Stan Kutcher, Stan Kutcher, Stan Kutcher…

… have I got your attention now Stan?

Now running for public office in Halifax, Stan is clearly not happy to have his past ‘experience’ brought up.

A Halifax website, The Coast, ran this apology – and took down the article it refers to – no doubt after Stan’s lawyers had threatened to sue:

On April 28th, The Coast published an article online and in print, regarding Dr. Stan Kutcher. In that article, The Coast referenced, without limitation or criticism, statements to the effect that, Dr. Kutcher, being one of the authors of a research paper, distorted the outcome measures and essentially lied. The Coast retracts those statements and without reservation, apologizes to Dr. Kutcher for having published them. We recognize that Stan Kutcher is the federal Liberal candidate in Halifax and we sincerely regret having published those statements during the campaign.

Again, The Coast apologizes to Dr. Kutcher and has agreed to make a donation in his name to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

What confuses me is that if you look into Study 329,( Seroxat and Study 329) – that Stan proudly co-authored – all I can believe is he certainly did lie and certainly did distort the outcome measures.

In October 1998, an internal, confidential SmithKline Beecham document about study 329 was issued. Study 329 tried to prove Seroxat/Paxil worked in children. But in summary it said “… the data do not support a label claim for the treatment of Adolescent Depression… efficacy had not been demonstrated.” Specifically “…the study failed to demonstrate a statistically significant difference from placebo on the primary efficacy measures.”

In other words – Seroxat didn’t work.

In March 1999, a fuller manuscript of Study 329 being prepared for publication. This was written by Sally K Laden but was attributed to Marty Keller, Neil Ryan and colleagues, including STAN KUTCHER. The conclusion reads “Paroxetine is a safe and effective treatment of major depressive disorder in the adolescent patient.”

By March 2001, internally at least, SmithKline Beecham seem to have understood what the data from Study 329 really said. In an email to PR company Cohn and Wolfe, SKB said: “Originally we planned to do extensive media relations surrounding this study [329] until we viewed the results. essentially the study did not really show Paxil was effective in treating adolescent depression, which is not something we want to publicize.”

However, by August 2001 SmithKline Beecham Paxil Product Management was writing to all sales representatives selling paxil and telling them about Marty Keller’s “cutting edge, landmark study [329] which was the first to compare efficacy of an SSRI and a TCA with placebo in the treatment of major depression in adolescents. Paxil demonstrates REMARKABLE Efficacy and Safety in the treatment of adolescent depression.”

So to recap, we went from:

“… the data do not support a label claim for the treatment of Adolescent Depression… efficacy had not been demonstrated.” “…the study failed to demonstrate a statistically significant difference from placebo on the primary efficacy measures.”

to

“Paroxetine is a safe and effective treatment of major depressive disorder in the adolescent patient.”

to

“Originally we planned to do extensive media relations surrounding this study [329] until we viewed the results. essentially the study did not really show Paxil was effective in treating adolescent depression, which is not something we want to publicize.”

to

Paxil demonstrates REMARKABLE Efficacy and Safety in the treatment of adolescent depression.”

Explain that to me, will you Stan?


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SSRI prescriptions rocket by 43% in the last 4 years

Apologies for not posting for a while – the day job has been very demanding and there is a lot going on around Seroxat in the UK that I simply can’t write about yet.

However, I did notice this story a few weeks ago and it’s quite worrying as it means that Doctors are still happy to prescribe SSRIs far too freely. Given the current state of the economy, it’s a situation that may only get worse.

The figures, obtained from NHS Prescription Services under the Freedom of Information Act, cover anti-depressant prescribing from 2006 to 2010, during which time the UK had to cope with the banking crisis, recession and the start of the spending cuts.

They showed the number of prescriptions for selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, the most commonly prescribed group of anti-depressants, rose by 43% to nearly 23 million a year.
This is would seem to go against the Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), that state clearly that for mild to moderate depression, pills should not be the first resort. Talking therapies work better in the long-term and there are no risky side-effects.

More on the story here at the Guardian and here at the BBC

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