UPJOHN'S DRUG XANAX ON TRIAL

Bradley Yearwood bny at crl3.crl.com
Sun Mar 22 23:58:02 EST 1998


In article <6f3r48$96q at dfw-ixnews6.ix.netcom.com>,
Steven B. Harris <sbharris at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>In <35148AB3.FD2A4175 at servtech.com> Ed Mathes <emathes at servtech.com>
>writes: 
>>
>>
>>
>>Tom Matthews wrote:
>>
>>> Upjohn, the manufacturer of Halcion, is on the hot seat again. This
>time
>>> Halcion's sister drug, Xanax, is on trial in a Los Angeles court
>room. A
>>> consumer (Terri Mitchell) has taken the company to court for failure
>to
>>> warn about the dangers of this benzodiazepine.
>>
>>Sounds like someone trying to blame their addiction on someone other
>than
>>themselves.....
>>
>>--
>>Ed Mathes
>>
>
>
>   What drug company in its right mind would make a drug to treat
>*anxiety*?  Talk about asking for a lawsuit.  The kind of people who'll
>be taking your drug are exactly the kind of people who'll decide it's
>given them a dozen different incurable diseases, and brain damage. 
>Even a drug to treat frank paranoia would not be as legally risky,
>because really paranoid people generally look and sound crazy.  Anxious
>people, by contrast, just create uproar whereever they are, and it's
>very hard to see sometimes where the uproar comes from.

It is the prevalence of anxiety disorders, combined with the long-term
nature of the currently known effective medical therapeutic approaches
for the nastier end of the spectrum (viz. panic), which makes this field
attractive - lucrative is more like it.

Find a 10-day treatment (or even a 3-month treatment) which works and patients
will be beating your door down for it with wallets wide open.  We don't want
to be long-term dependent upon benzodiazepines or SSRIs, but the alternative
in many cases (speaking here as a panic disorder patient with zero benzo-
diazepine experience, doing quite well now on an SSRI) seems to be profound
suffering, often of disabling intensity.

>   I will agree with the lawsuit in one respect, however: in my
>experience in practice, Xanax is indeed far more "addictive" or
>"dependence-producing" than its manufacturers admit.  And far more
>addictive, strange to tell, than it is in clinical trials, if you
>bother to look up such things on medline.  Which trials are mostly
>supported by UpJohn <embarrassed grin>.

So what.  Don't give it to people who don't need it.  The ones who need it
(speaking here of the true panic disorder fraction) are likely to be stuck
long-term on one drug or another, or are going to have their lives truncated
or wrecked by the disease.  This will be the case until and unless a permanently
effective treatment is identified.

For this to happen, the mechanisms of the disease process are going to have
to be understood, which seems not yet to be the case.  There are tantalizing
leads and interesting conjectures, but no comprehensive and well-tested theory.

To flaming perpetual sulfurous hell with the addiction and dependency
labels.  If you can't understand and treat the disease, then why not treat
the symptoms if there is an effective and reasonably unharmful way to do so?

Is the person truly worse off with a daily intake of 0.75-1.5mg of Xanax
or Klonopin than with 20mg of Paxil or 100mg of Zoloft?  Which molecular
family has 30+ years of clinical experience toward revealing possible adverse
long-term effects?

A person whose thyroid has been (literally) nuked, is going to be lifetime
dependent upon taking thyroid hormones, no?  This person isn't stigmatized or
labelled or viewed as an addict; they are simply treated.

Brad Yearwood
Cotati, CA



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