, I do not recall from memory the exact week of development at which the fetus starts to make its own serotonin in the gut — I shall have to look this up for you or you should consult an embryologist].
Since long term users of antidepressants appear to develop a long-term vulnerability in the capacity to tolerate DECREASES in serotonin — which may involve their own increasing inabilty to make adequate serotonin, it stands to reason that chronic users of antidepressants place their fetuses at risk for a serotonin deficiency in the 1st trimester (etc.).
Why is this critical? Serotonin is an essential growth hormone for the fetus.
Question: I thought psychiatric drugs were also carcinogens – am I wrong on this? If I am right, are they both carcinogens AND tumor treatments?
But of course !!!!
This is a complicated phenomenon that, I guess, the public seldom (?never?) hears about.
All chemotherapies that “fight” cancers are also interventions that can “cause” cancer.
I’m not sure that anyone has made a good study of the exact prevalence of this phenomenon, but the classic case in point arises with a category of chemotherapies known as alkylating agents…
I quote from one of the most useful pharmacology textbooks which I own [Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews – Pharmacology, 4th Edition Editors: Harvey and Champe] “Because most antineoplastic agents are mutagens, neoplasms [for example: acute nonlymphocytic leukemia] may arise 10 or more years after the original cancer was cured.”
This raises interesting questions about the long-term effects of many psychiatric medications — from everything that i have read and researched to date, it would seem that most consumers of neuroleptics and anticonvulsant drugs are dropping dead in their 50s and 60s PRIOR to the emergence of cancers… however, if we really think about what has happened since the epidemic spread of Prozac and other alleged “anti”-depressants since the 1990s, we do not yet have good long-term data on the possible emergence of a leukemia [or other] cancer epidemic that still might appear down the line…
Bigpharmavictim.blogspot.com has just recieved an award for top blog from Disease.com
Go to http://www.fiddaman.blogspot.com/ to take the poll how long did it take you to withdraw from Paxil
Intra-Uterine Deaths and Umbilical Cord Abnormalities Linked to Antidepressants in MedWatch Reports; Preventing Threatened Miscarriages
I have read about problems with the placenta being associated with Paxil, and I have even known people with this problem whose babies were exposed to Paxil or other antidepressants not from the mother but via the father’s sperm and exposure from semen. I am guessing the exposure from mom taking a drug would probably be more intense but this goes to show how toxic the drugs are. There are reports of drug exposure via semen in the MedWatch database.
I was wondering about umbilical cord abnormalities and antidepressants so I decided to do a google search and couldn’t find much aside from unrelated drug selling websites that used every key word imaginable.
So, I pulled a few reports (not all the reports, just a sampling) from the decrypted MedWatch report database on the topics of intrauterine death and umbilical cord abnormalities (Thank you CCHR!).
Some also have placenta problems although I did not do a search on those specifically. The decrypted MedWatch data seems to be one of the only sources for finding this information on what is really associated with antidepressant use / psych drug use. I think it is really one of the best sites on the internet because you can search for a specific side effect and see how many reports there were. The main psychdrugdangers database even breaks it down for you by age range. The MOTHERS Act / prenatal / neonatal database section has all the reports you need to see if you are looking for pregnancy and breastfeeding reports since 2004.
I love this site because you are able to see the truth and not have to wonder about any conflicts of interest with the researchers, agendas, or bad motives like you would if you only read the complete b.s. being offered up by websites of moms on drugs, psychs in the pocket of pHARMa, etc.
Because of the seriousness of this issue I feel that every mom should have access to this information so I hope you will share this with your friends, you never know who it may help to save. (See: October 15 Infant and Child Death Awareness and Prevention Day).
On that note, I highly recommend the book Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susan Weed. It talks about herbs and vitamins that can be used to help prevent miscarriage, to stop miscarriages in progress, promote uterine health, and what herbs and foods to avoid to protect your baby during pregnancy.
I have this book on my shelf, and I looked up some information for a friend once… Using some of the recommended vitamins during a time when she was having bleeding and on bed rest during the second trimester, things improved. Another great product she used is called Carry On which is for bleeding and prevention of miscarriage. Every time I see her baby I think about those products and how they possibly saved that baby’s life. We found out about that product from a friend on a home birth listserv.
If you’re not on any mommy listservs or yahoo groups I recommend trying to find a holistic one to get advice from holistic friends like this. The MADNAP listserv, UNITE listserv, and CHAADA listserv are all hosted on Yahoo and would be a good place to start. We have several home birthing moms on there who have experience with alternative health and can refer you to other resources / groups.
