Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Who Ya Gonna Call, Kramer: Robinson?

OK, the guy who wrote "Listening to Prozac" has made a career off of discussing the use of antidepressants.
He's working at again in the New York Times.

Peter Kramer, "In Defense of Antidepressants."
He notes how sad it is that antidepressants are finally getting raked over the coals in the public sphere, a justice paralleled to the Casey Anthony case, where, sure, we know she is guilty, but the types of evidence used just don't add up to a legal conviction.

Kramer's friends, the psychiatrists, use all kinds of tricks to avoid conviction in the courts of the FDA and the Psych journals. Out here in the real world, we know what is up.

1. We don't get better when we take antidepressants. Kramer knows this. He makes a case for having the pills boost response time in talk therapy. They are so lousy that there is now a huge industry devoted to what pill you should ADD when your pill for depression does not work.
2. We here in the real world have learned, no thanks to the pill pushers, that these pills cause problems. Suicidaility in some, such as Phoebe Prince and many others profiled at the SSRI Stories website http://www.ssristories.com/
Otherwise, they cause bad with drawal problems - any drug that has that much influence on your brain will be accomodated by your brain, and so withdrawal will upset the balance of neurotransmitters. Stories of terrible withdrawal experiences are legion on the web, and, as Kramer notes, these pills are prescribed so broadly, that us everyday people know better than to buy this line anymore.
I mentioned Kramer's friends. He mentions one of the top five psychiatrists who have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar: sponsored heavily by the money of Big Pharma, and publishing lousy stories.

Robert Robinson.
Kramer says, "Surprised that my friend had not been offered a highly effective treatment, I phoned Robert G. Robinson at the University of Iowa’s department of psychiatry, a leading researcher in this field."

Robinson is now notorious as patient zero in the failure-to-disclose controversy that took JAMA from the magazine racks in the medical library an onto the grocery store check-out line. After Robinson published in JAMA a sales-brochure touting antidepressants - certain antidepressants - as treatment for post-stroke depression, it was revealed that Robinson had been on the payroll of that drug's manufacturer, Forest, but not disclosed as he ought to have, per JAMA policy, as well as plain ethics.

"Harris G. Top psychiatrist didn't report drug makers' pay. New York Times. October 3, 2008."

(I think Robinson claimed that it was an ovesight, or he did not understand the form, or something like that - oh, here is the lame response...NEVER connects escitalopram with Forest-)
The JAMA editor, DeAngelis, got involved with at least TWO editorials devoted to the firestorm. At first, she tried to tell everyone to shut up.


AND JAMA collaborated with a handful of other leading journals to commit to new, improved disclosure standards AS A RESULT OF Robinson's unethical behavior.
All of this launched by Kramer's buddy, Robinson.
I hope Robinson shared some of that pharma cash with Kramer.
So, Robinson is like the last guy to call if you want to get the low-down on antidepressants for post-stroke.
On top of all of that, I revealed in a blog post back then a handful of SIGNIFICANT shenanigans that were involved in that "PostStroke Depression" study. I am not widely read. Along with my blog post, I tried to spoon-feed this story to a few other places, but no one picked up the as-yet unrecognized garbage science in that study, and treid to hold Robinson, or JAMA, to task for it.


What I exposed then, in brief, was 1. that Robinson had pitted an under-patent drug against talk therapy to prevent post-stroke depression, but that the talk therapy did not use licensed counselors, so it was an illegitimate comparison intervention - but still fared pretty well, not-far second place! 2. there was yet ANOTHER drug -nortriptyline - NOT under patent - in the trial, but that was 100% UNreported 3. There was yet another drug - citalopram - in the trial - but not reported, but just going off patent, AND the trialed drug, escitalopram, just getting FDA approval!

This monkey business was conducted by Robinson, the guy who Kramer just called for medical advice regarding antidepressants.

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