(Chapter 2 of ebook) Google features hundreds of websites teeming with favorable sales pitches for ADHD drugs coming from supposedly credible MDs. If one searched Google for “safest ADHD medication for children,” the topmost featured search result (shown below, as of June 14, 2016) leads to the website of ADDitude, which seems to be one of the largest networks promoting ADHD drugs. This website gets 800,000 unique visitors monthly. The magazine that ADDitude also publishes reports a very high circulation, with ADDitude announcing they are “reaching ADHD families in their homes, and in the places they turn to for help.” In addition to homes, ADDitude’s magazine gets distributed to about 5,500 schools and special educators, to about an equal number of physicians’ offices, as well as to industry conferences. This allows the famous MDs on the scientific advisory board of ADDitude to influence countless parents and other adults as well as health professionals and educators, misinforming them as in the examples below. Most parents never question the following statements made by ADDitude which Google features:
Clicking on the picture of the sunny looking mother and daughter leads to ADDitude’s FAQ page which states: “the stimulants commonly prescribed for ADHD are considered among the safest of all psychiatric medications.” But in reality, in addition to the warnings of the DEA and INCB that we have seen, the FDA mandates a black box warning on all amphetamine-based stimulants (Vyvanse, Adderall or Dexedrine). If one were to Google “what is a black box warning,” one would see the following words featured on top of the search results (as of June 25 2016):
A black box warning is the strictest warning put in the labeling of prescription drugs or drug products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when there is reasonable evidence of an association of a serious hazard with the drug.
In the FDA’s publication “A Guide to Drug Safety Terms at FDA,” the agency confirms that, based on a review process evaluating actual clinical evidence, a black box warning is issued for a drug which “is designed to call attention to serious or life-threatening risks.” The current black box warning for all amphetamine-based ADHD drugs spells out the high abuse potential of these medications as well as their cardiovascular risks which include sudden death as stated in the warning:
As the FDA, the DEA, and the INCB all agree, there is no controversy about the fact that stimulants have a high potential of being abused or misused, which may be deadly as stated above instead of being safe.
Before giving more examples of how people are mislead, let us look at the real-life consequences of misinforming trusting parents about the supposed safety of ADHD medications. The following post by an 18 year old young adult has received 25 replies from other people on ADHD drugs also describing their own similarly disturbing experiences resulting from staying on these medications. The teenager who started this thread has written in her own words (typeface and errors as original, inappropriate language replaced with “***”):
… While sitting there depressed and stressing about my life, I had a million things to do and no ambition to do them. I just layed there in the bed crying. My mother came to me and handed me a pill and told me to take it. When I asked her what it was, she told me it was called Adderall and it will get me up off of my *** and help me depression. I never had been one to pop pills or take drugs at all, even though I grew up around all of that ***. But that particular day, I didn’t care, and I took the pill. About 15 minutes later I felt sooo much better! I can’t explain it. I got up, got dressed, cleaned my mother’s whole house, then went to my house and cleaned that up too. After that, I wrote a 5 page report for school in about 45 minutes (and got an A too!) Then I even went to the gym and exercised. I felt GREAT! I wasn’t depressed and I got more done that day then I did in a whole month!
So I went to my doctor and told him about it. I told him how for once I was not depressed. I felt motivated, and I got things done. My focus was better. I was a better mom to the kids, I was doing better with school...everything. Finally, he gave me a prescription.
The first year or so on Adderall was great. I was busy all the time and getting things done, I hardly ate, barely slept and lost about 40 pounds. I struggles with my weight for my entire life, and for the first time, I found something to help me lose. I looked and felt terrific. However, as time went by, I grew tolerant to the medicine and the doctor had to raise my dose. He didn’t have too much of a problem with it because he said that my blood pressure is excellent and there are no heart problems. Keep in mind that Adderall is a drug that is about 3 different AMPHETAMINES mixed together. VERY addictive. It’s basically like legal Cocaine.
