Showing posts with label PTSD medications. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PTSD medications. Show all posts

Friday, January 10, 2020

Veteran Angela Peacock's new mission, to save survivors from PTSD

Female Vet Saves Lives with Heroic Fight for Improved Treatment for Trauma

January 9, 2020
Former Sergeant Angela Peacock is a woman who has dedicated her life and her own survival to educating and helping others and is the definition of a true hero.

As we sit on the brink of troubling tension with Iran, many concerned about the possibility of another war, MK Mendoza is joined by Veteran Sergeant Angela Peacock who knows the personal cost of war and what post traumatic stress can do. She is not alone. Nearly one out of every ten people in our adult population is a veteran and in some NM counties, that number is close to every 2 out of ten.

Men make up the more than 90% of veterans. And women just less than ten percent. Yet close to a third of all suffer silently with Post Traumatic Stress. And though women still rank in the vast minority in the service, their population has nearly doubled since Vietnam.
She's found a new mission in life: To help all who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress and gives voice to an invisible population and another experience that can kill. Thirty percent of all people are estimated as overmedicated defined as being on more than 5 drugs at a time, and in our elderly population some studies estimate a rate of 67%.
read it here

Monday, January 6, 2020

Our government has a lot of explaining to do about the rise in suicides

Pay attention if you are not freaked out and you will be

Our government has a lot of explaining to do about the rise in suicides, but they do not seem to care about answering to us at all. Why would they since we are not demanding it?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 6, 2020

When reports came out about what opioids were doing, they did something.
A lawyer for more than 2,000 cities and counties suing opioid makers says a $48 billion deal touted by four state AGs still isn't big enough.
So why not do something when we have seen a rise in suicides? At the same time more was being spent to prevent them, and researchers have been screaming about drugs being given to fight Post Traumatic Stress Disorder evidence proves it got worse than ever!

While we have been reading about medication reports since the beginning of Wounded Times, apparently, reporters drop the subject instead of connecting the dots. In 2012, I posted Military suicide studies must include drugs after reading a report from Counter Punch discussing the side effects of most of the medications given to veterans, as well as those who currently serve.

This is from part of the report "Boom in suicides" by Martha Rosenberg.
The US’s suicide rate has risen to 38,000 a year, says USA Today, after falling in the 1990s. The rise correlates with the debut of direct-to-consumer drug advertising in the late 1990s, the approval of many drugs with suicide links and more people taking psychoactive drugs for lifestyle problems.

Dr. Benjamin announced that federal grants totaling $55 million will save 20,000 lives in the next five years through suicide hotlines, more mental health workers in the VA, better depression screening and Facebook tracking of suicidal messages. Nowhere, including in the suicide-racked military, does she suggest looking at the overmedication which has gone hand-in-hand with the deaths. And on which the government is spending a lot more than $55 million.
Guess what the number of suicides is now?
10. Suicide
Deaths in 2017: 47,173
When a person dies by suicide, they may have lived with a mental health condition — such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder — for a long time.

However, not all people who attempt suicide or die by it have these conditions.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 years.

Establishing a strong support network, taking appropriate medications, and seeking therapy may help reduce the risk of suicide.
The reports from the DOD and the VA should have caused us to contact every member of congress, since they have been spending our money to achieve such miserable results.

Freaked out yet? Then start paying attention and you will be! Then maybe we can actually save lives instead of just raising awareness they are giving up,

We did nothing meaningful. We just went with whatever was popular on social media. You know, like the stunts raising awareness it was happening...while no one explained what the point of doing any of it was.

Reports kept flooding my email box on how the government was increasing spending fighting PTSD and reducing the suicide rate...almost as often as the rise in suicides were coming in. What I was not seeing was outrage! I was not seeing anyone even questioning why it has gotten worse, while they just posted the same BS reports as if they were supposed to mean a damn thing. The only people it meant anything to were the ones making money off of all of it!

Well BOHICA because while Wounded Times warned about the nasal spray everyone else seemed to think was a good thing President Trump pushed...the report from STATNEWS confirms it was just one more stunt to push on veterans.
In August, President Trump proudly proclaimed that he had directed the Department of Veterans Affairs to buy “a lot” of a drug known as esketamine, the first new major depression treatment with a novel mechanism to hit the U.S. market in decades.

“Its results are incredible,” Trump said at a veterans convention in Kentucky. “I’ve instructed the top officials to go out and get as much of it as you can.”

As of mid-December, the VA had treated just 15 veterans across the country with the drug. The nasal spray, which was developed by Janssen and named Spravato, was only available at seven of the agency’s facilities — out of more than 1,200. The VA treated its first patient with Spravato in June.
And just so you know "Who’s behind the new publication? STAT is produced by Boston Globe Media. Our headquarters is located in Boston but we have bureaus in Washington, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Cleveland. It was started by John Henry, the owner of Boston Globe Media and the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox. Rick Berke is executive editor."

UPDATE Pharmalittle: Few vets were treated with antidepressant Trump touted;

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

President Trump offered to negotiate for debunked nasal spray for PTSD

Struggling To Curb Veteran Suicide, VA Approves Costly Depression Drug Amid Accusations It’s Rushing The Process

Kaiser Health
June 24, 2019

The agency is racing to get the drug through the approval process after President Donald Trump signaled support for the treatment. But psychiatrists and medical researchers, including some at the VA, raised questions about the drug’s effectiveness and safety, and Democratic lawmakers question why the decision-making on the drug has been so rushed.

