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
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)
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.