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Re: weight gain/pharmaceutical research

Posted by Adam on August 13, 1999, at 18:20:41

In reply to Re: weight gain/pharmaceutical research, posted by Annie on August 13, 1999, at 17:42:03

I never meant to suggest that the research was being conducted by "puppets of the industry". But I am a researcher also (though I do not have my PhD-I doubt that matters, really).
When in academia, some of the work I did was funded by big pharm. Now I work in little pharm/biotech, but really the biases are the same. Where the money comes from does matter.
It's that simple. Explaining why would take forever and those who understand the nature of these uneasy alliances would probably agree that it's not a simple thing to dissect.
I do not doubt the integrity of the authors as scientists. However, I would not be the least suprised if other reports came out that were independantly funded contradicting this one.
Both would have valid points. It's a complicated issue, I'm sure. I am leary of this report because I know that the source of funding can influence data (at least in how it is
interpreted when it is open to interpretation), and because it contradicts what I have seen and experienced myself in the real world. I think other people who have put on a lot of
weight in a short period of time while taking an SSRI are experiencing a legitmate side effect of the drug and should be paid attention to. The fact that this is not a universal
phenomenon, or one that might not fall outside the error bars in a particular study does not lessen my conviction. I know my body and what happened to it. None of my doctors ever
doubted what the nature of the weight gain was. It's real, it happens, and people should know about it.

> >I know the work of some of the authors of this paper and don't believe them to be puppets of the industry. No doubt sometime I will be accepting a grant from a pharmaceutical company to study one of their products; I don't have any intention of doing so if it's conditional on getting the results they want.
> I also know the work of some of these authors. In fact, one of them is my Pdoc. I believe 'puppets of the industry' is a little too harsh, but I think you are being naive (You should be naive Elizabeth, you are very young. The jaded, cynical view happens much too soon for some of us) if you don't realize that in the academic research world, funding makes that world go 'round. I doubt very strongly, the funding was explicitly conditional on the results, but future funding is a consideration. It is interesting to note that David Michelson(lead author) works for Lilly. Also of note are the previous studies involving Prozac in which some of the authors have been involved. All that I have read were funded by Lilly. They also had results favorable to Lilly.
> Reviewing the study was like walking backward thru a maze. The study does not say there is no weight gain on Prozac. It says the weight gain on Prozac was equal to the placebo group weight gain. On Prozac 25.4% of the participants had 7% or more increase in weight. In placebo it was 26.7%. The weight gain in the Prozac group was attributed to improvement in appetite after recovery while it was poor nutrition for the unfortunate placebo group.
> Their statement that "the number of fluoxetine-treated patients with a 7% or greater increase in weight never exceeded that of patients in the placebo group" loses some impact when you consider that only 15 placebo participants were able to finish the study.( It will be a great sound bite though) The results of all participants, whether they completed or not, were a little different.
> Prozac- 13.2% had 7% or greater weight increase.
> Placebo- 7.4% had 7% or greater weight increase.
> So a greater percentage of people had better appetites than poor nutrition.
> I could go on and on ripping this apart but I think you get the picture. You can make numbers mean whatever you want.
> I hope you are able to refuse grants from pharmaceutical companies with agendized study proposals, Elizabeth. It would be refreshing.
> Annie




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