Let’s fast forward to today. I am a complete different person than I used to be. I still take the Adderall and when I don’t take it, I will literally sleep all day. When I don’t take it, my depression gets 3 times as bad as it ever has, to the point where I think about death a lot. Not suicide, just death and dying. I have this weird habit now where I pull out my eyebrows. I never did this before the Adderall. However, now I pull them out. When they start to grow back the feeling of the stubble drives me nuts and I grab some tweezers and yank them back out. I tried to stop and I can’t. Weird. Also, I am like a zombie. The Adderall won’t let me sleep so I have to take Tylenol PMs everynight to go to bed, so I take meds to keep me awake, and meds to put me to sleep. I cannot function on my own without them. In the evening when the Adderall begins to wear off, I turn into a total ***. Every little noise annoys the hell out of me. and don’t even get me started on the headaches. I am antisocial and most of the time I don’t want to be bothered. I go weeks on end without calling my friends, and I wish that the people that live with me would just let me be by myself.
So the other day I decided that I wasn’t going to take the Adderall for a couple of days, just to see what happens. I will deal with the depression and the extreme fatigue for a few days. The withdrawal effects were unbearable. I was nauseated, had a migrane and was shaking. I layed around all day and was dizzy when I stood up. And I literally ATE the whole day!
It was then that I realized, for the first time, that I am addicted to ADDERALL. I have a LEGAL addiction to Amphetamines. I don’t know what to do. This scares the *** out of me. What if for some reason my doctor takes me off of it? Will I be out there acting like a crackhead trying to get my hands on it? Am I going to have to go to rehab? I don’t want to have to go through this. Not to mention...when I don’t take it, I gain weight at a rate of about 10 pounds a week. NO BULL! I don’t want to get all huge again. I am lost and don’t know what to do. I don’t want to have to rely on this *** for the rest of my life to keep me motivated and focused. I honestly feel like I am nothing without it.
I seriously resent my mother for ever introducing me to this drug. Also....it blows my mind that this is actually a medication that was created for CHILDREN!!!!!!!!
The present writer has personally known R. M. who is addicted to Adderall. R. M. exhausts his entire monthly prescription of Adderall in the first two weeks of the month. The psychiatrist that R. M. sees each month to obtain his next prescription said that R. M. has always convinced him for years that he only takes the recommended dosage of Adderall.
Outside of the U.S., Canada suspended the market authorization of Adderall in February 2005 due to international reports of sudden death in patients taking either Adderall or Adderall XR.  But Adderall’s manufacturer Shire Pharmaceuticals refused to comply with Health Canada’s decision voluntarily, which automatically triggered an appeal process. Six months later, Health Canada was persuaded to put Adderall back on the market.
In the United States, the FDA’s black box warning on amphetamines states misuse as the cause of sudden death from these drugs. But misuse was not the cause of any of the deaths that had been reported to Health Canada which made it to recall Adderall. “The deaths were not associated with overdose, misuse or abuse,” states the 2005 paper “Commentary: Concerns With the Suspension of Adderall XR,” published in the Canadian Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Review. This seems to indicate that the FDA has sugar-coated its black-box warning. The upcoming chapters expose the terrifying extent to which the regulators have also been compromised by the pharmaceutical industry.
Numerous additional stories such as the one below posted online by a teenager verify the worst consequence of abusing ADHD medications (spelling, grammar and punctuation errors as is):
Since the years past by I noticed that i could not be social are energized without it [ADHD medication] and started to take it everyday which lead me to a high tolerence. My tolerence was so high i would take up to 100 mg of adderal a day and 200 mg of vyvanse when i cant get a hold of adderal. After a few more months i started to feel sharp pains in my left side near my heart not knowing part of my heart was shuting down and was brusing from over pumping everyday. …
Just take it from my story and everyone else, adderal may seem like the best thing in the world but will just end up the worst in the long run. If u r struggling seek help! please dont ignore it i dont want u to turn out like me with a heart disease and im only 16.