The New York Times: Veterans Agency To Offer New Depression Drug, Despite Cost And Safety Concerns Confronted by a rising rate of suicides in some groups of veterans., the Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday decided to approve the use of a new and costly depression drug, despite concerns among doctors and other experts about the drug’s effectiveness. The decision to endorse the drug — called Spravato, and manufactured by Janssen, a unit of Johnson and Johnson — came days after President Trump offered to negotiate a deal between the drug maker and the agency. Johnson and Johnson reportedly was working with associates at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, and the company has been supporting V.A. suicide-prevention efforts. (Carey and Steinhauer, 6/21)

Center For Public Integrity: Controversial J&J Drug Pushed By Trump Is Nixed From VA's Pharmacy List A Department of Veterans Affairs panel has pushed back against efforts to rush a controversial anti-depression drug into use for its patients, voting not to include the drug, Spravato, on its list of drugs available through prescription at its pharmacies. The VA had been racing to get Spravato ready for patients after President Trump, according to VA sources, urged the agency to buy the Johnson and Johnson drug for treatment-resistant depression. But psychiatrists and medical researchers, including some at the VA, have raised questions about the drug’s effectiveness and safety. (Cary, 6/21)
read more here

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

PTSD drug making nightmares worse and suicide thought stronger?

Drug used for PTSD may worsen nightmares, not reduce suicidal thoughts

Medical Press
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
November 19, 2018
McCall reconfirmed in 2013 in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine the link between insomnia and nightmares and how losing hope of ever getting another good night's sleep itself is a risk factor for suicide.
Nightmares and insomnia often accompany posttraumatic stress disorder and increase suicide risk.
Dr. W. Vaughn McCall, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia. Credit: Phil Jones, Senior Photographer, Augusta University

A small study looking at whether the drug prazosin, best known for treating high blood pressure but also used to treat PTSD-related sleep problems, can reduce suicidal thoughts has yielded surprising results.

They indicate it may actually worsen nightmares and insomnia and doesn't reduce suicidal thinking, investigators report in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.

"I think we have to view this as not the final word on this, but it raises questions," says Dr. W. Vaughn McCall, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

McCall is currently seeking input from PTSD experts across the country but says a likely consensus could be that prazosin may help some, but may not be a good choice when suicide is an active concern.

Two larger studies in active and retired military personnel yielded mixed results as well, the first in active duty military showed it helped with nightmares and sleep quality and a follow-up study just published this year on military veterans with chronic PTSD indicated it was no better than placebo.

McCall's pilot study is the first in which all participants had suicidal thoughts or actions.

"It did not seem to do much for suicidal ideation and that was somewhat disappointing, but the thing what was mind-blowing was that is actually worsened nightmares," says McCall. "Maybe it's not for everybody." He notes that with PTSD, a patient's nightmares often focus on the trauma that produced their disorder.
read more here

Monday, May 15, 2017

PTSD Meds May Increase Dementia Risk?

With all this "awareness" going on, most do not know this part, 
A deeper look at PTSDPost traumatic stress disorder encapsulates multiple symptoms related to a traumatic event. The National Institute of Mental Health noted that PTSD can be both acute and chronic. However, the NIMH noted that individuals must have symptoms including flashbacks of a traumatic event, avoidance and mood changes for up to one month for it to be identified as PTSD. When these symptoms last for a shorter amount of time, it can be acute stress disorder.
but now you do and it may help understand why some folks claim they were "cured." Reminder, if the symptoms after traumatic events do not subside or go away, get professional help as soon as possible AND HEAL.

How PTSD medication can increase the risk of dementia Medication may increase the likelihood of dementia in older patients.
by Interim HealthCare
Published: Monday, May 15, 2017

A new study from the American Geriatrics Society may have identified another risk factor that could increase the likelihood of dementia. Individuals taking medication to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder could increase their risk for dementia later in life.

A closer look at the study
Researchers looked at over 3 million participants aged 56 and older. The study focused on individuals working with veterans. According to NPR, there continues to be a stigma for individuals who have seen combat seeking out treatment for PTSD. However, the stigma of seeking out treatment for PTSD is beginning to dissipate.

The study tracked patients since 2003 over nine years. The results found that individuals taking medication to cope with PTSD, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antidepressants, were more likely to suffer from dementia later in life than individuals who didn't take these medications. While researchers noted the connection between these medications and dementia, they acknowledge that more research is needed to learn about the relationship.
read more here

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dr. Christopher Kirkpatrick, Tried to Save Lives, Ended His Own

Senator Wants Names of VA Officials Who 'Retaliated Against Dead Man'
by Bryant Jordan
Sep 23, 2015

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is demanding to know who at the Veterans Affairs Department's Inspector General's office put together a report that was allegedly more bent on destroying the reputation of a dead whistleblower than looking into the claims he had made.

Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, raised the "white paper" report during a hearing Tuesday attended by VA whistleblowers as well as the acting head of the IG's office.

The report, released in July, called attention to the fact that marijuana was found in the apartment of Dr. Christopher Kirkpatrick, a psychologist at the VA Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin, who committed suicide on the day he was fired.

At the time, Kirkpatrick was a whistleblower trying to focus attention on over-medication of veterans being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The IG's white paper, Johnson said, recommended that officials look into whether Kirkpatrick was a drug dealer, noting that there was marijuana in his apartment and a scale.
read more here

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Afghanistan Veteran Killed By Police Had PTSD

Parents of veteran fatally shot seek answers 
Victoria Advocate
By Bianca Montes
April 27, 2015
Lawrence, a U.S. Army veteran, was diagnosed with PTSD after serving in Afghanistan, his wife, Yasmine Lawrence, told the Advocate. He was trying to get help and had just started a new combination of medication.

The parents of a 25-year-old Victoria man fatally shot by police officers want answers.

