After eight years of campaigning for patients who’ve become dependent on their medicines, I was pleased to be asked to join a committee drawing up new official guidelines to tackle the problem in 2019.
The committee was supposed to produce evidence-based recommendations for doctors and prescribers covering the safe prescribing and withdrawal of medicines that can cause dependence.
These include widely prescribed drugs such as sleeping pills, painkillers and antidepressants, taken by millions of people in this country.
But earlier this year I resigned from the committee because I believe it has ignored key evidence and, as a result, many patients won’t be able to come off their drugs safely…
[For more please go to the following link]
There are other interest in the game, like changing the drugs for a horrible devastating and barbaric ECT.
Sadly the machinery is promoted in the web as a good investment!
They are going to create worst withdrawals and patients suffering.
Is time now by people realize governments and their departments do not care for their citizens.
People needs to organize themselves with the few doctors that still have some integrity to resolve their ailments, there is no other choice!
I am so glad I came across Luke’s story in the weekend paper paper years ago: it gave me hope that there was a way forward when I was feeling so alone.
My story was similar: I had collapsed logically exhausted at the end of a difficult week during which both my (now ex) husband and father were extremely busy at work and putting me under pressure to help. Nobody bothered to ask what had happened to me!
A consultant psychiatrist told me who was wrong with me, that I was really, really very seriously ill, that it could be schizophrenia, and I was treated with a hideous series of antidepressants and antipsychotics over a period of 13 years, to the great benefit of his bank account. Four NHS doctors said that there was something odd about my treatment but none of them did anything about it. They said that they would bow to the superior knowledge of the consultant (who with the benefit of hindsight was making it up as he went along, taking full advantage of the fact that innocent young people and their reasonably well educated families, which included medical doctors with other specialisms, were sufficiently naive to believe that all doctors actually had superior knowledge and were on the side of the angels).
“Diagnoses” along the way included bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder and others. Nobody ever asked whether a manager in a major accountancy practice in London had stuck his hand up my skirt in the office rendering work life virtually intolerable. (He had, but people did not know in the 1980’s and 1990’s that they had a right to feel safe in the workplace).
I reached the lowest of low points whilst my mind was turned into a block of wood by these drugs, but “I was lucky” in that when my husband left me (who could blame him? a wife with a block of wood for a wife was hardly the stuff of dreams) an osteopath said “this is ridiculous, you do not have bipolar disorder” (which was the “diagnosis” at the time) and weaned me slowly and carefully off he drugs over a period of two years. The process was painful to say the least, involving horrific, debilitating insomnia and events. Eleven and a half years later, I feel that I am still getting used to life. Having missed out on 13 years because of the prescription medication, I had totally unrealistic ideas and expectations, especially in respect of my employability. However, were it not for that brilliant osteopath, I suspect that I would still be on the medication now. I suppose it is possible that if there was no guidance available in respect of withdrawing from highly addictive drugs in the early 2000’s (my tapering process ended in 2009) GP’s were continuing to issue repeat prescriptions of the drugs recommended by consultants because they did not know what else to do and were too lazy to try to find out, even though this meant prescribing drugs for longer periods than recommended by even the pharmaceutical companies. I have read that cases have been brought against doctors for such excessive prescribing and hope that there will be more. People have to do something to stop this unscientific waste of life. If laziness costs people money, they might be inspired to make more effort!
Thank goodness the treatment of emotional distress is evolving. Hopefully there will be a paradigm shift away from the dreadful unscientific, unethical Medical Model which has devastated so many lives without any evidence soon. It is bad enough to lose one’s adult life because of prescription medication, but far, far worse to know that the theory behind the medication was a load of old bunkum.
In the meantime, what a waste of an opportunity to help people stuck on awful medication which does nothing to address the cause of their distress, to withdraw from it safely. By omitting reports from patient groups and experts regarding hyperbolic tapering, NICE is condemning patients to further distress which could take away years more of their lives. As the article says, it’s like publishing a recipe for roast chicken without either the oven temperature or the cooking time.
