Martin Whitely

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The world’s most popular independent online news service, The Huffington Post, recently published two significant blogs suggesting that Western Australia and France offer lessons on how to tackle the global ADHD epidemic.

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When researchers expressed concern about ECT induced long term memory loss he scathingly dismissed them, despite having eleven months earlier proposed that pharmacological interventions may be warranted to alleviate that same side-effect.

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Anecdotal evidence indicates that too many Western Australian children in the care of the state that are managed rather than cared for.  Managed with a range of psychotropic drugs including, antidepressants, anti-psychotics, amphetamines and anti-anxiety ‘medications’ as a cheap substitute for the intensive support they so desperately need.

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Professor Hickie – Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.Yesterday (13 February 2012), in response to  issues I raised in my last blog, Professor Ian Hickie made three misleading claims in The Australian and on ABC Radio. (Previous blog available at http://speedupsitstill.com/professor-ian-hickie-visionary-mental-health-reformer-paid-pharmaceutical-industry-opinion-leader )

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The bias in this paper is very disturbing…It is this kind of complicity that damages any hopes of a positive partnership between medicine and [the pharmaceutical] industry.” Lancet Editor tweet on recent Hickie research

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The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has issued a new safety advisory for Strattera, the non-stimulant drug once touted as a safe alternative to ADHD stimulants. Strattera already carries warnings for serious adverse events including suicidal ideation and potential fatal liver damage. The TGA has now added a warning about ‘clinically significant increases in heart rate and blood pressure’. (The new warning is available at http://www.tga.gov.au/safety/alerts-medicine-atomoxetine-111102.htm)

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The decision by Australian Government Mental Health Minister Mark Butler to suspend proposed cuts to the “Better Access” program from a maximum of 16 visits to counselling services to 10 per year appears to be a welcome and rare win for talking therapies over drug therapies.

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For the first time in North American criminal history, a murder has been attributed to an anti-depressant drug. In the finding, handed down on the 16th of September 2011, a Canadian Judge said that he was satisfied that a 16 year old boy, who stabbed his brother’s friend in the stomach, would not have committed the offence had he not been treated with the drug Prozac (a brand of Fluoxetine).[1. Mike McIntyre, ‘Judge agrees Prozac made teen a killer’, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 September 2011.  Available  http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/judge-agrees-prozac-made-teen-a-killer-130010278.html (accessed 8 December 2011)]

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The Draft Australian ADHD Clinical Practice Points are out for public comment until 28 November 2011. (available at http://consultations.nhmrc.gov.au/open_public_consultations/a-d-h-d) Please make the effort to prepare a submission. Common-sense voices concerned about the welfare of children, and not the profit and convenience of adults, need to be heard right now. It is certain the ADHD industry will be very organised and use this opportunity to try and expand their already lucrative markets. They cannot be allowed to dominate this very important process.  My detailed submission follows. Feel free to borrow at will.

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