Answers they say Victoria police officials have been reluctant to offer.

Saturday night, officers responded to a disturbance call in the 800 block of Simpson Road behind Academy Sports and Outdoors. At the scene, one of the officers observed a man inside his own residence holding a 23-inch machete.

Police Chief J.J. Craig said at a news conference Sunday that officers ordered the suspect, Brandon Lawrence, out of his residence. He said they also ordered him more than 30 times to drop his weapon.

Lawrence didn't comply and was fatally shot outside his home, Craig said.
read more here
Afghanistan Veteran Killed By Police in Texas

Friday, April 24, 2015

Veteran Committed Suicide After Zoloft

Grieving Father: VA Isn’t Doing Enough To Prevent Vet Suicides
CBS Pittsburgh
Andy Sheehan
KDKA-TV Investigator
April 23, 2015

(Photo Credit: KDKA) 

(KDKA) — His son survived the war, but lost the battle at home.

“Everything seemed to be well with David, going his way and then all of a sudden this drops out of the sky, like an anvil hits you on the top of the head,” said Bob Cranmer.

Just last month Iraq war veteran David Cranmer joined the growing ranks of US veterans who have committed suicide. His father is former Allegheny County Commissioner Bob Cranmer.

“Twenty-two suicides a day,” said Cranmer, “that’s a crisis.”

He thinks vets suffering from PTSD — post-traumatic stress disorder — are not getting the treatment they need and deserve from the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

“It’s gone beyond, with me anyway, the tragedy of my own son,” said Cranmer, “to many, many other veterans that are out there, like him who are just being given medication by the VA and pushed out the door.”

David Cranmer enlisted in the marines and served in a forward area of Iraq. He returned home to meet and marry a young woman, they bought a house and had a daughter who is now 5 years old.

But recent stresses led him to a VA therapist — who after one session prescribed the psychotropic drug Zoloft. 

It carries an FDA warning that it can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts and actions. A month later — David Cranmer hung himself.

“He had some marital issues,” said Cranmer. “Nothing that I think rose to the level of committing suicide, but when you add to that mix this, what I feel is a very dangerous drug.” “We don’t have a proven medication or a proven therapy that we know will prevent suicide, but we’re trying,” said David Macpherson.
read more here

Seriously? They don't have enough information? After all these years?
Nearly 40% of Army suicide victims in 2006 and 2007 were on Prozac or Zoloft Nearly 40% of Army suicide victims in 2006 and 2007 took psychotropic drugs like Prozac and Zoloft.

The military’s invisible wounds
by David Isenberg
August 4th, 2008

Yesterday I was a panelist on a television program talking about the rising number of suicides and suicide attempts in the American military.

Being a veteran myself, and having acted as a veteran’s advocate in my undergraduate days vets issues have always been of special interest to me. So let me summarize some of the facts that you may be unfamiliar with.

Currently, many veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from invisible wounds. As in previous wars, service members can leave a war zone, but the war often follows them in their minds.

Numbers are always iffy but according to a RAND study released in April, nearly one in five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans report symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression. It estimated that 830,000 veterans - 300,000 of whom served in Iraq or Afghanistan - suffer from depression or PTSD symptoms.

I checked the link to the story and it is still active. You can read more of Military's Invisible Wounds here
There are a lot more reports on this and what the VA should have known. By the way Congress knew.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

VA Releases Tomah Opioid Report

VA Releases Key Findings of Clinical Review of Opioid Practices in Tomah
03/10/2015 04:18 PM EDT

VA Releases Key Findings of Clinical Review of Opioid Practices in Tomah
Clinical and Administrative Reviews Still Ongoing

Washington – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today released key findings and recommendations of its initial clinical review into opioid prescription practices at the Tomah VA Medical Center (VAMC).

Based on these preliminary findings, the team recommended that VA consider a more in-depth evaluation of the clinical and administrative practices at the Tomah VAMC. An administrative review team from VA’s Office of Accountability Review (OAR) is continuing to look at allegations of retaliation against employees and other accountability issues related to Tomah VAMC leadership.

Investigators from the independent VA Office of Inspector General and the Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration have also been on site.

Yesterday, VA announced the accelerated deployment of a nationwide opioid therapy tool for use at all Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities.

In January, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald directed Interim Under Secretary for Health Dr. Carolyn Clancy to lead a comprehensive review of medication prescription practices at the Tomah VA Medical Center. Dr. Clancy charged the Clinical Review Team to assess the practice patterns, controlled substance prescribing habits, and administrative interactions with subordinates and clinical leadership as related to prescribing practices.

The release of the key findings comes as VA’s Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson met today with employees and stakeholders in Tomah.
91,614 fewer patients receiving opioids;
29,281 fewer patients receiving opioids and benzodiazepines together;
71,255 more patients on opioids that have had a urine drug screen to help guide treatment decisions;
67,466 fewer patients on long-term opioid therapy

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wisconsin VA "Breeding Drug Addicts" Instead of Healing Veterans?

You know it is really bad when the Wisconsin VA gets called "Candy Land" because of the drugs they have been handing out. This is from NBC News.
"I just feel that he didn't have a chance," Simcakoski's mother, Linda, told Farrow. "We trusted them and we expected them to know what to do...and it just seems like they just kept giving him more and more."

A Wisconsin VA hospital nicknamed "Candy Land" by some for an alarming surge in pain-killer prescriptions is under investigation — six months after a Marine Corps veteran died of an overdose in the psychiatric ward.

The amount of opiates doled out by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Tomah nearly quadrupled over eight years, under the leadership of the chief of staff, Dr. David Houlihan, as the non-profit Center for Investigative Reporting first revealed.