Thank you so much, Luke Montagu, for taking a stand and bringing this to our attention.
Sorry, there are a couple of typos in the comment above. I hope that the gist is clear.
Thankyou Luke for taking such an action. By doing so you have been able to highlight the true issues at stake here.
Your story is my story also, off label use, years of iatrogenic drug addiction and years of nonfunctioning withdrawal horror. A complete betrayal from a doctor.
I do know someone who had minimal withdrawal symptoms coming off these drugs but here is the thing, they tapered for 10 years! , thats right 10 years!! With long holds between the smallest of drops. When he got to 2 mg he was just going to jump off but i begged him not to do it and to buy scales and crush the pill and weigh it down to miniscule amounts. This added a few more years to the tapering. He still thanks me for this advise when i bump into him saying if he hadn’t done that he most probably would have been hit by dreadful withdrawal and had to bounce back to 20mg again.
The NICE disappointment comes as no surprise to me. Its a disgrace that ‘slowly’ is as clear as mud. Even today doctors think slowly is only 2-3 months if that! When the truth for so many is slowly is many years. Doctors also don’t understand that withdrawal symptoms are often delayed by 3 – 4 months. Driving people back to a doctor for help only to be incorrectly labeled and re-drugged.
Here’s the thing that person i mentioned who took 10 years to taper off did it without his doctors knowledge. For he like myself new that the medical profession have nothing helpful to say on tapering in fact its worse they are dangerously ignorant!! And even that’s an understatement.
Who knows ,scratch the surface and you might find pharma money is influencing NICE .
I like Sarah want to say thankyou to Luke for taking such an important and necessary stand.
Taken from the article…..
Hyperbolic tapering means reducing the dose by a small percentage of the previous dose rather than the same fixed amount each time. It is the basis of recent guidance on withdrawal from antidepressants issued by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and features in the current edition of the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines (the UK’s bible for psychiatric prescribing).
And yet — perhaps because this method has not been subject to a randomised controlled trial — the draft of the new NICE guidelines fails to include any details, such as how to taper, how frequently to reduce and by how much.
These are supposed to be guidelines on safe withdrawal, and yet they fail to cover the most basic principles. It’s like publishing a recipe for roast chicken without giving either the oven temperature or the cooking time.
On its website NICE claims it takes ‘a comprehensive approach to assessing the best evidence that is available’. Yet for the draft of these guidelines it has not done so. It failed to review the many articles on hyperbolic tapering. It has not invited withdrawal experts to give testimony, nor reviewed submissions from patient groups and withdrawal charities.
It is shocking that these guidelines and the original PHE review only happened because of the campaigning of patients — and yet now, at the critical moment, their experience is being ignored.
As a result, these guidelines will not provide doctors and patients with the simple recipe they desperately need for people to withdraw from these drugs safely.
I raised these issues with the NICE committee and unfortunately the other members did not agree with my concerns. I therefore decided to resign as I could not support the guidelines.
We must ensure these new guidelines include all the best evidence — including patient-developed evidence — in order to reduce the terrible harms of prescribed drug dependence.
Very sad really.
One of my favourite David Healy quotes is:
“I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine.” Healy 2015.
And that’s the truth of it!
