Prof David Baldwin, Prof Wendy Burn & the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

So, I came on this via twitter. It features Prof David Baldwin, Prof Wendy Burn and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

I think it’s time to get my soapbox out again… 

I take issue with quite a few things in this story, the most outrageous claim being the assertion made by Baldwin & Burn that “… In the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing anti-depressants have resolved within two weeks of stopping treatment…”

It is very worrying that in 2018 two very high profile mental health professionals can make a statement that is quite so wrong – and dangerous. I really did think we had got beyond this kind of muddle-headed stupidity. And as for Baldwin representing the Royal College of Psychiatrists on an Public Health England expert panel reviewing prescription drug addiction – well, words fail me on that one.

Why would they say something like this? Do they have an agenda? Are there any conflicts of interest that could possibly be in play? 

Or are are they just plain stupid? I have to ask this, as I’m the expert – at least I presume I am – as I guess that Baldwin and Burn have never taken Seroxat and then had to suffer the hell of withdrawal as they tried to stop taking it. I’m not talking about a few “unpleasant symptoms” that “resolved in two weeks” but rather almost two years of absolute horror – physical and emotional – as I slowly reduced the amount of Seroxat I took. 

And I’m not the only one. I suggest that Baldwin and Burn read some of the comments on this blog or take a look at the Facebook group ‘Paroxetine Paxil Seroxat SSRI Withdrawal’ – or maybe just open their eyes and do some research of their own. Maybe even design some proper research. I would think that with Prof Baldwin’s contacts with drug companies perhaps he could get them to pay for the study… or maybe not in this case!

And if we are going to talk about “the vast majority of patients” then it should be in the context that the vast majority of patients do, in fact, often have terrible problems trying to come off Seroxat and other anti-depressants. 

I would ask Baldwin (and Burn) to understand and admit that SSRI withdrawal is a very real problem for many millions of people around the world. Listen to your own colleagues such as Prof Healy or Prof Read – because I know you still don’t really like it when patients talk back at you and have the temerity to question your ‘knowledge’. 

Yes, I am still angry after all these years and no I don’t think I am fully recovered even today, so please forgive me if you see this as just more “vile taunts” or yet another part of “a sustained campaign of abuse”. But I would suggest that the first step for doctors like Baldwin and Burn (and many in the Royal College of Psychiatrists) is to acknowledge the anger of patients who have been so badly let down by the medical establishment and the drug manufacturers, often working in tandem in pursuit of profit – both corporate and personal. 

Then listen to us. 

On a personal level, I think it’s a good thing that Baldwin has resigned from the PHE review panel. His opinions are clearly suspect and his knowledge lacking – and there are further question marks over his close financial ties to drug manufacturers. 

The Daily Mail summed it up like this “A government drugs adviser has been forced out of his position after a sustained campaign of abuse saw him branded ‘worse than Hitler’ and a ‘pharma-whore’, it emerged last night. Professor David Baldwin was subjected to the vile taunts after he wrote an open letter to a newspaper playing down the side-effects of coming off anti-depressants”.

A more measured piece was this from The Times

Me – I think the man’s a fool and wonder what his real motive was for resigning. 

Absolutely nothing to do with ties to drug companies I should hope.

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