Prescriptions for just one of them, often-abused oxycodone, shot up ten-fold — from about 78,000 pills in 2005 to almost 712,000 in 2012, the center found.

Meanwhile, some staffers complained they were pressured to refill prescriptions early and to keep giving powerful narcotics to patients who may not have been taking the doses themselves.

"They're breeding drug addicts," Jason Bishop, an Air Force veteran who is a patient at the Tomah facility, told MSNBC's Ronan Farrow, who reported this story in collaboration with NBC Investigations.

The problem is, some member of Congress will jump on this story and write a bill with his name on it or some other veteran who tried to get help only to end up in the grave.

Why not? They've gotten away with it all these years. The reports go back to at least 2008 on what the VA has been doing with handing out drugs instead of therapy. Some find it all too easy to numb them instead of work with them. Others, well, they do the best they can but even the best VA doctors are overwhelmed by the number of veterans looking for help to heal.

If you are thinking that veterans would be better off outside the VA, think again. Years ago I work for a group of psychiatrists and they made a lot more money with med appointments than they did providing actual therapy sessions. These appointments were done in 15 minutes meaning they could see at least 4 patients an hour every hour they were in the office. When they needed time off, appointments had to be changed. I had to do the med appointments first and then squeeze everyone else in afterwards.

So why is it still this way after all these years of sad outcomes? Drugs aren't free and someone is making money off the veterans who fought to retain the freedom we still have. The other reason is that members of congress are "doing something" about all this without a clue as to what that something actually should be.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Baldwin Sat on Report Others Pretended They Didn't Know Years Ago

"Sen. Baldwin had Tomah VA report for months" was the headline on the use of opiates as if it was anything new. None of this is new but it seems as if some bloggers have just discovered this issue. The story was linked on a report Town had up Sunday but as you can see, it is far from new and it appears that there have been many politicians just sitting on what they knew, since nothing was done about any of it.
"In September, the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that VA prescriptions for four opiates - hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine - surged 270 percent from 2001 to 2012. That far outpaced the increase in the number of VA patients and contributed to a fatal overdose rate that the agency's researchers put at nearly double the national average."

That was reported in 2013 by Aaron Glantz, Center for Investigative Reporting. The kicker was that also in the same report was the stunning admission of doctors writing prescriptions for these drugs without seeing the patient. Glantz followed that report up with another testimony told this part of what was going on.
"There are multiple instances when I have been coerced or even ordered to write for Schedule II narcotics when it was against my medical judgment," said Dr. Pamela Gray, a physician who formerly worked at the VA hospital in Hampton, Va. Primary care doctors who don't want to prescribe large amounts of opiates may resign, do as they are told or be terminated, Gray said. Gray was fired.
Dr. Robert Jesse gave testimony to the House Veterans Affairs Committee
Hearing on 10/10/2013: Between Peril and Promise: Facing the Dangers of VA’s Skyrocketing Use of Prescription Painkillers to Treat Veterans
"We also know that the long-term use of opioids is associated with significant risks, particularly in vulnerable individuals, such as Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and family stress – all common in Veterans returning from the battlefield, and in Veterans with addiction disorders. Chronic pain in Veterans is often accompanied by co-morbid mental health conditions (up to 50 percent in some cohorts) caused by the psychological trauma of war, as well as neurological disorders, such as TBI caused by blast and concussion injuries. In fact, one study documented that more that 40 percent of Veterans admitted to a polytrauma unit in VHA suffered all three conditions together – chronic pain, PTSD, and post-concussive syndrome."

But as bad as all this is, the reports of troops being medicated while still in the military have been going on longer.

Investigation needed Ambien and military use

Links to medications suspected with non-combat deaths

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Veterans Dying on Multiple Medications

What Good Do Investigations Do When Nothing Changes?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 15, 2015

Another investigation is being called for relating to veterans dying on multiple medications. It is mind numbing considering how many investigations have done little to address what they discovered before.

We talk about veterans committing suicide, so the same bills written by members of congress are pieced together from other bills, passed, signed and proven to have done little to save lives. (Hint: suicide go up after more is done proves they don't have a clue and haven't cared to figure out what they got wrong.) Then, as there are more and more suicides they call for investigations. Why? They didn't do anything about what they learned years ago!
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin is now calling for a criminal investigation into the VA Medical Center in Tomah. She points to concerns about the use of prescription drugs and the deaths of three veterans, one of whom died in downtown Milwaukee.
Cpl. Chad Oligschlaeger returned from Iraq in early 2006 haunted by the memory of a fellow Marine he thought he should have saved. In the spring, two years after the nightmares began, he told his family that doctors had diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder and put him on at least six types of medication. The Marines sent him to alcohol rehab and were arranging treatment at a mental health clinic. He was found dead in his room at the Twentynine Palms Marine base in California on May 20. He was 21.

But it wasn't just members of the military getting medications. They were doing it to veterans as well.

Oligschlaeger's death came in 2008. But it wasn't something no one saw coming. The military had been medicating troops for a long time.

This isn't the first time members of congress have been told about what has been going on.
Stan White's son Andrew, who was found dead in bed at the family's Cross Lanes, W.Va., home on Feb. 12, 2007, is one among a cluster of young veterans in the state who have died in their sleep with little explanation. Now Mr. White wants the federal government to monitor the drugs it prescribes to some 375,000 soldiers who have been diagnosed with mental trauma.

Shirley White of Cross Lanes, Andrew's mother, says she and her husband want an investigation into the medications prescribed to their son and other veterans who died.

So far, he has identified nine veterans across the country - including four in West Virginia - who have died in their sleep after taking antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.