Now for the sample reports I pulled: If you have had a similar incident while taking a psychiatric drug or shortly after withdrawing from one, please consider making a MedWatch report by going here:
http://www.thefetus.net/page.php?id=167 According to this article on velamentous insertion of the umbilical cord, the anomaly is associated with congenital abnormalities and preterm birth. These are problems commonly associated with antidepressants. One study found a nearly five times higher rate of preterm birth for babies exposed to antidepressants. [“Infants exposed to fluoxetine during the third trimester had, compared to those exposed only during the first and second trimester, reduced birth weight and length, an almost 5-fold increased risk of premature delivery, a 2.6-fold increased risk of being admitted to special-care nurseries, and an almost 9-fold increased risk of experiencing respiratory difficulties, cyanosis on feeding, and jitteriness.” Birth outcomes in pregnant women taking fluoxetine. Chambers CD, et al. N Engl J Med, 335(14):1010-5 1996 Oct 3.]
M 6026440 4964817 03/01/2006 04/03/2006 Venlafaxine Depression Caesarean Section, Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Testicular Torsion, Umbilical Cord Abnormality
M 6232679 5232270 07/01/2006 02/07/2007 11/01/2006 Effexor XR CN Anomaly of External Ear Congenital, Intra-Uterine Death, Limb Malformation, Low Set Ears, Skull Malformation, Transmission of Drug Via Semen, Umbilical Cord Abnormality
6040906 4985077 09/07/2005 04/19/2006 Effexor XR Pyramidal Tract Syndrome Brain Malformation, Cerebral Cyst, Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Exomphalos, Intra-Uterine Death, Talipes
5827164 4692986 06/15/2005 Effexor XR OT Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Intra-Uterine Death
F 5941024 4845757 11/30/2005 Effexor XR Depression Abortion Spontaneous, Depression, Disease Recurrence, Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Drug Ineffective, Drug Withdrawal Syndrome, Foetal Growth Retardation, Intra-Uterine Death
F 5892354 4789790 10/06/2005 Paxil CN Drug Use for Unknown Indication Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Intra-Uterine Death, Placental Disorder, Umbilical Cord Abnormality, Umbilical Cord Vascular Disorder
M 5991062 5464256 11/02/2005 09/21/2007 Paxil CR CN Maternal Condition Affecting Foetus Arrhythmia, Atelectasis, Atrial Septal Defect, Balance Disorder, Blindness, Blood Pressure Increased, Caesarean Section, Cardiac Failure Congestive, Cardiomegaly, Catatonia, Complex Partial Seizures, Convulsion, Coordination Abnormal, Cyanosis, Dehydration, Developmental Delay, Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Eating Disorder, Embolic Stroke, Encephalomalacia, Facial Palsy, Heart Disease Congenital, Hemiparesis, Infantile Spasms, Loss of Consciousness, Muscular Weakness, Oedema, Oral Intake Reduced, Oxygen Saturation Decreased, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Pleural Effusion, Post Procedural Complication, Postoperative Thrombosis, Psychomotor Skills Impaired, Pulmonary Oedema, Respiratory Acidosis, Respiratory Distress, Screaming, Sinus Bradycardia, Skin Discolouration, Speech Disorder Developmental, Tachypnoea, Thrombosis, Transposition of the Great Vessels, Umbilical Cord Around Neck, Univentricular Heart, Urinary Tract Infection, Ventricular Hypoplasia, Ventricular Septal Defect, Vesicoureteric Reflux (This one was accidentally copied and pasted, and I just realized doesn’t have umbilcal cord abnormalities, just around the neck, but it was such an awful case I felt I should keep it in.)
F 5654406 4488092 03/23/2004 10/28/2004 Paroxetine MD Depression Cytomegalovirus Infection, Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Intra-Uterine Death
5819180 4690656 02/24/2005 06/15/2005 02/24/2005 Deroxat CN Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Intra-Uterine Death
F 5701388 4536190 09/17/2004 12/23/2004 Bupropion OT Depression Chorioamnionitis, Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Intra-Uterine Death, Micrognathia, Umbilical Cord Abnormality
26 Years F 6000982 4938300 03/09/2006 Bupropion OT Depression Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Hypertension, Umbilical Cord Vascular Disorder
M 4011323 4279456 01/27/2004 Wellbutrin MD Depression Abdominal Wall Anomaly, Arteriopathic Disease, Chorioamnionitis, Cleft Palate, Congenital Atrial Septal Defect, Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Ear Malformation, Intra-Uterine Death, Jaw Fracture, Kyphosis, Liver Disorder, Lymphangiectasia, Macrognathia, Nose Deformity, Pectus Excavatum, Placental Disorder, Spleen Malformation, Thyroid Disorder, Traumatic Delivery
F 6172347 5156305 11/22/2006 Wellbutrin OT Drug Use for Unknown Indication Drug Exposure During Pregnancy, Intra-Uterine Death
Please read Julie Edgington’s blog entry about a reocurring nightmare she has about Manie: http://bigpharmavictim.blogspot.com/2009/09/reoccurring-nightmare.html
There are also several updates on her blog regarding the current Paxil birth defects trial being covered by Bloomberg news.