The present writer met P. S. from Fairfield, Iowa who reported that her grown son had gone through many different prescribers for Adderall. P. S. had eventually managed to inform each doctor of her son’s addiction to the drug and his tendency to abuse it, but each time P. S. had warned the doctors, her son had easily found a new prescriber after a little doctor shopping. P. S. said that her countless attempts to get her son help had failed. Her son finally had a stroke and was still trying to recover from brain damage and paralysis.
In 2006, the FDA decided to strengthen the sections on cardiovascular risks in the warnings of all stimulants including those containing methylphenidate (e.g. Ritalin). The sections of the warnings on adverse psychiatric effects were also strengthened to emphasize the extent to which stimulants can create new mental disorders including mania and psychosis. The current version of these stronger warnings can be viewed on the referenced webpage of the FDA. On this webpage, one can click on ‘label’ next to each medication brand and then go to the section called “Warnings.” The strengthened psychiatric warnings that come up for all stimulants state that, in addition to the way ADHD drugs can trigger new psychotic or manic symptoms, they can cause the emergence of bipolar illness, aggression, and tics. The warnings explain that these psychiatric events do not occur only in people who overdose or in people with a history of mental illness. For all ADHD drugs including Ritalin and Adderall, the FDA’s warnings state:
Treatment emergent psychotic or manic symptoms, e. g., hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania in children and adolescents without a prior history of psychotic illness or mania can be caused by stimulants at usual doses.”
For the case of the adverse physical effects from stimulants, FDA’s warnings include long-term suppression of growth. But parents should still ignore all of this, according to MDs like Dr. William W. Dodson who operates the Dodson ADHD Center in Denver Colorado. Dr. Dodson scares parents about not medicating children. Dr. Dodson lies on the FAQ page of ADDitude, claiming, “the risks of using these medications are very low … The risks involved in not treating ADHD are very high. These include academic failure, social problems, car accidents, and drug addiction.” Dr. Dodson helps to defraud millions of people by disseminating such slogans, when Adderall’s manufacturer Shire Pharmaceuticals was fined $56.5 million in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Justice for promoting “unsupported claims that Adderall XR would prevent poor academic performance, loss of employment, criminal behavior, traffic accidents and sexually transmitted disease.” This was announced on the website of the U.S. Department of Justice which states that the $56.5 million fine was paid for Shire’s false claims made between 2004 and 2010 about the safety and efficacy of Adderall.
The website of ADDitude includes an article posted by psychiatrist Dr. Edward Hallowell who serves on the organization’s advisory board. Hallowell, who has been on the Harvard Medical School faculty for 20 years, tells parents and others, “used properly, Ritalin is safe, safer than aspirin.” In this article, Hallowell further misleads people by telling them, “80 percent of individuals with ADHD who try medication benefit.” This only refers to the apparently “great” immediate effects of euphoria-causing stimulants. Hallowell does not mention the abuse potential of these Schedule II substances, nor how hard it is to quit them which this book will elaborate. Hallowell also totally ignores the compelling evidence on the terrible long-term side effects of these drugs which will shortly be demonstrated. Despite the scientific verification of how much these drugs damage the brain after only one year on them (also to be demonstrated), search results unfortunately bring up not just Hallowell’s article, but hundreds of similar articles helping sell medications like used cars. This book includes many more examples of disseminating grossly misleading information such as the examples provided in the chapter The Incredibly Corrupt Practices of Dr. Joseph Biederman – the Most Influential ADHD Researcher. Exactly why such MDs mislead the masses will be explained in the next chapter “Miseducating Physicians and the Public Through Paid-off Influential Experts.”
Time magazine has published the popular article “Growing up with ADHD.” This article mentions that the FDA has issued a black box warning for amphetamine based ADHD drugs, but then falsely states: “another FDA panel withdrew the black box warning within a month,” which never happened. This can be checked on the FDA’s website listing the current warnings on Adderall. Anyone can request his or her local pharmacy to print out the current Adderall black box warning, thus verifying that the black box warning is still effective. One may then go back to the misleading Time magazine article and note that the physicians the author has interviewed include Dr. Hallowell, Dr. Russel Barkley and Dr. Harold Koplewicz, who are all members of the advisory board of ADDitude. This influential group of experts, and many others like them, continue to abuse the trust of everybody impressed by their credentials.