Yes – thank you Luke Montagu for all your efforts in trying to bring about change within the NICE guidelines. It does not seem possible that the NICE committee members ignored the expert experience of so many people whose lives have been crushed by these prescribed medications. Similar to Sarah’s story, my daughter was prescribed anti-depressants sixteen years ago. She had a severe reaction (iatrogenic) to this medication and was then diagnosed with psychosis and prescribed anti-psychotics. All within three weeks – by the Mental Health Home Treatment Team. No information about adverse side effects was given, especially the fact that these drugs could cause suicidal ideation to increase, especially in young people. My daughter(aged 23) almost died when she attempted suicide at home with me as a result of these prescribed medications. We were both traumatized by this experience and it has taken sixteen years to reach a point where we both fully understand what happened to her. We are both exercising a great deal of time and patience to her attempt at withdrawal from prescribed medication. Psychiatrists and other doctors all give out the wrong information and advice because they do not know how to help people withdraw or even reduce from prescribed psychiatric medication. Consequently, people have to find their advice from websites on the internet or helpful books – accounts from people who have managed to survive the onslaught of the psychiatric system and withdraw from the drugs. I know young people who have not managed to survive and died, either from the horrific side effects of the drugs or by taking their own life. Fortunately, I found my daughter just in time when she attempted suicide all those years ago. It has been a long and painful struggle to survive the broken system called “Mental Health Services”. She is no longer subject to the constraints of the mental health services “treatment as usual” – medical model, as we have managed to find an alternative service called “Dialogue First” – working in an Open Dialogue way which has proven very helpful. I am now a member of the Open Dialogue Champions, a group of family members who are trying to change the way mental health services operate and provide a more humane and compassionate approach rather than prescribed medication as a First Option. I agree with the above quote from Dr David Healy that the ssri era will be viewed as one of the “most shameful” in the history of medicine. I would also add that the era of anti-psychotics will also be viewed like that in the future.
I only found out from an uncle, the husband one of my doctor aunts, that the doctor should always explain the benefits, risks and possible side effects of proposed medication so that the patient can make an informed decision as to whether to take it. I would never have guessed this from conversations with any doctors who have prescribed medication to me.
How very disappointing to discover through Luke Montagu’s exposure of NICE and its inadequate reform of the prescribing of psych drugs. And also its ignoring of personal experience wisdom from survivors. Why on earth should we be expected to trust our Medics and Health Services, and especially in this age where totalitarianism is gaining a foothold through the mainstream media, its attacking opposition to the “official” narrative, and brainwashing coercive techniques by Health Ministers and lauding the same old corrupt Big Pharma companies – this time creating dependency in perfectly healthy citizens frightened into vaccinations – and for what duration? The longer it lasts, the more they will blame the un-vaccinated for causing the virus. We have been subjected to Lies, damned lies and statistics – and absolutely no honest revelation of all the adverse effects caused by vaccinations. Please access Robert F. Kennedy’s website – “Children’s Health Defence” and its newspaper “The Defender”
and the current edition has an interview with Eric Clapton which is critical of The Yellow Card system – and comments about the divisiveness of these subjects in families – like mine – which divides the wheat (wise) from the chaff (“I’m all right Jack” closed-minded simpletons). AND as ever, the pharma companies are making billions posing as saviours, and not spending it on relief to all the suffering and starving peoples who are victims of their kind of greed and political corruption – FIRST DO NO HARM” has turned into who can we exploit and enrich ourselves at the same time.
Please forgive the lack of punctuation in my comment above. It was less of a rambling confused rant, and more of a desperate stream of consciousness attempt to compare and contrast the change we are experiencing – from desperately unhappy people in the past seeking a quick-fix for their mental mood – being rendered addicted/dependent on drugs – to today’s situation. With the sudden paranoia sweeping the world over a “man-made” virus engineered to become a bio-weapon through the use of psychology – it imbued fear and panic in the “healthy” population. However, similarly to antidepressants – it is the medication/cure that becomes the poison that leads to deaths – suicides often in the depressed. So – with the virus/flu – the vaccination/cure is leading to multiple deaths too – from unborn babies of vaccinated mothers – to the destruction of natural immune systems in children up to adults and the aged. It is a genocide plan and has a far greater reach than psych drugs – because the contagion spreads from the vaccinated. This is not “off-message” – it is meant to sharpen the focus of all those who have already been harmed by pharmaceutical criminals. Vitamin D is far better as an immune system booster. U.S. websites are far better informed than we are here in the U.K. Get informed please. Google – The Economist mag. Excess Deaths charts ,- globally too.