by Julie Edgington
Last night I had a reoccurring nightmare which I have had since I found out it was Paxil which caused Manie’s birth defect. Usually I wake only remembering bits and pieces of my nightmare, but not this time. This time I woke with tears streaming down my face and a tear soaked pillow.
I saw myself standing there in the kitchen of our old house. This was the house I had been living in when I became pregnant with Manie. I knew right away exactly what moment from the past this was. It was so clear this time as if I was really there watching it all happen. Not only was I watching this happen I could physically feel everything that I felt that day. I watch and felt myself push the kitchen chair in that someone had left pulled out. I watch and felt myself get a glass of water. I even felt the coldness of the glass in my hand. I knew what was going to happen next because I had already done this.
At this time I felt someone holding my hand I looked down and it was Manie. He looked up at me and the sadness on his face let me know he knew what was about to happen too. As I looked at him I could hear his heart beating. I knew it was his because of the sound of it. His heart sounds different then any other heart because of the leak. As I continued to look at him I could hear my own heartbeat also. It was as if I could hear his heartbeat in my right ear and mine in the left, both beating at the exact same time. As I stood there looking at him my chest began to ache. With every heartbeat mine was changing to sound just like Manie’s. I felt as if I had ran a marathon and had a heart attack all at the same time. Before I knew it the two heartbeats were now one. I felt scared and worried, but not for me for Manie.
I began to look around for something to help us. I remembered where we were and at what time. I realized I can stop this! As I looked straight ahead of me I saw myself taking the pill from the package. I screamed and I tried to move, but there was nothing I could do! I could not hear myself. My feet were locked to the floor. The more I watch the more I felt our heart pounding and the louder it became. I looked down at Manie and he just stand there crying as if he knew I could do nothing. I continued to scream but nothing worked. Then I could feel it, the feeling of that damn pill in my mouth and the drink of water that carried it down. I felt it as if it was really happening. In a last ditch effort to make it all better I closed my eyes and slowly instead of having just one heartbeat there was two again. The heartbeat in my right ear was normal and healthy. I gave Manie my heartbeat and I took his. As much as my heart ached with pain and as tired as I was I felt good inside. I could feel the scars on my chest. I looked at Manie’s chest his scars were gone. Manie smiled at me and let go of my hand. I could not hear our hearts beating anymore, but I knew he would be alright.
Manie and I were no longer in that old kitchen, we were outside. I watched as Manie ran and ran and ran. I watched as he played football, basketball, baseball and hockey. I watched as he rode the scariest of amusement park rides. There was no more waiting in doctors offices, no more hospitals, no more leg and arm cramps and no more waking in the middle of the night in pain. There was no more medications. Manie did not look tired because he was not tired. He felt good he was finally able to do all the things he ever wanted because the child on the outside finally matched the child on the inside. My nightmare had become a dream. I woke to tears on my face and pillow because Manie was happy. Happy tears turned to sad tears as I slowly realized it was just a dream. The real nightmare is what I live. The nightmare is knowing I can’t make it all better because I really can not change heartbeats with Manie.
So, Glaxo has known since as early as 1980 that Paxil could cause birth defects.
Glaxo Executive’s Memo Suggested Burying Drug Studies (Update4)
By Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk
Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) — An executive of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the world’s second-biggest drugmaker, talked about burying negative studies linking its antidepressant drug Paxil to birth defects, according to a company memo introduced at a trial.
“If neg, results can bury,” Glaxo executive Bonnie Rossello wrote in a 1997 memo on what the company would do if forced to conduct animal studies on the drug. The memo was read during opening statements in the trial of a lawsuit brought by the family of a child born with heart defects.
The Philadelphia trial is the first of more than 600 cases alleging that London-based Glaxo knew Paxil caused birth defects and hid those risks to pump up profits. The drug, approved for U.S. use in 1992, generated about $942 million in sales last year, 2.1 percent of Glaxo’s total revenue.
The family of Lyam Kilker claims Glaxo withheld information from consumers and regulators about the risk of birth defects and failed to properly test Paxil. Kilker’s mother, Michelle David, blames Paxil for causing life-threatening heart defects in her 3-year-old son.