Mr. White has met with members of Congress and asked for Capitol Hill hearings to investigate the deaths. His research prompted a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) investigation into Andrew's and one other death, which were found to have been caused by "combined drug intoxication." But the investigation could not determine whether the prescribed medications were at fault.

Families were contacting members of congress to do something about all this.
The cover letter on the official military autopsy for Chris Bachus strongly recommends that family members not read it alone, but with a family friend or minister.

It spells out the 27 prescriptions found near the body in March 2008, at Camp Geiger in North Carolina. The death was ruled accidental, blamed on "multi-drug toxicity."

The list of 27 prescription bottles found at the scene of death takes up most of a page of the autopsy, from topiramate to oxycodone to lorazepam.

By 2009 there were more calls for investigations,
The Senate on Wednesday ordered an independent study to determine whether an increase in military suicides could be the result of sending troops into combat while they are taking antidepressants or sleeping pills.

Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., who pushed for the study, said he does not know whether there is a link, but he believes prescription drug use, especially when it is not closely supervised by medical personnel, needs a closer look.

“One thing we should all be concerned about is that there are more and more of our soldiers who are using prescription antidepressant drugs ... and we are not clear as to whether they are under appropriate medical supervision,” Cardin said.

In 2011, there were even more questions and less answers
WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The head of the nation's largest veterans service organization says he is "greatly concerned" about the widespread use of an apparently ineffective medication by VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) doctors treating patients with post traumatic stress (PTS).

"It is alarming," said Jimmie L. Foster, national commander of The American Legion, "that fully 20 percent of the nearly 87,000 veterans VA physicians treated for PTS last year were given a medication that has proven to be pretty much useless."

According to a study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs itself and published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Risperdal, an antipsychotic medication commonly prescribed to veterans with post traumatic stress when antidepressants have failed to help, does not alleviate the symptoms of PTS.

"Not only that," said Foster, "but Risperdal is not even approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of PTS." Only two medications, Zoloft and Paxil, both antidepressants, are government-approved to treat PTS and neither drug, say researchers, is very effective at treating patients with a chronic form of the disorder. "I am greatly concerned that veterans suffering the 'invisible wounds of war' are receiving equally invisible care," said Foster.
In 2012 the IG was investigating medications given to PTSD veterans
Warning on multi-drug toxicity.
The VA Office of Inspector General Office of Healthcare Inspections conducted a review of the medication management provided for a patient who received health care and prescriptions at the Lincoln Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) of the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Healthcare System. The patient died unexpectedly, and a medical examiner determined the patient’s cause of death was accidental multidrug toxicity. The purpose of this review was to determine if the patient received appropriate medication management.

The patient had a complex medical and mental health history, which included acute and chronic pain. He was well known to CBOC staff; from 2004 through February 2012, he received MH, primary care, and/or pharmacy services at least every 30 days at the CBOC.

A psychiatrist treated the patient and prescribed medications to address his mental health needs. A physician assistant treated the patient and prescribed medications to address his other acute and chronic conditions. CBOC providers prescribed a number of medications that had the potential for adverse interactions. The patient’s medication regimen remained essentially the same for several years prior to his death. Providers performed medication reconciliations, (reviews of active VA and non-VA medications), and monitored the patient’s compliance with his medication regimen.

Not much happened. The military and the VA were still giving out the same medications they questioned years before.

Suicide story of Sgt. Justin Junkin has all the reasons If you want to know why there are so many suicides, you need to read this. It has it all. Sgt. Justin Junkin had survivors guilt, suffered from the lingering stigma of PTSD even though he was helping other soldiers, plus medication issues with Zoloft and Klonopin. He knew the basics of PTSD and so did his wife. Justin ended his pain not by healing, not by getting what he needed to fight this destroyer inside of him. He ended his pain by ending his own life. All of us need to pay attention to this whole story.
The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) announces the second in a four-part series by award-winning investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O’Meara exploring the epidemic of suicides in the military and the correlation to dramatic increases in psychiatric drug prescriptions to treat the emotional scars of battle.

The second installment covers psycho-pharma’s disastrous chemical experimentation within the military ending in sudden unexplained deaths, including those of Marine corporal Andrew White and Senior Airman Anthony Mena who were prescribed a total of 54 drugs between them, including Seroquel, Effexor, Paxil, Prozac, Remeron, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft, Ativan, Celexa, Cymbalta, Depakote, Haldol, Klonopin, Lexapro, Lithium, Lunesta, Compazine, Desyrel, Trileptal, and Valium.

"Dr. Thad E. Abrams and Dr. Brian Lund, both of the Center for Comprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation, Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and colleagues analyzed fiscal year 2009 electronic pharmacy data from the Veterans Health Administration for 356,958 veterans with PTSD who were receiving medications from VHA prescribers." Two years ago,
(CBS News) Veterans by the tens of thousands have come home from Iraq and Afghanistan with injuries suffered on the battlefield. Many of them seek treatment at Veterans Affairs hospitals. Now a CBS News investigation has found that some veterans are dying of accidental overdoses of narcotic painkillers at a much higher rate than the general population -- and some VA doctors are speaking out.
Last year NBC reported that not much had changed since the original reports and investigations.
The review, conducted by the independent Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (OIG), found that 92.6 percent of veterans who are chronically prescribed opioid drugs (such as Oxycodone) also were prescribed benzodiazepines (such as Xanax and Valium) -– a mix “strongly associated with death from opioid overdose.”

The audit, which collected data from a population of about a half million veterans, was first reported on by the Center for Investigative Reporting. The VA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

In addition, about one third of the veterans prescribed opioids “were on take-home opioids for more than 90 days,” the audit showed.