All of this demonstrates the need to be leery of trusting popular online or print sources compromised by drug-selling physicians, filled with articles or posts written by these physicians themselves or reporters or bloggers who trust these experts.
The industry has had great success at corrupting the legal system to prevent the filing of lawsuits which would let drug induced damages or deaths become known. The trusting public is lured into the trap set for them with the help of physicians such as Michael Bihari, MD, a board-certified pediatrician, health educator and medical writer who claims he is “committed to making sure that consumers receive the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.” Bihari gives the following bad advice to anyone who would like to access Schedule II drugs cheaply:
If you’re having trouble paying for ADHD medications, immediately inform the prescribing physician and ask about generic alternatives. The physician can offer you options and alternatives that will lower the cost of ADHD medications.
What could be so wrong with using cheaper generic drugs versus name brands? Between 2011 and 2013, the lobbying efforts of the generic drug makers (which hold more than 88% of the U.S. market) caused the Supreme Court to pass a series of rulings that blocked most personal injury lawsuits against them.  The Supreme Court ruled that for all generic drugs, state lawsuits cannot be filed for damages resulting from design defects. It was additionally ruled that generic drug makers are not required to strengthen the warnings on their labels when alerted to side effects – they must always use the label of the brand name drug on which they are based. These shocking Supreme Court decisions have been preventing generic drug manufacturers form being held liable by injured individuals who feel that they or their doctors were not adequately warned of the risks of drugs. Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, states:
The generics have no incentive to engage in robust monitoring of the safety of their products, and there’s no accountability if they don’t. It’s critically important that they have a real incentive to promptly warn doctors and patients.
Dr. Carome adds that the generic drug makers “are fighting to keep it that way.”
As the generic drug makers have been trying to prevent the laws from being fixed, their lobbying efforts have so far been fruitful. The Los Angeles Times explains:
After several delays, the Food and Drug Administration said last year it would issue a new rule by the end of this month [July 2016] to require generic drug makers to update their warning labels in response to newly revealed risks. But the agency quietly said recently it had put off a final decision until early next year.
This is not surprising, as it is typical of the FDA. Los Angeles Times reports, “consumer-rights advocates are upset by the delay and see a growing danger to public safety as generics take over the market.” The article then gives real-life examples of parties who could not collect damages because of the compromised laws. For example:
The 2011 decision in PLIVA vs. Mensing tossed out suits from two women who suffered crippling nerve disorders and facial disfigurements after taking a generic form of Reglan, a drug that treats acid influx. In 2013, another 5-4 ruling in Mutual Pharmaceutical vs. Bartlett tossed out a $21-million jury verdict in favor of a New Hampshire woman who was disfigured, badly burned and nearly blinded after she had a severe reaction to sulindac, a pill she took to relieve her shoulder pain.
The same Los Angeles Times article states, “their injury claims would have upheld had they taken the brand-name version of the same drug.”
The well-investigated case of the fraudulent marketing of antidepressants reveals numerous other tactics the industry utilizes to bury the side effects and deaths caused by fraudulently promoted harmful medications. These tactics include not publishing the unfavorable studies, not submitting the real data showing the deaths and other intolerable adverse effects, mislabeling the most serious adverse effects, and more.
In the case of psychiatric medications such as ADHD drugs or antidepressants, in addition to the above tactics preventing side effects from being known, we will see that psychiatrists have been provided with a vested interest in not disclosing adverse effects to patients. This has been accomplished by compromised insurance laws which have provided psychiatrists with financial incentives to not use psychotherapy and push only drug treatments. This being the case, there may be few psychiatrists still willing to disclose the full extent of the damages caused by psychiatric drugs and turn patients against medications at the cost of significantly reducing their earnings.
If the reader believes that he or she has been harmed or family members have been damaged or killed by any psychiatric medication, please see if your case qualifies for collecting damages or participating in class action suits. To help this e-book reach others by helping improve its ranking, please kindly take a few minutes to leave a review.