Glaxo officials urged scientists to withhold information about Paxil’s risks from a paper laying out the company’s “core safety philosophy” for the drug, said Sean Tracey, a lawyer for Kilker and David, in his opening statement in the trial.
“They said if there’s any doubt, take it out,” Tracey told jurors. “They do not want to scare anybody. It’s a very competitive marketplace. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry.”
Glaxo executives contend that the boy’s heart defect wasn’t caused by Paxil, Chilton Varner, one of the company’s lawyers, told jurors today in her opening statement. In court filings, Glaxo has said it appropriately tested and marketed the antidepressant drug.
“When Lyam Kilker was born in 2005, GSK had not received notice” of his specific type of heart defect in connection with Paxil use, Varner said. “The numbers will tell you the defect is a rare thing.”
The Paxil label at that time reported about animal studies, “including the rate of deaths,” she said.
Glaxo didn’t target pregnant women and its sales force didn’t use strong-arm tactics to push prescriptions, Varner said. “Whatever the marketing was, it played no role in Ms. David’s doctors’ decision to prescribe Paxil or Ms. David’s decision” to take the drug, she said.
Glaxo officials purchased the compound sold as Paxil from a Danish company that had done animal studies showing young rats died after taking low doses of the drug, Tracey said in his opening statement.
One of the company’s scientists noted in internal documents in 1980 that information in the rat studies suggested Paxil “could be” a cause of birth defects, Tracey said. Still, the drugmaker refused for almost 20 years to do studies on why the young rats died, he added.
Tracey told jurors they would see documents in the trial that the company hadn’t turned over to regulators or congressional investigators. “You are going to see docs that have never seen light of day before,” he said.
For example, Tracey pointed to a 1998 internal review by Glaxo of all reports of side effects tied to Paxil and officials found “an alarmingly high number” of birth-defect reports. Even with those concerns, the report was never turned over to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and “the alarming language” was deleted from it, the lawyer said.
In 2001, the company received a letter from a woman who used Paxil during her pregnancy and decided to abort her fetus after tests showed it had birth defects, Tracey said.
In analyzing the woman’s case, Glaxo officials concluded in an internal report that it was “almost certain” the fetus’s birth defects were caused by his mother’s Paxil use, the family’s lawyer added. Still, the company didn’t turn over its analysis to the FDA or beef up the drug’s warning label, Tracey said.
It wasn’t until after the FDA ordered Glaxo and other makers of antidepressants in 2003 to do more safety studies on their products that Glaxo officials publicly acknowledged that Paxil increased the risk of birth defects, Tracey said.
The lawyer for David, a college nursing student who was a former cheerleader for the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers, told jurors that Glaxo hid Paxil’s problems to protect its profits.
Paxil is “the No. 1 asset to this day this company has ever owned,” the attorney said.
Varner said she will present “quite different” evidence on animal tests tied to Paxil.
“The animal testing did not suggest Paxil caused birth defects,” Varner said. The FDA considered the tests when it approved the drug for use by U.S. consumers in 1992, she said.
When Glaxo officials considered offering Paxil for sale in Japan, internal records show executives worried in 1994 they might have to do more safety testing on the antidepressant, said Dr. David Healy, an Irish psychiatrist testifying as an expert for Kilker’s family in the case.
It may be the “type of study we wish to avoid,” Jenny Greenhorn, an official in Glaxo’s international regulatory affairs unit, said in a memo.
Glaxo also is fighting suits in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. over claims that Paxil, also known by the generic name paroxetine, causes homicidal and suicidal behavior. The company has settled some suicide claims, though terms of the settlements haven’t been released.
New York Settlement
In 2004, the drugmaker agreed to pay the state of New York $2.5 million to resolve claims that officials suppressed research showing Paxil may increase suicide risk in young people. The settlement also required Glaxo to publicly disclose the studies.
The company’s provision for legal and other non-tax disputes as of June 30 was 1.7 billion pounds ($2.8 billion), the company said in a July 22 regulatory filing that didn’t mention the Paxil litigation.
“We do not disclose our legal reserves for any specific litigation matter,” Glaxo spokesman Kevin Colgan said earlier this month.
Glaxo American depositary receipts, each representing two ordinary shares, fell 68 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $38.76 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading today. Glaxo fell 14 pence, or 1.2 percent, to 1,175.5 pence in London.
The case is Kilker v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. dba GlaxoSmithKline, 2007-001813, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.
Last Updated: September 15, 2009 17:03 EDT