The problem isn't that people don't pay attention to all of this. The problem is the people paying the most attention are forgotten about and the ones getting the attention forget what they learned.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Disabled Veteran with PTSD Humiliated at Atlanta VA Hospital

U.S. veteran left with weeks-long erection after given sleep medication at VA Hospital: attorney 
Edward Stalling was not only left impotent but a laughingstock among doctors at the Atlanta VA Medical Center after taking a single day’s dosage of antidepressant Trazodone in October, his attorney told the Daily News.
Monday, January 5, 2015
Trazodone, according to Weill Cornell Medical College's Department of Urology, has an "uncommon side-effect of prolonged erection" that occurs in approximately one out of 10,000 to 20,000 users.

A U.S. veteran being treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was instead left with a weeks-long erection after prescribed a sleep aid by a VA Hospital, his attorney claims.

A single dosage of antidepressant Trazodone in October was enough to not only "disfigure" Edward Stalling but leave him completely impotent and a laughingstock among the doctors and nurses at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, his attorney told the Daily News.

"They treated him as some kind of spectacle to be viewed," Attorney Jonathan Johnson said of the former service member's treatment.

"One had mentioned that I should line up all the women," Stalling recalled a doctor's alleged jest to CBS46. "I haven't had that many people who had seen it in my whole life, until I went to that hospital."
read more here

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mom blames overmedicating on Iraq Veteran's death

Distraught mother: 'All they were doing was overmedicating him'
Billings Gazette
By Cindy Uken
July 23, 2014

A 36-year-old Iraq war veteran was being treated for traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and back injuries with more than 27 different medications when he died unexpectedly, according to his mother.

Paul Gardner, of Billings died on March 3, 2001 from complications related to injuries he sustained in Iraq after a rocket attack on his base, said Claire Gardner, of Seattle.

She blames the pills — and the VA for the complications.

“It seemed like all they were doing was overmedicating him,” Claire Gardner said. “They were treating the symptoms with pills and covering up the real problems.”

She is concerned that other veterans are also being overmedicated. That is why she has put up $5,000 in seed money to jump-start the Paul Gardner Veterans Relief Foundation to give veterans non-narcotic options for rehabilitation and relief from chronic pain.

“The Foundation will allow veterans and their families the opportunity to take a breath and a step back,” Gardner said.
read more here

from 2007 Links to medications suspected with non-combat deaths
Prozac Platoon America's Medicated Army
Sen. Benjamin Cardin wants study on prescriptions-suicide link 2010
Nevada Soldier With PTSD Prescribed 14 Drugs Before Police Shootout
Powerful Drug Cocktails Have Deadly Results For Some Troops

Marine died in his sleep; autopsy lists 27 medications

US Troops Heavily Medicated on Prescription Drugs, Report Warns

Prescriptions for antipsychotics jumped tenfold from 2002 to 2009
There are more but as you can see as the years went on no one stopped it after Gardner's death.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Veterans dumping pills against doctors orders

Veterans Kick The Prescription Pill Habit, Against Doctors' Orders
July 11, 2014

For many people with post-traumatic stress disorder, sleeping can return you to the worst place you've ever been, at the worst possible moment.

"I always see his face," says Will, who did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Army. "And in my dreams it's the same thing. ... I always walk over to him, and instead of this Afghani kid that's laying there, it's my little brother."

The memory that triggers Will's nightmare happened during his tour in Afghanistan. Will, 33, who asked that NPR not use his last name, was on patrol when a kid came up to the Humvee asking for water. Then he bashed Will's medic in the face with a rock. The boy's father appeared with a gun and started shooting. Amid a scuffle, Will shot the child at close range.

"After I did that, all I remember is that I was shaking," Will says. "And one of my soldiers took my weapon away and said: 'It's OK primo [cousin]. It's gonna be OK.' "

Troops coming home from war, like Will, are often prescribed drugs for PTSD and other conditions. Hundreds of thousands of veterans are on opiates for pain, and 1 in 3 veterans polled say they are on 10 different medications.

While there is concern about overmedicating and self-medicating — using alcohol or drugs without a doctor's approval — there are also some veterans who are trying to do the opposite: They're kicking the drugs, against doctor's orders.
read more here

Thursday, May 15, 2014

VA Dangerous Drugs

VA Docs Defied Opiate Rules in Treating Vets, Audit Finds
NBC News

VA medical centers defied some agency policies on supplying opiates to veterans in 2012, including simultaneously prescribing thousands of ex-troops with narcotic painkillers and psychoactive drugs -– a combination that’s been linked to lethal overdoses, a new audit shows.

The review, conducted by the independent Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (OIG), found that 92.6 percent of veterans who are chronically prescribed opioid drugs (such as Oxycodone) also were prescribed benzodiazepines (such as Xanax and Valium) -– a mix “strongly associated with death from opioid overdose.”

The audit, which collected data from a population of about a half million veterans, was first reported on by the Center for Investigative Reporting. The VA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

In addition, about one third of the veterans prescribed opioids “were on take-home opioids for more than 90 days,” the audit showed.
read more here

But if you are outraged over this, then this will really get your blood boiling because yet again, history stops when reporters want it to. These reports go back to 2004.
Links to medications suspected with non-combat deaths

Prozac Platoon America's Medicated Army

Sen. Benjamin Cardin wants study on prescriptions-suicide link

Medicating the military

Marine died in his sleep; autopsy lists 27 medications

And then there is this one

VA awards new contract for debunked PTSD drug
BY BOB BREWIN 08/25/2011

This is the fourteenth story in an ongoing series.

