Minnesota woman campaigns nationally against "pill for every ill”

  • Article by: Jim Spencer , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 1, 2013 - 11:48 PM

A decade after the suicide of her husband, who was prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft for insomnia, she’s speaking out to physicians, legislators, U.S. agencies.

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gemie1Nov. 1, 1310:31 PM

We need more voices speaking out to protect people from the pharmaceutical marketing practices. We live in a society that always looks for the magic pill to fix everything in our lives. What is sad here is that insomnia can be caused by many things. Whatever happened to talk and behavioral therapy. It could of been that her husband needed to learn how to slow down, relax and meditate and did not need Zoloft. Every medication has side effects. The people that truly need anti-depressions should have a diagnosis of clinical depression or extreme issues with anxiety. Situational depression can usually be worked through in therapy. Xanax and Valium are highly addictive and that is one reason why a doctor might prescribe an anti-depressant for someone that has debilitating anxiety. It is worst for the elderly who are overly medicated at the wrong doses and take more medications than are necessary. Too many tragic stories!

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luzhishenNov. 2, 1312:21 AM

The US public has been bombarded with drug advertising since before the Civil War...whether it's some all natural ancient cure-all or some modern substance. All of this pro-drug advertising creates a generic demand for drugs, any drugs. Time to ban direct-to-consumer advertising as well as off-label promotion of pharmaceuticals.

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debnstpaulNov. 2, 13 1:29 AM

"Magic Pills" are not the answer. However, millions of dollars have gone into research and trials to help find treatment for people suffering from mental illness, depression, diabetes, cancer, and all kinds of challenges. The mental health field cannot be discounted because of one family's tragic circumstances. Mental health is no different from other types of "health" issues. Unfortunately many cancer patients have died in the common journey to find a cure. In fact, many people have died because of reactions to every day, over-the-counter medications and there is no ban on them. I am supportive of western medicines and treatment. And I support this woman who has a deep concern about pharmaceutical treatment and its potential devastating effects. I am also supportive of alternative treatment - especially well supported scientific and medical research. Prevention and scientific research are key in treating all kinds of people, no matter what their medical diagnosis. I admire her campaign to raise awareness about potential tragedies (aka potential side effects which if you watch the ads on tv are incredulous), but like any other medical choice out there - I am PRO CHOICE. No one should be able to limit my options or tell me what I can/cannot take. That could be Zoloft, antibiotics, Vitamin D or sage smoke.

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hounanNov. 2, 13 1:33 AM

I applaud her efforts against the 'pill for every ill', but am concerned about the motivation and suit specifically against sertraline and it's originator, pfizer. We don't know the discussion her husband had with his physician regarding the insomnia, and there likely could have been many factors that don't fit into a specific label that led them to chose that medication. Furthermore, while we now acknowledge an increased risk in suicidality (something not present in2003 I believe for ssri's), I would be highly suspect that in today's health paradigm a different treatment regimen would have been proposed. Bottom line to me is that less meds = better, but many meds such as sertraline are a helpful tool when needed.

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simplicity1Nov. 2, 13 2:07 AM

Nothing about zoloft is useful for sleeping unless you nearly OD.

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nomedsNov. 2, 13 5:48 AM

All medications come with warnings. Over 100,000 people die each year from prescription drugs. There is nothing more that needs to be stated. It's simply common sense. Is there a society more medicated than the US?

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mixie7Nov. 2, 13 6:31 AM

I would prefer doctors do their job and rule out all personal efforts to address said sleeping issues, weight issues, whatever first and prescribe something as a last resort. I am in a fitness plan plan with daily exercise, eliminated sugar and wheat and I repeatedly sleep through the night now, among other benefits. Is it hard? You bet. Who ever said it was supposed to be easy to correct health problems?

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jdlellis1Nov. 2, 13 6:39 AM

Perhaps one of the wisest and most logical stories published in recent memory.

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supervon2Nov. 2, 13 6:49 AM

You won't have to worry anymore. Congress is going to tell the doctors how to run their business and we will all be safer.

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james38Nov. 2, 13 7:08 AM

I am appalled by the overwhelming number of ads on TV dealing with 'drugs' for every situation...then followed not by the benefits but by the side effects for the duration of the ad. I realize drug companies do this in anticipation of the vultures known as 'attorneys' who promise us money in our pockets for damages, alleged or otherwise. I steadfastly refuse to take any drug, even those prescribed by my VA doctor or Medicare doctor unless that doctor can fully explain to me the absolute necessity for that drug. I ask 'why', 'alternatives', 'what' before I take a drug. Depression can be cured by turning ones life toward God, faith, family and friends. Most illnesses are not illnesses at all, but symptoms of need for 'worth'. At 75 and a cancer victor, I work each day on our little horse farm, eat proper meals (I do the cooking and baking) and work on developing my faith in a stronger sense, thankful for what I have, faith, family and friends. I'm not depressed, I'm grateful. Every day!

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