The Veterans Affairs Department continues to issue contracts to purchase an anti-psychotic drug to treat post-traumatic stress disorder despite research showing the drug, risperidone, is no more effective than a placebo.

Nextgov reported Aug. 22 that VA spent $717 million over the past decade to purchase risperidone, the generic name for Risperdal, a second-generation anti-psychotic drug originally developed by the Janssen Pharmaceuticals division of Johnson & Johnson to treat severe mental conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

VA doctors prescribe the drug to treat PTSD, but a study by department researchers published Aug. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded, "treatment with risperidone compared with placebo did not reduce PTSD symptoms."

Despite these findings, on Aug. 11, VA awarded a contract to Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. for more than 200,000 bottles of risperidone containing more than 20 million pills in multiple dosages. The announcement of the contract to the Morgantown, W.V., generic drug manufacturer did not provide a dollar value for the contract.

There are a lot more but you get the idea.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Drugging Troops:Current increase in suicides is not a coincidence

You know how Wounded Times has been screaming for change along with people being held accountable for military suicides. You know how I used news reports to track down the under-reported truth about what has been going on. Billions spent on Comprehensive Soldier Fitness but Congress kept paying for it no matter what this did to the troops.

No matter what was happening to them, no one had to pay the price but them and their families.

Well, it looks like THE WARRIOR SAW SUICIDES AFTER WAR was only part of the problem.

“We have never drugged our troops to this extent and the current increase in suicides is not a coincidence.

“Why hasn’t psychiatry in the military been relieved of command of Mental Health Services?

“In any other command position in the military, there would have been a change in leadership.”

– Lt. Col. Bart Billings, Clinical Psychologist U.S. Army Reserve, Ret.

Today, with militaries of the world awash in psychiatry and psychiatric drugs, 23 soldiers and veterans are committing suicide every day. Psychiatrists say we need more psychiatry.

But should we trust them?

Or is psychiatry the hidden enemy?

Featuring interviews with over 80 soldiers and experts, this penetrating documentary shatters the fa├žade to reveal the real culprits who are destroying our world’s militaries from within.

The most dangerous enemy is the one you never suspect…
Go here for more

From the 50's to the 70's experiments have been used on the troops. "Even though they knew the dangers" about LSD, but the UK and the US used it and as for the Soviets, "God knows what" and they have been doing experiments ever since.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Euphoria over PTSD drugs needs to be over

Euphoria over PTSD drugs needs to be over
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 29, 2013

Euphoria is "a good ability to endure" but not heal. So why is it that medications seem to be the only answer?

More and more reports on research being done on medications but evidence has shown most have come with warnings to not use them when the patient has depression because suicidal thoughts could increase. Some researchers point to this and say another medication needs to replace "what is" and go for the alternatives of medical marijuana to ecstasy to treat PTSD. Basically the response from many psychiatrists has been if it feels good, take it.

The problem is that while medications for PTSD were supposed to be about getting the chemicals of the brain level so that therapy had a better chance to work, they have been used in replace of what is less expensive but takes more time, listening.

Recently CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta came out in favor of medical marijuana but the use of it is far from new. Many Vietnam veterans used it to relax and clam down. It was a lot better than alcohol for them because instead of passing out from booze, they simply fell asleep. Keep in mind that chemicals, legal or not, take effect in the brain and thus hit the whole body. "The high-profile doc, who is CNN's chief medical correspondent, apologized for "not looking hard enough" at the research on medicinal marijuana that suggests it can help treat conditions from chronic pain to post-traumatic stress disorder."

Ecstasy has also been in the news around the world. The push in the US has been going on for years and now it seems that Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is trying to get Australia to get involved.

"Doblin wants Australia to replicate a successful trial in the United States in which 80 per cent of soldiers and emergency workers in a study were successfully treated for PTSD using MDMA, the main ingredient in ecstasy, and psychotherapy. The controversial but legal program involved 20 veterans, who had not responded to other treatments, taking MDMA twice during three months of psychotherapy."

Wow! A whole 20 people participated in the study and 80% of them were "successfully treated" by getting high. Not impressed considering that the National Institute of Mental Health says Approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 3.5 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD. PTSD can develop at any age, including childhood, but research shows that the median age of onset is 23 years. About 19 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD at some point after the war.13 The disorder also frequently occurs after violent personal assaults such as rape, mugging, or domestic violence; terrorism; natural or human-caused disasters; and accidents.

Topped off with the fact the VA has 3.9 million veterans collecting disability compensation with hundreds of thousands receiving treatment for PTSD and another huge percentage of veterans with PTSD still not seeking treatment. The assumption has been that less than half of our veterans with PTSD seek help.

This isn't new. Back in 2004 NBC News had a report that 1 in 8 soldiers back from combat had PTSD but less than half sought treatment. The CBO released a report in 2012 with 103,000 OEF OIF veterans with PTSD, 8,700 with TBI and 26,600 with both.

When you look at the hard numbers a research project on 20 veterans is not even yawn worthy.

Most of the veterans seeking help have a need to feel better and they are ready to grab at anything that does it, no matter how long it lasts. They make irrational decisions clinging onto whatever works for "now" hoping it is what does the trick for the long haul only to discover it didn't last long enough. They replace that fix with something else, then something else but the end result is always the same. It wears off and most of the time they feel worse than they did before. Why? Because while they were trying to fill the void and numb the pain, PTSD had rested up enough to get stronger.

Drugs, legal or otherwise, are not the answer especially when there is time to reverse most of what PTSD does. Early on treatment with medication blended with talk therapy, physical therapy and spiritual intervention reverses most of what PTSD does but even a perfect blend of all of these treatments do not cure it.

If too much time goes by, life gets in the way of healing and more parts of the human are hit including the brain itself. Scans have shown changes in the brain hit by PTSD. It hits the nervous system, heart, digestive organs and on and on. Even chronic cases of PTSD veterans can live better lives by combining treatments, so it is not hopeless but when we pretend that drugs are the answer the reality is, they are part of the problem when they are the only game in town.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When will the DOD actually do something on PTSD and suicides?

In 2006 thee was a bill introduced to "provide more funds for PTSD counseling and benefits. The bill includes $180 million extra for readjustment counseling and mental health services at Vet Centers, and a promise of one-on-one counseling for returning veterans in addition to group counseling."

In Connecticut there was this report about redeployments, PTSD and suicides
Army Spec. Jeffrey Henthorn, a young father and third-generation soldier, whose death last year is still being mourned by his native Choctaw, Okla.What his hometown does not know is that Henthorn, 25, had been sent back to Iraq for a second tour, even though his superiors knew he was unstable and had threatened suicide at least twice, according to Army investigative reports and interviews.

When he finally succeeded in killing himself on Feb. 8, 2005, at Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq, an Army report says, the work of the M-16 rifle was so thorough that fragments of his skull pierced the barracks ceiling.In a case last July, a 20-year-old soldier who had written a suicide note to his mother was relieved of his gun and referred for a psychological evaluation, but then was accused of faking his mental problems and warned he could be disciplined, according to what he told his family.

Three weeks later, after his gun had been handed back, Pfc. Jason Scheuerman, of Lynchburg, Va., used it to end his life.

Also kept in the war zone was Army Pfc. David L. Potter, 22, of Johnson City, Tenn., who was diagnosed with anxiety and depression while serving in Iraq in 2004. Potter remained with his unit in Baghdad despite a suicide attempt and a psychiatrist's recommendation that he be separated from the Army, records show. Ten days after the recommendation was signed, he slid a gun out from under another soldier's bed, climbed to the second floor of an abandoned building and shot himself through the mouth, the Army has concluded.
The Hartford Courent followed that report up with this one.
• Despite a congressional order that the military assess the mental health of all deploying troops, fewer than 1 in 300 service members see a mental health professional before shipping out.

• Once at war, some unstable troops are kept on potent antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs with little or no counseling or medical monitoring, in violation of the military's regulations.

• Some troops who developed post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq are being sent back to the war zone.These practices seem to have fueled an increase in the suicide rate among troops serving in Iraq, which reached an all-time high in 2005 when 22 soldiers killed themselves — accounting for nearly one-fifth of all noncombat Army deaths.The investigation found that at least 11 service members who committed suicide in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 were kept on duty despite exhibiting signs of significant psychological distress.

The Army's top mental health expert, Col. Elspeth C. Ritchie, acknowledged that some deployment practices, such as sending service members diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder back into combat, have been driven in part by the troop shortage. "The challenge for us is that the Army has a mission to fight. And, as you know, recruiting has been a challenge," she said.Under the military's pre-deployment screening process — routinely no more than a single, self-reported mental health question on a form — troops with serious mental disorders are not being identified, and others whose mental illnesses are known are being deployed anyway.

We knew the same year that medications were also deadly. Again, this is from the Hartford Courant.
• Antidepressant medications with potentially serious side effects are being dispensed with little or no monitoring and sometimes minimal counseling, despite FDA warnings that the drugs can increase suicidal thoughts.

• Military doctors treating combat stress symptoms are sending some soldiers back to the front lines after rest and a three-day regimen of drugs - even though experts say the drugs typically take two to six weeks to begin working.

• The emphasis on maintaining troop numbers has led some military doctors to misjudge the severity of mental health symptoms.Some of the practices are at odds with the military's own medical guidelines, which state that certain mental illnesses are incompatible with military service, and some medications are not suited for combat deployments.

The problem is, they knew what this was producing in 2006 but did it anyway. The worst thing is they are still doing it. In Afghanistan, redeployed U.S. soldiers still coping with demons of post-traumatic stress

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WHO says stop giving benzodiazepines after trauma

WHO releases guidance on mental health care after trauma
New clinical protocol and guidelines to enable effective mental health care for adults and children exposed to trauma and loss
News release
6 AUGUST 2013

GENEVA - WHO is releasing new clinical protocols and guidelines to health-care workers for treating the mental health consequences of trauma and loss.

Mental disorders are common, disabling and usually untreated, and WHO’s "Mental Health Global Action Programme (mhGAP)" was developed in 2008 to scale-up care for mental, neurological and substance use disorders with simple treatment protocols that can be offered by primary health-care doctors and nurses.

New care protocols for post-traumatic stress disorder and others

Now, WHO is extending this programme by including care for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress and bereavement within its global programme.

“We have received numerous requests for guidance for mental health care after trauma and loss” says Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. “Primary health-care providers will now be able to offer basic support consistent with the best available evidence. They will also learn when to refer to more advanced treatment.”
Warnings against some popular treatments

Primary health care staff are also warned against certain popular treatments. For example, benzodiazepines, which are anti-anxiety drugs, should not be offered to reduce acute traumatic stress symptoms or sleep problems in the first month after a potentially traumatic event.

“PTSD needs to be managed along with other common mental disorders” reports Dr Mark van Ommeren, Scientist in the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. “This new, simple WHO-UNHCR treatment protocol will guide health workers around the world to help adults and children who suffer from conditions specifically related to stress.” The new guidelines and protocol were published today in an article in "The Journal of the American Medical Association".

read more here
Midazolam HCL
Tranxene SD
Tranxene T
Xanax XR